5 things your production planning system must be able to handle!
#1 Fast rescheduling
Situations requiring the replanning of an existing plan often arise in production. These can range from unplanned machine stoppages to operator absences or product rejects. How quickly a reschedule can be made and the new schedule communicated is critical to achieving maximum production efficiency.
How quickly from a detected problem situation can you have an updated production plan communicated to all involved in production?
0-30 min: Wow, on this point you are best in class!
30 min - 4 hours: Quite good, but you can improve by optimizing systems or processes.
1/2 day - 1 day: There is room for improvement. Reviewing system support and work processes would pay off quite quickly!
1 day or more: There is great potential for improvement and gains to be made for you, can you afford not to?
#2 Scenario planning
Sometimes there is a need to temporarily challenge the existing production schedule. A rapidly increasing customer demand or a large order from a strategic location is tempting to meet. To get answers to how quickly this is possible and with what effect on other already established orders, scenario planning provides important decision support in these situations. Scenario planning can also be about managing risk, for example by knowing what a machine breakdown would mean.
Can you scenario plan in your existing system?
Yes, with several different scenarios at once: Nice, here your system really delivers!
Yes, but I have to create several plans myself and compare outside the system:
You have a working process today but there are more efficient tools. If this is a common situation, there are definitely gains to be made here.
I can't scenario plan at all: Being able to see the effect of decisions such as increased staffing, expansions, temporary capacity increases or even breakdowns provides a valuable basis for decision-making. There is certainly room for improvement here.
#3 Prioritization after promised delivery
Just-in-time customer delivery is desirable for many reasons. Being able to follow up promised delivery dates in your actual production plan and taking these into account in planning are key features to achieve 'just in time' deliveries and satisfied customers.
Does your current system take the promised delivery date into account when planning?
Yes, planning can be managed to maximize "just in time" deliveries:
Great, you are really competitive here!
No, but I know which orders are the most urgent so I fix it in the planning: It's great that you have a process that supports this, but being able to automate that part makes the planning more secure, more scalable and frees up focus for other more important things.
No, we have no possibility today to plan differently depending on the promised delivery date: there is definitely room for improvement here. Even if the delivery date is not a narrow sector for you today, there are optimization opportunities in the planning and you are prepared for an increased order situation.
#4 Delivery note
Delivering on time when the customer needs the product is of course a competitive advantage and in order to be able to answer the customer when a product will be delivered it is important to know what the production schedule looks like. Can your sales people today calculate or estimate the delivery date to the customer based on your production planning or by adding an order to the plan?
Yes, we can do that: Great, it is exceptionally good that sellers can get this information directly.
No, not from the system, but they know approximately how long it takes: Reducing dependency on people and freeing up time for key resources to focus on critical aspects is an efficiency factor. Here, a system support can eliminate the dependence on people and you will be able to give delivery dates to customers and keep them.
No, but we always have a margin in promised delivery dates: As long as delivery dates are not a competitive advantage, it is an excellent method, but being able to cut lead times is normally beneficial. Here a system support can help you to be even better.
No, we have difficulty calculating this: If it is difficult to calculate, it is also often difficult to keep. There are big gains to be made with a digital planning system in this case!
The perfect production plan is only perfect if everyone knows about it and can make decisions and act on them. Sharing the production plan with the relevant roles in production is of course a top priority, but people like sales, purchasing or production management also make better decisions based on the production plan.
Can you easily and quickly share your production plan today?
Yes, everyone has access immediately when the plan is updated: good, that's how it should be for maximum efficiency.
Yes, but there is a delay from the plan being updated until everyone has it, sometimes it gets out of date or different people have different versions: distribution and version control are difficult areas for a planning system to handle. Here you can easily improve.
No, we distribute the plan on a strict "need to know basis": the production plan may of course be sensitive information and it is important to control access to it, but this should not prevent those who need the plan to make better decisions from having access to it. There are both process and system challenges here where you can improve.