The control of manufacturing activities and the
knowledge of impending crises before they occur are primary
weapons of profit-oriented manufacturers in today's competitive
marketplace. However, even today, there are some companies that
take orders and promise delivery of goods with little or no idea
of their true manufacturing ability with regard to serving their
customers in the time periods being quoted. As these companies
fail to deliver, as they most frequently do, their customers look
to other suppliers who are more credible and reliable in their
demonstrated delivery performance. The manufacturers that use
Factory Scheduling techniques in their factories have a
significant competitive weapon that their counterparts do not
have. These manufacturers are executing their competitors, forcing
them into layoffs and unemployment, by better performance and
management of the factory floor. This paper addresses those
concepts and how we, as professional fhanagers, can improve our
Today the meaning of job security has
disappeared. This is a tragic loss to all of us. Today we all must
work more effectively. We all must become jacks-of-all-trades. We
must know salesmanship, engineering, and materials management, and
we must understand and exercise practical and ethical business
conduct. Our world has changed.
Those of us here have the challenge of
controlling manufacturing activities and to have the knowledge of
impending crises before they occur. Profit-oriented manufacturers,
in today's marketplace, use this challenge as a primary weapon
in their attack in the war on competitiveness. Those companies
that take orders and promise deliveries with little or no regard
to their manufacturing ability or profit performance are failing
as more credible and reliable performance is demonstrated by
others. When the people of a company fail, a company fails. Job
security today is nonexistent. Every day, each of us, is in a
battle. The manufacturers that use reliable, effective Factory
Scheduling techniques in their business have a significant weapon
that their counterparts do not. Not only does a manufacturer that
uses competitive weapons improve his own position in the
marketplace, but by so doing, is executing and eliminating the
competitors through improved factory management.
Who has the responsibility for the competitive
weapon of using reliable and effective Factory Scheduling
techniques? Why, those of us attending this conference do. Whether
we have the leadership responsibility today or not is not
germane. In time, each of us will have that leadership role. If we
are not prepared to proceed aggressively, now or then, we deserve
the defeat that surely awaits us. It is our attitudes, not our
skills, that determine what we can do as professionals and how our
company is perceived and received in the marketplace. The personal
attitudes of integrity, loyalty, enthusiasm, trust, vision,
creativity, persistence, consistency,versatility, and many
others account for what we can do and how we go about
accomplishing our responsibilities. We need to encourage those
attitudes in ourselves, as well as others around us, because when
one of us succeeds in our company we all succeed.
Factory Scheduling involves many different
production scheduling techniques that deal with Order Servicing,
Production Control, Material Procurement, Engineering, and Factory
Management issues. Factory Scheduling is not exclusively a
computer-based system. It is one that uses some computer support,
as well as other business systems. The primary key is the
managerial insight into the manufacturing processes and control
that is provided by you and others within your company.
Just what is Factory Scheduling? Perhaps the
term itself is too nebulous, so let us review some of the elements
that Factory Scheduling contains. Factory Scheduling:
• Is easy to understand.
• Identifies labor requirements for all work centers.
• Identifies capacity for those work centers.
• Supports multiple production scheduling techniques.
• Supports lead time reduction efforts.
• Supports critical-path scheduling relationships when
material constraints are to be considered.
• Communicates directly with the Master Production
Schedule, Final Assembly Plan, and Sales Order Shipping
• Is on-line oriented.
• Uses graphic presentations for visual understanding.
• Provides direction of what to do and when.
• Identifies problems before they occur so they can be
addressed and corrected.
• Provides a basis for business agreement on priorities.
• Supports a proactive profit-oriented form of management.
The time for confusing numbers appearing on
reports and CRT screens is over. Today, we must be visionaries. We
must see, visualize, and understand what is going on in our
factories. Visual graphics, animation, and simulations should be
used to allow us to "see" the factory. Military generals
visualize each battlefield with models and graphic support.
Fighter pilots use Heads-Up Displays to see their combat zone. We
in production management must have and demand to have similar
tools for competitiveness. A question. Can we and are we prepared
to use these tools? If not, now is the time to start that
There are different types of factory
information that when presented visually allow us to have a
better understanding of what is happening within our factories.
The following are some examples:
• Customer Service Performance
• Queue Performance
• Plant Capacity
Shop Order Performance Material Availability Performance
Capacity Utilization Accuracy of Lead Times in Routings Accuracy
of Job Status Information Vendor Delivery Compliance
• Work List Compliance
• Special Projects and Product Line Performance
• WIP Trends
The information needed to present this
information is commonly available in most businesses, yet most of
us don't have the time, desire, or inclination to organize,
present, and understand the data. Profit-oriented manufacturers
consider this type of visualization a requirement within their
organizations. If this type of information is available and it can
be used, use it.
Who has the vision of competitiveness? In those
companies that have been blessed by profit-oriented owners and
managers some have stepped forward and crossed that illusive line
in the sand, those are the ones that have stood up to commit
resources to the competitive war. They have made a statement to
themselves, their compatriots, and their customers that This
Company Will Deliver!
Costs for resources (people, money, and
equipment) are a major factor used in business decisions. The real
costs involved with Factory Scheduling are normally one-eighth of
what one machine tool costs for the factory floor. The payback
period for most companies is under two years. What a small
investment in the war on competitiveness.