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Loading

Operation time standards are used to develop work center loads in ca­pacity planning. Figure 9 shows a work center with eight weeks of load from released orders scheduled in each week. The vertical scale is hours of total setup and run times. Present capacity is 80 hours per week. The total numbers of hours each week are shown below the week numbers. This a typical load profile; it shows late work, it has weeks of excess load, it is erratic, and it drops off in future weeks.

 

If under qualified people viewed this, they would conclude that the center is overloaded this week and next but will be under loaded later, having only six weeks total work. They may believe that costly actions are required in weeks 1 and 2, not thinking that work late here can be brought back on schedule in a lightly loaded downstream work center. They would think that other costly actions will be needed in future weeks, not seeing that more work might arrive in those eight weeks from planned orders not yet released to the plant. The truth is that no one can tell from just this load picture what the real situation is. Plans made to handle this situation would be very wrong.


Adding planned hours, shown as open bars in figure 10, gives a far different profile. The total work load has increased to 10 weeks' worth. Under qualified people would now make much different plans
—and could again be very wrong. Qualified people would recognize that the erratic load requires some cushion of work hours to avoid down time. This cushion is included in the total hours shown. It must be consid­ered in corrective actions.

Infinite and Finite Loading

Figures 9 and 10 resulted from loading the work center as if it had infinite capacity. This is fine for capacity requirements planning, which uses averages over long horizons. For detailed schedules in execution, loading to finite capacity is used. Comparing the steps for both:

 

•    Steps in loading and scheduling to infinite capacity:

   -      Schedule all work order operations.

   -      Calculate load hours for all operations.

   -      Load operations into proper work centers in scheduled time
periods.

-      To update, remove completed work hours and load new order
hours.

•    Steps in loading and scheduling to finite capacity:

   -      Schedule all work order operations.

   -      Calculate load hours for all operations.

   -      Define work center capacity.

   -      Identify alternatives.

   -      Set order priorities.

   -      Load operations into proer work centers in scheduled time pe­
riods in priority sequence.

   -      For overloads, select alternatives, reschedule earlier, or resched­
ule later.

-      To update, start over.

 

This shows clearly the simplicity of the former and the complexity of the latter. To be effective, finite loading and scheduling depend on the completeness, accuracy, and validity of the data involved, useful only if limited to critical work centers over very short horizons. Only a small number of companies can depend on it beyond the time covered by firm customer orders.

Continued

Part 1  Part 2   Part 3  Part 4  Part 5  Part 6  Part 7


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