7 Common Job Shop Scheduling Challenges [& How to Solve Them]
No one ever said that running a manufacturing facility would be easy: With a high volume of orders coming in, multiple work centers to coordinate, and increasingly high customer expectations to meet, it can be challenging to stay on top of everything. And that’s nothing to say of the unexpected complications that can crop up at a moment’s notice, such a critical piece of equipment breaking down or an employee not showing up for work.
In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the most common shop floor challenges manufacturers face and explain how job shop scheduling software can help resolve them.
7 Job Shop Scheduling Challenges [and How to Solve Them]
CHALLENGE: Scheduling Machines and Resources
Failure to schedule resources effectively and efficiently has serious negative downstream effects, ranging from high employee attrition rates and excess inventory to dissatisfied customers and loss of revenue.
SOLUTION: Develop Optimized Workflows
Using a next-generation machine shop scheduling software solution, you can develop optimized workflows that prevent work centers from being overloaded. These workflows help guarantee that every job runs through the right work center in the proper sequence, which, in turn, enables you to complete one job and effortlessly move on to the next. This also enables you to move more jobs through the shop floor in a shorter period of time, maximizing throughput.
As an added bonus, such a solution will enable you to engage in continuous improvement by reevaluating existing production workflows and identifying and eliminating bottlenecks on your shop floor.
CHALLENGE: Predicting Late or Troubled Orders
Without predictive analytics, manufacturers lack foresight into which orders are most likely to be late and are therefore unable to prioritize jobs accordingly.
SOLUTION: Get a Glimpse of the Future with Predictive Analytics
Advanced job shop scheduling systems leverage predictive analytics to simulate capacity usage and see which orders are most likely to encounter issues. Armed with this information, you can take precautionary measures to prevent those jobs from being late.
CHALLENGE: Maximizing Productivity
A high rate of productivity can help you meet deadlines, satisfy customer commitments, and remain competitive. But with so many moving parts and pieces on a shop floor, maximizing productivity is often easier said than done.
SOLUTION: Release the Right Jobs at the Right Time
Machine shop scheduling software can provide you with a 360-degree view of your shop floor, including the various work centers and jobs awaiting assignment. Using this data, it can calculate the release date for any job based on the realistic elapsed time required to meet its due date, including actual touch time and time buffers for variability. This ensures that every job is released at the exact right moment, thereby preventing them from sitting on the shop floor for any longer than is necessary. When combined with optimized workflows, this increases productivity and makes it easier to satisfy customer commitments.
CHALLENGE: Meeting Deadlines
Customers expect orders to arrive on time, as promised. Failure to consistently meet deadlines reduces customer satisfaction and, in worst-case scenarios, can lead to customer churn.
SOLUTION: Protect Customer Commitments with Confidence
As we’ve already mentioned, by using a job shop scheduling solution with predictive analytics functionality, you can anticipate which jobs are most likely to be late and develop an action plan to address unexpected variables as they arise.
CHALLENGE: Reducing Overtime
Having to repeatedly schedule overtime in order to complete a job on time or perform rework not only costs your company hard-earned money — it also points to larger inefficiencies on your shop floor.
SOLUTION: Utilize Real-Time Shop Floor Execution
Rather than force you to run and re-run schedules every time something unexpected happens, certain job shop scheduling solutions utilize real-time shop floor execution, which puts the most accurate and up-to-date information in the hands of those who need it most. By generating reliable job assignments, machine shop scheduling software ensures that jobs are executed in the correct order, preventing costly overtime.
CHALLENGE: Job Prioritization
Prioritizing jobs by due date rather than by variability increases the risk of certain jobs being late.
SOLUTION: Take a Dynamic Approach to Capacity Management
Rather than prioritize jobs by due date the way a finite scheduling system would, next-generation job shop software uses real-time information about shop floor variability to determine which jobs are most likely to be late and prioritizes them accordingly. By taking a dynamic approach to capacity management and prioritization, you can ensure that work is always completed on time, and that customer commitments are always met.
CHALLENGE: Shop Floor Visibility
Without visibility into where all jobs are located on the shop floor, you’re unable to provide customers with accurate updates on the status of their order or to allocate additional resources as needed.
SOLUTION: Get a 360-Degree View of Open Work Orders with Visual Dashboards
In addition to providing a 360-degree view of your shop floor, machine shop software utilizes visual dashboards, which you can use to present schedules in an intuitive visual format. Some solutions even go the extra mile by color-coding job sequences based on priority, making it even easier for operators to stay on top of jobs and for you to monitor the status of different jobs. By displaying these visual dashboards in a central location on your shop floor, you can provide your staff with the most up-to-date information, so that they know what they need to work on and when.
Overcome Anything with Protected Flow Manufacturing
Are you ready to overcome the usual job shop scheduling obstacles? Protected Flow Manufacturing (PFM) is here to help. With a highly advanced feature set — including predictive analytics, dynamic capacity management, and real-time shop floor execution and reporting — PFM makes it easy to anticipate and plan for variability, ensuring that deadlines are consistently met and that customer commitments are kept.
For an example of how PFM helps manufacturers optimize machine shop scheduling, look no further than Saturn Industries. When on-time deliveries began to suffer due to outdated, ERP-based scheduling, Saturn turned to Synergy Resources — and PFM — for help.
“In the first couple months using PFM, our concentration was just to get rid of the backlog of late orders,” said Rory Lee, Business Development Manager at Saturn Industries Inc. “Now, since February 2018, we’ve run four months in a row where we’ve been 90% or better on-time with all of the orders coming through the door. That’s a dramatic turnaround!”
So don’t wait: Contact Synergy Resources today to start solving your most pressing challenges with PFM.