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Planning your Factory more Easily than Christmas Dinner

Planning your Factory more Easily than Christmas Dinner

Christmas dinner is an integral part of the 25th December. There’s a high chance that you’ll be attempting to cook the perfect roast, especially if you’re cooking for other people too. You know that your turkey has to go in the oven before your sprouts, that’s obvious. However, the mental planning you have done is all jumbled up because of the day’s festivities. You can’t remember whether your roast spuds are meant to go in at quarter to or quarter past the hour! They could burn to a crisp whilst you’re still working your magic on the gravy if you don’t do it at the right time!

With all the festive commotion that Christmas dinner causes, there’s nothing worse than going to work and it being chaotic. You have multiple machines to work and new orders coming in over the busy period. We know that this makes it difficult to undertake efficient planning for your factory. Let’s rewind a few days.

Planning for your factory the week before Christmas

You enter the factory the week before Christmas day with the best intentions to remain on target and deliver all jobs on-time in full. You currently use Excel to complete your planning because it’s easy to use and you already have it installed. It’s a good option… or so it seems. However, you’ve spent hours inputting data into the spreadsheet and come in the following day to realise that it didn’t save properly. Now, all of your hard work has vanished and you have to start again. You prepare a new schedule, taking machinery and priority jobs into account. Now it’s just about sticking to it, right?

Unfortunately, the chances are that after just a few hours of your meticulous organising, you need to start again. Whether you have employee absences, an urgent order being received, a machine fault or a missed delivery, your schedule is out of the window. You now need to work hard to correct this before anything else happens.

Once your schedule is rebuilt, your employees continue working. At the end of your shift, you go home to get your shopping list for Christmas Dinner and head to the supermarket. As you’re walking through the aisles, you clock that a lot of the items will be out of date before the big day. So, you decide to revisit just before Christmas Eve.

The downfall of spreadsheets

On your return to work the following day, it’s time to catch up with employees. However, the manager is off and now you have to spend time on the shop floor working out what has been completed. You don’t know whether yesterday’s jobs were completed on-time and in full. An employee informs you that the manager made another copy of the schedule, but you can’t find it on your computer. There are multiple versions floating round, and you don’t want to work on an outdated copy – all the information will be wrong.

It’s now the 23rd December, and your day is extremely busy as a machine breaks down, causing an emergency fix. Following this, you have spent hours on planning for your factory to ensure priority jobs are still delivered on time. You now need to get some last-minute fresh produce for the perfectly planned Christmas dinner. The first one you visit has sold out of cream, and you absolutely cannot serve your Christmas pudding without it! You also remember that (from past experience) the turkeys are better in the local farm shop. You decide to head to the nearest shop for the cream, and then go and buy your turkey.

By the time you get to the farm shop, it’s closed! You had checked the opening hours online prior to visiting, so you knew that you wouldn’t be too late. However, there’s a note on the door stating that they had to close two days ago due to a member of the team testing positive for COVID-19. You had no idea as this wasn’t communicated online. You now have no turkey and it’s Christmas Eve tomorrow, meaning all of the shops close early! What an unexpected disaster.

Luckily, a member of your household bubble manages to buy a turkey from another shop on Christmas Eve. Phew! It’s a relief. However, you know that if you had better planning with updated information, then this issue wouldn’t have occurred. This reminds you of a similar situation in the factory…

Planning your factory orders digitally

Here at Fitfactory, we’re better at eating Christmas dinner than helping you to organise it. However, we do have a solution for your manufacturing needs. We can offer you Europe’s leading scheduling platform that can solve all of the discussed issues with planning for your factory. Our software has the capacity to juggle hundreds of jobs simultaneously whilst taking resource availability and priority orders into account.

You will no longer need guesswork to decide whether you should accept that potential order just before Christmas. Our Scheduler will allow you to conduct a what-if analysis on jobs before you accept them. So, you can view the effect on the shop floor and ensure that you have the resources to deliver to the agreed delivery date.

Machinery often breaks down if it’s overworked. You probably know that, but you may not know that a scheduling system can help this. Our Scheduler can work out maintenance checks by analysing the expected usage of each machine. You can then use the system to plan orders automatically around machine downtime, subsequently optimising your productivity. Our Scheduler will also enable you to create groups that work together to improve your planning process. You can group machines together that do the same job and decide later which job each one will run. This would be a daunting manual task in Excel, whereas our software will split jobs between machines whilst maintaining full traceability.

There will be no more worries about saving work properly or having multiple versions of your schedule. The software works with real-time information, giving you confidence when planning. You can automatically schedule jobs in an optimal pattern so you improve on key KPIs such as OTIF and customer satisfaction. You can work on performance and WIP status with the drag and drop builder, making it simple to understand your capacity limits and optimise the factory.

Plan the best present for your factory

With proven success in improving customer retention and OTIF delivery with our existing customers, why not treat your factory to the best planning present that they could ask for this Christmas? You’ll be wishing you had a similar programme for making the perfect Christmas dinner! Interested in how to electronically capture your Christmas Data, or how to organise your factory for Christmas? Take a look at our other Christmas blog posts.

For more information on our Scheduling software, get in touch with the team today.

If you enjoyed this article, why not spin our Christmas wreath for a chance to win an eBook of our Christmas stories?

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