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blog | April 23, 2013

Effective Scheduling Demads Real Time & Accurate Data

Keeping a closed loop system for Manufacturing Standards One of the marvelous capabilities of today’s ERP manufacturing systems is the ability to plan materials and operations.  Materials can be...

By WorkWiseSoftware

Keeping a closed loop system for Manufacturing Standards

One of the marvelous capabilities of today’s ERP manufacturing systems is the ability to plan materials and operations.  Materials can be purchased and staged only when needed, to minimize inventories and costs.  Operations can be planned to achieve maximum  throughput and efficiency.  Yet, many plants are plagued by either errors in their planning standards, or standards so stale that they create poor results.

In addition, most manual systems are incapable of maintaining up-to-the-minute information due to the huge administrative effort needed.

Production Planning Standards – An Example

In plant A, the changes in production planning standards are rarely updated to the MRP systems.  These changes include new cycle times, inbound material lead changes, new setup times, new handling times, and current queue times.  Other factors can include machine uptimes, maintenance time required, etc.  In this simple example, we will deal with just one factor- cycle times.  In operation 20, the cycle times are listed at 20 minutes per unit.  Due to some smart new techniques, and passing collaboration between operators, the cycle time is now 10 minutes.  The MRP system, which has not been updated, still uses the 20 minute standard in performing its calculation. Because of this, it will schedule the material for that operation thinking that for an order quantity of 100 units the operation will take 33 hours. In actuality the 100 pieces are completed in 16.5 hours so more material could be used to start the next job but MRP doesn’t know that the operator and machine is sitting there idle. The machine and manpower idle time soars.  Up and down stream bottlenecks occur. The customer promise dates will be longer than expected, which, in turn, may also cause the customer to go elsewhere.

If the cycle time situation was reversed, and the cycle times extended from 10 minutes to 20 minutes, material would arrive early, the machine would be overloaded, the WIP would increase, and on-time deliverability would diminish.

It is easy to see the impact of incorrect production planning standards.  Imagine your situation where there are thousands of parts, and hundreds of operations.

Production Planning Standards – A Solution

The obvious solution lies in updating the standards as soon as they change.  ERP manufacturing systems offer this capability on a real time basis.  As cycle time changes occur on the shop floor, shop floor management can make the decision to update those standards.  As purchasing lead times change, the appropriate decision can be made to update the standards to the new standards.
Creating a closed loop solution to continual improvement of your production standards can make a significant difference in all your manufacturing goals- deliverability, quality, efficiency and cost reduction.

Production Planning Standards – Input Errors

Errors are often created during the input of data.  Input errors can often be reduced through integration across functions, such as automatic update of cycle times from the shop floor to the MRP system.  Data collection also eliminates errors by pre-entry of such things as part numbers, operation numbers, and the like.  Computerized systems also eliminate errors by making sure that part numbers and operation numbers exist.

Errors can also be trapped through review of results against production planning standards.  For example, if operation 20 was to produce 100 parts for today, and 1000 were reported, an exception report would be issued. The error would also show up on the performance graphs for the operation.


You can only plan as good as your source information.  Production planning with error ridden information can be as dangerous as not planning at all.  The benefits and simplicity of a real time production plan, however, can produce results that keep you in the game of meeting and beating competition, leaving you with a growing business in revenues and profits.

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