Our customers are manufacturing companies with a complicated, multi-stage production process, with both dedicated and mass orders. These companies needed to computerize and optimize their production processes and tools that would create production plans. The reason for this was, among others, the fact that they increased their production volume to such an extent that it was no longer possible to develop and manage a production plan by using ordinary tools.
The problem - lacking a good production plan
Creating a production plan requires many activities and depends on many factors like dependencies between batches, estimated time of their implementation, machine availability, etc. Production planning without the right tools is cumbersome and suboptimal. A good production plan must give the possibility of frequent changes in order to adapt it to real-time information – e.g. additional orders, production problems, lack of raw materials to carry out the planned order, failure of machines, etc. Without a good production plan, the company is uncompetitive.
VL’s team has created a process management system for the manufacturing companies that reproduces all major processes. Thanks to the use of Domain-Driven Design and cooperation with manufacturing companies, we were able to develop a generic model of the factory operations, which can be easily customized and expanded.
1. Implementation - process modeling
The system allows modeling of the production process and related processes that affect it (internal logistics, raw material orders, etc.). This process is modeled in the form of a dependence graph. Each element of the graph has information that enables estimating the duration. These elements can be both events that require some intermediate/raw material, and also can represent product delivery events at a specific place and time.
Based on our generic basis, we have already modeled several production processes in this way.
2. Production process
The production process differs between companies and we can customize dedicated production processes at the implementation stage.
By starting production, we create production batches. After receiving the order, as the subsequent information is specified, the system creates batch dependencies in accordance with the implemented process. We are gradually creating in this way a full graph of dependencies, with information about when exactly and in what quantity given materials will be needed. In this way, we create a pull system that reduces the need for buffers. Representation of the current and planned flow of raw materials and the works that will be performed on them is a tool for applying lean management across internal task & supply chain.
Based on the expected date of order fulfillment and dependencies between batches (e.g. machine retooling time between batches), production batches are queued on individual machines. Queues can change in real-time – when some new event occurs (like new order, production delays, etc.) the system displays insights for the production manager regarding the modification of the production plan.
More precise real-time planning.
Production planning in accordance with lean manufacturing methodology.
Automatic queuing of tasks based on dependencies, deadlines, etc.
Modeling enables the adaptation of this planning module to each production industry.
Reducing buffers needed on various stages of the process – real-time plan prioritizes producing outputs that can be further processed first.
Years of cooperation with manufacturing companies allow us to build solid expertise in the modeling production process. Due to the fact that manufacturing clients are very demanding nowadays, our competence can be applied to almost any similar company or industry.
The problem of planning occurs in every company. The larger the company is (more processes, employees, etc.) then the bigger planning issues are. So it’s crucial to have a good system to handle it – like ours!