Schedules Based on Detailed Rate Calculations
EmbTrak Enterprise has two major production scheduling programs–one for embroidery and one for screen printing. Each program takes into account the same factors that an industrial engineer would use to develop the man-hour rate, run-time, and total time necessary to run an order on a specific machine. EmbTrak Enterprise is like having a team of onsite engineers to calculate standard times for each and every order.
This approach determines which machines are capable of running each order, selects the best machine for each order, calculates the best sequence of orders on each machine, and establishes a budget run-time and total time for each order. This plan serves as a production list, but it also becomes the basis for evaluating individual operator performance on each order.
Operators quickly learn that this approach adjusts time standards fairly, based on the factors that actually impact performance, which leads to improved operator morale and performance. And managers learn that they won't be blind-sided by changes in order volume, mix of goods, or decoration characteristics.
Shortcomings of Approaches Used in Other 'Scheduling' Software
Standard Units per Hour: Typical production scheduling systems use standard units per hour for calculating machine schedules (e.g. “1,200 pieces per hour per machine”). The scheduling program simply divides the number of units to be produced by standard throughput rates to determine run-time. This is adequate for many discrete manufacturing production situations, but too simplistic to generate accurate embroidery or screen print schedules, much less calculate how long individual embroidery or screen print orders should take.
Rules of Thumb: Ballpark assumptions based on experience and anecdotes may yield an accurate overall schedule as long as the mix of goods and decorations do not vary. But when production circumstances fluctuate–for example, when average stitches per logo drops from 5,000 to 1,000–machine operating efficiencies change and the entire schedule is soon wildly inaccurate. Using the “rule of thumb” approach does nothing to set a realistic rate for an individual order.
-James Hedges, Customer Service Rep, Simms Fishing