PSS do you need it?
There are dozens of Production Scheduling Software (PSS) versions available.
But even so,
do any of them cater for the small order manufacturing business?
Production scheduling software giving significant productivity improvements for small scale manufacturing environments, will always be welcome if the cost is right.
There is not a great deal of attention given to productivity and production improvements for small "made-to-order" manufacturing environment. Usually dominated by small manufacturing companies operating on a customer to supplier, hand to mouth type of basis.
Unlike large the large manufacturing companies which are much more capable of applying just-in-time (JIT) philosophies to ensure high profits through productivity gains. Small companies on the other hand still face specific problems in their production planning and control.
This is mostly down to their limited available resources. These specific problems in their production planning and control are more important to the small guy than any other larger company.
As a result (necessity being the mother of invention) small order manufacturing and production companies tend to be very efficient by nature. But that's not to say there could be no room for improvement.
Small companies face specific problems in their production planning and control, probably due more to suppliers than anything else. Yes that's not fair I know, but small supply orders don't get priority over large orders, do they!
Small order manufacturing at the very smallest level is only too well demonstrated by the circumstances of the poor, in the lesser developed countries of the world. It is a fact that millions of poor people worldwide already derive their livelihood from small scale manufacturing activities. Yes I know it's a far cry from a manufacturing company.
But, the technologies, policies and practices that enable poor women and men engaged in small scale manufacturing to better their lives by earning more for what they produce and spending less for what they need for production and consumption. Is in fact a very good study for any manufacturing company, small or large or enormous.
There is need for poor people (all over the world) to gain greater control and influence with the production of goods and services they need and use, whether the production is by themselves or otherwise.
They manage this goal through substantial active participation in the productive operations that supply local, as well as global markets.
Manufacturing operations that enable participation in production by poor people or otherwise, whether in farming, mining, fishing, packaging or processing, are in this regard important to any manufacturing operation.
Whether it is a small order manufacturing operation or a multi-national global empire, the principals are the same.
Production scheduling software applies its attention to the allocation of the available (possibly) limited resources to the production tasks over time.
Although allocation and sequencing decisions are closely related, it is very difficult to model mathematically the interaction between them.
However, by using a hierarchical approach, the allocation and the sequencing problems can be solved separately.
The allocation problem is solved first and its results are supplied as inputs to the sequencing problem. The resource allocation problem can sometimes be solved using aggregate production planning techniques.
To specify completely the input to the sequencing problem, the resulting detailed or item plan (also referred to as the master schedule) has to be disaggregated.
A breakdown by component parts can be obtained in a straightforward way by using Material Requirements Planning (MRP) systems. This is quite a simple task with some production scheduling software.
Although MRP continues to be popular in practice, many issues still need to be resolved to make it an effective production planning tool.”
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