Optilon’s consultants have been working to improve manufacturing companies' planning for decades. We have improved planning processes from a strategic level down to detailed scheduling by changing processes and implementing optimization tools.
Through the years, much has happened, not least, better, faster and more flexible tools have been developed. However, many companies nevertheless have similar challenges now as earlier. It is still common to find it difficult to get a good overview of bottlenecks, to predict the impact of material shortages, to be able to prioritize between different orders and customers, and to visualize the planning situation for management, the production department, purchasers and others.
Optilon helps manufacturing companies improve their planning at strategic, tactical and operational levels. At a strategic level, many companies find it difficult to make decisions regarding changes in the supply chain structure. Companies often find themselves having insufficient opportunities to quantitatively analyze what is the right decision based on expected costs, service levels and lead times.
Historically, this type of analysis has been carried out infrequently using complex spreadsheets. With increased competition, increased demand for efficiency and more complex and dynamic supply chains, several companies find these tools insufficient for their needs.
For more information on how we can help you look into Supply Chain Design.
Another area that many companies need support with is to define the right operational policies that govern the manufacturing operations in accordance with the company’s business and production strategies.
If you are interested to know more about our methods read more about Optilon’s Operational Strategies.
On a tactical level, the challenge is often to balance demand and supply. In many manufacturing companies, forecasts drives purchasing, production, inventory and capacity. This means that forecast accuracy has a significant impact on both profitability and service level to customers. Consequently, many manufacturers have made efforts to improve their forecast accuracy, still many people today feel that the forecasting and demand planning processes are taking too much time with low improvements over time and much confusion about the right level of buffer stocks. Maybe it’s time to try a new approach?
For more information about this, have a look at our Service Optimization method.
Alongside these challenges, many manufacturers find it difficult to foresee future production requirements. Without that knowledge it is difficult to agree on delivery schedules with suppliers and to plan production staffing, inventory build-ups and distribution plans. For manufacturing companies with alternative supply methods (multiple production facilities, sub-contractors, etc.) choosing the right one is also an issue that can be difficult to manage without specific support and simulation capabilities.
You will find more information on how we can help you if you look into Supply Chain Planning.
Many companies struggle with operational planning, particularly in the machining industry. Factories with functional layouts, thousands of manufacturing orders, lots of materials and moving bottlenecks, often create difficulties to plan production for the upcoming weeks without unexpected delays occurring. Companies often therefore experience too much fire-fighting due to unclear priorities, late material deliveries, unexpected bottlenecks and changeover times. In these cases sequencing might be necessary.
Read more about Optilon’s services in Supply Chain Planning.