SMB Production Scheduling Blog

Elmar Karlowitsch

Elmar Karlowitsch

Elmar is Managing Director of NETRONIC - The Gantt Solutions Company. He decided to join the company mid of 2015. Since then, he is driven to strengthen the companies' solution focus. just plan it is his most recent "weapon" in his continued fight against a kind of misuse of Microsoft Excel as scheduling tool.

Recent Posts by Elmar Karlowitsch:

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

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

Production scheduling - the 3 critical factors for success

A transparent plan and reliable delivery commitments are the core challenges manufacturers are facing – especially when they run a job shop with high mix - low volume. Therefore coming back to any kind of scheduling tool is indispensable at a certain point of business scale. The market offers a various range of different scheduling approaches for different situations and with different focus. Hence it is definitely worth to invest a broad space of time upfront to test different options and to investigate which is the best solution for your business.

But in practice one can see in a lot of cases that the scheduling efforts after this “investment period” ramp down and often scheduling tools disappear on the Q.T. So it is not only necessary to find the right tool, it is even more critical to use this in the appropriate way. This blog deals with the three critical factors that determine the success of production scheduling when using a scheduling tool.

Topics: Scheduling Best Practices Job Shop Scheduling

New Resource Scheduling Capability: Extended XLS Upload

Here comes the next major enhancement of our just plan it software to achieve an easy time and resource scheduling for SMB manufacturers. This time we significantly enhanced the xls upload facilities (especially) for our ENTERPRISE users. This post illustrates the operating mode of this new functionality and furthermore points out three other additional features of the new release  

Topics: Product news

How To Best Test The Visual Scheduling Software just plan it

Testing a new software can be a very lavish procedure. It normally comes along with extensive efforts to get familiar with features and functionality to say nothing of getting a full picture if the own requests are met or not. To counteract against this and to ensure that anyone's trial of just plan it will be an enduring succes we designed a special ebook to help you making your first steps with our visual scheduling software.

Topics: Scheduling Best Practices

The "Color As" Feature: First Step From Job Shop Planning To Execution

With the recently published new version of our just plan it software we added a new feature which might look rather minor at first glance, and which is the no. 1 candidate for the most undervalued new functionality. This is the "color as" capability which allows you manually changing the color of a task bar depending if the task is finished (black) or in progress (green). However, for us this is yet the first step into a new world, in which we can see just plan it perspectively grow: namely a world in which job shop planning and execution work hand in hand. With this first step we also want to provide users with some best practices how to best achieve an initial seamless job shop planning and execution, and this this what this blog post is about (plus an announcement what we plan building for our ENTERPRISE customers).

Topics: Product news Scheduling Best Practices

Why An Additive Manufacturer Is A Unique Machine Shop

Technology is continually transforming the way we live and work. Since the foundational concepts of additive manufacturing (AM) were developed approximately thirty years ago, this innovative concept has grown, and is rapidly revolutionizing the production industry. Unimagined processes have become a reality, and companies in aerospace, health, and automotive industries are benefiting from the possibilities. From rapid prototyping to laser engraved net shaping and laminated object manufacturing, this highly specific form of production presents a variety of incredible opportunities.

AM is essentially a very unique type of machine shop production. As such, it forms an integral part of the supply chain, and faces many of the same scheduling challenges associated with traditional machine shop production. Because it allows for unlimited customization and weight-strength optimization, it addresses two important aspects particularly associated with small batch fabrication; and more and more companies are investing in the required machinery. However, trying to maintain your additive manufacturing schedule using manual spreadsheets is almost an operation in futility.   

Topics: Machine shop scheduling

Comparison of Features: Manual vs. Automatic Production Scheduling

Small and mid-size manufacturing companies are more and more coming to realize that their operative production scheduling can no longer be managed by self-developed “systems” based on Microsoft Excel but that an adequate software tool for efficient time and resource planning is called for. In this context, graphic planning boards have generally proved successful. The features most solutions have in common are visualizing the plan in a Gantt chart, supporting different views such as order view and machine view, and considering the operations’ logical relations. Moreover, common solutions enable managing orders and resources by dialogs and/or offering interfaces to the applied ERP system. There is, however, a vital difference between the solutions, especially from the standpoint of the planner, consisting in whether the planning board is based on manual scheduling or whether it comprises an algorithm for automatizing the production scheduling. Starting from the above mentioned similarities, the significant differences between manual and automatic scheduling within graphical planning boards is discussed below.

Topics: Product news