SMB Production Scheduling Blog

Jule Hodok

Jule Hodok

Jule works as specialist content intern in the just plan it team. She is studying International Business at the University of Maastricht, and loves taking the deep dive.

Recent Posts by Jule Hodok:

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

The basics of visual job shop scheduling

In the my blog posts about 'what is job shop scheduling' and why it is important, I made the point that having a proper job shop scheduling tool in place is essential. Let’s add a subtle, but extremely valuable, element to that: Visual job shop scheduling. As mentioned already, one benefit of job shop scheduling is gaining transparency and visibility over a production. Including a focus on visuals, this aspect is taken to another level.

Topics: Job Shop Scheduling

Why is job shop scheduling important?

Whether you are planning a meal for some friends or a holiday trip, having a schedule in place is essential. Same is true for a job shop production. Essentially, the goal is to match supply and demand. On the one side, supply includes the capacities, resources, labor and the available material in the job shop. On the other side, the demand encompasses the actual job orders including the according resources and capacities needed to complete the job. Job shop scheduling aims to combine these two components, internal supply and demand, in the most optimal way possible. Therefore, having a proper schedule in place is a crucial value proposition for job shop managers.

Topics: Job Shop Scheduling

Which production scheduling approach is the best for your manufacturing business?

Whether one tries to manage a large production company, a small job shop or simply one’s own working day, having a plan is of utmost importance. In fact, whenever different activities have to be allocated to certain resources under several constraints, a schedule is a necessity. Certainly, there is not the one scheduling approach that outperforms any other under all circumstances; A simple calendar might be suitable for a student trying to schedule his day, a small manufacturer might use improvised scheduling tools like Microsoft Excel or a whiteboard, whereas large production firms make use of scheduling algorithms that can optimize complex production plans. In short, scheduling challenges have a broad variety that can be handled efficiently in different ways: from simple analogue timetables to heavy software packages. This post provides guidance in terms of which scheduling approach is suitable for which kind of manufacturer.

Topics: Scheduling Best Practices Job Shop Scheduling

What is job shop scheduling?

We reviewed the performance of our website in 2018, and also analyzed the traction we got for the various types of content we produced. Moreover, we also talked with some of our customers and users and asked them what topics they are interested in and what they want us to cover (more).

There is a clear evidence: in general folks like our product-related information as it helps them make better use of just plan it and it keeps them current. However, in 2018 they missed general-purpose information that relates with their industry and with the general issue of production scheduling and job shop scheduling

Hence, here is our new year's resolution for 2019: we will continue to update you on what is happening in terms of new functions and features. In 2019, this will be complemented by us writing much more on general production scheduling and job shop scheduling questions. This post is meant to be the first of a post series dealing with all facets of job shop scheduling.

Topics: Job Shop Scheduling

Why idle capacities are nothing to freak out about

Having a proper scheduling system in place is essential for any kind of manufacturing process to continuously plan and track the production status. As manufacturing processes are wide ranged as well as company sizes there are various options to choose of: One can opt for complex algorithms that aim to optimize a production line or for a more simple, straight-forward scheduling software that mainly aims at adding transparency. Some small manufacturers might even use paper or a whiteboard as a scheduling tool, others further hire experts or try to implement lean techniques or TOC tools. But, what works for one manufacturer can be counterproductive for another and vice versa. Therefore, the very first step for any manufacturing company is to identify its characteristics, goals and distinct features. Focusing on job shops, this blog post introduces some important insights for HMLV (high-mix low-volume) manufacturers and explains why ignoring them leads to inferior performance.

Topics: Job Shop Scheduling

Why using lean principles to improve high-mix low-volume facilities is not the first step to make

In order to constantly improve operations and to do justice to a constant thrive for perfection in production processes, lean manufacturing techniques are used in countless production plants worldwide. As most manufacturing philosophies, lean principles generally aim to aid low-mix high-volume (LMHV) manufacturers.

However, at the other end of the spectrum, there are high-mix low-volume (HMLV) manufacturers that differ significantly in numerous criteria, such as product variety, production volume, equipment, scheduling tools etc. Being aware of this significant diversity, one might question the applicability of lean principles for small manufacturers like job shops. This blog post presents the lean principles and investigates its relevance for HMLV manufacturers.

Topics: Job Shop Scheduling

Why production scheduling software no longer is a “big guys only” game

A couple of years ago, a production scheduling software had been far out of reach for small and medium business (hereinafter called SMB) manufacturers. The offered on-premise software at that time was too costly and too complex for SMB. A real game changer in the world of SMB manufacturers is cloud computing and Software-as-a-Service (hereinafter called SaaS). This blog post introduces the new forms of software aided production scheduling and discusses its major opportunities for small manufacturers.

Topics: Machine shop scheduling Job Shop Scheduling

The Theory of Constraints and its application to job shop scheduling

The Theory of Constraints (TOC) is a very popular methodology generally helping manufacturing companies to improve their operations, and increasing their output. However, we all know that manufacturing does not per se equal manufacturing. Especially job shops and machine shops have some specific charateristics (e.g. small batch sizes, unstable demand, make-to-order) that let the question arise if and how this general methodology can get applied to this specific kind of manufacturing. Hence, this blog first introduces the TOC and then assesses its applicability for job shops.

Topics: Job Shop Scheduling