From 1 day to 45 min - how a US manufacturer schedules projects today

    June 16, 2021

    Of course, high-mixed low-volume manufacturers are happy about increasing incoming orders, but they are also faced with a big, new challenge: how does production cope with the additional projects and can the usual delivery date be met? This was the situation faced by the American manufacturer of demountable wall systems, PK-30. For a long time, they used Excel for their planning. Today, they control their production with the production scheduling software just plan it and reduced the effort for scheduling their projects from one man-day to 45 minutes.

    PK 30 offers individual designed wall systems 

    PK-30 System is a meticulously designed and engineered aluminum demountable wall system providing a flexible, environmentally friendly and cost-effective way to divide interior space. The System can be used in widely varying configurations including sliding doors, swing doors, fixed panels, folding and sliding/stacking walls, all utilizing the same narrow aluminum profiles. Customers and architects appreciate a systematic, modern, precise design language from a single source manufacturer.

    Scheduling with Excel no longer scaled

    PK-30 was using in-house designed Excel spread sheets, multiple sheets for different aspects of their production process. The company eventually outgrew its spreadsheets and searched for a solution to better manage its production scheduling, hoping for a solution that would coordinate production time frames within each department. After exhaustive research PK-30 decided on the just plan it software system.

    Why PK-30 chose just plan it for production scheduling

    Manual rescheduling was time consuming (costly) and inaccurate. Using Excel spreadsheets lacked the level of detail needed to support effective decision-making. A software system using a scheduling engine to coordinate production steps and resources enabled quick and accurate production planning. (BTW: in one of my previous blogs I already wrote about what production schedule a high-mix low-volume manufacturer needs). By using the just plan it Gantt chart-based approach, with its visualization strengths, PK-30 could see project individual steps and how each change impacted the production schedule per department as well as the resulting impact on project completion dates.

    Before we had jpi, it took us a day to make production schedule changes to one project. It was not fast enough, and it was not automated. Now, we can update multiple projects at the same time, and it takes less than 45 minutes
    — Zac Carey, Production Scheduler at PK-30.

    The 4 big winnings of just plan it

    Shortly after the software was introduced, PK 30 noticed many advantages of the new scheduling system:

    #1 More projects

    PK-30 achieves a significantly higher closing rate on its quotations by having the ability to give clients accurate and timely delivery dates.

    #2 Huge time-saver

    just plan it takes a fraction of the time to schedule multiple projects. What was a one-day project, making manual changes to an in-house designed Excel system, was transformed to a 45 minute daily routine task.

    #3 More accuracy

    Estimated production time-frames are much more accurate with the new software.

    #4 More efficiency

    Production efficiency improvements increased production capacity. And the visualization aspects of just plan it identifies bottlenecks quickly making corrective actions a quick and simple process

    Read the ultimate guide to job shop scheduling >>

    Quick & easy go-to-live

    The just plan it comes with an on-boarding process for fast implementation. In several one-on-one sessions all the required data was prepared for import into the system. The PK-30 team was trained on building daily routines around just plan it. Planning methods were discussed and set up according to specific manufacturing processes. Questions were answered quickly and reliably, even beyond the on-boarding phase.

    The on-boarding process was excellent. It was a step-by-step learning approach. The just plan it team really surprised us with the degree to which they took the time to understand our business operations. This enabled us at PK-30 to bring customized aspects into the software. At the two-week mark we had the system operational
    — Ruben Suare, Partner.

    Further improvements in sight

    To further optimize PK-30’s manufacturing just plan it’s next step was to start analyzing historical data to gain more detailed information about projects, the manufacturing process and resource usage.


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