Finite Scheduling provides a realistic assessment of your shop floor and recognizes actual (finite) plant capacity limits in real time. Finite scheduling is at the heart of Epicor ERP software. It automatically takes into account material constraints, BOM complexity, WIP processes, tooling conflicts and priority orders, while simultaneously evaluating the resources required to meet demand and allow for unplanned events.
The cornerstone of finite scheduling is its real-time capability. With advanced planning and scheduling software, you receive up to the second progress about how every job on your floor is performing. Rejected parts, production time remaining, and actual cycle time instead of average cycle time is all being displayed and refreshed as it is occurring.
Finite scheduling uses management by exception. In other words, if all jobs or work orders will meet promised delivery dates, there is nothing which needs to be brought to the attention of the scheduler. However, if finite scheduling cannot configure the workflow to enable all jobs to be delivered on time, then those jobs are brought to the attention of the scheduler. The scheduler has alternatives to consider in order to enable the late jobs to be delivered on time which are beyond the capability of most ERP solutions. Those alternatives are: 1) use more resources simultaneously on the constrained operation(s), 2) work overtime on the constrained operations, 3) subcontract some or all of the constrained operation(s), 4) make other jobs late enabling the more important job to be delivered on time, or 5) accept the fact this job will be late.
Moreover, if machines break down, if materials become scarce, or if workers are absent, those blocks of time may shift on a regular basis.
Lastly, finite scheduling is the only function in Epicor ERP software which no human is capable of replicating, while most other modules could be replaced by a human with an Excel spreadsheet.
So, what benefits does finite scheduling bring to your company and your customers?
The Expected Benefit
1. Deliver on Time
Have any of your customers ever praised you for delivering their products on time? Of course not. But they have always quickly complained about late deliveries.
The reason “Deliver On Time” is at the top of the list is because most often the customer has told their supplier, “Start delivering on time or you will be dropped from our approved supplier list.” After a quick search, it is discovered scheduling, and in particular, finite scheduling, is the only tool which will enable them to reach the goal of shipping on time.
Finite scheduling helps you meticulously plan for all aspects of producing and shipping product on time. It takes a lot of the manual scheduling work off your hands, calculates risk and identifies potential bottlenecks, all of which help you get orders into customer hands faster.
The Unexpected Benefits
2. Gain More Trust from Customers
As you deliver more orders early or on time, you will start to gain more trust from your customers. Finite scheduling helps you deliver on-time orders more regularly.
Delivering on time earns you more return business without even asking for the orders. Your customers’ buyers turn to those suppliers instinctively which deliver on time.
Your customers’ primary goals are to purchase quality product which is delivered on time. You are making their buyers look smart.
3. Accurately Promise Ship Dates for New Sales
Epicor ERP has a utility called “Capable to Promise.” This utility is only a viable tool if you have successfully implemented and are using finite scheduling. Think about for a second, if your are shipping on time, is it not logical for a part you need to make you should know when can ship it in the future.
4. Reduce WIP
What is WIP (Work In Process) and how can reducing WIP free up capital for other uses. WIP refers to partially finished goods in various stages of completion on your production floor. WIP in dollars is the dollar value of all active jobs which have been started but have not been completed.
Reducing manufacturing work in process (WIP) leads to higher liquidity, better cash flow, enhanced customer service and diminished business risks.
5. Free Up Capital
If you ship the $2 million from WIP and deliver it on time or earlier than originally expected, you have turned that WIP into cash. That cash is now free for you to use for other purposes.
6. Free Up Space on Your Production
Did you ever think that you would free up production floor space by shipping on time? If you had given it much thought it is a natural. If you reduce WIP, you must be reducing the number of unfinished parts sitting around on your shop floor waiting for their turn in the next resource or work center.
What does this mean for you? You can postpone buying that new, larger facility. You have space for those new machines you will need to purchase to meet the demand from the new orders from existing customer to which you are now shipping on time.
7. Increase Sales to Both Old and New Customers
Your existing customer base upon realizing you have started shipping to them on time, will immediately begin giving you more orders. New customers will continue to increase their orders with you when they see you deliver on time.
Don’t Wait to Implement Finite Scheduling
Do you think finite scheduling can help your business? We know it can!
Contact us today to learn more about how our years of experience with Epicor finite scheduling can help you take your shipping to the next level.