Scheduling is the process of arranging, controlling and optimizing work and workloads in a production process or manufacturing process. Scheduling is used to allocate plant and machinery resources, plan human resources, plan production processes and purchase

It is establishing the timing of the use of equipment, facilities and human activities in an organization It is an important tool for manufacturing and engineering, where it can have a major impact on the productivity of a process. In manufacturing, the purpose of scheduling is to minimize the production time and costs, by telling a production facility when to make, with which staff, and on which equipment. Production scheduling aims to maximize the efficiency of the operation and reduce costs.

The benefits of production scheduling include:

  • Process change-over reduction
  • Inventory reduction, levelling
  • Reduced scheduling effort
  • Increased production efficiency
  • Labour load levelling
  • Accurate delivery date quotes
  • Real time information

Key concepts in scheduling here are:

  • Inputs: Inputs are plant, labour, materials, tooling, energy and a clean environment.
  • Outputs: Outputs are the products produced in factories either for other factories or for the end buyer. The extent to which any one product is produced within any one factory is governed by transaction cost.
  • Output within the factory: The output of any one work area within the factory is an input to the next work area in that factory according to the manufacturing process. For example, the output of cutting is an input to the bending room.
  • Output for the next factory: By way of example, the output of a paper mill is an input to a print factory. The output of a petrochemicals plant is an input to an asphalt plant, a cosmetics factory and a plastics factory.
  • Output for the end buyer: Factory output goes to the consumer via a service business such as a retailer or an asphalt paving company.
  • Resource allocation: Resource allocation is assigning inputs to produce output. The aim is to maximize output with given inputs or to minimize quantity of inputs to produce required output.

Objectives in Scheduling

  • Meet customer due dates
  • Minimize job lateness
  • Minimize response time
  • Minimize completion time
  • Minimize time in the system
  • Minimize overtime
  • Maximize machine or labour utilization
  • Minimize idle time
  • Minimize work-in-process inventory
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