Production Scheduling Software for Small Manufacturers

MRPeasy Helps to Schedule your Production Accurately

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What is production scheduling?

Scheduling refers to the arrangement and planning of various processes involved in the production process or manufacturing process which includes the arrangement, control, and optimization of work, labor allocation and workloads.

Scheduling exists for the purpose of allocating general resources within factories, as well as managing and allocating resources for machines, the planning of human resources, the planning of production processes, and the purchasing of materials used for production.

Production-scheduling

What is production planning?

Production planning refers to the planning of manufacturing and production within a manufacturing firm. It ensures that firms have enough raw materials, human resources, etc to make sure that they are able to develop and finalize products, within a predefined and agreed schedule.

Production planning involves making decisions for and figuring out what types of products need to be produced for a given period, the amount of a product that needs to be produced, the time-frame for when this production needs to occur (and the length of it), which raw materials are required to achieve this, and then the scheduling of this product once all of the aforementioned things have been established.

More information about production planning.

Why is production planning and scheduling important?

Production planning and scheduling exist so that manufacturers can optimize their process flows, ensuring that they achieve the maximum level of efficiency. This is achieved by ensuring that all orders that are received are completed with absolute efficiency, as well as minimizing or removing any chance of delays or potential interruptions that might occur.

A comprehensive production planning process will involve tracking and monitoring your team members, raw materials, workstations, processes, and supplies, making sure that they are tracked with complete accuracy. It is not enough to simply possess figures or measurements. You must also have a clear understanding of how every aspect and part of your manufacturing processes work and interact with each other, and how they can be made to work together in the most optimal way possible.

Therefore, manufacturing firms require production planning tools that work for them, meaning that they find software which can cater to their unique needs, and which do not require them to adjust their processes, but rather, get them to optimize and improve.

There is an extensive range of production planning tools available to manufacturing companies in the markets; however, the vast majority of them are targeted at large-scale manufacturing firms. 

Moreover, these systems are often far too complex to be used for smaller manufacturers. Elsewhere, manufacturers have the option of spreadsheet-style software (also known as ‘off-the-shelf software’) such as Microsoft Excel.  This type of software is simply not complex or flexible enough to accommodate manufacturers if they are aiming to achieve greater efficiency within their production planning, as it provides very little opportunities to analyze or optimize your processes.

Why is scheduling important for production processes?

Scheduling is an important stage when planning a production process. By scheduling, the organizations can allocate resources within a given timeframe in the most efficient way.

The raw materials, inputs and spare parts are evenly distributed within the timeframe. Imagine that your company buys an item in a given lot size, just because it was a good deal, but you don’t know if it is going to be used or not. Rather than being a good deal, it would be an inefficient purchasing. Since there was no coordination with other areas of the company to determine the moment the goods are required.

The labor is distributed evenly along a month, a week and a day, according to the production needs and product volumes. You can manage properly the labor hours by assigning in anticipation of extra hours. You can increase the shift dimension when the company foresees an increasing product demand. So, you will take the opportunity to provide training or discard the temporal labor when product demand decreases.

The warehouses and distribution centers have the right amount of stock. The stocks won't be too less to incur on merchandise stock-out nor too many to carry inventory cost in excess. On the other side, the products will be in the right position. Your warehouse corridors won’t be full of obstacles or you won’t store the coming goods in the most unexpected rooms!

There’s a room for R&D and Marketing to introduce innovative products. Operations can coordinate with them to find the most suitable time to make tests, use the production lines and give place to the innovation.

The financial resources and investments are assigned correctly to the right project or the right product. By considering this, you will ensure the highest return. At the same time, it allows the organization to have enough financial resources to afford the day-to-day functioning. That will prevent the company from falling into a lack of funds or recurring to high-interest rate loans in the market.

What are the main things to consider when scheduling the production of products?

When scheduling the production of products consider the following points

Labor. Ensure that your labor is available in the needed quantity and not absent. Ensure they have the proper training and they know how to operate the machinery and the equipment.

Material. Ensure that you have all the raw materials and sub-assemblies on hand, with the right quality. Have the material waiting on hand and foot.  It’s a goal that every company needs to achieve.

Spare Parts. The previous point considered the materials that conform to the final product. What about all the machinery spare parts, inputs that equipment needs to run properly, like lubricants? Ensure all the spare parts and inputs are in place in the quality and quantity required.

Machinery and Equipment. Is the machinery available and ready to be used?

An effective maintenance team has to be in place to ensure the machinery runs when the company decides and not vice versa. A proper mix of preventive and predictive maintenance may help to reduce machinery failures and breakdowns. Ensure that the machinery is available and operates under the basic conditions.

  • The bearings are running properly.
  • The equipment is clean.
  • The filters are clean.
  • There is lubrication maintenance done.
  • The wearable parts had been changed.

A suitable maintenance planning is highly recommended!

Energy. The machinery runs with compressed air, but the compressor is broken. There are continuous blackouts and a lack of electricity or not enough gas pressure in the pipelines. These simple examples help to understand undesired situations that often happen. A mix of correct maintenance and engineering planning needs to be in place to ensure all the energy services are available.

Management. It’s very important to consider this point. Many times, the machinery, the staff, and the materials are waiting for the management decision.

“What are we going to produce now and how many pieces do we need?”

MRP system help with solving this issue. Yet, it requires the presence and commitment of the manufacturing planning team.

Space. Ensure that the spaces within and around the workstations are free of obstacles. This is part of the good manufacturing practices that every organization needs to have in place. Thus, the machinery and the work-in-progress materials are in the right place, and the materials stored in the warehouse.

Time. Finally, but not the least important, is the resource call timing. This is the heart of the production scheduling process and, by taking this in mind; organizations will gain productivity and efficiency.

Why is Excel & spreadsheet-based software inefficient for production planning and scheduling?

Excel is a very well-known and flexible tool to be used for production planning and scheduling. But when you go deeper into the planning and scheduling process, you’ll figure out that there are some disadvantages. The software becomes inefficient. Here are some of the highlighted disadvantages:

Files became too heavy

You see how Excel software is becoming heavier and heavier by adding more functions. You may have lots of vlookups, macros and at the same time, you see your Excel file sizing tons of megabytes or even gigabytes. This converts the production planning and scheduling improper and difficult to handle. You wait a long time until the Excel is opened or the software is unable to open because the Excel file is too large. This is a sign that Excel is not useful and you need to take some actions by implementing an MRP software solution.

There’s a lack of function integration

Let’s say that the Manufacturing Planning Team is running the MRP. They expect to get the material explosion and to release the work orders. As you’ll see, the integration with Purchasing and Production becomes more difficult. The communication is not effective since the data tends to go in a one-way direction.

You might find the article about how to go from Excel to Manufacturing Software / MRP System helpful.

Both, the Purchasing department and the Production department are active planning members. Consider that they also contribute real-time to get the best production output.

Difficulties when many people manage the software

Let’s assume that you don’t struggle with the file size or with the lack of integration. Yet there´s a problem of time overlap. Two different members cannot see the software updated in real-time as they need the other to save and close the file. When more than two members take part in this, the synchronization becomes a crucial problem. It reduces the valuable time that the managers and planners have. The organization will lose time and the outdated information will lead to erroneous results.

MRPeasy Helps to Schedule your Production Accurately

Production scheduling software makes production planning easy and helps your business to stay on top of production operations.

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Quick and simple production scheduling

  • One click to convert a customer order (CO) to a manufacturing order (MO), or just click “Create a manufacturing order” to create it from scratch.
  • Since the BOM, purchasing, and stocking is managed in one place, you can just book the items in stock and automatically raise POs for purchased parts.
  • Having routing and current works managed in one place allows MRPeasy to check the availability of workstations and automatically do the scheduling for you.
  • Follow all your manufacturing operations on one dashboard and stay on top of materials availability, order status, the number of products and work order start date and finish date.

Visual production schedule and drag-and-drop rescheduling

  • A visual production schedule for manufacturing orders or individual work orders helps the production manager stay on top of the entire manufacturing process.
  • Personal work schedules for shop floor workers and material handlers help the team to stay on top of their tasks, and there is no need for manually updating the schedules.
  • Just drag-and-drop an order to new times and MRPeasy will automatically check resources availability, consider constraints and schedule the order to where it can be done.
  • Alternatively, follow your production schedule on Gantt charts and use the drag-and-drop functionality for rescheduling.

All business functions are closely connected

  • The whole manufacturing process is tightly connected, so when the customers change orders, vendors don’t ship on time or work orders take more time than planned, MRPeasy helps you stay on top of the process and immediately takes action.
  • The production schedule is color-coded; for example, the red text means that not all materials are allocated + one click to open the manufacturing order to check the details.
  • Allow workers to follow their tasks and report via “My production plan” on a central MES system, via laptop, via tablet, or any other mobile device.
  • Have one dashboard to monitor late COs, late MOs, late POs, min. stock, sales performance and more.

Integrated Production Scheduling Software for Business Growth

  • Production Planning

    Accurate automatic planning and realistic production schedule. Reschedule dynamically by just dragging and dropping manufacturing orders and operations in the calendar or Gantt chart.

  • Stock

    Inventory management, stock movements, batch and serial number tracking. Set and optimize stock levels and avoid stock-outs. Have a clear history of your stock operations.

  • CRM (Sales Management)

    Just a few clicks to calculate the product cost and the best delivery time. Send quotations and invoices, prepare shipments. Send confirmed customer order to production. Track the sales process all the way from quotation right down to delivery using a simple pipeline view.

  • Team

    Simple environment for line workers to follow tasks on desktop or mobile device. Real-time shop floor reporting. Real-time overview of the need and availability of human resources.

  • Purchasing

    Manage purchases and raise pre-filled purchase orders with a single click. Vendors, prices, lead times, it’s all there. Manage your supply chain with the help of accurate statistics. Forecast your procurement needs.

  • Accounting

    Enjoy clear visibility to your business performance. Follow your cash flow, balance sheet and profit/loss in real time. Understand the profitability of the business, and more.

More than 600 manufacturers trust MRPeasy

Reviews

Brandon Ames

CEO, Anicell Biotech

MRPeasy gives us the ability to track all of our manufacturing lot costs right down to the individual serial number of our products. MRPeasy provides the software as a remote service and has never been unavailable to us except in…

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Tim Grant

CEO, Business Solution Providers, Inc

“Ahead of its time” Easy of use and simplicity to understand. This is one of the best programmed software out there for this industry. We setup, train and implement manufacturing software for multiple companies, and clients find it easy to…

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Benjamin Raffiani

CEO, Sox Trot LLC

Best value in the small manufacturing space by far. With MRPeasy our capacity doubled. It streamlined our production, and procurement so well that I’m now able to spend a lot more time on growth and sales. Extremely comprehensive and works…

Some of our customers

  • AniCell Biotech
  • Nielsen
  • Skin Actives Scientific
  • Starship

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MRPeasy is a simple yet powerful production scheduling software that helps small manufacturers organize production. Just sign up to test MRPeasy, select the features plan that meets your requirements and access additional functionality as you grow your business.