If your shop is having scheduling problems, it’s common to assume that they are because of the scheduling department. That may be true sometimes, but there are many other reasons your scheduling department may be having trouble. Those reasons might come from different departments in your shop. Below are the four most common sources of concern for your scheduling department from other areas.
Sometimes, scheduling problems can come from purchasing. If that department is not receiving expected orders on time, the scheduler would assume your shop has materials that it might not have yet. It’s also important to have accurate lead times, so the scheduler knows how far out they need to have materials ordered for a job. If the right materials aren’t available at a job’s scheduled run time, either the job will get delayed, or you will have to pay to rush the materials for delivery. Neither outcome is one your shop wants.
Not all shops keep inventory, but if yours does, schedulers must know what your shop has on hand. If it looks like your shop has material that it doesn’t, schedulers could plan on running jobs that aren’t ready that day. This can also be a problem if people move material in or out without updating the inventory information. If the inventory tracking isn’t up to date, schedulers could either ask purchasers to order material they don’t need or try to run jobs that don’t have all materials ready.
Folks on the Floor
Scheduling issues could also come from folks on the floor. If schedulers think that a step in a job takes less time than it does, that will cause problems. Sometimes, the schedulers don’t have the right information, but this can also happen because folks on the floor don’t know the most efficient way to complete a step. Searching for a needed tool or material can also slow down the shop floor. If you have organized your shop floor, and everyone knows where to find what they need, your jobs will flow through more quickly, helping keep the schedule on track.
Finally, some things can impact the schedule no matter what department an employee is in. Do all employees know what they need to do next and the completion date for that task? Some tasks take a set amount of time, but others may not have clear deadlines. Some of these tasks could be updating the inventory system or sending out purchase orders.
When things change in your shop, how quickly are the changes communicated? For example, if a job step needs to be updated, can your shop reliably make that change before the team does it incorrectly? Communicating quickly and clearly is crucial to keeping a shop floor running, especially when changes happen often.
Scheduling can be one of your shop’s most difficult areas to improve because it relies so much on other teams. You may find that to improve scheduling and finish more jobs on time, you need to revise other parts of your shop and enhance communication throughout. Before you tackle scheduling problems in your shop, make sure you see the whole picture. Only then can you truly solve scheduling problems at the root.