Manufacturers — Make Promises You Can Keep

by Brian Wheat, Product Manager
Made2Manage ERP from Aptean

When we engaged with Manufacturing.Net last year to produce a webcast and whitepaper about shop floor scheduling, I knew the topic would resonate, because scheduling is at the heart of everything we do in manufacturing.

When we consider all the things that can happen in a day – inventory shortages, equipment failures, employees out sick (the list goes on) – it’s easy to point to those things and say- “these are the reasons we lost revenue today.” The fact is, all those issues have an impact on scheduling, and ultimately it is the ability to maintain a flexible and fluid schedule that determines how much those interruptions impact the bottom line… and more importantly, the ability to keep promises.

It is the customer relationship that is impacted when manufacturers can’t deliver on time – the result of a broken promise. When we promise a delivery, and then we break that promise – no matter how good the reason – we create doubts about future orders and we lose trust, loyalty… and revenue.

So, take some time out in your busy schedule and ask yourself-

1)      How are you scheduling today? Are you scheduling based on customer demands or are you using data to analyze and pro-actively establish delivery timelines?

2)      Do you get tempted to over promise your deliveries? Is that because of competition? If yes, it will be hard to win in long term as it can result in long-term customer dissatisfaction and retention issues if the end result is under-delivered

3)      Are you utilizing your labor properly? Are you reporting labor hours, as they relate to particular processes or number of pieces that can be completed in a given amount of time? Do you know the costs associated with these operations? All these data points need to be properly tracked in order to construct accurate and cost-effective schedules.

4)      Did you know it’s generally accepted that inventory is worth only 20 percent of its actual value until used. Excess inventory that is accumulated due to inefficient scheduling will eat at an enterprise’s cashflow and profitability.

It is really important to invest in a sophisticated yet easy to use solution that can track all your data points, understand your business restrictions and commitments and create schedules that are realistic and attainable – leading to happy customers and repeat buyers. Aptean’s Made2Manage solution offers such an advanced scheduling functionality that has helped companies adapt to all the daily interruptions and deliver on-promise dates to their customers.

So, think about your business, what technologies you have in place, what methodology you use for delivery times and how it affects your customer and their experiences. Ultimately, the surest way to make promises you can keep is through great scheduling.






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