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  • Please take a closer look at important points before introducing scheduling software.

    Types of scheduling software

    Requirements for scheduling software
    Capacity for making practical plans
    Short planning time
    Visibility and Easy operation
    Flexibility / Expansibility
    Conclusion of selection points

    Types of scheduling software

    There are two types of scheduling software. One is cutomized product, and the other is package products.

    Customized products are able to adapt to customers requests throughout the development and imlementation process. However, it is often difficult to clarify all the necessity at the beginning of the development and, in many cases they are found later and users incurrs extra expenses for additional customization. Users are unable to know whether the software satisfies their needs or not until the end of the development. Generally speaking it takes long to develop and introduce the product. Because of their uncertainity, some risks are unavoidable for those customized products.

    On the contrary, package products have a lot of advantageous points. Specifications are clearly confirmed before purchasing, and they are usually inexpensive than customized ones, and through version upgrades users are always able to use up-to-date products and finally, setting up after installation is smooth and quick. Consequently, the risk of introduction of scheculing software will be fairy low.

    With the advancement of IT technology, customized products which used to be sold mostly are steadily decreasing in the market and instead, package products are emerging from the view point of cost, implementation risk and so on.

    Requirements for scheduling software

    Here, I focus on package products.
    Since planning and scheduling packages in the market differ very much from each other in functions, logics, and many points even if they are seemingly the similar programs. The selection should be careful enough to avoid a bad investiment.

    There are four important points to be required for good scheduling software as follows.

    Capacity for making practical plans@
    Short planning time
    Visibility / Easy operation
    Flexibility / Expansibility
    Capacity for making practical plans@

    Automatic planning itself is simple with use of computers. However, results ought to be accurate and feasible enough.
    If the scheduler lacks functionality and fails in bringing about a useful result, managers will be disappointed with those impractical plans. They are meaningless however automatically schedules might be created. Please note that , in order to make an accurate and practical plan, functions to deal with planners knowhow are very important. Again, this point is so important that introduction without it is meaningless. Please refer to the other section, 'Importance of schedulers', for more detail. From now on, I'd like to show you the point of selection, supposing that the scheduler is able to make practical plans

    Short planning time

    Firstly I'd like to refer to the reduction of planning time. Of course the speed is required anytime and anywhere

    Although systemization of manual operations naturally leads to shorten task time, practical processing methods are different among makers. Therefore, I recommend to check the task time using real data at factories. With an increase of loads, such as so many process steps some computers might not keep calculations at normal rate which is observed when light loading.


    Visibility and Easy operations

    The third point is visibility as well as easy operation. From the viewpoint of routine usage, it is the best GUI (graphical user interface) that is mostly necessary.
    Generally scheduling results are displayed in the Gantt chart. And the final results are confirmed by planners. Thus, it is a basic and important function that contents can be modified so that planners are able to check them simply. Operations of stretching bars or moving bars within the Gantt chart are also needed in daily adustment work. I would like to add that other functions such as other kinds of Gantt chart, a variety of charts for diverse evaluation, a summing up tools and others are helpful for judgment of the scheduling result. The PlanWizard's GUI has all of these features above to help planners on the shop floors.

    Flexibility and Expansibility

    Finally, I would like to refer to flexibility and expansibility of PlanWizard. To put it other way, it is a kind of customization at end user side. As a matter of fact, a lot of unexpected ideas or problems occur to planners minds after introduction of schedulers. I heard that in those cases, planners are unable to solve their questions and finally ask IT sections or SI vendors outside the factory.

    But, in many organizations, customization by way of IT division or SI vendor often brings about additional development cost and needs lots of meetings where floor managers attend sacrificing their operational management. Therefore software has to have such flexibility or expansibility that helps end users make a kind of customization by themselves to realize their ideas.
    It is important for end users to be able to simply customize the scheduling software to some extent and run it as they desire. PlanWizard is one of such scheduling software products.

    Conclusion of selection points

    I'd like to summarize my points.

    Firstly, automated scheduling which makes a practical manufacturing plan is the most important point and it is meaningless to introduce scheduling software not having feasible planning function. And other selection points are ability to make plans very quickly on any conditions and excellent GUI in the light of daily usage, and finally excellent customizability or flexibility. Since profit of introduction of scheduling software depends greatly on the first selection, we appreciate a lot if illustrations above are of help to users who take these factors into consideration and make a right choice of proper software package.

    Capacity for making practical plans@
    Short planning time
    Visibility / Easy operation
    Flexibility / Expansibility
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