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Planning Vs. Execution - Part 1 of 5

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Are all plans executed exactly as is?

Probably only very few plans are. In most cases the actual execution is quite removed from the original plan.


The most obvious cause for being unable to follow a plan/schedule is Murphy. In other words, we have a lot of uncertainty in our environment. Too many unex­pected events occur and disrupt the ability to execute the planning as is. Those disrupting events are not fully "unexpected." They usually do not surprise us; it is just that we could not know a priori, at the planning stage, what would happen and when.

Are we troubled by our inability to follow the plan as is? We certainly should be, because it creates a lot of fires and eventually we don't perform as well as we might. Moreover, the need to change the planning poses a prob­lematic conflict.

Let's consider the following example.

Suppose you are the foreman responsible for a cer­tain stage in the production. A detailed finite capacity schedule is generated every week, taking into account the standing firm orders, the forecast, and the resource's utilization. According to the schedule, you should now work on Product A. However, you have just been noti­fied that a certain material is missing. How come? That's a question that should be asked later. Right now, expe­diting efforts are taken to bring in the missing materi­als as soon as possible, with a good chance of it being all ready tomorrow morning.

What do you do? There are several options:

•   Wait until the materials arrive tomorrow.

      Start to process the next instruction on the sched­
ule, which would be Product B. However, the processing of that batch is particularly long—a whole week.

      Start processing Product B, but when the materials for
Product A arrive, change over to Product A, and when
you finish, set up the machine again for Product B.

      Start processing the third instruction that still ap­
pears on your list. This is Product C, which suppos­
edly needs to be processed only sometime next week.
However, all the materials are available and process­
ing Product C takes only two days.

Of course, setup considerations might have a signifi­cant impact on the decision. But there is one more ques­tion of method. Should we look for a decision that will least affect the planning, or should we look for the over­all optimal decision?


Part 1  Part 2   Part 3  Part 4  Part 5

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