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In the previous article, “Efficient production schedule – what are its critical elements”, we showed that the production schedule, which is the MIX of different approaches, is the best way to organize your production. It is much more comfortable with varying things and planning work for machines, people, operations, or groups of machines. We recommend reading the article on production planning to learn more about it. Below, you will find more examples that could inspire the production schedule when you wonder how to organize things to make the production schedule nice and clear.
Option 1 production schedule organized by different machines.
Everything is straightforward – production scheduling based on machines is one of the easiest and most popular methods.
Where production schedules organized by different machines would work well:
- machining processes: different CNC machines, saws, conventional lathes,
- elastomer goods production: different hydraulic presses,
- injection moulding: different moulding machines,
- packaging production: initial production processes such as slotters, printing machines, and screen printing.
How to get the most of production scheduling based on machines:
- It is good to reflect the order of the machines on your production schedule with their real setting at the production hall; if you have five injection moulding machines that are inset in a particular order from left to right, try to do the same in Prodio (how to change the order of machines – link)
- Instead of complicated names, give your machines some simple markings or use numbers. When there are five similar injection moulding machines, you can name them respectively: IM1, IM2, IM3, IM4, IM5, or use common names such as Arburg next to the window, large Fanuc machine, etc.
- When there are many machines in your production hall, it is good to divide them into two computers (and dashboards), with each computer at the opposite end of the production hall. The machines closer to that computer will be analogically displayed on that dashboard.
Option 2 – group machines into production cells/groups which are at the production hall
Instead of dividing the production schedule into machines, please put them in groups, which take part in the given stage of the production process, ex — conventional lathes, machining centre, etc. As a result, you will use tags to suggest work at the particular machine within the working group.
This approach to production scheduling works perfectly when:
- there isn’t one fixed machine in your production technology that is used to work, which offers you more flexibility and the freedom of choice,
- the operator is the “bottleneck” of the process because he manages a few machines and decides which job is done on which particular machine,
- it would be time-consuming to divide everything into particular machines/ people, and there isn’t a need for so many details,
- you have many machines at the production hall, and this is just the beginning of your adventure with production scheduling, so it’s better to keep things simple to implement production scheduling software successfully,
- There are straightforward machines and operations. There is no need to go into many details because there are mainly manual works; for example, when next to large CNC machines, a person manually polishes things with a hand-held grinder. Instead of separate tools, it is enough to write one “polishing” operation in the system.
Option 3 – production scheduling by operations / technological steps
There are operations visible on the production schedule instead of separate machines as we progress through the whole technological process step by step. It is the most general approach, but in many industries, it allows to introduce the essential production control over the production process and monitor what is happening in the company without breaking things up into more details.
This approach to production scheduling works perfectly when:
- In a small manufacturing company, you have many bespoke complex orders. For one customer, who is buying a new home, fit the furniture in the whole house. All you need to know is if the given kitchen furniture left cutting or assembly and progressed to varnishing operation,
- you work on half-ready elements from design programs – see the above,
- you are mainly interested in the labour intensity of the process – so how much time took each activity, to know the total work time and labour cost in the end,
- manual works performed by a larger group of people, such as manual box glueing, sorting, etc.,
- Even when you mass-produce a serial product, the whole production process always has the same steps – in reality, you can see a kanban board with statuses.
Good practices when you divide things into steps/operations:
- include documents preparation stage/ manufacturing engineers programming stage,
- don’t make things too simple ex. in a majority of varnishing operations, it is good to divide the whole process into the preparation stage, initial varnishing process, polishing, final varnishing operation,
- include assembly teams working on locations, service teams, etc. and mark them as a stage of the production process to monitor progress and set the queue of orders,
- Don’t forget about the external operations such as galvanization or heat treatment to follow them on the production schedule and monitor each element’s progress.
Option 4 – production scheduling organized by production workers
In Prodio, but also in other manufacturing software, assigning a particular task on the machine/operation to a specific worker, regardless of the scheduling plan you decide to use. This is not what this option is about.
Here we talk about when the orders queue consists of workers (namely, John Smith) without assigned machines (or machines assigned as tags/comments under orders). Of course, this approach in a larger company might not work, but in the smaller ones, it sometimes makes sense, especially when:
- employees have unique skills or specialize in a particular area of technological process – it is necessary to group and queue orders according to their availability,
- there are experts in your company, who are the real “bottleneck” of the production process,
- other workers don’t continue the same job doing the same operations.
When you search for information about production scheduling possibilities in Prodio and want to check out the first steps – see this article:
Remember that depending on your employees’ knowledge might prove fatal for the company.
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