Production correction plans using state-of-the-art tools and methods

Many companies say they 'have a good ERP package' and 'plan production', but is that really the case? Sirris is starting an intensive campaign in Flanders to support SMEs with a wide range of production planning and to bring them up to the required level.

The importance of production planning

Planning requires making estimates about how long specific orders will take to complete so that the production capacity of the production equipment can be ascertained. This is necessary for calculating the resources required over both short and long terms and therefore provide customers with attainable supply times. 

However, production planning is also required to give management the necessary business intelligence about whether a customer's order is on budget in relation to what has been realized (estimated and actual costs). We don't just want to know how we are doing at the end of each month.

Without planning you simply can't operate properly as a subcontractor in a supply chain. Without having to change it a number of times, what would a reasonable supply date be for your customers? Can you do this with state-of-the-art? Or if you already have production planning, do you still need a self regulating pull system on the shop floor? Absolutely! 

When there's no planning ...

Around 60% of manufacturing companies still have not gone far enough regarding knowledge, methods and tools, allowing them to control production more efficiently by applying state-of-the-art planning. This fact has emerged from Agoria and Sirris' business contacts, as well as numerous Made-Different-programme events and within the 'Speed as a competitive weapon' Learning Network. 

Examples of symptoms of production planning that has gone awry include, a lack of the formal job function of production planner, production planning at the wrong level (with the person responsible for production on the shop floor), production orders released as soon as they are created in a 'system', difficulty with estimating process and lead times, etc. 

These companies have to deal with increasing pressure from the market to diversify and expand their range of products and services. This results in increasingly complex management and control of the production activities, which in turn can make an enormous impact. 

One of the most important questions here concerns proper tooling and resources (ERP, scheduler, MES aspects, etc.), which within a business context are feasible in terms of the budget and simultaneously offering significant added value (functionality). 

Tools, collaboration and advice

Sirris has set up a project aimed at providing answers to this question. The innovation aims with production planning and control, are to provide companies with expertise-based and product-independent advice within a short space of time with respect to both having the appropriate tools (software/hardware) and also finding potential partners with whom the company can collaborate so that the tools can be put to work. The ultimate aim is to arrive at a position where companies can make use of the proper systems and components within a short period of time. 

One of the project aims is to help companies who are having difficulty coping with the growing complexity that is occurring simultaneously because of the diversification and widening of the range of products and services they have to offer. It also includes companies who are suffering from high overheads (order administration, planners, production chiefs, line managers, as well as too much time spent on coordinating and fire-fighting) and also high indirect costs (excessive material handling). 

Specific campaigns

Sirris wants to bring as many Flemish/Belgian SMEs as possible up to the correct level with respect to production planning, thereby preparing them for creating supply times that are as short as possible and also optimising control on the shop floor. This must put them into a position where they can retain their competitiveness against foreign companies. 

This project includes the possibility of having Sirris experts visit your company twice: once so that they can familiarise themselves with your operation, and based on this, the drawing up of recommendations including potential improvements, or indeed answers to specific questions you may have. The recommendations are explained in greater detail on the second visit. If Sirris is able to help you in one of the selected directions, then it is clearly an opportunity to make a proposal. 

Furthermore, Sirris has set up a discussion group on LinkedIn. This is where you can share your experiences, as well as initiate discussions with other companies. This includes the methodology, as well as IT tools (ERP/APS/MES, WMS and stock management), the data structures needed for planning, etc. Sirris helps SMEs: they can help themselves to a treasure trove of knowledge collected from countless research and business projects!   

What we want to achieve?

  • higher levels of supply reliability
  • significant reductions in stock levels and lead times
  • reduction of material handling activities, including internal transport and storage
  • significant increases in production efficiency (OEE - overall equipment effectiveness).
  • moreover, when investing, interventions can lead to creating relevant improvements to the ROI

Do you recognise your own circumstances here, is this relevant, or would you prefer to receive more information on any issue within this area? Then contact Mark van Pee

This project is supported by IWT.