Small Business Manufacturing: Why You Need Production Scheduling Software

Posted on: 17 February 2015


If you have a thriving small business manufacturing products that you sell directly to customers, such as custom costume jewelry or , you cannot afford to have any delays in shipping orders or glitches in your workflow. Furthermore, when your growth forces you to relocate to a larger manufacturing facility, you need to also consider purchasing production scheduling software.

If you have never used production scheduling software or wonder why it is essential to your continued success, consider the advantages of investing in a computer program to help you manufacture goods efficiently and reduce production costs.

Overall Scheduling

It is understandable that when you first begin manufacturing goods in the cozy environs of your garage or basement, you use rudimentary tools such as spreadsheet software, white boards and manual record keeping systems to track incoming raw materials and product inventory.

However, as your business expands, you will begin to experience growing pains as you need to manage larger shipments of raw materials, manage increases in production runs and maintain control of the overall production process.

Production scheduling software enables you to move away from using whiteboards and spreadsheets that cannot handle complex production schedules when priorities change and resources fluctuate. With more info on this software, you can import your old spreadsheets and create intricate schedules. In addition, you can view graphs and charts of schedules and use drag and drop functionality to modify schedules on the fly.

Personnel Management

As orders for your products fluctuate throughout the year due to seasonal demand and other factors, so will your need for labor. Accurate labor planning is essential for continued success.

Instead of hiring too many or too few workers for seasonal fluctuations, you can take advantage of the tools found in production scheduling software to plan shifts, assemble teams and plan an accurate payroll budget.

The labor planning tools in product scheduling software also enable you to eliminate worker downtime and cut labor costs. This is invaluable for preventing hiring a team of workers who spend more time waiting around during shifts for tasks instead of helping you fulfill customer orders.

Workers will also appreciate accurate schedules so they can plan their time wisely as well. You can also plan for plant slowdowns during major holidays, equipment maintenance periods and mandatory municipal inspections of your facility.

Forecasting and Quotes

When you have a handle on production schedules and labor costs, you can more accurately forecast the time needed to fulfill orders, from the minute raw materials arrive at your facility to the moment shipments arrive at a customer's doorstep. In addition you can calculate:

  • How much stock you need to produce at any given moment
  • How to allocate resources such as intermediate products, semi-finished goods that require further processing
  • When you will need to use certain machines such as specialized rental equipment for specific tasks

In addition, top-notch production scheduling software helps you to generate quotes for any amount of product for customers. Using the data from scheduling, personnel management and forecasting tools, you can provide an accurate estimate of shipping dates for customers as well.

Overall Cost Benefits

One of the most important advantages of using production scheduling software is the cost benefit. Once you can create accurate production forecasts, you can reduce material handling costs and optimize space in your facility because you know how much materials you need at any given time.

In addition, you can significantly decrease factory lead time, reducing the period between ordering raw materials and shipping out a finished product to customers. When you can effectively manage every aspect of your factory operations with production scheduling software, it will become easier to maintain consistency in the quality of your product and adapt to market demands with agility.

Furthermore, using technology such as production scheduling software is imperative for maintaining a competitive edge as small businesses dominate the U.S. manufacturing sector according to a report from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.