Scheduling a factory of any real size is a pain; there are so many moving parts that grasping the situation at any given time is a Herculean task. It’s tough even if you’re running one job at a time (and who has that luxury?).
What are the questions you’re trying to answer? Let’s imagine I’m trying to provide ten thousand one quart packets of soup for my best customer (because if chicken soup is good for the soul, then lots of it for my favorite customer should be even better for my balance sheet).
When do I need to deliver this to my customer? So when do I need it to leave my building to allow enough shipping time? Oh no, I don’t have any one quart packets in stock! When do I need to have the job finished to ensure I have time to do my QA? OK, now when do I need to order the raw materials? What about my labor force – who do I need to have ready and when?
Oh, raw materials! What’s in stock and what’s on order already? And what’s the shelf-life of those materials compared to the production time – will I need to start making the soup and then buy the last few ingredients closer to the day I need them? What was the lead time on that component? What about the packaging – I ship it out in bulk and subcontract the packaging into my retail-scale packs – how long do I need to leave in my schedule for transport and then the QA when it comes back! I’d better get back to my customer and tell them when they can expect their soup now; I hope they don’t mind the wait and I sure hope I got my guesswork right.
Even with all of these questions, this is still a fairly simple example. There are, quite literally, dozens of other questions that need to be answered and those answers are always changing. I need a better way.
What if I could simply click the “Available to Promise” button and get an answer?
The modern and well-configured ERP I just implemented with Enabling can take a look at all of my sources of supply (my stock on hand, my supplier’s stock on hand, my raw materials and jobs in production, whatever), as well as all of the demands upon my resources (other orders, other jobs in production, scheduled maintenance, workforce and skills, you name it) and all of the peripheral impacts (shipping and transport, quarantine, quality checks, buffer time between processes and more). With all of this information linked together in my single source of the truth, I have a system that can crunch the numbers for me in less time than it take me to dust off my calculator and provide me with the earliest possible date I can put soup on my customer’s shelves.
Maybe I’ll finally have the time to show our kitchen how to make chicken soup according to my mother’s recipe.
If you want to know more about how you can take the pain out of scheduling your factory with an ERP for food manufacturers, including Sage ERP X3 for food manufacturers, review our free case studies now.
John Haley is Business Development Manager at Enabling, a recognized leader in the provision and support of Business Management Software, Customer Relationship Management Software, Business Intelligence Solutions and Cloud solutions throughout Australia and New Zealand.