order" is something that few manufacturing companies want to hear.
Although these events may cause disruption and other unwanted
problems, they are better than one of the alternatives, that of
"cancel our order." So, how does the master scheduler handle these
requests in light of satisfying the customer while keeping a stable
The first thing to
note about this situation is that it is a change in timing, not a
change in volume. This type of change request will generally require
a shift in resources and materials. An important point is to
understand why the request is being made. It could be the customer
needs the product. It also could be a sales representative wants the
order moved up because of a sales contest, an order clerk is simply
reacting to an order point being tripped, or... safety stock needs
replenishment. Some of these conditions may suggest an answer of
"no" is appropriate. However, many such requests do deserve positive
There are five
questions that need' to be answered before the master scheduler
responds to such a request. The first question has already been
discussed, that of whether this request is a volume or timing
change. The remaining questions are to understand whether the
necessary materials can be secured, whether capacity is available,
how much the change will cost, and whether or not the master
scheduler is authorized to make the change. Most changes, especially
if they occur within lead time, are disruptive to the manufacturing
floor and could well affect shop personnel morale. If the master
scheduler plans to change the schedule, he or she should insure that
positive results occur.
Manufacturing Order to an Earlier Date
forward is not always a bad thing to do. It might be manufacturing's
request to build early and may benefit the company. Maybe the pull
up is required due to a bad batch being produced, a pre-ship test
surfacing a quality problem, the cycle counting program uncovers an
error in the inventory, or a new safety stock level which has to be
Changes like the
one suggested may be difficult and expensive to implement. The five
key questions must be answered before the master scheduler just
changes the numbers. In addition to answering the five questions the
master scheduler should also ask, "what happens if the schedule is
Moving manufacturing orders up in the schedule may affect materials,
capacities, and the master scheduler's credibility. Remember,
manufacturing has a history of responding. As stated earlier the
master scheduler and manufacturing must be flexible (to a point).
How about moving a manufacturing order out; the best expediting tool
is de-expediting. The last point is that before the reschedule is
made, the master scheduler must secure approval according to the
A company in a
seasonal business, planning for the large order or changing its
manufacturing strategy from make-to-order to make-to-stock, may find
itself facing an inventory build-up situation.
In this scenario the forecast is extremely important to say the
least. If the master scheduler does not schedule enough product to
be made, there may be no product for the customer when demanded and
the order may be lost. If the master scheduler schedules too many,
the company may end up with inventory that cannot be sold and it may
may be shelf-life issues that may cause the product to be scrapped.
The master scheduler must analyze the entire situation and decide
how important it is to stabilize the schedule by carrying inventory
versus carrying capacity and the risk of losing the business versus
the cost of carrying product in a finished state.
with this situation should look into its design, both product and
process, to determine if something can be done to shorten the lead
time required to produce the product so it doesn't have to build to
a finished goods state.
To be Continued
For balance of this article, click on the below link:
Lean Manufacturing Articles and go to Series 02
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