Where is My Production Schedule?

I have worked with mid-sized manufacturing companies for over a decade and have looked at several APS or Advanced Planning and Scheduling Systems that integrate to ERP software like Microsoft Dynamics GP.  Especially a graphical tool with a Gantt chart that production planner can change the schedule by dragging and dropping. Most manufacturing companies don’t think they have a huge need for scheduling since they use a spreadsheet or the production manager’s head as the tool of choice. I think they are wrong… a 100GB spreadsheet is not the answer! Over the years my search for an affordable yet robust scheduling tool has come up empty. I could only find expensive tools that did not integrate with our mid-market ERP packages which has kept most of client base from making the investment.

The lack of a good scheduling tool is costing manufacturers money due to poor staff scheduling, missed production time, delivery time promises wrong, the time just to come up with the schedule, and what if it changes? What if your number one customer calls in and request you move up a delivery date? The question is this: what is all this time worth to you?  I know the term Return on Investment can get eyes rolling, but this ROI is hard to pass up.

Many ERP packages do have a schedule that is inherent to the software but it may be limited to constraints such as finite capacity planning (no limit to my plant resources). This has been an issue for some of our clients and the workaround has been to size all batches to the maximum allowed for the equipment being used.  For example I have demand for 1,000 gallons, I have a 200 gallon mixer that is used for this formula, so I ensure all formulas that need this mixer don’t exceed 200 gallons. I may have to split 5 work orders up to get to my 1,000 gallon demand. Regardless I do have to make 1,000 gallons to fill an order or forecast for stock. Maybe I have clean-up after each batch or worst case; the mixer goes down. Perhaps your company manufactures products with allergens. You know how difficult it can be to schedule. These
are scenarios that could occur every day in the life of a manufacturer.

I am very pleased that there is an affordable graphical scheduling system for Dynamics GP that can address these real day to day issues. Affordable is a key word! In the past only the big boys could implement such a time and resource saving tool. This is only a short list of what this tool can do:

  • Product Specific Resource Assignment
  • Physical Properties Constraints (could be allergens)
  • Quantity, Quality or Other Assignment Limitations (perhaps packaging size or quantities like the 1,000 gallon example I gave above)
  • Schedule by Inventory Constraints
  • Customer Priorities – Ranking
  • Clean-up/Sanitation or Maintenance Time
  • Batch Processes (time varies by equipment
    size)
  • Create and Share Information in Real Time

And for ROI:

  • Revenue Increases
  • More orders due to increased on-time, reliable delivery and higher resource utilizations
  • Win rush orders by quoting shorter dynamic (not fixed) lead times
  • Sell planned idle capacity before it’s lost
  • Cost Reductions
  • Cut labor costs by increasing resource utilization and tracking
  • Cut expediting costs by increasing predictability
  • Cut material carrying costs by synchronizing purchasing & production
  • Cut finished goods carrying costs by producing more just-in-time
  • Cut overtime costs by level-loading resources
  • Cut capacity expansion costs due to reduction in setup frequency
  • Cut production costs by optimizing product changeovers.

As you can see a production scheduling tool would be of great benefit to your manufacturing planning. If you are using a spreadsheet or a scheduling tool that does not integrate to your production software, then I would recommend that you and your team take a peek.

MRP Consulting has become the largest Dynamics GP Manufacturing partner in North America, specializing in manufacturing, distribution and e-commerce. We have worked with over 600 companies Worldwide and are available to map out your current processes and measure them again your current systems. Sometimes a “tune-up” is all that is needed to keep your business running as it should. We can all agree that having the right software will not only improve internal processes and productivity, but will also improve customer relationships.

Give us a call today.



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