Backward or Forward Scheduling to Optimize Production?

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When it comes to production planning, backward and forward scheduling each have their pros and cons. What’s best for job shops and manufacturers?

For those in manufacturing that rely on schedules to manage production, you’re likely familiar with backward versus forward scheduling. This article will briefly touch on the two concepts and how they relate to managing schedules.

Backward Scheduling

Backward scheduling is based on knowing the order’s due date and then working backward to know when to begin producing the order. For example, if the due date for a customer’s order is in 10 days and it takes six days to make the order, the manufacturing process must begin in four days. Backward scheduling can be problematic if an order is due in four days and it takes eight days to produce because the start date will be in the past.

Forward Scheduling

On the other hand, forward scheduling is production planning based on when resources are available to determine the shipping or due date. Forward scheduling will tell you when and how to manufacture something based on the resources available today. For example, planners will look for the first available resources and schedule the manufacturing process rather than prolonging the process to align with the due date.

What is best for Job Shops and Manufacturers?

In general, forward scheduling is better than backward scheduling in manufacturing. Forward scheduling allows production planners to see potential issues and solve them before they become problems. Backward scheduling can be more challenging to manage and create bottlenecks in the production process.

Insight Works offers the MxAPS app that enables smaller job shops and machine shops to create forward finite production schedules based on today’s available resources. It creates realistic production schedules without relying on people to understand all of the scheduling details. MxAPS increases your labor and equipment utilization rates while meeting deadlines.

To learn more about forward scheduling with MxAPS, check out the following video or visit http://MfgScheduling.com.

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