Can Digitization Eliminate Planning Silos?

Posted by Nick Ostdick on Dec 14, 2017 9:00:00 AM

The title of this blog says it all. Planning silos, even in today’s fairly integrated, optimized supply stream, are still a major challenge for manufacturing companies, especially in variant-rich industries with complex partner-networks. The prospect  of cross-organizational communication and data-sharing in the planning stage of the production cycle remains for too many companies simply that: A prospect, a goal, rather than a standard mode of operation.

But for manufacturing companies who understand and realize its value, digitization can be a critical (or perhaps the critical) tool in eliminating these planning silos and fostering an atmosphere of communication and collaboration during the production planning process. Whether it’s constructing a more efficient, streamlined planning and production scheme or creating enhanced methods of procurement, inventory management, job allocation, and transport logistics, digitization is a supply chain management platform whereby companies can leverage greater efficacy to grow their business, create stronger partner networks, and leverage competitive advantages in an increasingly crowded marketplace.

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Topics: Intelligent Planning, Industry 4.0, Digitization

Production Scheduling and The Impact On Customer Relations

Posted by Nick Ostdick on Dec 12, 2017 9:00:00 AM

Consider the idea of a hybrid car. A platform that combines elements of power via electricity and those of traditional gasoline. Each side of the coin provides its own set of benefits and liabilities for motorists, but when combined hybrid vehicles leverage the best of each fuel type to enhance both the driving experience and the benefits of green energy and technology. 

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Topics: Industry 4.0, Planned Production Programs, Production Control

The Keys To Successful Supply Chain Digitization

Posted by Nick Ostdick on Nov 30, 2017 9:00:00 AM

Digitization. If there’s one major buzzword in today’s global supply logistics, it may be digitization. But the movement toward an end-to-end (E2E) digitally-driven supply stream is more than simply the flavor of the day; rather, it represents a fundamental shift in the way planners and managers oversee and deploy their planning and production processes.

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Topics: Digitization

How Machine Learning Impacts Manufacturing and Logistics

Posted by Nick Ostdick on Nov 28, 2017 9:00:00 AM

Machines are nothing new to the manufacturing industry - in fact, to say that is quite an understatement. Since the Industrial Revolution, the production facility floor has ground zero for how manufacturing companies incorporate non-human elements or intervention into how goods are produced and distributed. Fast-forward to today’s manufacturing landscape and the introduction and proliferation of modern machine-based aspects such as robotics or artificial intelligence to streamline production processes and increase production efficiency is perhaps the most pressing, pertinent issue in modern production processes.

But what’s slowly gaining more and more prominence in the manufacturing industry is machine learning outside of the actual production space and the ways in which a digitized manufacturing platform can enhance both the production and logistics side of global supply chain management. Understanding machine learning in this context — a holistic reimagination of how this technology can be a disruptive force in a cross-organizational way from sales and procurement to transport logistics — puts machine learning on a grander stage in terms of shaping the future of the automotive supply chain. In addition, machine learning can provide planners and managers with a critical competitive advantage in a somewhat uncertain, variant-rich manufacturing space.

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Topics: Intelligent Planning, Supply Chain Logistics, Logistics

The Value of Transport Planning

Posted by Nick Ostdick on Nov 23, 2017 9:00:00 AM

For many of today’s manufacturing companies, operational transport planning is akin to a game of musical chairs. The strategy is often hard to decipher, network players don’t often work synergistically with each other, and the levels of risk or uncertainty continue to grow with each passing round in the game. As a result, it becomes almost impossible to secure a firm footing amongst the other players and thus the executed actions throughout the game become more chaotic, less strategic, and more risky.

Similarly, operational transport planning and its lack of transparency and visibility into the overall supply situation means increases in unnecessary costs and resources, missing or lost parts and deliveries, and more complex logistics that detract from the clarity necessary to leverage lean supply chain management principles. In short, operational transport planning can be a significant stumbling block for manufacturing companies as they work to reduce risk and increase transport and logistics efficiency.

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Topics: Transportation Management, transport logistics

The Importance of Job Shop Scheduling

Posted by Nick Ostdick on Nov 21, 2017 9:00:00 AM

It’s the holiday season. You’re planning a big meal for friends and family. You’ve decided on the menu, selected recipes, made a list of ingredients, and identified the tools you need to actually prepare the meal. You’ve made a prep list, blocked off time in your day to actually put the ingredients together and cook. And in completing all these tasks ahead of time, you’ve given yourself enough of a base to finish the meal on-time, within budget, and in the most pleasurable way possible.

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Topics: Industry 4.0, Planned Production Programs, Production Control, Job Shop Scheduling

How Real-Time Enhances Planning and Production

Posted by Nick Ostdick on Nov 16, 2017 9:00:00 AM

There’s a saying when it comes to American football: Games are won during the prep time between Monday and Saturday, not on the field Sunday. Understanding the opponent and creating a strategy or scheme to combat that opponent actually has more value than how the players perform or the events that happen during the game. And the same is true for today’s manufacturing landscape and how planning and production strategy are the most important aspects of a successful production cycle.

There are a number of tools manufacturing companies have at their disposal to help solidify planning and production strategy at the front end of the production cycle. Procurement. Resource allocation. Job allocation. These are valuable in helping companies chart an accurate course for efficient production based on market and customer demands. But while these safeguards in demand planning give manufacturing companies some level of insight and maneuverability in responding to alterations in rules or restraints in production programs, many of the most significant events or occurrences in today’s global manufacturing supply chain happen in the moment and without much warning or advance notice.

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Topics: Planned Production Programs, Production Control

A Demand Capacity Planning FAQ

Posted by Nick Ostdick on Nov 14, 2017 9:00:00 AM

Imagine trying to walk a tightrope. You must have incredible balance, be extraordinary nimble, and understand the nuances of each step as you complete your journey from one side to other. You also have to account for the context in which you’re walking the tightrope: weather or climate conditions, barriers or impediments along the wire, or other significant hurdles along the way. In short, to successfully negotiate such a challenge, the tightrope walker has to execute a number of tasks in quick succession (or sometimes simultaneously) to make it from Point A to Point B.

The same is true for demand capacity planning in today’s manufacturing and logistics landscape.  Particularly in variant-rich industries, the proposition of balancing demand and capacity - the amount of product or component parts needed to successfully fill orders and maintain efficient production schedules versus the sheer volume of components and parts required on-hand at all times - is intricate and complex. Many supply chain analysts and manufacturing industry insiders believe, even given today’s technology via integrated planning systems, that this issue is at the core of supply network logistics, especially given expansion and growth into emerging markets in new parts of the world.

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Topics: Intelligent Planning, Planned Production Programs, Demand Capacity Planning

What’s So Modern About Postmodern ERP

Posted by Nick Ostdick on Nov 9, 2017 9:00:00 AM

Buzzwords abound in today’s manufacturing and logistics industry. As technologies develop, emerge, and take hold, so does a new vocabulary companies must embrace in order to successfully leverage the concepts, principles, and philosophies of an ever-evolving business landscape. One such buzzword or topic of the day many planners and managers come in contact with yet fail to fully realize is postmodern ERP. Whether it’s because the lack of visibility surrounding these concepts or a failure to fully embrace them as part of lean manufacturing and supply chain management, postmodern ERP is perhaps one of the most least understood or actualized elements of manufacturing and supply logistics. Not only does postmodern ERP have the potential to transform a company’s manufacturing and supply logistics, but it’s a key element in cutting the complexity of global supply chain management and leveraging enhanced operational functionality.

As something of a branch from enterprise resource planning (ERP), postmodern ERP takes the next step in helping companies across a number of critical functions in planning and production. But in furthering our understand of these buzzwords or key terms (like postmodern ERP), today’s manufacturing and logistics companies must ask themselves: What is so modern about postmodern ERP? What does postmodern ERP actually mean in terms of the day-to-day operations? What is the true value proposition of postmodern ERP in a global production and logistics network?

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Topics: Postmodern ERP, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)

Can Transport Logistics Reduce Risk?

Posted by Nick Ostdick on Nov 7, 2017 9:00:00 AM

It simply cannot be stated enough or more clearly: Success for manufacturing companies stems largely from the ability to control, mitigate, and reduce risk. While success can mean a number of things to any number of companies, the capacity to reduce the amount of uncertainty in operating a global supply stream is perhaps one of the most critical pain points across today’s manufacturing landscape. No matter how hard planners and managers work to contain risk, the sheer nature of a variant-rich supply network means risk in a variety of forms can plague companies across the entire value chain, everything from planning and procurement to production and transport logistics.

All this being said, there are a number of strategies, solutions, and principles manufacturing companies can deploy and integrate to reduce the level of risk in a cross-organizational manner that also helps to increase productivity and enhance efficiencies. One of the more integral tools in a manufacturing company’s toolchest is transport logistics. Or, put simply: the coordination of efforts, resources, and personnel to successfully moving products from the production floor to the customer’s front door. It sounds quite basic, yet in an era of varied partner networks and variant-rich production programs, it can actually be a significant challenge for manufacturing companies across an array of industries. But for companies that deploy a successful transport logistics strategy, there are a great many benefits to be experienced beyond simply delivering products during pre-defined delivery windows.

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Topics: Transportation Management, Disruptions, transport logistics