Here are some common scheduling pain points for manufacturers and how Manufacturing Execution System software (MES) like AspectPL, can help address them, making scheduling easier and less chaotic:
- Complexity and static, manual scheduling: Scheduling in manufacturing can be complex, involving multiple resources, constraints and dependencies. Manual scheduling using static resources like Excel are time-consuming, prone to errors and out of date as soon as they are created. MES software simplifies scheduling by automating the process, taking into account factors like resource availability, production capacity and order priorities. This automation reduces manual effort and ensures that schedules are generated quickly and accurately.
- Limited production visibility: Without a centralised system, manufacturers have only limited production visibility, which can lead to inefficiencies. MES software provides real-time visibility into the status of resources, work orders and tasks. This visibility enables better coordination among different stakeholders (like operators, die setters and planners), ensuring that everyone can access an up-to-date schedule and make informed decisions about production.
- Changing production priorities: Manufacturers frequently face changing customer priorities, rush orders, or unforeseen events that require schedule adjustments. Manual scheduling processes make it difficult to quickly respond to such changes. MES software offers flexibility and agility in scheduling by allowing dynamic adjustments based on changing priorities. It can automatically reschedule tasks, allocate resources and reprioritize orders to accommodate urgent or high priority requests, minimizing disruption and chaos.
- Resource conflicts and bottlenecks: Scheduling without proper visibility and coordination often leads to resource conflicts and bottlenecks. For example, machines may be overbooked, workers may be assigned to conflicting tasks, die changes are not accommodated, or materials may be unavailable. MES software shows resource availability, capacity, and constraints in real-time, helping to identify and resolve conflicts. It allows planners to adjust task sequencing to optimize resources and reduce chaos and delays.
- Lack of communication and collaboration: Inefficient communication and collaboration between planners, operators and shifts can result in scheduling confusion and production errors. MES software provides a centralised platform for sharing scheduling information, machine notes and any shift updates. This collaborative approach ensures that production staff are aligned, reduces misunderstandings and promotes smoother production shifts. Read how Pact Packaging Albany uses AspectPL MES to communicate between shifts. Read more here.
- Inefficient utilisation of production capacity – OEE: Without proper scheduling, manufacturers may underutilise their production capacity or experience uneven workloads. MES software optimises production capacity by considering available resources, their capabilities and production requirements. It helps balance workloads, maximize equipment utilisation and avoid idle time. Many manufacturers measure efficiency with OEE or Overall Equipment Effectiveness. This is an industry wide measure. Read more about OEE here. With AspectPL manufacturers can measure OEE with the push of a button. By efficiently allocating resources and tasks, an MES ensures that production capacity is utilized to its full potential, leading to increased productivity and manufacturers get a better ROI on expensive production machinery.
- ERP integration and current data: Relying on outdated or inaccurate data for scheduling can lead to errors and disruptions. AspectPL MES integrates with any ERP ensuring that scheduling decisions are based on real-time, accurate data. Work orders are automatically extracted from the ERP and dropped into AspectPL for production. At completion, production data is automatically integrated back into the ERP. This integration reduces the chances of scheduling conflicts, improves decision-making and minimizes chaos caused by incorrect information.
MES software addresses scheduling pain points by automating and streamlining the process, providing real-time visibility and coordination, accommodating changing priorities, optimizing resource utilization, facilitating communication and collaboration, and ensuring accurate and up-to-date data. By implementing AspectPL MES software manufacturers can significantly improve the accuracy and ease of production scheduling and gain productivity.