“We run the risk of losing the overview of our delivery dates.” This is what Stefan Delasbé, CEO and development director of CAD-electronic Development Production GmbH, located in Landsberg am Lech, Germany, said when contacting NETRONIC. The company sees itself as service provider for development and manufacturing of electronic components and devices for different customer groups such as automotive manufacturers and suppliers, radio technologies for authorities (BOS-, NömL) and railway technology and medical engineering and machine manufacturers. A particular strength of CAD lies in the sample and small-batch production up to a yearly production of 10,000 pieces.
The CAD-electronic Development Production GmbH is glad about ever-increasing order numbers. The manual production planning of the past made keeping delivery on-schedule in check difficult. As a result, customer requests as to preferred delivery dates as well as sometimes even delivery dates couldn’t be met appropriately. Every now and then it happened that orders couldn’t be accepted because a CAD was not able to give a binding delivery promise.
CAD uses SAP’s ERP system Business One that doesn’t come with a planning board for visualizing orders and their delivery dates So NETRONIC’s task was to create a planning tool for visualizing the order data of the Business One system while taking into account the processing sequence of an order as well as resource load and priority. In addition, CAD wanted context menu options for customizing the plan such as adding overtime (extra hours, weekend shifts) or changing the material status of an order.
The solution also had to offer simultaneous access of 3 users (1 planner, 2 viewers) and had to ensure for the viewers to always see the up-to-date status of the plan.
NETRONIC developed a calculation methodology especially designed for CAD, calculating earliest start and end dates of the orders and their according tasks based on the order and resource data, processing sequences and priorities. This scheduling engine is based on the strategy that while overloads must not occur, exceeded deadlines are to be allowed in the calculation. The result of the calculation will be displayed in a graphical planning board.
The planner has three options for correcting the exceeded delivery dates:
- Allocate the task that causes the exceedance to another resource
- Increase the resource’s capacity, i.e., extend the working time.
- Change the planning order thus giving the order higher priority.
The effects of these corrections for the overall plan will be immediately recognizable.
The data can be viewed from three different angles:
- Production orders
- Resource allocation
- Resource calendar
Views can be switched by clicking the according tab in the planning table.
1. Production orders
This view displays all production orders grouped by release status (released, waiting for release, material not ordered). The single orders within a group are sorted by priority.
A red hatching of the bar immediately indicates an exceeding deadline.
The release status of an order can be changed in its context menu.
If there is an order with an exceeded deadline, the planner may move the order forward to an earlier time in the planning order. This is done by changing the order’s priority by context menu or by drag drop. The scheduling engine adjusts the start and ending times for all succeeding orders and visualizes them in the planning table.
The single tasks of an order and their position in time are shown on expanding the order thus immediately indicating the resource being affected by the exceeded deadline. Further details like task duration or name of the scheduled resource are shown in the table.
A context menu (resource allocation) allows allocating to each task a different resource that, due to a potentially higher capacity, is able to work off the task faster.
As an alternative, the planner can modify the resource’s working calendar (context menu Edit resource calendar). By increasing the resource’s working time at the conflict day, the delivery date could perhaps still be kept.
By clicking an order or a task, all tasks of the same order will be highlighted. This selection still remains when views are switched, thus serving as orientation.
2. Resource allocation
This view shows all resources in their according groups allowing for an easy check of whether they are constantly working to capacity.
Now the planner can also check whether the delayed task of the order that was previously marked in the Production Order View could be worked off by another resource of the same group.
As already described above, one could also temporarily extend the working time in the working calendar in order to meet the delivery date. The appropriate dialog for editing the working calendar is called either by clicking a bar or the displayed working calendar in the Gantt graph (grey background).
The planner temporarily exeeds the end of the working time of the resource Doe to 18:30, so that the resource woks 10 hours instead of 8, and sees that the delivery date could be met. The planning tool reschedules the orders and their delivery dates based on the increased capacity and updates the bars in the Gantt chart. The task of Doe is no longer hatched because the additional 2 working hours have solved the delivery date conflict.
3. Resource calendar
This view shows the resources with their individual working calendars. The respective working calendar dialog can be opened and edited as described above. If a staff member applies for leave, e.g., the planner sets the working time to 0. Based on the changed capacity, the scheduling engine at once reschedules the affected tasks and delivery dates as displayed in the other two views.
CAD-electronic GmbH wished for a planning board allowing the planner to carry out changes and two viewers to work with the plan. In order to be able to change the plan, the planning mode has to be switched on by clicking the according button (“Planungsmodus”).
This area also offers a button for opening a detailed view of the resources with their allocations. Adding/removing resources and resource groups and changing of group membership can be done by a context menu. The capacity of the working team can be manually controlled here.
CAD-electronic has three options now for modifying the conditions for avoiding exceeded delivery dates: Increase priority, shift capacities or increase capacities. The effect of these changes on the planning are immediately visualized in the planning table.
Mr Delasbé passes a favorable judgement of the cooperation with NETRONIC: “NETRONIC has succeeded in comprehensively and quickly reflecting and satisfying all our wishes in the planning solution. We had an ambitious schedule and were pleasantly surprised by NETRONIC’s quality, performance range and delivery reliability. Now that we could (have) see(n) all planning data in the planning board did we realize which information depth will be needed to use the planning board as comprehensively as NETRONIC has realized it for us. At the moment, we need additional data maintenance effort to derive maximum benefit of the planning table.