Do your schedules help you to deliver on time?

The effectiveness of a production schedule has a massive effect on a business’ ability to deliver its products and services on time. The job of the production scheduler can also seem to be incredibly complicated when you look into it.


They’re your rules!

Thankfully by creating a number of tasks around the scheduling function / role you can make life easier for the person doing the job, and increase the performance of the business at the same time.

One noticeable issue that causes the scheduling role to be so difficult is the level of adjustments that take place during the life of the schedule.


The Butterfly Effect

A plethora of tiny changes can massively increase the amount of work the scheduler has to do. This points us in the direction of understanding how our business system works and how it can be adjusted to reduce the amount of changes that take place on a day to day basis. Some tips to consider include:

  • Define your planning horizons – how much detail do you need for how far ahead?
  • Ensure that your capacity tools are being used when acknowledging delivery dates.
  • Get a handle on the variables that affect the performance of the business. This could be utilisation, availability, scheduled maintenance etc…
  • Organise regular communications with everyone involved with delivering the schedule (such as a start of shift meeting) so that everyone understands what they need to produce during their time at work.
  • Find ways for technology (e.g. ERP systems) to make life easier for you to manage the schedules. This could include MRPII approaches, exception reporting, shop floor data capture etc..


We need to make it simpler

Scheduling can become incredibly complicated when you start chasing arrears and have to manage the entire order book slipping backwards. The challenge is also great when you have a very complicated process to deliver your products or services. In both cases creating some routines and some rules can help you to simplify the task at hand.

Giles Johnston

Giles Johnston is a Chartered Engineer who consults with businesses to improve their on time delivery performance, ERP system performance and deploy Kaizen / Lean production methods. Giles is also the author of 'What Does Good Look Like?'.