It goes without saying that to accomplish a goal, you need a plan. For formula manufacturers, that plan includes strategic scheduling. Without a schedule, nothing will get done accurately and on time.
Formula manufacturers have always benefited from some level of scheduling. Traditionally, those schedules were done manually. But as your business expands, manual processes will no longer serve you well. You’ll find that they actually become a burden as they slow down your entire process.
Consider the two primary scheduling components: the production schedule and the shop floor schedule.
How Can Dynamics ERP Manage the Production Schedule
Your production schedule outlines the items you will manufacture, the quantities, and the beginning and end date for each scheduled product.
The production schedule doesn’t assign resources such as machines or labor. Usually, it measures capacity and available materials against order demand and provides an overview of what you will make and when you will complete it.
The Shop Floor Schedule
Shop floor scheduling breaks down a work order into its individual operations and assigns a start and completion time for each step. It is typically used in manufacturing to schedule work orders, which tell you what to make and how to make it. It requires a valid bill of materials and correct routing.
This schedule identifies what resources you need and how you will use them. It also catalogs any dependencies required for running an item.
Once all this was done with spreadsheets. Dynamics ERP solutions and Vicinity Software streamline shop floor scheduling through automation, saving valuable time you would otherwise spend on manual data entry.
A detailed shop floor manufacturing schedule is the document shift supervisors work from to direct the line supervisors. It is often limited to 1-5 days out.
These two schedules are necessary to convert raw materials to finished goods accurately and in an orderly manner. No doubt, your formula manufacturing business employs such schedules. So, the questions you should consider are:
How much time are you spending preparing the schedule?
Most small and mid-sized formula manufacturers build their schedules with Microsoft Excel or similar tools. Data for the schedule is gathered manually from printed or electronic sales orders, inventory counts, and strategic guesses of future orders based on history or experience.
Excel spreadsheets and manual entry are not necessarily bad. It depends on the complexity of your business and how efficiently you would like it to run. It should work fine if you manufacture the same products, in the same quantities, and in the same order.
But, if lot sizes change, the variety of products widens, and lead times vary, a non-integrated “back of an envelope” approach may not work anymore.
Vicinity Uses Dynamics 365 to Help Formula Manufacturers Become More Efficient
When introducing electronic scheduling tools, you must be very careful to select the appropriate tool. The solution should read open sales orders, forecasts, and quantities on hand. For formula manufacturers, the scheduling tool must understand the formula and the resources required (machines, employees, and technology). This data is often more detailed than the ERP data and requires integration with tools specifically designed for formula manufacturing, such as Vicinity Software’s VicinityChem, VicinityFood, and VicinityBrew.
Choose the tool that best integrates with your Microsoft Dynamics ERP solution and is user-friendly for your employees.
Nest Step for Formula Manufacturers
If you recognize the benefits and have the rest of your production and ERP system under control, adding an electronic scheduling tool may be the right next step. Be sure to maintain your manual system as the primary scheduler until the new system has made the manual one obsolete. Your manual system has gotten you to this point, but you may be outgrowing it.
Vicinity introduced the first software product written exclusively for formula or batch manufacturers who use Microsoft Dynamics ERP solutions.
Contact our experts at Vicinity Software to learn more about how Vicinity Software can improve Formula Manufacturers’ scheduling.
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