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Takahashi's Scheduler Case Book: Chapter 12

The Perplexing Case of the Imperfect Production Fortune Teller

I visited a plant belonging to Company L that had completed the installation of a production scheduler, which was now up and running successfully. The factory produced tools and dies. The first thing I did was to take a tour of the plant. The results of the production scheduler operation had been printed out and posted on the plant's bulletin board. Typically, the basic function of a production scheduler is to provide detailed work instructions but at this plant the work instructions were not output. Instead, there was a graph displaying the load of each machine and the allocation of operations for all the machines. After this was calculated the actual work would be performed according to what the conditions on site were.

Tool and die manufacturing involves the processing and assembling of several hundred different parts. Just to produce one tool and die can involve an enormous number of processes totaling several hundred. Furthermore, the manufacture of many different types of tool and die has to flow together simultaneously and in parallel. Thus it is extremely difficult for a human being to calculate the total load placed on every machine in a factory. However, through the use of a production scheduler it is possible to produce detailed instructions for each machine by considering their total load even for the most complex manufacturing processes.

However, there is a lot of processing time for the processing steps of the tool and die production that cannot be fully determined at the design stage. This means that you won't be able to know what the final processing time will be until the work actually starts. If this occurs a lot then the work instructions calculated precisely by the production scheduler and the load values calculated from those instructions will be of use only as reference values. That is why the processing work is carried out through decisions made on site at the time of the actual production using the load values and work allocation for each machine generated by the production scheduler as only reference values.

It is because of this kind of situation that there is a tendency for people to think that a production scheduler cannot be used when there are a large number of inaccuracies in the BOM resulting in processing time that is not completely accurate. However, even if there is a certain degree of error in the BOM, as long as the production scheduler can make the calculations then the required load of the machines and the necessary quantity of raw materials can be understood. With this information displayed as graphs the production scheduler allows you to realize the "visualization" of your manufacturing and it is by making full use of this information that is of the most benefit.

In all instances in life, not just in business, there's no way to tell what the future will bring. What's important is to get all the information we can obtain right now, forecast the future to the best of our ability and then make the first move.

Case Closed. . .

Learn more about Production Scheduling at Production Scheduling System Asprova

Written by Kuniyoshi Takahashi: Production Scheduling Case Book

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