Hidden Value Detector


Discover Where Untapped Value is Hiding Within Your Plant

 This tool will help you pinpoint the areas of your business with untapped value. It outlines the top 5 best practices in four key areas: production strategy, production scheduling, business continuity, and decision-making.

Narrow in on the areas you fall short to start getting the results you want.

A solid production strategy orchestrates the entire supply chain and sets the stage to consistently achieve your business objectives. Avoid a strategy that buckles at every bump in the road. 

Best Practice

How to get started:

1. Link the business strategy and production strategy  Use your business strategy to define the essential inputs to the production strategy, such as customer lead times, ordering policies, service levels or fill rates, inventory levels or constraints, working capital goals, capacity available, and capacity expansion plans. 
2. Carefully consider your current environment  Gain a clear understanding of customer requirements, volume and mix, forecast error, volume variability, manufacturing efficiency, and manufacturing variability.  Segment products by variability, volume, and customer importance. Incorporate strategies that identify the products that should be run together. Understand the efficiency and predictability of internal operations and work to continually improve them. 
3. Use mathematics and analytics to confirm the production strategy will meet the business objectives  Make sure the production strategy is achievable. Use analytical tools that incorporate customer service, capacity, and inventory to predict results and enable balanced decisionmaking to meet the business goals. Incorporate inventory space, capacity utilization and loading, cycle stock production frequencies and quantity calculations, and keep the data up to date as conditions change.
4. Use scenario planning to inform decisions  Anticipate variability. Assess the likely range of supply and demand.  Create scenarios to predict what might happen and create contingency plans. Put guardrails in place to indicate when the results are on track and when something needs to be adjusted or resolved.
5. Use approaches that enable agility  With an achievable strategy, contingency plans, and guardrails in place, you’ll be able to focus on the truly unexpected events. Analytical capacity and understanding your capabilities and constraints will help you rapidly formulate new responses to changes in supply and demand or unexpected equipment failure.

With plants often running thousands of SKUs over dozens of lines, complex scheduling is often the status quo. Inefficient scheduling costs time, money, and creates chaos, making it one of the biggest hot spots of untapped value.

Best Practice

How to get started:

1. Take all product and equipment attributes into account   See the complete picture. All product and equipment characteristics that impact changeovers should be factored into scheduling. Start by getting agreement between the planners and the shop floor on the product and equipment attributes and their relative importance. You’re likely to be surprised at how quickly opportunities for improvement will be uncovered. 
2. Group products into families that run well together Make changeovers easier. Group products into families with similar attributes and changeover characteristics. Assign families to specific machines or lines to dramatically reduce the number of parameters needing to change. Changeover time will be less, there will be fewer adjustments between runs and the incidence of minor stops will decrease. You may even be able to eliminate whole classes of difficult changeovers through line assignment.

3. Sequence the order of products to minimize setup time and cost                    confirm the production

After deciding on the key changeover related product attributes and their relative importance, agree on the rules for when changeovers will occur and how long they will take.  Use this to streamline the sequence of your products to minimize setup time and costs. More efficient scheduling enables increased production rates.
4. Have a fixed, repeating cycle of production that is executable Gain scheduling stability and predictability that the entire supply chain can count on. Stick with a repeatable fixed cycle of production. Don’t forget to factor in staffing, constrained materials and upstream processes, all of which can impact the schedule. Keep in mind that activities get better with practice: crews get better at changeovers when they are done in the same sequence, line adjustments become repeatable, and the lines begin to run better.
5. Balance the run length of products with the cost of changeovers What would best meet your business strategy? Customer service, responsiveness, and short lead times? Minimizing working capital and inventory? Avoiding new equipment purchases or overtime? Calculate run frequencies that balance customer service, inventory, and efficiency to meet your goals. 

Identifying the optimal strategy and schedule, although absolutely critical, is not enough on its own. To maintain the benefits over the long haul and minimize business continuity risk, sustainability practices must be ingrained into manufacturing planning and scheduling processes.  

Best Practice

How to get started:

1. Schedulers have capacity to deal with the unexpected 

Leverage tools that make most of the schedule creation and execution routine and fast so schedulers have time to deal with unexpected events and creative opportunities for business improvement. The scheduling system should accurately represent reality and predict what’s possible. Rescheduling for unexpected events, such as rush orders or a change in process, can be done quickly and effectively with these best practices in place.  
2. Scheduling information is readily available  Keep information at your fingertips. Reduce reliance on a scheduler’s knowledge and memory. The scheduling system should have complete and accurate information on things like product attributes, production line capabilities, and changeover rules. Present the information in a way that is intuitive to understand. Eliminate the need to rely on key schedulers when they’re at home, on vacation, or off on holidays!
3. Processes exist to capture best practices   Reduce your HR risk. Leverage tools and technology to establish a way to capture much of the knowledge of schedulers and a process to maintain it over time. Record the scheduling and changeover rules on an ongoing basis. Handover of tasks will be much smoother and reduce the likelihood of disruptions in scheduling when faced with unexpected staffing transitions, absences, or leaves. 
4. The strategy and master data are updated as conditions change  Monitor for condition changes and establish a process to review and revise your production strategy as changes occur. Agree on a process to update master data and commit to following it. Periodically audit samples of each kind of master data so the level of accuracy is understood. Aim to continually improve the data accuracy, making it easier to design and execute a realistic production strategy and schedule. 
5. Change management is incorporated into the roll-out of new efforts  Find and maintain internal alignment on core goals. Change, whether big or small, is not always easy. Be mindful of the impacts on each functional area. Have clarity on the rationale for the change and intended outcomes. Integrate effective change management practices from the shop floor to executive levels to accelerate adoption and achieve your goals. 

Put an end to subpar decision-making by getting everyone on the same page and armed with the tools and data needed to succeed. Stop letting disconnection within the supply chain prevent you from achieving your business objectives.

Best Practice

How to get started:

1. The supply chain is connected and synchronized   Bridge the silos. Create connections between forecasting, planning, scheduling, and execution. Gain visibility to existing issues and their level of disruption. Synchronize departments with alerts when there are anticipated constraints, shipments are exceeding forecast, or production isn’t going as scheduled so the issue can be managed quickly and effectively.
2. A framework for decisionmaking is used, with analytics that support it Make the complex straightforward. Increase the speed of effective decision-making and your time to value by using a structured framework and letting advanced analytics do the heavy lifting. Incorporate scenario planning to make balanced decisions and gain visibility to the impacts across the supply chain.

3. Scheduling leverages advanced analytics     confirm the production

Scale your business. Foster a model that isn’t dependent on the knowledge of a few key people, allowing you to scale and grow faster. Incorporate intuitive mathematical algorithms to transform scheduling into an easy-to-understand process. Use analytics to find the ideal balance between scheduling, inventory, and customer service levels, helping to inform scheduling decisions.
4. Key information is accessible and easy to understand  Become agile. Ensure access to information on the lines, orders, resources, and consumption in real-time. Empower your schedulers with information to make high quality decisions when faced with unexpected constraints, such as a rush order or equipment failure. Alert schedulers when production or demand isn’t going as planned. The faster you can see the problem and react the less change is required.
5. Processes enable fast decisions without chaos Automate the everyday. Develop tools and templates that reduce the amount of time required to make decisions day to day. Combined with the increased production efficiency from better strategy and scheduling you’ll have some breathing room to consider the business trade-offs when faced with unexpected challenges.

To explore these opportunities further and get guidance on how to move forward with discovering untapped value at your plant, book a call with one of our Planning and Scheduling Experts.