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Planning and Scheduling
Part 4 of 4


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Lean Manufacturing Articles

The fourth step in the production meeting process is where the rubber meets the road. "If the schedule is doable, why wouldn't we do it?" This question becomes the focus of the organization. If the plan is optimized
to meet the best possible combination of business needs, customer needs, and manufacturing capability, then the entire organization will benefit from a successful APS implementation. The visual scheduling features of an APS system provide the ideal simple tool to explain that
the resulting plan is optimal. Master schedule dates should be readjusted to the APS schedule. Customer commitments should be readjusted to align with the results of the APS schedule. And manufacturing efforts
previously directed at sorting through the hot-sheets and queues of orders are directed at making the schedule happen. Operators should be held accountable for their performance to the detailed schedule. Supervisors should be held accountable for the detailed tracking of
each job in process and verifying that the next job is queued or will be available to start. "Black books" and "cherry picking jobs" no longer determine what should be run next. Managers can spot-check the compliance to the schedule at any point of the day against detailed
dispatch lists that have been accepted as doable. 

Implementing systems and internal practices that generate good schedules is an important internal busi­ness process. Having finite APS plans that are doable and committed to by manufacturing with performance that is trusted by your customers is a business capabil­ity that provides bottom-line results and sustainable competitive advantage.

 

In complex, mixed-mode manufacturing environ­ments, multiple and moving constraints are common, especially as product mix and volumes fluctuate.

 

APS provides manufacturers with a powerful yet simple tool to analyze and resolve the complex relationship of constraints that unfavorably effect schedule attainment.

This tool also provides a powerful process to continuously improve business information. It is important to realize that we are talking about a software tool that can gener­ally be implemented relatively quickly and without major cross-functional team involvement. APS can yield exciting results very quickly since non-bottlenecked resources get a doable, optimal schedule that does not require atten­tion. Late orders and constrained resources are elevated for attention through simple visual Gantt charts and color-coded exception alerts.

APS is a powerful finite scheduler of manufacturing orders that adds valuable functionality to an ERP sys­tem. It can provide solid benefit as a tool that can be tucked away in a corner of the master scheduler's office to finitely load the production floor. However, we have found that it has important functionality well beyond its planning and scheduling capabilities. Companies that integrate constraint resolution and data improvement as part of a process to assure doability and buy-in can achieve results not capable with any other tool. Sched­ules that are accurate and are relied upon for customer commitments are valuable competitive assets in a world that asks, "Why don't you make your schedule?

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

Lean Manufacturing Articles and click on Series 14


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