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Use Case 1: Get rid of (broken) Excel sheets

The challenge

You started your company small, and had no planning issues at all. As your client base and your team grew, you implemented a "planning system" based on Microsoft Excel. Most likely, this is either backed on a rather basic ERP system or works stand-alone. Undoubtedly, this is a great system and it has been working well for a long time.

However, your business grows, and the number of orders you need to handle grows as well. This is great for your business. But: does your scheduling system scale as well? How much effort do you spend on maintaining your production schedule with Excel? How much does it help you to understand dependencies and impacts of plan changes? Time to make the next step in terms of scheduling.

Here is the solution how.

Step 1 - Reduce your data to its essence

Most likely, your production schedule Excel sheet has not only been growing in terms of jobs managed with it, but also in terms of information and complexity added to it. Time to clean this up! We do not want to sound like somebody underestimating the sophistication of your individual business. However, our experience learned us, that in many cases a minimal set of information is required de facto to master the most imminent scheduling challenges:

  • List of your resources, ideally structured into groups of similar resources
  • Definition of shift calendar per resource group (or resource)
  • Per job: name, release date (not always needed), due date, name of single tasks/ operations, duration per task, responsible resource or resource group, and the name of the succeeding task or tasks
That's it.

Step 2 - Do what you used to do: use Excel

OK; now that we defined the minimum set of information required, why not putting them together? And why not putting them together in an application that you are familiar with? You got it: let's get this information into Microsoft Excel. The good news is: this activity can be very convenient for you, if you use the production schedule Excel template sheet that we built. You can download it here for free. 

Step 3 - Update - Understand - Schedule - Report - Execute

Done with getting the minimum required information into our Excel production scheduling template? Great. Now it is upon time for making a brave step and for entering a new world. Log into your just plan it portal, and have a look at the buttons in the upper menu pane. Wait a minute! You do not yet have a just plan it account? Let's get this changed and request a trial account. It is free, valid for 30 days and you have no obligation at all once it expires. 

Now that you have this, please log in, press the "upload" button, select the scheduling spreadsheet that you built from our template and upload to just plan it.

scheduling circle.png

With uploading your sheet to just plan it, some magic things happen on the fly. In essence, a scheduling engine designed for the needs of SMB manufacturers calculates an efficient plan with a dedicated time and resource focus from your data. By default, it applies an as soon as possible scheduling strategy, and makes sure that your resources get utilized in an appropriate manner.

The result of this immediate scheduling process is presented to you in a graphical way: you see your production schedule both from a jobs and a resource view, and of course you can easily change jobs and tasks. This enables you to better understand the schedule, and all explicit and implicit dependencies. We also provide you with visual alerts in case there are conflicts you should take care of such as potentially missed delivery dates.

Based on all this information, you can take immediate corrective scheduling actions if needed. Here you can either go for automatic scheduling and benefit from the support of our scheduling engine. You also can face your need to action by manual scheduling and solve conflicts by drag and drop. Alternatively take the best of both with hybrid scheduling.

So far, so good. Now you have a time and resource centric production schedule on which you can act intuitively. Easily export this to xls and provide Job and Task reports to your production operators or the management board. This is the best and most reliable way to care for an efficient execution.

But we all know that a schedule never is static, and that you hopefully will win new jobs that you need to add to the schedule. We do not want to send you back to Excel. Excel was good to get your new scheduling experience going. just plan it comes with complete functionality to add jobs from within the application. The modification dialogue (accessible through the button menu pane, see also on our video page) mirrors the minimum information needed from the initial Excel spreadsheet. Just add orders as your business propels, and continue the circle of visual scheduling: Update - Understand - Schedule - Report - Execute

Step 4 - Say goodbye to Excel-based scheduling

Finally, here you are. Managing your jobs in a cloud-based software application achieving an easy time and resource scheduling for SMB manufacturers. It's time to say goodbye to your outdated Excel-based scheduling that does not scale with your business.

Interested in more use cases? Read how to master super urgent jobs or how to fight production delays due to bottlenecks.