IT Challenge

IT Challenge: Using batch scheduling with a demand-driven model

The IT Challenge of the Month for December 2012:

My company has traditionally operated through batch scheduling, rather than make-to-order methods. However, we are pursuing a new demand-driven manufacturing angle and are trying to reduce waste across the board. Can batch scheduling and demand-driven manufacturing coexist peacefully, or are the two polar opposites?

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From industry expert and author Steve Phillips:

Certain traditional scheduling techniques and demand-driven manufacturing are not necessarily mutually exclusive. For example, discrete or batch scheduling -- making a specific quantity of product, due on a specific date -- can apply within a demand-driven environment. In this case, the quantity to make is based on actual customer orders, not a forecast. Also, reorder points or other "demand pull" techniques can be used instead, in some situations. 

However, in order to make-to-order, most companies must reduce equipment changeover times, improve the workflow and make the process much more flexible in order to respond to customer needs without the extra inventory.

This was first published in December 2012

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