Effective scheduling in an HMLV production environment-the jpi concept

    October 25, 2022
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    The production scheduling software just plan it specifically refers to make-to-order companies, machine shops, engineering companies, or any kind of production with high customization and low batch size.

    The software's visual approach and the many features that help planners organize their shop floor and deliver orders on time set just plan it apart from many other scheduling tools. But behind just plan it is also a special, innovative scheduling engine for automatically scheduling orders, operations, and resources. This concept is based on three principles that I would like to share with you here.

    Dynamic production environment

    Let's first say a few words about the special challenges faced by make-to-order manufacturers. The production process in a high-mix low-volume (HMLV) production environment is very dynamic. Behind every production order, that a) comes at short notice, namely when a customer has accepted the previously prepared quote, there is b) an individual routing, and c) it should then be delivered as quickly as possible. As the production environment is very dynamic the prerequisites for well-planned scheduling are not given. Bringing all jobs with their operations in an optimal sequence with optimal resource utilization, and delivering them on time is nearly impossible. 

    In an earlier post, I summarized the differences between low-mix high-volume and high-mix low-volume production and the different scheduling requirements

    just plan it has developed a simple, but effective automatic scheduling engine for this production environment. The big difference from other scheduling solutions is: just plan it is not looking for optimization, but for calculating a solid production schedule with manual intervention options for the planner. 

    And here are the three principles the scheduling engine follows when calculating the production schedule:

    Principle #1: No over-loading of resources

    just plan it calculates with finite capacities and allocates the resources in such a way that there is no overloading.

    Principle #2: Start production as soon as possible

    The engine calculates according to the ASAP method by default, i.e., it looks for the earliest time at which the order can start. This can be, for example, a release date set by the planner, when the necessary material for the order is delivered, or simply from the time the planner releases the order. The scheduling engine looks for the resource combination that can complete the operations at the earliest possible time with the given resource allocation.

    Principle #3:Sequence number specifies priority 

    Jobs are scheduled according to priorities. The production order with sequence number 1 has the highest priority and it takes precedence over all other orders in the allocation of resources.

    Automated calculated schedule 

    Thus, a schedule is calculated and visualized in form of a planning board. The planner now can influence the schedule by manually intervene.

    For example, the schedule indicates that a production order cannot be completed in time under the currently scheduled resource allocation. The planner has now several options for action: He can assign a higher priority to the order by decreasing the sequence number, i.e., resources are assigned to this order in a prioritized manner, resulting in earlier processing and thus an earlier delivery date

    Alternatively, he can also increase the resource capacity at a bottleneck point, e.g., by asking an employee for extra work, or by outsourcing intermediate operations to a subcontractor. He can just as well decide to accept the delayed delivery date and inform the customer about the delay beforehand.

    He decides what is the best solution in each case regarding the overall plan or considering his contractual situation with the affected customer.

    And this is exactly where just plan it`s innovative concept for production scheduling for HMLV manufacturers comes into its own - the perfect interaction between the scheduling engine, the planning board, and the manual intervention option:

    - fast rescheduling process by the engine,

    - planning board for a perfect overview of the schedule,

    - the planner’s freedom of decision.

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    Are you having problems creating a schedule that works? Are you looking for a suitable software tool that takes off work and helps you get out of the firefighting mode? Talk to us. We will be happy to make an appointment with you, where you can discuss your requirements with our scheduling specialists

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