Chris McLaughlin December, 17

MES Essential Tool #7: Production Scheduling

Electronic data integration across all departments and levels is the holy grail for the digital enterprise. Your grail quest will involve integrating production layer software tools as part of your manufacturing execution system (MES) strategy to optimize operations. Efficient plant floor production will be one battle fought along the way, but it’s an easy-to-obtain victory with the holy hand grenade of production scheduling software.

Plant production managers spend a lot of time determining how and when to work new orders into their production schedule. New orders are handed down from the enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, but the scheduling process is often manual from there, making it difficult to maintain a completely accurate picture of what is being produced on which line at any given time. Add the additional complexity of downtime, changeover time, and inventory challenges, and efficient production scheduling becomes nearly impossible.

With an automated work order system as part of your MES, plant managers can determine how to use plant assets to get production orders filled in the most efficient manner possible. The MES production scheduling tool can be used to help the plant manager better visualize production by showing scheduled downtime events such as when maintenance or training is occurring or when there is changeover time between products.

Scheduling_software

A screenshot of Sepasoft production scheduling software.

 

Once production begins, the schedule needs to be adjusted in real time in response to delays or changes from the ERP system. Deviations from the plan have a ripple effect on all future production runs, but a production scheduling tool will make these adjustments automatically and even feed back to the ERP system with revised production completion times. This allows organizations to greatly improve communication and prevent costly manual errors.

Additionally, since production schedules are typically created first thing each morning and then revised manually throughout the day as needed, it is difficult to ensure everyone is working from the same plan throughout the day. Production scheduling software ensures that everyone on the plant floor is working from the most up-to-date schedule, automatically reducing confusion and frustration.

Like other MES software tools, production scheduling software simplifies planning and monitoring of production and streamlines communication with all members of the team. It’s time to say goodbye to the spreadsheet and embrace this performance-enhancing tool in your plant.

In our next post in this Essential MES Tools Series, we discuss Statistical Process Control. Download our 9 MES Tools Every Plant Manager Needs to Improve Business Performance white paper to examine all the best MES tools for increasing business performance.

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