You’re making a pot roast in the oven. You’ve done all the prep work, seasoned the meat, and are now just waiting for the meat to cook through. Once every ten or fifteen minutes, just to make sure the roast is cooking properly and no adjustments are needed, you peek in through the oven window, maybe turn on the oven light in order to fully examine the progress of the cooking and to assess whether modifications are necessary to the overall cook time, and whether the time allotted to prepare the side dishes is sufficient to have a completed meal on the table at the prearranged time.
A commonplace scenario in the kitchen, and one that translates directly to planned production programs in the automotive industry and the use of job management solutions (JMS) to manage multiple production streams, ensure on-time delivery, avoid bottlenecks, and actualize a truly lean manufacturing and supply network.
Just like that oven window, JMS solutions allow companies to peek into their internal production logistics to assess and evaluate progress, make strategic production decisions based on restraints and other variables, perform adjustments to planned production programs, and even engage in ‘what-if’ simulations with real-time data reporting and analysis to ensure effective short and mid-term planning and execution.
Companies that leverage JMS solutions will not only attain a better understanding of their own production and supply networks, but will also see increases in efficiency at various touch points across the entire value chain, making them more competitive and viable in today’s global supply network.
If the goal of short and mid-term planning is the optimization of orders and inquiries through complex production programs, then a JMS solution is the vehicle by which these orders and inquiries are actualized. JMS systems allow companies to create customer orders within the system as is the case with real orders - these customer orders can also be scheduled for production programs just like with real orders dependent upon workload, production facility capacity, and the availability of materials and resources.
In this way, companies can determine quickly, efficiently, and with a high degree of accuracy when customer orders can be filled and which current orders may require adjustment to avoid potential bottlenecks. This functionality increases stable planning practices that reduce the potential for disruptions in terms of inventory, yard and dock management, and other shortages or overages in supply and materials.
Think of it this way: You’re pot roast is not cooked through quite yet and you have to get a potato side dish in the oven soon for a 6 p.m. dinner. Using that oven window and light, you’re able to judge how long the roast needs to cook, what prep can be done on the potatoes, and whether you’ll need an alternative method of cooking the side dish in order to meet your 6 p.m. dinner date.
Much of the work JMS solutions engage in used to be done manually by planners and managers on spreadsheets or in Excel. The lack of dynamic functionality resulted in cross-functional silos across the entire value chain but also hampered manufacturers efforts to successfully create short and mid-term demand planning strategies - a process that is invaluable for companies as they strive for cost-effectiveness and viability. In conjunction with Industry 4.0, The Internet of Things, and other integrated, intelligent systems, JMS solutions provide companies the power to take control of their production programs, customer relations, and internal supply logistics through windows into their short and mid-term planning strategies.
Benefits of JMS
For variant-rich industries, the benefits available from leveraging JMS solutions far outweigh any potential discomfort or complications from implementation. While holistically shifting a company’s mindset away from manual short and mid-term planning strategies using static methods like spreadsheets, Excel, or other less optimized methods may be challenging, it’s a necessary shift for companies to remain relevant in an increasingly connected, digitized industry.
Companies who do make the change to a JMS solution for short and mid-term production planning stand to experience:
- More established planning and production. JMS solutions create an optimized, buildable, and reproducible production program under which resources, materials, constraints, and other variables are accounted for when assigning production schedules and facilities.
- Enhanced ‘what-if’ functionality: The maintenance of master data and reporting allows for daily modifications or alterations of resources to change. The ability to administer advanced forecasting simulations allows for better communication within the company and to customers about potential fluctuations in production levels and overall deliverability.
- Increased transparency: Through the evaluation of key performance indicators (KPI), planned production can be evaluated, retooled, modified, and adapted. In addition, company-specific metrics or performance levels can be measured and reviewed on a resource-availability basis to ensure the most strategic planning and production decision-making.
- Real-time feedback: Alerts, error messages, restrictions, validations, and other benchmark notifications of production are available and viable for planners and managers to administer adjustments to production in real-time. This capability allows for a greater adaptability to changes in resources, materials, or scheduling, and provides companies with enhanced maneuverability in terms of allocating jobs to various production streams or facilities.
The potential implications of leveraging a JMS solution are wide-ranging and contain the possibility of ripple effects throughout a company’s entire production structure. The low-bar to entry for implementation, the financial revenue increases from enhanced productivity, and the archiving and storage of data and knowledge from greater understanding of the planning and production process are all value-added propositions for companies operating in a complex, modern supply network.
It’s no secret that today’s supply chain landscape is varied, nuanced, and extremely intricate, and companies need integrated, intelligent platforms like JMS solutions to cut through this complexity and succeed in both the short and mid-term.