Discrete manufacturers may use different approaches to run their business smoothly and efficiently, but simplified and improved workflows are their mutual priority. From visual production planning to easy order fulfilment and live inventory management, you need to perfect your shop floor scheduling. Despite the shop floor setups vary from one manufacturing plant to another, accurate scheduling is essential to avoid inefficient production lines and supply chains – resulting in dissatisfied customers.
Here, we bring you some tried and trusted ways to improve your shop floor control and scheduling using traditional techniques coupled with implementing a manufacturing ERP.
But, firstly, you should know what the shop floor and its scheduling means.
In the manufacturing industry, shop floor is that area of a workshop or factory where production processes are carried out. In this part, people work on machines and manufacture finished goods. Your shop floor in a manufacturing facility may include equipment, inventory, warehouse and storage areas.
Shop floor management:
It involves all systems and strategies to manage, monitor and report work orders and production schedules.
Anything physically related to your products manufacturing is part of your shop floor. This is why you need a proper shop floor scheduling, without which it will be difficult for you to bring all these elements together.
Shop Floor Scheduling:
It’s all about inventory, resources and capacity limits to pursue your manufacturing objectives with the production system. All these elements are combined to form a master production schedule (MPS).
The task of shop floor scheduling is to determine to build, utilize and control an ideal production plan to achieve the manufacturing goals. It tells the managers and operations about everything related to the production system – what order needs to be completed and what resources will be used to fulfil a work order and in what time frame.
As a manufacturer you must understand the infrastructure of your workshop to effectively plan and control production activities. Without the clear understanding of how your shop floor operates, you cannot develop a proper schedule.
Pro Tip: You need to build a flawless shop floor planning because without this you won’t be able to create and improve your shop floor scheduling.
Now, as you get an idea about shop floor planning and control, let’s take an in-depth insight into how you can effectively improve shop floor scheduling.
When to kick start:
Production scheduling and production initiation are two different yet connected aspects of a manufacturing process.
Before scheduling, you need to determine when to kick off the production. You can begin production as soon as a manufacturing order (MO) is generated. And, this usually happens in case of cloud-based ERP solutions that automatically schedule the production based on work orders generated in the system.
Well, it may seem appropriate because of automation involved, but often it’s not a practical approach. For the reason that you could be running into the risk of overburdening your employees and equipment on the shop floor. As a result, the work-in-progress (WIP) keeps piling up if you keep sending MOs too soon to the workstation.
Therefore, you need to prioritize the work orders rather than trying to complete them in a sequence you receive them on the shop floor. You need flexibility in your production plan that will come from the shop floor scheduling component of your ERP – make sure your implemented system contains this module.
Anticipate problems beforehand:
Shop floor variability is a factual phenomenon. It can’t be perfectly right because there’s still a lot of chances for production bottlenecks or any random issue that will affect your manufacturing operations. Employee’s mistake, equipment breaks and shortage of raw material are quite common shop floor issues.
If you want your shop floor scheduling exactly the way you want, then make sure you are not having the late deliveries of raw materials and components, labor comes in and finish their jobs timely, and put all other orders on hold as soon as you get an urgent order.
Problems will keep on emerging, and to handle them wisely you need to figure out and fix them without delay. Your shop floor scheduling should immediately anticipate any production-related issues and adjust the manufacturing operations accordingly. With a fully-integrated and flexible ERP system, you can easily recognize the production issues and find a solution to get rid of them, ensuring smooth shop floor activities.
Future demand planning:
For a well-planned and improved shop floor scheduling, you need to forecast future orders. Not only this, it will also help you improve raw material inventory management which you need to implement your shop floor scheduling.
Demand planning is essential to make well-informed predictions about future work orders. You can do it by looking into sales patterns – historical sales, seasonal or periodic sales and competitions sales. You can better plan your shop floor operations once you have a better understanding of what’s going to be in your production pipeline in the coming months.
Moreover, you can anticipate the raw materials and components you need to get ready for future manufacturing orders. No need to keep stocking inventory just because you have forecasted a load of MOs will come in because it will only take up storage and raise the overheads.
Once you know exactly the quantity of raw materials you need, you can plan and manage both inventory and shop floor scheduling. For this, you should determine the quantity of finished goods with a better understanding of production lead times.
Last but not the least, is simplifying your quoting process and real-time tracking of your production processes – what’s happening on the shop floor. The longer it takes to process and generate quotes, and convert them into sales and work orders, the extensive wait your staff and customer has to do before the manufacturing order gets into production.
This all could be easily and quickly done by using the best ERP software. The shop floor scheduling backed by an ERP system will give you total visibility, enhanced efficiency, real-time reporting and improved planning along the production line.