Douglas’ Production Planning and Control (PP&C) Team’s vision is to provide planning, scheduling, support services and control of production activities for all our Douglas customer’s so they can execute their Team’s purpose. This past year the PP&C team implemented a large improvement to manufacturing operations. A new system for planning, dispatching and controlling manufactured components was put in place. There are a few key goals for this project and our future state of operations: process control, high efficient workflows, timely and accurate capacity planning and achieve a 96% on-time rate for manufactured components. At the close of 2019, the PP&C team was at the halfway point of their 10-year vision! The team needed to change strategy to create the flexibility to support production from revenue growth. The process needed to be innovative, follow operational planning principles and leverage available technology.
First, the team enhanced capacity planning tools to forecast current status and calculate the potential outcome of the varying decisions to handle the increased forecasted workload. Second, they created electronic dispatch queues. Work that is planned to be subcontracted is released to these queues. All other work is released per Material Requirements Planning (MRP) recommendation and will go to internal queues for our Machine Shop. Every morning MRP creates a series of recommendations telling us which orders should be canceled, expedited, deferred, rescheduled and released. With the click of a button, the team answers the recommendations and the system automatically updates the work orders in the queues.
Electronic queues allow the team to react more quickly when constraints arise and adjust work center throughput as needed. There are three staging locations: at the machine, in sawing and the control room in Production Planning and Control. When work at the machine has been completed, employees pull in the next work staged from sawing, which then triggers sawing to pull their next work from the control room. This creates a “pull” system from the operator at the machine to the PP&C team to request more work to be dispatched.
The Douglas PP&C team strives to be on the cutting edge of Continuous Innovation and Improvement by persistently challenging the status quo through innovative planning and operational improvements that are benchmarked against industry standards. Since September 2019, the team exceeded their on-time goal every week. The 2018 overall on-time average was 2.4% higher than the 2017 average. Lead time reduction has improved as well with the average order taking almost half a day less than it did in 2017. The PP&C team, working together with Machine Shop, designing and implementing the pull system has allowed all employee owners of Douglas to benefit from the system’s success.
All employee owners of Douglas strive to work with other departments and each other to exceed our customer’s expectations. We would be proud to partner with you to help you reach your goals.