Choose your industrial scheduling software
Do you want to implement a scheduling software or a finer planning of the OF for the improvement of your production capacities or the optimization of your service rate? There is no lack of software tools! But you still need to know which one is best suited to your needs !
If you have carried out a pre-study of the solutions proposed by software publishers, you have certainly been able to identify three categories: the planning or scheduling module of your ERP, the specialized software or in other words the APS (Advanced Planning System) type software and the scheduling or workshop planning module of MES solutions.
The solution that suits you depends of course on your context, there can be no generalization, no “best solution”.
We do not mention scheduling in Excel: you know its advantages but also its limitations and fragility (it usually relies on one person who is the only one to master the system).
How to choose your scheduling software according to your industrial objectives?
Scheduling to improve production capacity and service rate
Our software platform Qubes integrates a Qubes Scheduling module that is positioned as a “tactical” scheduling tool. The “large mesh” planning of the OFs will be carried out by your ERP but will lack field elements to be directly operational: real opening times, reserved slots for R&D tests or maintenance, constraints of chaining on the OFs, temporary drops in production rate, availability of tools and authorized personnel, etc. Qubes Scheduling will take over to allow the field teams to adjust this planning according to their constraints of the day or of the days to come This is its “tactical” side as opposed to the “strategic” scheduling that is done at the ERP level.
This module offers two modes of operation: the “manual” mode and the “semi-automatic” mode
Manual scheduling software
If the production orders are transmitted from the ERP to Qubes without taking into account the field constraints, with an assignment to the workshop rather than to the machine, then the “manual” mode allows the workshop manager to plan his production orders in a simple way by dragging and dropping them on a Gantt-type graphic schedule. He can then use the automatic positioning function which shifts the less urgent OFs to follow those that he has positioned as a priority. Satisfied with his choices, he clicks on “Distribute the schedule” to share it with the production teams. A permanent link with the Qubes OF module (which monitors production and therefore the progress of the OFs in real time) allows the Gantt schedule to be updated and to check whether everything is going as planned. In the event of a long-lasting machine breakdown, it repositions the OF on another machine, requests a global recalculation and then notifies the teams, all in less than 5 minutes.
The semi-automatic scheduling software
If, on the other hand, the OFs transmitted by the ERP already have an advanced scheduling level, then it is the “semi-automatic” mode that is a precious asset for the scheduling department. As most of the planning work is done, the scheduler certainly makes some tactical adjustments manually in view of the real-time situation. But above all, he relies on configurable algorithms to optimize the production capacity: reduction of changeover times, verification of the availability of authorized personnel, etc.
The advantage given to scheduling in MES software
The link between planning and real time situation is the strong point of the scheduling realized in an MES software. Any other solution will not be able to bring you such a capacity of reaction and visualization in real time, even if the interfaces between software favor the updates of planning that remains in the domain of the day or half-day, never of the ten minutes.
Single Minute Exchange of Die matrices can be implemented to further optimize this planning.
A proven alternative for choosing scheduling software
We specify that the Qubes Scheduling module can integrate availability checks of stocks, tools and other production blocking constraints.
But beware, Qubes Scheduling, even if it is highly customizable, will never have the power of specialized APS software. This does not prevent a close collaboration between the different components of the industrial information system.
Let’s take the example of this industrialist of the dairy industry who has an ERP, an APS and the MES Qubes. His choice: the MES Qubes software manages all the technical data (detailed ranges, product BOMs, production equipment,…) and the creation of OF. The MES Qubes then sends the OF to the APS software which orders them taking into account complex constraints and returns them to Qubes with the start/end dates of each operation of the range. At the same time, the APS software sends the OF to the ERP so that it can calculate the material needs and trigger the supplier orders.
Let’s take a closer look at your needs to optimize production
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About Single Minute Exchange of Die (SMED) :
The SMED (Single Minute Exchange of Die) method aims to identify ways to optimize the planning of manufacturing orders (reduction of changeover times, optimization of the equipment service rate).
This method allows to reduce the downtime of the lines or machines due to the changes of series, adjustment or cleaning of the lines with a defined objective. The scheduling software is the weapon of the SMED method: it allows to be more flexible in front of the variation of the customer’s demand and to be able to reduce the manufacturing batches without loss of output.
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