Integration is the art of harmonizing hardware, software, and equipment systems in order to optimize, visualize, and automate manufacturing processes.

Automation is the art of transforming manually performed business activities into processes that are orchestrated and controlled through software solutions.

Optimization is the art of maximizing manufacturing efficiency, throughput, OEE, yield, and quality by monitoring, analyzing, and iteratively tuning manufacturing processes.

Visualization is the art of providing transparency into manufacturing, engineering, and supply chain operations in order to enable continuous optimization.

Migration is the art of exchanging critical business processes and IT systems without disrupting manufacturing operations.

A white paper is an authoritative report or guide that informs readers concisely about a complex issue and presents the issuing body's philosophy on the matter.

Best practices documents describe manufacturing IT solutions which are accepted within the manufacturing industry as being correct or most effective.

Previously recorded webinars provide in-depth discussion regarding specific manufacturing topics and solutions.

Demos are brief videos that showcase a specific aspect of a manufacturing topic or solution.

Presentations and recordings from past events hosted or attended by SYSTEMA are available to view or download.

Case studies are up-close and detailed examinations of challenges faced within a real-world manufacturing environment along with proven solutions.

Data sheets provide critical pieces of information, such as features and technical details, related to SYSTEMA’s products and services.

Blogs are informal discussions or informational pieces related to manufacturing optimization topics, solutions, and SYSTEMA-related news.

DispatchingAutomationProcess CapabilityOptimizationdigitaltransformationWIP Management

by Vern Puchalski, on November 14, 2018

Dispatching – What is it?

If you ask 10 people what “dispatching” means to them, you’ll typically get 10 wildly different and sometimes conflicting answers. These are usually filled with technical jargon and reflect some key facet of the individual’s function in the factory (such as “finish my experiment quickly”, “get this lot to the customer on time”, or a whole range of hot-button themes).

To get to the heart of what dispatching really is, consider this definition of dispatching:

  1. Deal with (a task, problem or opponent) quickly and efficiently
  2. Send off to a destination for a purpose

Regardless of any specific definition, dispatching is the art of answering the question: “What is the next-best lot(s) to run right now on this specific equipment?”. This includes a host of standard dispatching priority rules but also typically includes the individual operator’s idea of how to manage WIP, efficiently run key equipment and balance a host of post-it style can/can-not runnable rules.

Read SYSTEMA’s Guide to Digital Transformation

Characteristics of a truly effective dispatching system:

Equipment Specific: The view of “next best” must be associated with the specific equipment that will be used for production.

Real Time: The view is dynamic and must always reflect the current reality. You can’t rely on any plan that is not eternally up-to-date and isn’t reflective of current conditions.

Equipment/Process Capability Aware: The operator needs to see whether the lot is capable of running on this equipment at this moment in a predetermined view. It’s not only unsafe to rely on endless engineering change notices (ECNs) and tribal knowledge that describe the set-up and run conditions necessary for each recipe but it also wastes considerable time. Bottleneck capacity and labor time lost refreshing lists, evaluating capability, etc. can cost millions. Any dispatching system that is unaware of the real-world requirements to run each individual lot is useless!

Evaluates Complex, Conflicting Priorities: It’s often necessary to balance a complex set of individual rules (run the lot with the highest critical ratio unless this lot is not of the same setup as the last lot and unless the downstream bottleneck inventory is less than minimum, etc.). A dispatching system must allow the creation of simple, atomic rules (i.e. “Does this lot require a set-up change?”) and the ability to bundle these simple rules into complex conditions.

Imagine the possibilities such systems allow. Priority rules can be pre-determined and associated with instantaneous WIP and equipment conditions – eliminating the frequent calls to “take lot X off the tool and instead run lot Y”.

Lots are pushed to bottleneck tools keeping them “fed” and running as efficiently as possible. Complex “process capabilities” are pre-evaluated, eliminating common misprocessing errors and tool wait time while an operator searches ECNs. Changing equipment and WIP conditions are automatically handled in real time. Priorities and conditions are formalized in codes and conditions so the factory runs similarly across all shifts and dates.

Such systems can ultimately be fed factory economic data and help minimize cost by minimizing chemical or electricity use, prioritizing lots by customer value, average profit by part number or any other site-critical value. The key is to create formal rules, enforce runnable process capabilities and allow the dispatching system access to all relevant system data.

Dispatching Demonstration: Simple, Yet Effective, Dispatching

This video is no longer available

The file cannot be accessed or has been deleted