Original Date: 04/24/2006
Revision Date: / /
Best Practice : Production Scheduling
Improved production scheduling initiatives at Midwest Metal Products have allowed the company to achieve a 99% on-time customer delivery rate. The scheduling system effectively ties together manufacturing capabilities, labor status, and customer-driven production-load information to provide optimal production solutions.
Midwest Metal Products (MMP) has evolved to a commercially produced scheduling system that allows the company to tie customer orders with plant loads and resources in Vantage, a capable and centralized software system that schedules customer work tasks by company work centers. Vantage continually updates the production schedule as job orders are received during the workday.
MMP originally performed its production scheduling manually. Customers had their own job folder that contained handwritten information sheets with job numbers, operations to be performed, sequence, and level of completeness. All information sheets were submitted to management the following day and typically included inherent errors such as incorrect job and sequence numbers and incorrect quantities required. This original scheduling system had many downfalls that included a lack of knowledge of job status, the inability to effectively use labor resources to balance the diverse job tasks and labor resources, and slower throughput of customer jobs because of job confusion. This method did not adequately control MMP’s workload.
MMP then evolved to an electronic system that provided more knowledge about job status, more effective use of labor resources and production problem areas, and a method for effectively scheduling upcoming labor and work. However, this system still required a printout of shop-load reports to monitor and control overloaded work areas. With the information provided, shop managers could then effectively edit the job sequences to level out overloaded work areas. This manual job-editing process was labor-intensive and occasionally conflicted with other problem solvers.
MMP’s current system uses a central database with electronically entered production-load information, labor status, manufacturing capabilities, and other information pertinent to optimal production solution. As work flows through the respective work centers (Figure 2-1), company employees enter job status information into a centralized processing center that can be readily used by other company employees. With all employees sharing a common knowledge of job status information, job management is effectively performed. The system offers a graphical interface that provides easy load balancing while performing numerous pertinent production calculations for the user. To better use the system, MMP reviews customer needs with workload reports daily to move company shop labor and machine resource capacity to meet job demands. The system allows management to know job status, labor problems, rework, added operations, and how to easily perform work changing and leveling based on customer demands.
MMP can now promise its customers reliable delivery dates, helping the company achieve its on-time goals. Enhanced scheduling initiatives have helped MMP achieve a 99% on-time delivery rate and have greatly improved customer satisfaction.
Figure 2-1. Work Centers by Department
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