The Digital Factory: Visualized Production Planning

Texas-based manufacturer of shop fabricated tanks partners with Kinetech to build a cloud-based multi-parameter production scheduling application.

  • Facing complex challenges in managing a dynamic production schedule with a varied workforce, orders, and constraints, the Manufacturer needed an intelligent custom application to optimize production scheduling. 
  • Off-the-shelf software and manual methods, including Excel, were insufficient for the Manufacturer's unique scheduling needs.
  • Kinetech developed a cloud-based web and mobile work order planning application to address their specific challenges in just 6-weeks!
  • Management can set parameters, input order requests, and choose production orders based on delivery dates.
  • The application optimizes personnel and material allocation using a proprietary algorithm, considering various constraints.
  • The integrated mobile app offers real-time guidance to shop floor operators, improving task allocation and allowing them to set appropriate customer expectations while understanding the impact of prioritization decisions. 

Introducing an Industry Leading Manufacturer:

This prominent Manufacturer is an industry-leading shop tank manufacturer that builds custom above ground and approved underground tanks. With over 50 years of experience and a manufacturing facility covering 20 acres, and serves some of the largest energy companies in the world.

The Challenges: 

Managing a production schedule that includes dozens of workers, a multitude of projects, and a variety of production constraints is undeniably complex. These constraints include factors like delivery dates, worker skill sets, materials, and more. The management team faced a significant challenge: to accurately forecast the impact of unplanned time off, changes in work order priority (such as rush orders), material constraints, and then the downstream effects of these factors. 

As the business grew, Excel and off-the-shelf scheduling software were inadequate to capture the unique production processes of this industry-leading Manufacturer. Managing their legacy production schedule required a full-time employee to keep up with the cascading impacts of unplanned time off, and rush orders placed by clients.

The Solution:  

In just six weeks, Kinetech built a custom scheduling application that incorporated the multiple variables required to produce an accurate production schedule. The cloud-based web and mobile application keeps Manufacturer’s operators on task and ensures the management team understands the downstream impacts of changing the many variables included in the production schedule. The production schedulers centrally manage the variables that will dynamically update the schedule, including the required steps to build a tank, the estimated time to complete each step in the process task, required worker skill sets, and more. The sequence of those orders may then be changed in real time by the operators on the shop floor.

The application then runs a proprietary algorithm against the various time constraints to produce a production schedule that informs the Manufacturer of the optimal personnel and material allocation to hit their ship dates. 

The primary purpose of the application was to facilitate accurate projections and ensure that customers had appropriate delivery expectations, which delivered immense value to this Manufacturer. This application provided the ability to effectively respond to customer needs and understand the impacts of prioritization decisions, setting the Manufacturer up to provide a better customer experience. By implementing this scheduling solution the Manufacturer would also be able to enhance their utilization of their full-time employees for more important and impactful tasks, beyond manual scheduling. 

The integrated mobile application became an integral tool for shop floor operators by providing  a visual representation of the schedule that is accessible from their workstations to ensure they are executing work orders in sync with the schedule and have the insight necessary to properly set up for each subsequent order. The feedback loop between the shop floor and the schedulers enables the Manufacturer to continually fine-tune its schedule for maximum efficiency.

Custom planning and scheduling solutions such as the one Kinetech created for this Manufacturer are crucial to bridging critical gaps in processes and planning for all Manufacturers. They can extend the capabilities of existing ERP production planning solutions, or stand on their own, and provide the flexibility needed to thrive in a complex manufacturing landscape. 

With custom solutions that address the unique challenges of individual Manufacturers, the future of the industry lies in building "Digital Factories". Manufacturers can leverage Kinetech's work order scheduling and planning solution to build their own "Digital Factory” of the future.

 

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About Kinetech:

Kinetech is the leading developer of Low-Code, cloud-native, digital experience, automation, and core systems software applications for the financial, industrial, and public sectors. With over 10 years of Mendix implementation experience, the highest concentration of advanced Mendix developers in the United States, and the strongest track record of customer success, you can be confident partnering with us on your most important modernization initiatives. Our composable service offerings are configured and integrated with other web services (APIs), platforms, and enterprise applications.

 

Global Manufacturer Digitizes Shop Floor to Create Their Own Digital Factory
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Ricky Volz

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