A friend of mine who works in Life Science manufacturing told me about a cynical wager she and her colleagues made after their 6-person team completed a 5-day marathon production planning and scheduling session. The 6-person cross functional team did everything in good old Excel.
“How soon will they have to meet again to re-schedule and rework this excel file?”
That happened about 16 months back – in the dark, early days of COVID-19. Overworked and almost going nuts, they needed a wager to lighten the atmosphere of the workplace. They were not looking forward to another 5-day session, but it was bound to happen. Soon.
Scheduling of production is a complex task and it is not surprising that at most biomanufacturers, a team of cross functional planners are needed. They meet frequently and when they do, they find it challenging to satisfy all the competing manufacturing requirements. Schedulers are often required to deal with unexpected events and their consequent impact on schedules and production. There is rarely enough time to run “what if” scenarios, let alone optimize the whole biomanufacturing process.
And when business KPI are not up to the mark at the end of the year, they often have to unfairly carry part of blame – “scheduling strategy not optimized”, “unable to predict bottlenecking of key equipment”.
My colleague, Tim Leo who is our subject matter expert in Planning and Scheduling emphasized to me it will take more than just “integrate everything, install the software and click on the start button” of some scheduling modules to make the pain go away and deliver the goodies of planning and scheduling.
Early digitization adopters are realizing that in order to see issues and react quickly to unanticipated events, it is not sufficient to find ways to tame and join data from disparate systems in an ad-hoc manner. The idea is to focus on gathering data based on a context provided by your process and manufacturing groups. Context is captured not just in a series of meetings, but in a formal model of the manufacturing process that includes relationships, business rules, equipment and resources.
Tim further showed me how Emerson’s Real-Time Modeling System allows users to visualize the facility constraints, accommodate variability, maximize production, and understand the implications of any change in the manufacturing process. I am certainly impressed with the intuitive interface and logical layout of the applications.
By collecting data from across the organization, the Real-Time Modeling System can consolidate, analyze, and present an accurate model of the entire process. The model produces an optimal scheduling overview and debottlenecking and capacity analyses for process optimization.
Using a model created by the Real-Time Modeling System, real-time scheduling automatically schedules future operations based on operations rules by reconciling the real-time status of the manufacturing floor.
Tim will be speaking at the Emerson Exchange Asia Pacific virtual conference. Register for the event and join him on the 28th Oct at 2.30 – 3.00pm (SGT) in The Heart of Digitalization in Production: Real Time Scheduling and Capacity Analysis with Emerson’s Real-Time Modeling System.