To understand the importance of a balancing solution in supply chain management, think about the knobs and dials on the average stereo system. Treble. Bass. Mid. Fade. These elements, when adjusted and mixed properly, provide the best possible sound quality optimized to the kind of music being played and based on the listener’s desires. The harmony of these different audio components is what makes or breaks how good or bad a piece of music sounds, which can seriously impact how the listener feels about the music - if they’ll be likely to play the music again, recommend it to someone else, and so on.
An optimized balancing solution is very similar in that it accounts for a number of variables, restrictions, and constraints in assigning customers orders to specified production programs with the right part levels and resources to ensure on-time delivery. Much like how the right mix of audio elements creates a harmonious sound on your stereo, balancing solutions foster a harmonious workflow wherein production, logistics, and sales factors work in conjunction to create a well-balanced production program with stabilized parts demand and an even distribution of manpower in assembly and production.
In today’s competitive, global supply network, balancing is a key driver in cutting through the complexity of a variant-rich industry and providing companies with a value-added platform to increase production performance and avoid potentially costly bottlenecks and disruptions. With this in mind, here are 4 reasons why companies need to leverage a balancing solution to maintain a competitive advantage in an ever-evolving supply stream.
1). Balancing solutions help evenly distribute orders and workloads. Balancing solutions provide a platform for production orders with a certain product mix and are leveled with EPEI (Every Part Every Interval) during a set production period. This allows for workloads to be evenly distributed in a given production facility based on specified rules and constraints that can be adjusted to meet the demands of evolving production programs. This capability reduces the negative impacts of demand fluctuations across the entire value chain and reduces the likelihood of capacity bottlenecks, which is an additional value-added for a company’s value chain.
2). With a balancing solution, planners and managers can view and analyze the entire order pool for best allocation of resources. In an effort to give planners and managers visibility of the demand situation, balancing solutions provide flexibility and transparency in terms of viewing, modifying, and adjusting customer orders. Planners can add or remove orders at any time and review the impact of orders, the critical order attributes, and the existing capacity violations. In addition, planners can view, analyze, and respond to the entire planning horizon - including orders yet to be leveled or processed - to help define planning intervals for best production practices.
3). Balancing solutions increase productivity. Incorporating an optimized balancing solutions levels the workload of an assembly station or production facility over a given period of time. This leads to a balanced workload for the worker with simultaneous capacity improvement and prevention of underemployment. Equal distribution of orders and workflows through line balancing can result in either a decrease in manpower demand or an increase in output, both of which will boost a manufacturer's overall productivity and efficiency.
4). In an effort to streamline a manufacturer’s supply stream, balancing solutions stabilize call-offs to suppliers. Because a balancing solution takes into account all relevant production parameters and variables when generating a leveled production program, a stable, consistent stream of call-off orders to suppliers is created to help balance capacity loads. This helps combat bottlenecks, disruptions, and other breakdowns, especially during peak production periods and cycles, and helps manufacturers create even capacity loads which is a value-added proposition for a company’s entire value chain.
The importance of an optimized balancing solution cannot be understated for manufacturers in a modern supply network where orders are placed, altered, or modified in the blink of an eye. Because of the fast-paced nature of today’s automotive supply industry, manufacturers must leverage lean supply and production principles and solutions in order to be as responsive as possible to customer demands. Balancing solutions provide manufacturers with the tools to deploy a transparent, agile production network capable of ensuring reliable delivery of orders and the satisfaction of customers in markets across the globe.