The Evolution of Planning and Execution in Manufacturing

Posted by Nick Ostdick on Aug 10, 2017 9:00:00 AM

Think about the process of writing an email for a moment. How do you go about this task? Do you compose the email in one session without filtering what you want to say or the information you want to convey, only then to go back and reread and edit the email at some later date? Or (and perhaps mostly likely, at least for many people), do you compose the email and edit as you go, deleting phrases, substituting words, or changing ideas and adapting the information in the moment as necessary for the best possible communication?

Odds are the most common method of emailing is the latter where edits and alterations are made in real-time as thoughts, ideas, and information hits you during the composing process. Where the first example may be a relic of the past when typewriters or handwritten correspondence was the norm, digital communication and the capacity to edit, rewrite, and revise in the moment means greater maneuverability in creating moments for effective, streamlined, and more productive communication. Where writing and editing/revising were at one time two distinct processes, today these functions are more or less integrated into one function with a greater level of process efficacy.

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Topics: Intelligent Planning, Industry 4.0, End-to-End (E2E) Visibility, Demand Capacity Planning

How Production Scheduling Increases Customer Satisfaction

Posted by Nick Ostdick on Jul 13, 2017 9:00:00 AM

Let’s think about the idea of bifocals moment. Essentially, bifocals combine two different focal lengths or intensities into one cohesive line or path of vision. Whether you have difficulty seeing great distances or difficulty seeing images up close, bifocals allow you to experience an enhanced visibility by bringing two seemingly disparate functions into one harmonious operation.

Now, what do bifocals have to do with production scheduling? Well, just like how bifocals combine two distinct modes of vision, production scheduling combines 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 increase productivity, accuracy, and agility, each of which is a core driver in enhancing customer service and client relations. 

Because production scheduling brings together so 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.

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

How OEMs Can Benefit From Demand Capacity Management

Posted by Nick Ostdick on Dec 29, 2016 9:00:00 AM

Today’s OEMs often find themselves at an interesting and confusing crossroads: The need or opportunity to increase sales by increasing production volumes without significantly altering short and mid-term planning strategies, which can result in severe bottlenecks or disruptions across a company’s entire value chain from dealer to customer. It’s a Catch 22 - how to grow and expand without overextending an OEMs resources, production programs, facilities, personnel, and planning platforms - and it’s a problem more and more companies face in a complex, diversifying industry.  

The automotive supply chain is already a variant-rich industry with the potential for serious pitfalls in production shortages, overages, and disruptions, especially with entry in new and emerging markets in disparate parts of the globe. Unforeseen events or fluctuations in demand or planned production programs are at the front of planners’ and managers’ minds as they strive to cut through the complexity of the global supply stream and leverage enhanced visibility and transparency into their supply situation. It makes sense then that the opportunity for volume increases adds another layer of complication onto an already delicate balancing act of demand and capacity.

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Topics: Supply Chain Planning, Demand Capacity Planning

On the Benefits of Reference Sequencing

Posted by Nick Ostdick on Dec 20, 2016 9:00:00 AM

Order planning in aggregate and component plants is a complex process, especially in today’s global supply landscape. Planners and managers have to take a number of factors into account when engaging in order planning on this level to ensure smooth, continued production programs that meet customer demand, delivery dates and quality control benchmarks.

Streamlining and enhancing the efficiency of order planning as part of lean manufacturing principles is a core driver for OEMs and manufacturers in fostering a responsive, transparent, and agile supply stream — all of which result in increased E2E visibility across a company’s entire value chain.

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Topics: Intelligent Planning, Sales & Operations Execution (S&OE), Demand Capacity Planning

Making the Most Of Downtime: Tips for Making Slowdowns Productive

Posted by Nick Ostdick on Dec 1, 2016 9:00:00 AM

Because of the global nature of today’s automotive supply chain, slowdowns or valleys in production programs are constantly on the minds of OEMs and others across the supply stream. With so many disparate parts of the world now in play with production, distribution, warehousing, or transportation hubs, holidays, seasonal lulls, and other brands of disruption in terms of productivity can not only be frustrating for various players in the automotive landscape, but they can also be significant pain points for companies who do not utilize this time effectively.

For example, take a recent article in the commerce publication MarketWatch suggested this past summer was atypical in terms of production levels - at least throughout Europe, primarily in Germany - with manufacturing continuing at a brisk pace throughout the usual summer slow season, many within the global automotive supply chain still experienced lulls in orders and planned production programs. With so many employees on vacation and crucial parts of the supply stream in something of a holding pattern as the industry prepares for the busy fall season, it’s tempting to view the summer months as nothing more than downtime - a breather from the harried spring ramp-up in production. Given the 24/7, 365-nature of today's automotive industry, this summer slowdown instance is just one example of periods when production can slow and productivity can wain. 

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Topics: Transportation Management, Planned Production Programs, Production Control, Demand Capacity Planning

4 Facts About Tactical Transport Planning

Posted by Nick Ostdick on Oct 20, 2016 9:00:00 AM

Operational transport planning in today’s automotive supply chain is like that one junk drawer or cupboard everyone has in their house. It’s a chaotic collection of seemingly unrelated items that you often forget about until a certain item goes missing. The drawer or cupboard lacks any kind of organization and you often have little idea as to the volume, quantity, and nature of items inside. 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 OEMs and Suppliers in transporting, monitoring, and reviewing how their parts move from production facilities to the customer, both in terms of speed and condition.

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Topics: Transportation Management, Supply Chain Planning, Demand Capacity Planning

4 Reasons Why You Need a Balancing Solution

Posted by Nick Ostdick on Oct 4, 2016 9:00:00 AM

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.

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Topics: Supply Chain Planning, End-to-End (E2E) Visibility, Sales & Operations Execution (S&OE), Demand Capacity Planning

Cracking Emerging Markets, Part 2: Getting the Job Done

Posted by Nick Ostdick on Sep 13, 2016 9:00:00 AM

In the first part of our series on expanding into emerging markets, we discussed the challenges and opportunities OEMs experience when establishing production hubs in new regions across the globe. We also looked at a number of aspects of expansion to help highlight what OEMs need to consider as they create more dynamic, varied supply networks capable of responding to the pressures and complexities of a global supply stream.

But what happens when OEMs actually flip the switch on production and actually begin manufacturing products? How do they successfully integrate new production lines into their existing supply networks? What tools should they leverage to ensure entering these new and emerging markets creates a sustainable, growth-oriented business model?

In today’s entry, we’ll look at a handful of principles OEMs must deploy in order to successfully get the job done when it comes to operating and managing production in emerging markets.

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Topics: Emerging Markets, Demand Capacity Planning

Your Order is Ready: When to Leverage A Build-to-Order Model

Posted by Nick Ostdick on Sep 1, 2016 9:00:00 AM

In a perfect world, everything would be created exactly when and how you needed it. Your cheeseburger and fries. Your office chair. Your shirt and tie. Not only would this allow for products to be built to your exact specifications, it would also significantly reduce waste or unused items as these objects would be created on an as-needed basis. However, given the practical implications of modern manufacturing and the variables at play in creating items on a customer-order scale, it’s impractical to expect the products that are a part of everyday lives to be produced in this way.

The same goes for the automotive supply chain industry and the vehicles we drive on a daily basis. Build-to-Order (BTO) principles, which simply mean creating parts and products specifically when a customer places an order, sounds like an efficient method of managing inventory and ensuring the right products are in the supply chain at the right time.

This lean manufacturing principle meets resistance from OEMs who believe BTO doesn’t adequately account for surges in overall customer demand or order cancellations, both of which can result in severe disruptions in planned production and damage across various touch points in a company’s value chain.

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Topics: Supply Chain Planning, Demand Capacity Planning, Lean Manufacturing

Looking Ahead: Predictive Analytics and Supply Chain Visibility

Posted by Nick Ostdick on Aug 16, 2016 9:00:00 AM

Imagine trying to drive a car down the street using the rear view mirror as your only method of navigation. You can’t actually look forward to see where you’re going, what lies ahead, or how to successfully get where you need to be - instead, all you can do is look backwards at where you’ve already been and make your best guess as to how to keep moving forward without causing a horrible wreck.

Sounds incredibly difficult, right? Yet this is the situation many OEMs and automotive manufacturers find themselves in when striving to create accurate forecasting and planning based solely on descriptive analytic models - data that merely paints a portrait as to the current state and productivity of the supply chain - rather than predictive analytic models, which have in recent years been a value-added proposition for OEMs in fostering efficient demand planning for future production programs.

Predictive analytics, with its reliance primarily on Big Data, essentially provides OEMs with a windshield for enhanced end-to-end visibility in order to better see how agile, transparent, and responsive their value chain is, and what steps needs to be taken in order to modify or alter production and supply practices to create an optimized future supply stream.

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Topics: Supply Chain Planning, Logistics, Supply Chain Trends, Supply Chain Management, Demand Capacity Planning