Lean Manufacturing Planning




Planning bills are referred to aspseudo bills, or false and artificial bills. The reason for this is that these bills cannot be used to actually build the product. They are used strictly for planning purposes. The key point here is that even though these bills cannot be used to build the product directly, the items that have the planning bills attached can be master scheduled. This approach allows the master scheduling and material requirements planning systems to assist in the planning of material in advance of the customer's requirements being known.

The restructuring process begins by alerting key individuals that there will be one or more bill restructuring sessions. The functions that should to be represented are marketing, manufacturing, finance, engineering, materials, and master scheduling. A meet­ing room that contains a large table or several good sized tables (may end up laying out several computer reports, creating what if scenarios) as well as one that has a good amount of wall space and white boards (this layout is not mandatory, but does provide for a good environment during the restructuring exercise) needs to be scheduled and reserved. Once this is done, there's some homework to do before we get started.

Prior to the sessions beginning, several pieces of data should be retrieved or arrangements made to have the data available during each session. The objective for the bill restructuring sessions is to take a product family and separate its major units into unique and common items. In order to do this each product family that is to be restructured needs to have a time-phased bill-of-material available. This time-phased bill consists of the product's major

units shown in a graphic format including the individual units' lead time. The last item needed is access to each product family member's indented of multi-level bill-of-material.

As the first session begins, the product family is identified on one of the walls or white boards. Under the product family identifi­cation, space to note the items that are common as well as the items that are unique is identified. To get the process started, the session facilitator commences with a discussion on where the company must meet the customer in order to be competitive. The key contributor to this discussion certainly is marketing. Once the accepted marketplace lead time is known, the discussion turns to how long it takes to produce the product (cumulative lead time).

When the marketplace and internal lead times are identified, the attention is turned to the time-phased bill-of-material for the product family. The best way to do this is to hang the time-phased bill on the wall or draw it on a white board. Once the bill is in place, a line is drawn at the acceptable marketplace lead time. This line shows what items need to be stocked and what items can be finished after acceptance of the customer order.

The next step is to evaluate each item that needs to be in stock prior to receiving the order. This evaluation consists of determin­ing if the item is common to each member of the product family or if it is unique to its option. If an item is determined to be common, the item is put in the common parts list. If the item is unique to its option, it is put in that option's list. Once this process is done, the initial planning bill is complete.

The next step in the process is to evaluate each item that has been determined necessary to stock in advance of receiving the cus­tomer order. The concentration now is on lead time. Can the lead time of these items be shortened in order to move them to the right side of the meeting the customer line? If so, the item will not have to be stocked and can be removed from the planning bill. The individuals doing the restructuring may find that by removing as little as a few days from the planning lead time, several items can be purchased, fabricated, assembled, etc. after receipt of the customer order. Of course, this is the ideal strategic position for a company since it does not need to forecast as many items or carry as much forecasted inventory.

To be Continued


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