"job standby status” function is a game changer for make-to-order manufacturers with customer approval processes

    October 30, 2023
    New call-to-action

    With our latest release of our automatic finite scheduling software just plan it, we have introduced an exciting new feature that is designed for high-mix low-volume manufacturers that have external customer approvals required within their job routings. Especially those make-to-order job shops that offer the highest degree of customization with every order face the challenge of coordinating the order-related specification with customers and obtaining their approval before they are able to finally release it for internal execution. The length of this external approval process can hardly be calculated exactly beforehand and is often delayed by the customer. This uncertainty makes it very difficult for planners to handle scheduling in an easy way. With the introduction of the job standby status, planners are now empowered to swiftly adapt to any unforeseen changes in the upstream coordination process. This feature allows planners to comfortably tackle the respective scheduling challenge and free up formerly blocked resources for other released jobs automatically.

    Coordination with the customer before execution

    The more unique and customized the product, the more crucial it becomes to closely coordinate with the customer before moving forward with production. In many cases, make-to-order manufactures have to follow a three-step process of job routing:

    1. Internal creation of a draft of the requested scope of delivery
    2. External approval of the draft by the customer
    3. Internal release of a production order of the approved job

    The length of the second step in this process poses a scheduling challenge, as it falls outside the manufacturers' control and is very often delayed. This makes it difficult to handle the related uncertainty in an easy way as it impacts the entire schedule of the entire released order backlog.

    Approval is a critical point in scheduling

    Postponing the approval of a bespoke product not only puts the estimated delivery date at risk but also impacts the overall production schedule. When approval is delayed, the execution of the job is pushed back, and the allocated resources are not utilized. To address this challenge, we have implemented the job standby status in just plan it. By setting a job to standby status, the existing resource allocations are automatically released and allocated to other released tasks of the order backlog. This allows for efficient resource management and ensures that the overall production schedule stays on track.

    Quick reactivation of a standby job

    By setting the related production order to “standby”, the job with all its (non-started and finished) tasks is still included in your schedule but deactivated for calculation mode. When the approval of the customer comes, this job can be quickly taken back actively into the scheduling process. Only a change of status is required for this. When the schedule is automatically recalculated, the job and its tasks then is fully assigned to the required resources again and, if desired, can easily get a higher priority in execution and thus an earlier delivery date via the change of sequence no.

    Clear communication improves customers' on-time approval 

    Our clients with make-to-order products have discovered that when they provide a specific and clear timeline for delivery, their customers are more inclined to adhere to their approval deadlines. The following procedure has therefore proven to be very successful in mastering the scheduling challenge for bespoke products in the best possible way:

    1. Schedule the full job routing with a best estimate date for the external approval. Communicate to the customer the corresponding delivery date that just plan it has determined accordingly. Such as: “We can complete the prototype by November 7th, and if you provide us with the go-ahead by November 10th, we can deliver the final product by November 20th."
    2. If the customer does not meet the required approval date, put the job on standby.
    3. As soon as the external approval comes, set the job to status "released" (and reprioritize if necessary) and communicate the new delivery date accordingly.

    With this way of using the automatic finite scheduling capabilities of just plan it you are best equipped to successfully master the make-to-order scheduling challenges with such great uncertainties.

    Standby Status - Live demo

    Here is a live presentation of my colleague Jan, where he showcased a practical use case for the standby status.

    Take a peek 😊


    Schedule your free complimentary consultation

    Are you facing challenges in your production planning due to delays in obtaining approvals?

    Experience the game-changing power of just plan it.

    Book a free complimentary consultation  with our team of experts  to discover more.

    Subscribe by Email

    Comments (2)