Increase efficiency in job shop scheduling with flexible routing

    February 15, 2024

    In the world of job shop scheduling, one must establish routings, determining the sequential or parallel execution of job tasks or operations in the production process. However, sometimes there isn't a "fixed" order, as it doesn't matter whether step A comes before step B or vice versa. When considering this "flexible" sequencing during the scheduling phase, it brings about a much greater flexibility in resource utilization. Ultimately, this contributes to the overall efficiency of the production. In this blog post, I will show you how to achieve this additional flexibility in just plan it.

    just plan it is a software, based on automatic finite scheduling, created specifically for high-mix low-volume manufacturers. This includes job shops, make-to-order manufacturers, machine shops, and engineer-to-order manufacturers. We understand the challenges faced by planners and managers when dealing with ever-changing production schedules, and our goal is to empower them with the utmost flexibility in making decisions.

    Job shop scheduling with flexible routing 

    Let's go back to scheduling. Everybody knows that the basis of scheduling is breaking down the order in operations or tasks and determining their order based on predecessor and successor. This is called the routing and it is a vital part of our software, of course. However, we learned from our customers that strict adherence to the routing is not always necessary in their production process. For example, sometimes the milling process can be performed before or after drilling. Technically speaking, the routing can be "released" in this scenario. With this insight, our objective was to empower planners with enhanced autonomy in shaping their routing plans, so that also scheduling reflects this very important aspect of shopfloor reality. And even better: the automatic finite scheduling engine of jpi always calculates the optimal sequence of (flexible) routing steps for you based on the given order backlog and the given finite capacity.

    My colleague Dave, an expert in scheduling for high-mix low-volume (HMLV) production, has produced a brief yet illuminating video on this specific topic. In the video, you will see how he releases the routing process by disabling the predecessor and successor relationship between selected operations. Instead, he establishes a "workpieces" relationship between the operations. This innovative approach grants the automatic scheduling engine of just plan it with enhanced flexibility to allocate resources to the operations, resulting in significant improvements in three critical areas: 

    • optimization of throughput,
    • improvement of OTD
    • more efficient resource utilization



    Curious about how just plan it can revolutionize your job shop scheduling? Don't miss out on the opportunity to schedule a complimentary 30-minute demo with one of our skilled scheduling experts. This incredible routing flexibility is just one of the many functions our software offers to simplify the lives of job shop planners and managers.

    Book meeting now.

    Pro tip

    If you're a job shop owner or manager, this book is a must-read for you  😊

    Elmar Karlowitsch, the esteemed author, has made it his mission to empower job shop owners and managers to thrive in their endeavors. With his unrivaled expertise and a perfect blend of theoretical understanding and practical experience, he is well-equipped to guide them through the implementation and successful utilization of scheduling solutions. Discover more about Elmar Karlowitsch's insights and strategies for Automatic Finite Scheduling in his highly recommended book.

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