SMB Production Scheduling Blog

3 signs that your shop needs proper job shop scheduling

A proper job shop scheduling software has numerous advantages which improve the overall efficiency of a job shop. Still, some high-mix low-volume (HMLV) manufacturers might not be fully convinced that their own job shop actually belongs to those needing a more advanced job shop scheduling tool. One might find its own production too small to justify an investment into a software. Hence, despite the possibility of using a proper scheduling software, many small make-to-order manufacturers still rely on their old scheduling tools: paper, whiteboards or most commonly Excel. This posts first reflects on those simple production scheduling tools and then shares 3 signs that your shop needs proper job shop scheduling.

Topics: Job Shop Scheduling

5 methods that innovative companies use production scheduling software

Production scheduling software is an advanced planning and scheduling approach that allows producers and manufacturers to effectively manage operations while improving the overall customer experience. Manufacturing scheduling or production planning software especially helps small make-to-order manufacturers such as job shops or machine shops to achieve their next level of company development.

Such software offers flexibility with powerful features that allows real-time scheduling throughout the manufacturing and supply chain. If you are wondering why your company needs one, we have valuable insights for you. Businesses use production scheduling techniques and related tools to organize multiple varieties of horizons. 

Some top production scheduling software benefits include improved on-time deliveries, increased throughput, and better resource utilization. The software offers numerous techniques and tools to help executives and managers. With that, we have listed down the top 5 methods that innovative companies apply when using production scheduling software.

Topics: Scheduling Best Practices

New module „Advanced Scheduling II“ & further scheduling enhancements

The continuous improvement process of our job shop scheduling software took the next step: the new version of just plan it has just been rolled out. And this time, we are coming up with a real blast! Since we started just plan it back in 2016, there was one feature that has been required most and that many manufacturers thought of as indispensable. This to assign two resources to one task.

After understanding your needs it took us quite a while to implement this mighty feature as it – among other things – necessitated to redesign our automatic scheduling engine. But I'm super excited to announce that the new module „Advanced Scheduling II“ is available now. Furthermore, we published several new additional useful functions which are eligible for all customers of the Base Plans (Starter & Full).

Hereinafter I give an overview of all new functionality and features that come along with the new release.

Topics: Product news

7 tips how to meet scheduling targets in a high-mix low-volume shop

The vast majority of all manufacturing companies worldwide are small and medium-sized businesses (SMB). E.g. according to NAM, more than 98% of all American manufacturers have less than 500 employees. As a lot of these small companies master its technical challenges pretty well they steadily grow, or they even become "hidden champions".

At tipping point to grow most job shop manufacturers, by experience, come to the conclusion that scheduling with Excel (or any other homegrown system) does not make any sense anymore. They see the need to take scheduling to the next level. When they do not act fast on this insight and when their customers continue to request more and more deliveries, improper scheduling even prevents these companies from further growth. Reason is: they fully lose their insight of what is going on at the shop-floor, they fully drain off their scheduling targets and lose the ability to make reliable deliver time commitments.

Reaching this point – and many SMBs out there do – running an appropriate scheduling tool becomes crucial. Concerning the scheduling targets there is pretty much unity as more than 95% state: "reliable delivery commitments", "maximization of throughput", and "optimization of capacity utilization".

Topics: Machine shop scheduling Scheduling Best Practices Job Shop Scheduling

Enhancements of the Reports module

We just shipped a new version of our easy job shop scheduling software. This time, we spent a lot of efforts on some internal code cleansing and stabilization. In addition to this, we also enhanced the Reports module to provide you with even more meaningful data points when running reports. First, you now can also define an own "time unit for reporting". That means, that you can e.g. schedule in minutes, but run reports in hours. Second, we now allow you to differentiate process time, cycle time and throughput time - both on job and on task level.

Topics: Product news

Is production scheduling the golden key to working capital management?

Regardless of the industry, size, or production characteristics of a company, working capital management is an essential practice in running a business smoothly. Working capital management is the strategy used to manage current liabilities and current assets. Efficient working capital management ensures that the company holds enough liquidity to meet short-term expenses and debt. Without sufficient cash available, the company risks not being able to meet expenses quickly. At the same time, holding more working capital is costly. Therefore, it is crucial for any business to balance its working capital efficiently.

Having a proper production scheduling system in place ensures visibility and clarity over current and future production processes. Consequently, it reduces the level of uncertainty and reports directly into working capital management. Is production scheduling the key to efficient working capital management? Also, does it hold for more volatile production environments like HMLV (high-mix, low-volume) businesses? Let's dig deeper into the components of working capital management and the role of production scheduling.

Topics: Job Shop Scheduling

Product update: Enhanced Execute & Reporting Module functionality

The monthly update of our job shop scheduling software has just been rolled out a couple of days ago. But we couldn't resist to add another two goodies shortly thereafter and further enhanced the Execute and Reporting Module functionality. In this blog I briefly explain what we did and how it will help you.

Topics: Product news

A critical factor of successful production scheduling: „establish a routine“

There are many approaches of production scheduling and there are many critical factors overall. But if you want to boil it down then - in my eyes - you end up in the challenge of establishing a routine of a regular scheduling process. What does that imply? Let´s have a closer look to the single components to consider.

Topics: Scheduling Best Practices Job Shop Scheduling

Product update: New User Management functionality and further enhanced Execute & Report Module

The monthly update of our job shop scheduling software has just been rolled out. This time, we've added several new useful functions which are eligible for all customers (and trial users) of the base plans (FREE, Starter & Full) and the two modules Execute Mode and Reporting.

Topics: Product news

How we finally figured out that production scheduling was broken

"Believe me Martin, this won't work." He did not give me any chance to answer or ask why. But he emphasized his point: "I have been in production scheduling the past 25 years."

Then he shared his lessons learned: "No factory is like the other. Each manufacturer has its own processes. Hence, they all manage and schedule in a different manner. Production scheduling only works if you customize it. It needs to support the individual manufacturer's processes. This is common sense and you should trust me."

Well, this was not what I wanted to hear.

For almost two years, I had been making a consistent observation. This observation made me think I had a smart idea for a brand new product. Or even a new product category. I had been noodling on this idea for quite a while. Finally, I was confident enough to discuss it. And I dared to ask a recognized industry expert for feedback. 

"But my discussions with many small make-to-order manufacturers speak a different language. They want something simple, something visual and … ", was my attempt to make my point again.

He didn't let me finish my thought. He was so convinced that I was on a completely wrong track, that he interrupted me again.

Topics: Backstage