The 3 Most Common Production Planning and Scheduling Headaches—and How to Get Relief

BrandPost By Plex. Manufacturing Success Stories.
Jul 26, 2016
Cloud ComputingManufacturing Industry

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Managing a fine balance between customer demand and available capacity and resources is a complex process—especially while maintaining high customer service levels. Manufacturers know what can go wrong in the production process and the headaches that go along with it. Here are a few common pain points and some insight into how a cloud ERP solution can provide much needed relief:

1. Disparate, Outdated Spreadsheets

If you plan on growing, you are going to run into customers with complex needs. Meeting those requirements means your team must know exactly what needs to be produced and when customers expect delivery. Keeping track of production plans and schedules on spreadsheets that different departments update manually can turn a complex process into chaos. Not only is this exercise time-consuming but it’s also futile—by the time you gather all information it’s outdated.

A cloud-based production planning solution transforms planning from a manual process based on spreadsheets to one based on integrated sales history-based forecasting and confirmed sales orders/release schedules. You can balance delivery projections with a supply plan optimized for service-level objectives, supplier lead times and various safety stock models to deliver an optimized master production schedule (MPS) that drives your material and production requirements.

2. Maxed-Out Resources

What happens when you find out that there will be a 10 percent increase in demand next month but you have no idea if you’ve got the labor, warehouse space, or raw materials to fill these extra orders? More than likely, you start scrambling to let production know and ensure that your team and resources aren’t already maxed out (which they probably are).

Improving utilization of your production resources can alleviate this major migraine. Master scheduling done via the cloud can identify short- and long-term rough-cut capacity constraints pulling from actual and planned orders. You can easily translate labor, machine hours, warehouse space, material quantities and even money resources, to ensure optimal utilization and a more realistic production plan. You can even incorporate lean initiatives into your planning.

3. Disconnected Plant Floor

Errors mean waste, unhappy customers, and non-compliance. As your business grows, it becomes impossible to physically “be there” on the plant floor to know what’s going on at any given moment. Operators need to focus on the task at hand, not on managing machine issues.

Closed-loop manufacturing operations management means continuous updates from the plant floor are being fed to the top floor. Master scheduling in the cloud not only drives purchasing and production activities but also adjusts the MPS. In effect, you are able to manage your operations and ensure quality with confidence and accuracy. A complete view of your manufacturing operation that is available to the entire organization in real time brings together all of the key data needed for confident manufacturing decision-making that results in effective production control.

Want to get rid of your planning and scheduling headaches? Download the white paper, What’s Happening on Your Shop Floor?