Production Scheduling Software

What is Production Scheduling Software?

Production scheduling software helps manufacturers track and make informed decisions about short-term and day-to-day production operations. Production scheduling software may be used as a standalone system but often is paired with production planning software, which manufacturers use to conduct long and mid-term planning for their manufacturing facilities. Both production scheduling software and production planning software in modern manufacturing operations management (MOM) solutions are offered as part of an advanced planning and scheduling (APS) software system (see also: Manufacturing Scheduling Software).

The purpose of production scheduling software is to minimize production time and costs while maximizing efficiency. These objectives are accomplished when production scheduling software determines the optimum sequence of operations in order to reduce set-up times and changeovers. Efficient production scheduling in manufacturing is accomplished in this software solution through advanced algorithms that balance demand and capacity and generate achievable production schedules.

Production scheduling software enables manufacturers to optimize the schedule of machines, production lines, and resources, and it is also used in services and logistics. Production scheduling includes daily schedules for individual machines or teams, and it enables manufacturers to quickly and intelligently respond to unexpected changes, while also satisfying customer demands with shorter lead times. Orders can be scheduled quickly using intelligent built-in rules. Production scheduling software also provides decision-making support for overtime, order prioritization, split production batches, due date negotiation, and order processing.

Production scheduling software has proven to be a successful tool in a broad spectrum of business sectors, including aerospace, automotive, engineering, food and beverages, and consumer goods.

Man looking at a computer that is running a production scheduling software system.

Production Scheduling in Manufacturing: How it works

Production scheduling software uses advanced math to analyze and calculate optimal production schedules, taking into account a range of constraints based on a company’s business rules. It generates an accurate model of the manufacturing environment, including up-to-date information about the manufacturing resources needed to meet scheduling demands: people, equipment, raw materials, incoming components from suppliers, and more. Functionality of production scheduling software typically includes:

  • Modeling of advanced resource constraints, such as concurrent usage rules and limits on the time between operations
  • Implementation of custom rules about material allocation and consumption
  • Employment of schedule optimization rules to address issues such as minimizing changeover times, implementing preferred sequencing, and campaigning
  • Altering of the database schema and constraint models to solve specific scheduling problems
  • Creation of order-based multi-constraint scheduling to prioritize orders

Production scheduling software includes graphical views that enable schedulers to visualize assembly processes from raw materials through to finished goods and sales orders. Production scheduling software also enables visibility of the schedule across the business enterprise while controlling viewing and editing permissions. This functionality allows the sales office to track order progress, the management team to assess actual versus scheduled completion times, and shop floor personnel to view up-to-the-minute work-to lists generated by the production scheduling system.

Production scheduling software applies both to discrete manufacturing operations and to continuous processes. An example of the latter is accurately modeling the capacity, inflow, and outflow of storage and bright beer tanks used in a brewery. Continuing the brewery illustration, Production Scheduling software generates a schedule that includes the sequence of packaging on each line, the filling and emptying events at each bright beer tank, and the materials used in terms of fermented beer. Results of Production scheduling in this example are minimized filter cleans, minimized changeover times on the packing lines, and efficient satisfaction of tank cleaning requirements.

Benefits of production scheduling software

Production scheduling software increases utilization and on-time delivery while reducing inventory levels and waste. Optimal synchronization of manufacturing processes and greater visibility of scheduling events and issues are two major benefits of Production scheduling software.

Additional benefits:

  • Full visibility and control

  • Increased utilization and leaner operations

  • Faster response to change

  • Better customer service

  • Higher margins

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