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Planning and Scheduling
Part 2 of 4

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Lean Manufacturing Articles

Equally important as generating a doable schedule is creating trust in the schedule to the point that people will accept accountability for the performance of that schedule. To get manufacturing to accept performance accountability requires reengineering what is typically called the "daily production meeting."


Somebody or some process always decides what work is placed on a resource. Elaborate dispatch rules, hot-lists, visual signals or operator whim makes the selec­tion from jobs queued at a machine—but a selection is always made. The daily production meeting generally attempts to guide and coordinate what jobs should be pulled to the front of the queue. Key customers and his­toric bottlenecks are generally some of the top criteria used to prioritize the special expediting. In fact, often, "the schedule" is not discussed during many daily pro­duction meetings—frequently the "customer backlog" or a "revenue report" are the dispatching tools.

The following "production meeting" process is most successful with APS:

1. Evaluate the doability of the schedule—Customer
priorities, due dates and resource considerations have
already been optimized, performance to need be­
comes the primary consideration. APS tools gener­
ally highlight jobs that are late due to resource
constraints. Visual Gantt charts, colors and drill-
down capabilities help determine the root cause of
the lateness.

2.      Review options to improve due-date performance—
APS is a decision support tool that must allow users
to suggest "what if scenarios and run a quick simula­
tion of the schedule under new conditions (overtime,
outsourcing, alternate routing, setup-time-dependant
sequencing, various scheduling and dispatching rules,
etc.). Compare the results of each change and selector
reject each alternate scenario.

3.      Fix any detailed data—Data errors that affect the
doability of a schedule surface during the schedule
review. Data cleanup is often one of the most ne­
glected processes in operations. By focusing on re­
sources that are current constraints, the data most
important to achieving immediate results is cor­

4.      Commit to the schedule and just "do-it"—The de­
tailed level of an APS finite schedule provides spe­
cific optimal job sequence and provides management
at all levels the ability to monitor performance to

The above steps can be expressed simply as: create a doable schedule, then do-it. A process too simple to be revolutionary—yet desperately needed by most manu­facturers.

To Be Continued

For balance of this article, click on the below link:

Lean Manufacturing Articles and click on Series 14

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