KnarrTek, through its use of the BellHawk software, provides better way to do production scheduling and materials requirement planning for manufacturers that make products in small batches to customer order on a quick-turnaround basis.
Traditional Materials Requirement Planning (MRP) algorithms found in ERP systems or shop-floor control systems start with a plan for the products to be made over the next few months and then the MRP system determines what materials need to be purchased and/or made and when. This planning may or may not take into account the people and machines that are expected to be available at future time.
Classical MRP algorithms work well when a manufacturing plant is making long-runs of a small number of standard products for stock and the required stock levels for those products can be determined months in advance. They do not work very well in a make-to order manufacturing plant as typically there is limited visibility as to future customer orders and the mix of raw and intermediate products required.
The scheduling and planning algorithms used by BellHawk are specifically designed for use in make-to order manufacturing plants where customer orders arrive incrementally and have to be slotted into the purchasing and manufacturing schedule incrementally, in real-time.
The BellHawk software dynamically predicts available inventory based on physical inventory less materials needed for work orders or to be shipped plus materials on order on Purchase Orders (POs) and materials to be made on work orders. This information can then be used by a production planner, with the aid of the BellHawk DRP (Dynamic Resource Planning) module, to determine what materials need to be ordered and/or made and when in response to each new customer order, as it is received.
Classic MRP algorithms produce a fixed schedule of when jobs are to be run over the next weeks or months. With BellHawk, planning and scheduling is adjusted dynamically as orders arrive or change. There is no need to disrupt production by rescheduling everything. New jobs are automatically slipped into the production schedule, as needed, without any disruption to the flow of materials through work centers.
Also, because things never go as planned (orders get changed, machines break down, employees are out sick, materials are not available in time) these classic MRP schedules have to be manually adjusted, typically at a meeting of production supervisors, at the beginning of each shift. Often further deviations from this new schedule, during a shift, have to be spotted and compensated for by supervisors "walking-the-floor".
BellHawk dynamically schedules work to be done based on the current status of operations and promised delivery dates. This makes optimum use of available resources to get orders out on time and does not require periodic total rescheduling, as in an MRP system, as all the rescheduling is done dynamically, with minimal time required from production managers and supervisors. Not only does this take account of all the things that tend to go wrong but it allows for the introduction of priority jobs in the middle of a shift.
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