Improved Lead Time and Scheduling Performance in Manufacturing
Managing Director at SupplySquare, former Global Director of SCM at Dana Holding Corporation.
Success in the off-highway drivetrain business for OEMs depends not only on the technological competence but also depends heavily on the ability to deliver fast and on time. Short lead times and excellent due date performance are key performance indicators. Moreover, the high technology product line is faced with an increased product proliferation with small volume production in a highly uncertain assemble-to-order environment.
At the start of the project, the manufacturing layout had a typical job shop arrangement and the ERP system turned out to be unfit to deal with capacity problems and detailed scheduling.
A team of KU Leuven was asked to develop a finite capacity scheduling system to remedy the scheduling problem. Pretty fast, the team found out that, although finite schedulers are powerful tools, the full leverage effect and the long term impact of the modeling effort could only be obtained by embedding the finite scheduling routine in a much broader context. This broader context led to the development of an OR tool to answer questions such as: what are realistic lead time estimations, what are lead time minimizing lot sizes, what impact does a layout change like cell manufacturing have on lead times, what is the impact of order acceptance, work release and due date assignment on the performance of the scheduling system, what safety time buffer do we have to use?
All of these questions are related to planning and analysis. Installing a finite scheduling system alone won't do the job. The real problems are rooted at a higher, more aggregated, decision level; issues such as lot sizing, capacity structure, order acceptance and release policies are to be settled first.