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Production Scheduling Solutions

Production Scheduling Solutions

PRODUCTION LINEARITY
“It’s the Basics, stupid!” 


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Hope you had a great holiday weekend.

When people ask me, “What do you mean when you say, 
‘It’s the basics, stupid!’?”

My answer is always to give an example of one of the 
basics. For today’s bulletin, I decided to present 
one of these basics, “Production Linearity.” 

It’s amazing how many companies, even some lean 
companies, still tolerate the “hockey stick” syndrome. 
Building the bulk of their monthly shipment in the 
final days of the month causes poor quality and high 
production costs. It’s a major generator of non-value 
added activities. 

If your company faces end-of-the-month scrambling
and wants to do something about it, be sure to read 
this week's bulletin, “Production Linearity.” 

Have a nice day, keep the faith, and stay connected.

Bill Gaw
bg@bbasicsllc.com
760-945-5596

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PRODUCTION LINEARITY
“It’s the Basics, stupid!” 

Companies will never achieve their full growth and 
profit potential if they produce more than 25% of 
their monthly shipment plan in the last week of the 
month or more than 33% of their quarterly shipment 
plan in the last month of the quarter. 

As companies struggle to remain competitive, one of 
the strategies by which gains in speed, quality and 
costs can be achieved is to form teams of employees 
to pursue and continuously improve linear production.

WHY LINEAR PRODUCTION?

Why is linear production so important? It’s simple; 
"It’s where the money is!" Scrap, rework, overtime 
and poor quality are all non-value-added costs that 
increased as a function of the famous "Hockey Stick 
Syndrome". 

That is, as we delay our production schedule completions 
toward the end of the month (or worse, to the end of 
the financial quarter), there is a tremendous pressure 
put on Manufacturing that produces shop floor chaos 
that generates significant non-value-added cost. 

KNIGHTS IN SHINING ARMOR

We usually end up making the production plan and 
financial forecast because the "Knights in shining 
armor" come through with a last minute, heroic 
performance. But, at what cost? Some companies actually 
give up 10 to 20% of their potential profit margins 
because they have developed and fostered a 
manufacturing team that perpetuates the "Hockey Stick 
Syndrome". 

Companies that continue to live with the end-of-the-
quarter "push" will never achieve their full growth and 
profit potentials. 

SMOOTHING THE SCHEDULE

How do you smooth schedules and achieve linear 
production? The challenge is in how to keep daily 
pressure on the critical path of schedule achievement. 
We need to have the visibility of all critical tasks 
and milestones from day one of the quarter and create 
team awareness and commitment to their timely 
achievement. 

Our manufacturing teams must become sensitive and 
proactive in the execution of early production planning 
details and they must learn to apply their creativity 
and energy in a linear style. To be sure, up front 
planning and execution can yield amazing manufacturing 
results and lead to profitability beyond expectations.

AN OLD SOLUTION

The most effective production manager I’ve ever known 
used a huge magnetic board to schedule production 
planning details and monitor production linearity. An 
early focus on details, corrective actions and recovery 
planning was his management style. 

He would hold early morning meetings every day to status 
yesterday’s progress on the magnetic board and to 
establish the daily challenges. He was an expert at team 
dynamics and his people always new what they had to do 
and they were always provided the tools to get the job 
done. The combination of the magnetic board, the morning 
meetings and his team dynamics skills made this production 
manger an effective leader and an expert in achieving 
linear production. 

THE SOPHISTICATED SOLUTION

Today, many production managers are still trying to 
solve their linear production problem by pursuing a 
sophisticated computer software solution. Most 
companies are now using MRPII/ERP manufacturing 
systems to control their production environments. 
These systems do not provide a focus on the detail, 
up front tasks and milestones that are critical to 
linear production and consequently have not presented 
a solution to the "Hockey Stick Syndrome."

THE SPREAD SHEET 

On the other hand, using an old magnetic board in this 
day and age of computer sophistication may not be an 
acceptable alternative. A good trade-off might be to 
develop a simple computer spread sheet specially 
designed to plan critical production milestones and 
to measure/monitor production linearity. 

Using this daily schedule as the "bible", the next step 
would be to retrain the "Knights in shining armor" to 
gradually shift their manufacturing paradigm from end- 
of-the-quarter "fire fighting" to daily proactive 
problem solving. 

BUILD VS. SHIP LINEARITY

Finally, it is important to differentiate between 
shipment linearity and production linearity. In a 
widget, make-to-shelf manufacturing company that 
build substantial finish goods inventory and in 
highly engineered capitol equipment manufacturing 
companies the two linearity measurements will not 
be equal.

Shipment linearity may be more of a function of Sales’ 
bookings and customer’s preference rather than 
nonlinear production. Consequently, the measure of 
production linearity must be developed to measure the 
performance of the manufacturing process and not be 
influenced by Sales bookings or customer related 
shipment delays. 


If your company needs help in overcoming the high 
stress and non-value added cost of end-of-the-month 
syndrome, check out our training module at:

http://bbasicsllc.com/training-modules.htm

 

To preview twenty 1-2 hours PowerPoint® Training Presentations on CDs with expert commentary by Bill Gaw, click below:

World Class Manufacturing Training
.


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6003 Dassia Way, Oceanside, CA 92056
West Coast: 760-945-5596

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 Business Basics, LLC
6003 Dassia Way, Oceanside, CA 92056
West Coast: 760-945-5596

Manufacturing Knowledge you’ll not find at offsite 
seminars nor in the books at Amazon.com

Lean Manufacturing - Balanced Scorecard 
ISO 9000:2000 - Strategic Planning - Supply Chain 
Management - MRP Vs Lean Exercises - Kaizen Blitz 
Lean Six Sigma - Value Stream Mapping

All at one Website: http://bbasicsllc.com

 


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