Global manufacturing facilities maintain a competitive advantage by increasing productivity and reducing cost — with the goal to produce a high-quality product at a low cost when the customer wants it. As a result, many manufacturers have optimized their supply chains to keep their inventories low, increased the efficiencies of the operations, and converted to a make-to-order system. This can result in major cost reductions, but it places the burden on the shop floor. Team StitchWorld analyses a new production management solution, Scheduler, from American company Rockwell Automation, marketed and implemented by Mehala.
In manufacturing, the purpose of scheduling is to minimize the production time and costs, by telling a production facility what to make and when, with which staff, and using which equipment. Production scheduling aims to maximize the efficiency of the operation and reduce costs. Production scheduling tools greatly outperform older manual scheduling methods. These provide the production scheduler with powerful graphical interfaces which can be used to visually optimize real time work loads in various stages of production, and pattern recognition allows the software to automatically create scheduling opportunities which might not be apparent without this view into the data. For example, a factory might wish to minimize the requirement of specialized machine (pocket welting machine) for a particular order (trouser), in order to reduce costs, and scheduling software can allow the planners to see how this can be done, by analyzing delivery schedules, specialized machine usage, or the loading of cut parts.
The benefits of production scheduling include:
- Process changeover reduction
- Inventory reduction, levelling
- Reduced scheduling effort
- Increased production efficiency
- Labour load levelling
- Accurate delivery date quotes
- Real time information
Companies use backward and forward scheduling to allocate plant and machinery resources, plan human resources, plan production processes and purchase materials. Forward scheduling is planning the tasks from the day resources become available to determine the shipping date or the due date. Backward scheduling is planning the tasks from the due date to determine the start date and/or any changes in capacity required. In apparel industry primarily backward scheduling is followed.
|Resource WC2 Machine 1|
|Order:||Customer||Operation||Quantity:||Setup Start Time||Process Start Time||ProcessEnd Time|
|A04-1||ABC||20 WC2 Machine||10||3:57 AM||5:45 AM||5:51 AM|
|A03-1||MNOP||30 WC2 Machine||40||5:51 AM||8:15 AM||8:22 AM|
|B02-1||MRP||20 WC2 Machine||100||8:22 AM||9:13 AM||9:16 AM|
|B02-2||MRP||20 WC2 Machine||100||5:30 AM||6:21 AM||6:23 AM|
|C01-1||MRP||40 WC2 Machine||200||12:00 AM||1:12 AM||1:17 AM|
|Scheduler generates a variety of reports|
Production planning and control is a common term often used in apparel manufacturing. At the factory level, planning is paramount in buyer orders, material orders and forecast of problems. At the shop floor level, control is critical for resource (equipment/staffing/material/energy) allocation keeping special constraints and delivery dates in mind.
At factory level, planning is paramount. However, production scheduling aims to maximise operation efficiency, reduce costs and control resource allocation, keeping constraints and delivery date in mind
There are two types of scheduling: Infinite and Finite capacity scheduling. Most MRP/ERP systems assume Infinite capacity with fixed lead times when generating order requirements. It assumes all orders can be processed at any time in the operation areas. Finite capacity schedule considers all factors that limit the ability to produce. Output is what should be run, on which machine, in what sequence, and when. ERP converts customer orders to time-phased order releases production requirements, end items, sub-components, material and purchased part orders assuming fixed lead times, infinite capacity and time buckets (typically in days or weeks).
In apparel industry, manufacturing capacity can be represented in simple units (e.g., in seconds). Manufacturing capacity finally can be considered to be available in discrete time buckets (e.g., minutes, days or weeks). The manufacturing requirements for each order can be expressed in terms of these simple units (e.g. a 10,000 pieces of 18-minute-jeans order can be expressed as 180,000 minutes of work content).
Finite capacity planning determines when the operations of manufacturing orders are performed and what resources and materials are to be used. It is typically used at a specific site/location to generate a detailed operation schedule that meets customer demand. In Finite capacity planning, the solution techniques tend to be heuristic.
FactoryTalk Scheduler: Features and Benefits
FactoryTalk Scheduler from Rockwell Automation is scheduling software that produces an accurate Finite capacity schedule that improves on-time order delivery, improves resource utilization, improves manufacturing efficiency, reduces production cycle and completion time, generates accurate consumption requirements for raw materials and reduces WIP levels. In addition, it also builds production information into one source having resource information, product/process plan data, material action information, and actual shop floor data. Scheduler can also identify and act on late orders; manage capacities and labour or material constraints and expedite orders for total resource management.
Used with other Rockwell Software packages, such as RSView®32™, FactoryTalk Transaction Manager, and FactoryTalk ProductionCentre, FactoryTalk makes production schedules readily available in a very short period of time. It offers a choice of four methods for generating a schedule: algorithmic, custom, simulation, and manual. Using FactoryTalk Scheduler, database information can be loaded into memory to create a production schedule. This makes schedule generation quick and efficient as access to the database and disk is unnecessary. Finally, the system can integrate with higher-level ERP and MRP (Manufacturing Resource Planning) systems, such as SAP®, Oracle®, J. D. Edwards, QAD®, and others.