Busters of the On-Time Delivery Schedule
A company that demonstrates consistent on-time delivery, every time, has loyal satisfied customers!
Data Entry Errors Are Schedule Busters!
One of the main schedule busters are data entry errors. They cause production to slow or stop, while one department has to call and interrupt other departments to find missing information or data.
This is another prime reason for Rework Due to Errors.
Errors are made, because there is no CONTROL CHECKLIST in place for entering data to create a Job or Project “Ticket.” This folder contains all instructions for production, etc.
Many data entry errors are due to incorrect specifications given to the sales rep by the customer; or due to data entered incorrectly by a customer service rep for the job order.
To add more pressure and chaos to the schedule, a client may call to report an error or desired change on their job. Or, they may demand an immediate redo of their job. Now it’s panic time.
The entire production schedule has to be changed, in order to accommodate and redo this client’s job, at breakneck speed.
You know the old saying, “There always seems to be enough time to redo a job, but never enough time to do it right the first time.”
Breakdowns and Delivery Delays
The unexpected seems to happen just when the production pressure is at its peak. Worst case scenario: one of the main machines or Process Centers is down. Now the whole production process goes into a tail spin and finger pointing begins.
Many breakdowns in equipment happen, because there is not a well-planned Preventative Maintenance System. And no Repair Request System in place.
Another schedule buster that causes delays is, materials for the job are not available.
Maybe the purchasing person failed to order or failed to order so it would arrive on time. At times, the vendor is at fault.
Some company schedules are delayed or moved, because certain employees refuse to work overtime, even in the most urgent situations. Still other companies allow their employees to consistently come to work late, or take leave without proper notification to management.
Estimated Time vs. Actual Time for a Job
Some schedules may be shifted around, because a company does not have Time Keeping/Floor Data Collecting Software. This system reports on Actual Time versus Estimated Time on a project or job. It’s important to know the estimated or actual time it takes for a job or project to go through the entire process, from start to finish. This is also known as throughput.
A company needs to measure, bench-mark, adjust, and then repeat these steps, to find the Estimated Time a job or process will take to complete. Short of these actions, they really don’t know the throughput of a job, making the schedule a “guesstimate,” at best.
Actual Time for a job can only be measured after the work is completed, and then it should be used to benchmark for improvement. If it is a new process that will be implemented for a job/project, then a time study needs to be conducted to come up with an estimated time.
Need for a Full-time Scheduler
In many cases, the Project/Production Manager is also the Scheduler, and spends a lot of time trying to keep the schedule accurate, while fire-fighting in production. Trying to please everyone and handle the schedule, along with many system-busting or non-conforming events, is almost an impossible task.
The Schedule Reports are normally not up-to-date; therefore, they are sketchy and practically unusable. By the time the Project/Production Manager inputs all the jobs/projects into the schedule, new work is being added to production by Customer Service. There may also have been a slowdown in production at some work center (a bottleneck), and the schedule does not reflect that. So, on and on it goes!
This is why many large companies must have one or more persons overseeing the schedule at all times.
When we first began to implement the Scheduling Module from the industry specific software we had purchased, we made a discovery. It would involve many of our current control systems working together in harmony to bridge the gaps and to stop the schedule busters. This would ensure a SCHEDULING SYSTEM that functioned with as little intervention as possible from management.
Schedule Problems and Solutions
Problem: Data Entry Errors
Solution: Master Quality Control Checklist, Data Entry Control Checklist and Estimate/Order Entry Checklist.
Problem: Too Many Chiefs – Sales Persons, Owner and others demanding their jobs take precedence.
Solution: Know your capacity by having a system for benchmarking production times with Time-Keeping/Floor Data Collecting Software. Have a Chain of Command Policy showing who makes decisions about priorities.
Problem: Employees Absent/Tardy
Solution: Starting Time Policy, Absenteeism Policy, Absent/Tardy Reporting System, Request for Leave System, Company Calendar to post leaves/vacations and Time-Keeping/Floor Data Collecting Software.
Problem: Workers refusing to work overtime unless convenient for them.
Solution: Overtime Policy signed by all employees.
Problem: Rework due to errors
Solution: Quality Control Checklist for each process. Use the System Buster Locator to track and fix errors permanently, and to benchmark progress.
Problem: Customer Changes
Solution: Policy for Customer Changes given to all customers that address RUSH charges and moving schedules etc.
Are You Getting the Picture?
Problem: Necessary materials unavailable at the start of a process
Solution: Material Order System, Purchase Order System, Daily Routine Checklist, 100% System of Cleanliness, Inventory System, Shipping & Receiving System.
Problem: Equipment Breakdowns
Solution: Scheduled Maintenance System, Preventative Maintenance Checklists for all key equipment. And a Repair Request System so employees can report any equipment problems before break down.
Problem: Rush Jobs adding pressure to the production system
Solution: All of the above and having a Today’s Printed Schedule for each phase of production. Rush Jobs are given an asterisk, indicating it’s the first job to be completed before moving completing rest of the schedule.
All jobs on the schedule for a process must be completed, and marked as completed, before end of day or shift, unless the Project/Production Manager overrides.
Each production employee turns in their completed schedule and Time Sheet, at end of day or shift, to the Project/Production Manager.
Did I mention—Great Systems Work!
Philip Beyer, founder/president of Ebiz Products LLC and founder of Beyer Printing Inc. in Nashville Tenn., is a chronic entrepreneur, business systems analyst and consultant. Author of "System Busters: How to Stop Them in Your Business" and recipient of an InterTech Technology Award for the design and development of System100 business process management software. Beyer speaks to business owners across the country on how to bring lean, sustainable order to their businesses. Contact him at (615) 425-2652.