Clogged Production Capacity
Promise made; Promise kept. This is one of the most important concepts in business. You need to count on your vendors and your customers need to count on you. This is doubly true when we are taking about Lean, JIT, or Agile manufacturing methodologies. When you tell your customers that the order is going to be delivered on a certain day, having that order be even a day late can mess up entire production chains. Entire shops have seen themselves get shuttered because of under-delivering. The truth is that even the most loyal of customers will stop knocking on your door when they cannot count on you to keep your word.
Snowballing Capacity Issues
Like any problem in manufacturing, a small issue in one area is often a sign that things are not working well elsewhere. In the case of late orders, the problems that are causing it can be legion and the problems that can arise as you try to minimize those lates can be even worse, like:
- Rushing production
- Avoiding maintenance
- Skimping on inspections
- Hurrying warehouse staff
- Exhausting staff
Or, perhaps the most important first casualty of a hurried workplace, compromising safety.
Next thing you know the couple of rush orders you had are multiplying as your other problems stack up as quality degrades and staff are injured or exhausted into taking sick leave. As the troubled times go on, your customer service and sales team are too busy putting out their own fires.
Of course, late orders are part of business, however they should be the exception, not the norm. An occasional late order due to unforeseen or impossible circumstances, like the recent global supply chain woes, are entirely understandable. However, a company that plans accordingly can ensure that even extraneous events are more of a walk uphill instead of a mountain climb.
Cleaning up the Mess
There are many tools available to the modern manufacturer to help in planning and scheduling that leave your team comfortable in the knowledge that they did everything they could to get the orders out to your customers for the promised delivery date. All of them will be included in a state-of-the-art Manufacturing Enterprise Resource Planner, or MERP:
- MRP – Material Resource Planning helps you plan when you need to order materials from your suppliers so that you can get your orders out in time
- RCP – Rough-Cut Capacity Planning is used to generate long term plans of what you need to fill your sales orders and is often based off forecasting
- DCP – Dynamic Capacity Planning helps you determine what you need in the near-term (like temp workers, overtime, or tool reassignment) to ensure your orders for the coming weeks are ready on time
- MES – Manufacturing Execution System is used to manage your production lines and execute your orders on time.
These are other tools that are part of an MERP, however you are here for help with capacity planning.
How OnRamp Helps
OnRamp ERP is an example of a good idea let loose. Starting as an internal project at a mid-sized manufacturer (Mancor), OnRamp ERP was developed to improve internal operations. When a vendor of Mancor saw the product in action, they wanted to implement it. When an executive at Mancor left, he wanted to take it with him. This is how OnRamp Solutions started. By changing manufacturers for the better. And one of the big things that you have to do well in manufacturing is plan your capacity to ensure that you are ready for your customers.
At our customers, the OnRamp ERP RCP module was there to help them plan for expanding orders coming in from their customers. This led to acquiring new facilities and tools, along with a hiring drive that has led to a strong performance that has persisted for decades even through the recent economic slump. By having the tools to better forecast customer demand, OnRamp ERP users are able to plan for what is required to meet, or exceed their customer demands.
With the OnRamp DCP module, the managers can view their upcoming orders at a glance and understand what they have in stock to meet those orders. This allows the managers to plan for the weeks ahead and adjust scheduling accordingly. One of the benefits of using an all-in-one tool like OnRamp ERP is that all your information is in one central database. What this means for capacity planning is that you know all your options, like:
- With access to Skills information, you will know which of your staff are ready to take on the important jobs and which ones can help out when you are in a crunch
- With Time and Attendance, you will know if those staff are available for the work at hand and how much it might cost to add hours to complete an order
- With visual Work Order Scheduling, you can see at a glace what work orders are planned, when they will finish, what other work centers can perform the work, which orders are early, on-time, or late. And you can quickly move the scheduled orders around to ensure the lates are rare
- With access to Maintenance, you can review the maintenance work orders and, if necessary, move them to later or earlier in the week to ensure your tools are kept healthy
- With MRP, you know what items you have in stock and if you need to add a rush purchase order to ensure you have the material on hand to complete the orders
These are the type of benefits you can get from an MERP that was built from the ground up to include all your operations into one single system. With a well implemented MERP, you can plan in a way that ensures your production capacity is always enough for your orders and that will allow you to plan ahead on how you can improve that capacity to meet added customer demand from your improved customer satisfaction. Contact us today to find out how OnRamp Solutions can help you.
OnRamp’s Capacity module features:
- Visual work order scheduling for regular work centers and nests for weeks or months ahead
- Easy to use and understand capacity dashboards
- Late order tracking
- Manpower levels, including upcoming shortages or excess
- Suggested upcoming overtime
- Subcontracted operations and workers
- Planned maintenance downtime
- Work center grouping
- Weekly progress reporting
- Capacity percentage calculations
- Adjustable manpower limits