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What is production scheduling software?
Production scheduling software assists manufacturers in efficiently planning and organizing their production schedules. It helps them monitor resource utilization and optimize production time to achieve maximum production capacity.
The solution also allows manufacturers to assign tasks to workers, monitor stock inventories, identify bottlenecks, and manage all other aspects of the production cycle to ensure that production is smooth. It can also forecast demands and accordingly, plan the production cycle.
The benefits of production scheduling software
Production scheduling software offers manufacturers various benefits, not just in the production cycle but the entire business. Here are the primary benefits:
- Improves resource utilization: The software provides real-time information on the availability of resources, raw materials, and equipment as well as the machine status. Having all this information on a single interface helps manufacturers create optimized production schedules. This improves productivity and ensures higher profits.
- Streamlines collaboration among departments: Production scheduling software is not just for the production or manufacturing units. It’s used by almost every department, from procurement to dispatch and purchase to sales. Single-window access helps departments collaborate and track the live production status. This makes it easy to synchronize information for a smooth production cycle.
- Identifies bottlenecks: At times, producing a single item requires assembling hundreds or thousands of raw materials. It can be difficult to manually track a large volume of resources and remember the reordering schedules. However, product scheduling software notes the stock quantities and reminds you to reorder stock when the threshold limit is reached. An organized workflow helps production managers easily identify and remove bottlenecks to avoid disruptions in the production cycle.
Typical features of production scheduling software
- Automated scheduling: Set up rule-based algorithms to automatically schedule production plans based on business demands and resource availability.
- Capacity planning: Determine your organization’s production capacity to meet fluctuating demands.
- Material requirement planning (MRP): Allow manufacturers to analyze material availability and plan future material needs for completing orders.
- “What-if” analysis: Help production managers analyze potential production schedules and alternate approaches in case of any disruptive events and issues that may hinder production.
- Change management: Analyse the impact on production cycle due to disruptive changes in the demand; support change implementation.
- Scheduling: Assign schedules to workers and keep a tab on the actual production to schedule production operations.
Considerations when purchasing production scheduling software
- Ease of use: Production scheduling software can be used by anyone, from technically sound production managers to technology novices. As the manufacturing industry has a high attrition rate, the software you choose should have a short learning curve and be easy to use. Participate in free trials and demos to get a feel of the software. You can even ask your employees to test and evaluate the tool before taking a decision.
- Support and service commitments: Abrupt halts in the production cycle can result in huge losses. These could be due to the production scheduling software failing. That’s why we recommend choosing a vendor who is available 24x7, or during your operation hours, at least. Ask your vendor about the support options before implementation.
- Remote accessibility: Production managers and engineers need to constantly move around the work floor to ensure that machines and resources are working properly. To do that, they need production schedules and details in-hand all the time. Therefore, the software you select should be accessible on mobile phones and tablets.
Relevant production scheduling software trends
- IoT will positively impact production schedules: Manufacturers are implementing IoT technology in their production operations, as 63% of them believe that IoT will benefit their production by 2024. Nearly one-third of the existing production equipment and processes have embedded IoT devices that collect a wide range of data in real time. This data can be analyzed to help businesses predict better production schedules and improve their production cycle.
- Big data, predictive analytics to improve production scheduling: Modern solutions can collect huge volumes of data and use predictive analytics or machine learning algorithms to create production schedules with greater accuracy. These solutions collect data such as the machine running status, equipment health, raw material cost and availability, and the seasonal changes in demand.