SMB Production Scheduling Blog

Execute Mode: Job shop scheduling meets manufacturing execution

In my last blog post in January, I spoke about our roadmap. I informed you that we put some obvious things on hold to spend some time and energy on the not so obvious facets of building and running a product like just plan it. Now, I am excited to share the general availability of a long awaited (obvious) functionality: we call it the Execute Mode. The Execute Mode is available for all PRO and ENTERPRISE customers (click to compare the pricing plans).

On the list of ideas we got from all our customers and users, the capability introduced with the Execute Mode is the - by far - most prominent feature request. It enables you to easily integrate information from the shopfloor into your schedule and empowers you to keep your schedule current in a straightforward way. With the Execute Mode, job shop scheduling meets manufacturing execution.

This blog post is meant to be an introduction into the Execute Mode. It is not the core documentation of it. Within the blog post, I reference a lot of additional learning and enablement material.

Topics: Product news

15 requirements that need to be part of your production scheduling process

This is a guest blog post provided by Ivanka Menken. She is a serial entrepreneur and the owner and Co-Founder of The Art of Service since 2000.  Ivanka specialises in creating organisations that manage their services in a sustainable and customer driven manner. Recently, Ivanka co-authored the book Production Process Scheduling Self Assessment. This blog post is an excerpt from this book and sheds a light on 15 requirements that need to be part of your production scheduling process.

Topics: Scheduling Best Practices

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: Job Shop Scheduling Machine shop scheduling

10 technology trends for SMB manufacturers in 2018 (infograph)

 Time flies and we are already almost two full months into 2018. Nevertheless, it is not too late to take a look into the top 10 technology trends that can make a difference in your SMB manufacturing in 2018. In 2017 we were introduced to IIOT, 3D printing, automation, an increase of e-commerce, cyber security and emerging market. It is in this year, however, that these trends will find their consolidation and thus change the manufacturing landscape for good.

Topics: Machine 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

Some words on the road-map for our job shop scheduling software

I know that for both software companies and software users a road-map is a big deal. It clarifies what the development team is working on. It shows (prospective) customers which functional enhancements to expect going forward. Of course, we also have a road map for our job shop scheduling software just plan it. Indeed, we have a clear picture of the functional enhancements we will put in place next. Yet, as we moved into the new year, we've allowed ourselves to stop the execution of the road-map for a few days. Here is why we did this, what we're doing now, and what we're going to do next.

Topics: Product news

Customer service: Practical guide to the scheduling support you can get

One of the top ten things just plan it users pointed out they like the most is our customer and technical support. Our aim in just plan it is to make all facets of testing and using our software approachable and personal. We intend not only to design user friendly, easy to use software, but also to provide helpful and reliable support. We believe talking directly to our users and taking care of your questions creates a strong line of trust that we truly appreciate. 

So what can we do for you? Here is a practical guide to all the scheduling support you can get from us.

A color scheme for viewing the execution of your job shop scheduling

Our job shop scheduling software just plan it gives you the ability to create as many color schemes as you like. I sense that these color schemes can be truly helpful when trying to figure out certain situations on your shop floor faster. However, I also have the impression that color schemes are kind of "hidden champions" within the feature spectrum of our job shop scheduling software. Hence, I decided to kick off a blog series in which I share with you a couple of color schemes that really can help you improving your job shop scheduling. In this post, I give you some ideas how to color your schedule in a way that it tells you a bit more about the current execution of your schedule.

Topics: Job Shop Scheduling