One of the most complicated parts of being in the manufacturing industry is managing production times. As a vital part of a supply chain, each company relies on another to stay on a schedule and do their part to complete the job. The most successful companies have a plan that is realistic and well organized to make sure they are meeting all their goals. There are five main things to consider when learning how to optimize your production schedule; forecasting, managing inventory, efficiency evaluation, equipment, and training.
Every good schedule starts with a plan. While there is no way to plan for every possible problem that can happen, it’s better to plan a little extra time into a plan for possible complications. It is also possible to prepare for certain types of demands. Looking at historical data and doing a little bit of research can leave your company more prepared for various demands.
If you have put in the time to forecast properly, you can avoid duplication of effort, limited equipment use, and conflict demands. Have an internal system that notifies others if there is a scheduling conflict. Have the oversight to manage equipment and supplies available to avoid double booking projects or running out of space during a peak season.
Proper forecast and doing some preparation will help you avoid costly mistakes like setbacks and terrible customer experiences.
Inventory control is an important part of manufacturing because companies must keep enough on hand to keep the business going, but not too much that you end up with large storage problems. It has never been easier to manage inventory stores than it is today with all the different software programs available to help keep track of supplies and historical data.
The best way to manage inventory is a process that:
This is one continuous cycle that might change through the year with peak seasons and availability of materials and machines.
Efficiency is the name of the game when deciding standard practices for your manufacturing business. Once you have worked on a process, you find the most efficient way to do a task. This happens in every home with household chores, every commuter who drives the same route, and manufacturers completed the same tasks.
You learn the best order, pieces, and timing when you have done a task enough. Managing your standard practices involves finding the tasks you do every day, or just an average day, and then make it a standardized practice. This helps you know a timeframe for completing the tasks in a predictable, reliable way that is most efficient which can be passed on to others.
Managing equipment becomes a natural step to creating a plan and standardizing your practices. Learning to anticipate periods of heavy use helps your company to spread out jobs to manage power use and conflicts to scheduling.
An important part of manufacturing equipment is servicing the equipment to prevent breakdowns. If you can schedule this in during non-peak production times, it will help prevent problems when you most need the machines. There are all types of conditions that can influence this decision, including temperatures, seasons, holidays, and energy usage.
If possible, spread the workload out to reduce chances of overworking your equipment. This can be done by buying multiple machines, using more than one facility, or rotating machinery.
Manufacturing companies are required to complete many different safety certifications and inspections because there are so many risks. It is important to protect your workers and your reputations by providing sufficient, regular training to your workers.
Training is not just about safety. This gives you an opportunity to make sure processes are being taught and run in the most efficient way possible. During these times, you can also do quality control and inspections to evaluate areas you can improve. Setting expectations can go a long way when done before bad work habits are established.
It also provides a way for workers to communicate with managers, directors, and company leaders. Since they are the ones doing a lot of the footwork, it is important to let them know they have a voice. Ideas are a great way to innovate your practices and improve processes.
Using schedules to plan and schedule your operations will save you time and money. Avoiding the possibility of losing a job, having an unhappy customer, and possible injuries or setbacks will save your company time and money. As all manufacturers know, time is money and everyone could use more of both.