Basis for determining the implementation of a production scheduler
*Whether the scheduler has already been implemented by many users
A production scheduler performs very complicated processing. Also, it is very difficult for a production scheduler to generate work instructions that can be actually used by the manufacturing floor. In that sense, if only a small number of schedulers are implemented and used by users, there may be problems that cannot be known in the consideration process such as bugs and troubles are likely to occur in difficult processing and minor features may not match actual needs of the manufacturing floor. Therefore, we recommend selecting a production scheduler that has already been implemented by many users.
*Whether the scheduler contributes to profit increase
A production scheduler is now not merely a tool to reduce human effort when creating production schedules. It is a tool that improves visualization, lead time shortening, inventory reduction, and cost reduction, which are the indexes that greatly affect final profits of companies. Therefore, these should also be considered goals when considering implementing computerized production scheduling.
*Whether entry and maintenance of master data can be easily done
When implementing a production scheduler, entry and maintenance of master data requires a lot of work. Therefore, whether the maintenance of master data is easy or not is a very important point. Most of those who work at factories are used to Microsoft Excel operations, and it would be advantageous to utilize this existing skill to smooth the adoption of a scheduler – and of course it would be a great benefit if data that already exists in Excel form can be quickly used in the scheduler. Asprova employs much compatibility with Excel such as copy/pasting, csv loading, and various chart manipulation features. Also, users tend to be attracted by the apparent simplicity of more ‘visual’ methods for editing data, but you should evaluate whether these are really practical for managing a large amount of data in actual operation.
*Whether the scheduler is rich in standard features
Usually, users tend to consider a scheduler based on whether it has necessary features when it is implemented. However, it always happens at factories that items are added, the line configuration is changed, and new machines are added. Therefore, new requirements for features will arise one after another even after implementating the scheduler. At that time, if the scheduler has a small number of standard features from the beginning and you have to depend on customization, it may be flexible but it will be costly. As a result, you may spend much more money on the scheduler than you expected. Therefore, a scheduler with many standard features is preferable even if you don’t need all of them right away.
*Whether the processing speed is high
Usually for production schedulers, the speed of scheduling one operation will slow if the amount of data (number of operations) increases. In other words, as the amount of data increases, the processing time will increase exponentially. However, if that happens in actual operation where the number of orders will gradually increase and the amount of data will increase due to manufacturing in small lots, it means that the processing will suddenly take a long time and work instructions may not be issued in time, which may result in suspension of using the scheduler. Therefore, it is important for the scheduler to keep the increase of processing time to a linear rate when the amount of data increases.
Asprova adopts a high-speed logic that enables maintaining high speed of scheduling one operation even when the number of operations increases.
*Whether sufficient support is available for implementating a production scheduler
Another point in evaluating a production scheduler is whether sufficient support is offered not only when selecting the package but also when implementing it. Our distributors have more than 10 years of experience in supporting the implementation of Asprova and some of them have assisted in dozens to hundreds of implementations. You should inquire about support from such reliable partners when you implement a production scheduler.
*Whether sufficient support system is available overseas (if you have manufacturing bases overseas)
Companies that have manufacturing bases overseas will probably eventually consider expanding the use of the production scheduler in the overseas factories. At that time, it will be important whether support centers exist in Asian countries such as China and also in Europe and the United States. Our overseas distributors have 3 to 7 years experience in providing support for production scheduling.