50% OTD improvement while reducing personnel costs by 20% with automatic finite scheduling

    November 6, 2023

    "just plan it has taken a lot of stress off my shoulders," sums up Ankit Parikh, President of Impact Stamping & Graphic Converting Inc. (“Impact Stamping”). He found this out just after the first two weeks when the automatic finite production scheduling software just plan it went live in his company for custom packaging. Read here how the highly customized manufacturer of secondary packaging was able to achieve significant improvements in terms of on-time delivery (OTD), personnel costs, and shopfloor efficiency by just plan it so quickly.

    Customized packaging products

    Located in the bustling Dallas area Impact Stamping, stands out as a leading provider of innovative packaging and print finishing solutions. They specialize in creating high-quality gift boxes tailored to each customer's unique specifications, encompassing both the shape of the product and the printing design. This commitment to the highest level of customization makes their manufacturing process a perfect example of a highly customized job shop, where every order is both distinct and personalized.

    Before placing an order, Impact Stamping engages in a thorough consultation with the customer to discuss product design and create a prototype.

    Exceeding delivery deadlines and constant firefighting

    Timely delivery is crucial for these products, which are often associated with promotions or special events. Naturally, customers are eager to know if Impact Packaging can meet their desired delivery date. Initially, Impact Stamping did not have a special scheduling tool in place. What they did to tackle the “OTD challenge” was to add an extra 2-3 weeks to the production start date as a default estimate. However, this simplified approach had its drawbacks. Delays in prototype approval or lengthy design consultations often result in production start delays and put the delivery date at risk. It is easy to guess that exceeded delivery dates and constant firefighting on the shopfloor were part of Impact Stampings' everyday operational life.

    In order to meet the delivery deadlines, the company resorted to enlisting the help of additional staff and making employees work overtime. Ankit candidly admitted, "We tried throwing more people at the problem, but it didn't actually solve the underlying issue."

    Attempts to tackle the scheduling challenges with ERP or Project Management software failed

    Seeing the need for a suitable professional scheduling tool and to gain a comprehensive understanding of the capacities, Ankit made various attempts. Initially, he tested the production planning module of Impact Stamping's ERP system. However, this module was quickly dismissed due to its unfriendly user interface and the limited capability of the underlying scheduling engine. Ankit explains, "The system's calculations were based on infinite capacities. Unfortunately, that doesn't reflect our shopfloor reality. On the contrary, for us, both the infinite machine and the finite operator capacities must be taken into account at the same time." Consequently, this tool was deemed unsuitable for his scheduling needs.

    He also evaluated a project management tool with a resource planning extension. However, he soon discovered that it failed to meet his needs, too. "I realized that I couldn't link our projects, which in turn meant it could not show dependencies between our orders. Furthermore, there was no functionality to track the actual progress of jobs and their tasks," Ankit explained.

    Ankit learned his lesson from this unpleasant experience. Subsequently, he was looking for scheduling software with the following must-haves:

    • Visible approach to gain transparency of the shopfloor activities
    • Finite scheduling capabilities to get reliable delivery commitments
    • Capability to schedule machine and operator resources simultaneously
    • Functionality to track the shopfloor progress

    Automatic finite scheduling with just plan it is the ideal fit 

    Upon, finding just plan it Ankit was impressed by the software and quickly realized that there was an ideal fit between his requirements and just plan it: “Actually, after the failed attempts of finding a suitable scheduling software, I had already come to terms with the fact that I would have to make compromises for my use case. But when I found just plan it I noticed that the software is made exactly for make-to-order manufacturers like me. Thus, all of my requirements are completely met.” He hadn't encountered such a suitable solution in any other software before, which led him to quickly decide on implementing just plan it at Impact Stamping.

    With the personal assistance of our scheduling expert Dave, Ankit efficiently prepared his master and order backlog data and seamlessly uploaded it into the just plan it app. After some fine-tuning and coaching, the production scheduling and execution for Impact Stamping with just plan it went live within a week.

    Monetary benefits directly after go live

    Within just two months after implementing just plan it Impact Stamping was able to achieve numerous very valuable benefits.

    "First and foremost, I witnessed that we gained visibility of what is happening in our shop. After years of flying blind, it's great to finally have the reins in my hand again. This enabled us to achieve a remarkable improvement in the efficiency of our shop floor operations”, Ankit expressed.

    Impact Stamping production schedule guarantees OTD

    Additionally, reliable delivery commitments are no longer a major concern for Impact Stamping. The scheduling concept of just plan it allows the creation of multiple skill groups to define flexible manpower resource capability. The required operator skill is then automatically scheduled with an available machine simultaneously to maximize throughput. On the other hand, the execution functionality of just plan it enables Impact Stamping to track the shop floor progress of produced units per operation and update the schedule on an hourly basis accordingly. This reflects Impact Stampings reality in the best possible way and leads to reliably scheduled delivery dates. In summary, Ankit states: "We completely trust the delivery dates now. Overall, we have improved our OTD rate by around 50% so far.”

    Furthermore, the use of just plan it was also accompanied by a reduction in costs. Because of the lack of firefighting measures, personnel costs could be saved by around 20%. “Overtime is no longer a concern for us. And we no longer need to hire temporary staff, which has significantly contributed to cutting costs," Ankit happily reports.

    Reliable delivery date, no more customer complains

    Now, committed delivery deadlines are effortlessly met. Once the planner enters the job details in just plan it, including the planned release date, the job data is saved with the status "quoted”. Ankit explains: " Based on this data, the automatic finite scheduling system of just plan it calculates the next available delivery date, taking into account both the availability of required resources and the priority of jobs. This allows us to communicate a precise timeframe to our customers. For instance, if an order is released in 2 days, we can confidently promise delivery in 7 days. This streamlined process is also beneficial for the design teams, as they now have a clear understanding of when they need to be ready to meet the deadline."

    With the products being delivered on time, Ankit happily states, "I am relieved to say that I no longer have to deal with any customer complaints; just plan it has taken a lot of stress off my shoulders."

    The new standby status adds great value

    Shortly after the start of Impact Stampings' just plan it subscription, the new “standby” functionality was released. Ankit is particularly pleased with the new standby status function in just plan it as it allows him to handle situations where a customer does not place an order on the agreed release date. By changing the job status to standby, the job remains in the system while the allocated resources are freed up for other jobs. If a new release date is determined, the planner simply switches the status from standby to release, and just plan it automatically recalculates the delivery date based on the resources available at that time.

    Integrating just plan it in the ERP System

    Currently, Ankit is in the process of transitioning the company's ERP system to Epicor, a move that will streamline operations and enhance efficiency even more. Once the transition is complete, Ankit plans to seamlessly connect Epicor with the just plan app to fully integrate scheduling into the corporate software network and eliminate the need for manual order entry. With just plan its' open REST API, the interface development will be expedited, further optimizing the company’s business processes.

    Outstanding Resume

    Even though there are still a few steps left to complete in terms of implementation and integration of just plan it, Ankit is completely satisfied with the status quo. He concludes: "I am very happy with what we have achieved with just plan it after such a short time. The launch process was quick and smooth. On the first day of use, we gained transparency about the shop floor activities. Based on that, we significantly improved on-time delivery and could even cut personnel costs. I'm sure we can get even more benefits with continued long-term use of just plan it. I am excited about our future.”

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