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.
Just like how a hybrid vehicle brings a best of breed mindset to the automotive industry, the same goes for production scheduling when it comes to customer satisfaction and relations in the manufacturing industry. Whereas a hybrid combines two distinct methods of fueling a car, production scheduling melds two distinct elements of the manufacturing cycle into one optimized function: sales forecasting and production planning. By combining these two elements of the production process, companies can not only increase their internal visibility, but they also have the ability to increase productivity, accuracy, and agility, each of which is a core driver in enhancing customer service and client relations.
Because production scheduling blends many aspects of the production process under one umbrella (everything from the procurement of raw materials to job allocation to monitoring the movement and transport of finished product to ensure on-time delivery), the traditional silo structure often found in global supply chain logistics is broken down and manufacturing companies can better integrate all parts of the manufacturing cycle to better equip themselves to address disruptions or breakdowns in variant-rich industries.
In order to better understand the benefits of production scheduling from a customer service point of view, let’s examine how production scheduling impacts customer relations for manufacturing companies on a global scale.
Real-time order and job allocation
One of the most important aspects of production scheduling is the ability to, in real-time, process and schedule customer orders relative to existing rules and constraints. No longer are manufacturing companies beholden to scheduling or allocating customer orders without visibility into existing production conditions. Rather, manufacturing companies can utilize enhanced visibility into their overall supply situation to optimize inventory management, facility capacity, and production line efficiency to schedule the right order at the production hub at the right time. In addition, production scheduling gives planners and managers the capacity to alter or modify production programs based on changes in rules and constraints to identify bottlenecks and avoid the implications thereof.
Inventory management and ordering processes
In the spirit of unifying and integrating disparate production processes, production scheduling originates from a standpoint of having inventory management and optimization drive how manufacturing intake customer orders and prioritize those orders relative to job allocation and production line capacity. The availability of raw materials, safety stock considerations, and the levels of finished products and component parts are taken into account to determine manufacturing quantities and batch sizes. In addition, customer orders can be identified with specific delivery attributes such as time, date, and priority. These attributes allow manufacturing companies to optimize known production parameters such as cost, quantity, and condition for more efficient production programs.
Production scenarios based on real-world orders
Because of the real-time visibility and feedback nature of production scheduling, planners and managers can engage in detailed simulations and what-if scenarios based on actual, existing customer orders to more effectively anticipate, plan for, and address potential breakdowns or disruptions in production cycles and workflows. These real-life simulations and what-if planning give manufacturing companies more concrete knowledge, insight, and visibility into their current supply situations to better plan for the short, mid, and long-term future. The value in these detailed simulations has ripple effects across each touch point of the value chain by optimizing each step throughout the manufacturing cycle and creating opportunities for enhanced collaboration and communication.
The endgame of production scheduling?
If we take production scheduling as an umbrella solution that integrates a variety of manufacturing cycle processes into a holistic function where each step works in tandem with the next, then it makes sense that at the end of the day it result in producing a better product more efficiently that arrives at the customer’s door with greater ease and accuracy. In variant-rich industries, particularly those in competitive sectors, customer satisfaction and customer relations is increasingly becoming a core driver in how companies grow, but also in how they refine their internal processes and logistics.