Chapter 01 - What is a Production (Planning) Scheduler?
The desire to take production scheduling from a manually run operation and computerize it has been around for a long while. The human production scheduler has to take a day off for illness or for some other reason and the manufacturing plant has big problems. When the human scheduler gets close to retirement, it's not easy to pass on what the experienced worker has learned over many years. Automated production schedulers in 1994 were tailor-made--especially designed for each factory in which they were installed. The cost to develop these units ranged anywhere from 50 million yen to 100 million yen (approx. $500,000 to $1000,000) and they were all dedicated for the particular work done in each of those factories.
I figured that there would never be any wider use of the computerized production scheduler if the situation remained like that. In 1994, I set up the first company in Japan for developing and selling production schedulers and moved forward with the development of general-purpose production schedulers. I created the present Asprova production scheduler and installed them in more than 1200 factory sites throughout the world.
I installed an Asprova production scheduler in the factory that I discussed above, and with it they were able to give production orders to a Flexible Manufacturing System, to provide delivery date response and to reduce lead-time. Active implementation of an Asprova production scheduler was their secret weapon in maintaining themselves at the top of the industry.