International Competitiveness with the help of Production Schedulers
Q: Our Company has been satisfied with the results of our many years of KAIZEN activity with regards to the production of good quality products at low cost and high volume. Recently, we faced the challenge of improving our international competitiveness to compete against overseas factories that compete on cost.
Making use of a production scheduler to improve business speed
A: To improve international competitiveness, it is necessary to increase business speed. To do that, using computerised production control and production planning is indispensable. Not just with ERP and MRP but also a production scheduler. A production scheduler automatically creates a production schedule for every machine in the factory right down to a second (Scheduler Diagram 1).
Scheduler Diagram 1 － Production Scheduler Gantt Chart Example: The production scheduler's calculated results are displayed graphically on the Gantt chart. In the example above, order 01 (orange bar) begins with Cutter1 on 7th April and continues with AnnealingFurnace1, ShotMachine1, Lubricator1 etc. until finally finishing with InspectionCentre1 on 10th April. These bars in the production scheduler are called Operations in the manufacturing industry but in reality they number in the thousands or tens of thousands. With the processing power of recent computers you can complete an entire schedule in just a few moments by using a production scheduler.
Because of this, the speed with which you can reply to due dates has vastly improved. A production scheduler can graphically display the results of the production schedule enabling you to achieve visual management. Furthermore, a production scheduler can facilitate shortened lead times and reduce inventories whilst taking only a fraction of the time needed to produce a schedule compared to previously created production schedules.
At a customer of mine, an automobile parts maker, their automobile maker suddenly said that they had decided on a plan to reduce their parts makers by half. As part of their countermeasures, they made the plunge into implementing a production scheduler. The result of implementing a production scheduler was that they achieved an increase in both the precision of their production and control, as well as improvement in their business speed in replying to due dates.
Because they implemented a production scheduler, this company was able to not only remain alive as a parts maker, but as a result, their sales orders improved as well.