To achieve production targets in today’s complex manufacturing environments, it is critical to efficiently and accurately process work-in-progress (WIP) from the point of executing the production order all the way through to fulfillment and delivery of the product. Issues that disrupt these efforts commonly center around events which occur during the execution of even the most carefully designed production plan. These events can include:
- Scheduled and unscheduled maintenance tasks
- Equipment failures
- Variations in staffing levels (short staffing due to illness or other reasons)
- Execution/misprocessing errors
- Unavailability of equipment
- Equipment doesn’t offer capabilities necessary for processing a given lot
- Processing delays due to variable recipe run times and setup conditions
- Bottlenecks and starvations
- Changes in manufacturing priorities
Event-driven dispatching responds to these situations in real-time, evaluating events and resources in order to keep production flowing optimally and without delay.
Phases of Production Planning & Execution
Event-driven dispatching is a critical component of production execution alongside production management efforts related to resource scheduling, and production, capacity, and demand planning. The phases of production planning and execution for the purposes of this discussion can be characterized as follows:
Phase 1: Production, capacity and demand planning
Production planning is the process used to define, plan, and control long-term plans. A production plan incorporates manufacturing capacity, sales forecasts and orders, and raw material requirements. These planning processes lay the foundation to ensure manufacturing is scheduled and staffed with sufficient capacity to build finished goods and meet forecasted as well as confirmed orders.
Phase 2: Scheduling
Scheduling is the process used to define, plan and control near- to mid-term production plans, typically at a daily or shift level (4, 8, 12-hour increments). Scheduling has its limitations but is effective for planning ahead to calculate expected resource loading depending on number of tasks, how resources are expected to be utilized, and any known constraints.
Scheduling becomes inefficient as a tool at the moment when scheduled events are unable to be executed as planned and there is a real-time need to determine sequencing of tasks and resources.
Events including maintenance tasks, equipment failures, fluctuation in staffing levels, execution misprocessing errors, bottlenecks, starvations, and changes in management priorities invariably upend the most thoughtfully crafted production plan. In these cases, event-driven dispatching has proven to be invaluable.
Phase 3: Event-driven dispatching
Event-driven dispatching keeps equipment operators (or transport systems) informed at all times of the right material to process, in the right order, at the right equipment. This ensures production is free of misprocessing or excess tool wait times which are common in the absence of automated dispatching systems.
Production floors achieve improved equipment utilization, maximum manufacturing capacity, and reduced labor costs by consistently applying processing rules and automating lot-prioritization evaluation factors such as batching requirements, timer conditions, equipment capability, equipment availability and management priorities.
What is Event-Driven Dispatching?
Evaluation of the most efficient material for processing in a production line is error prone. It doesn’t have to be. Event-driven dispatching solves this problem by providing equipment operators with a prioritized, real-time dispatch list indicating the right material to process, on the right equipment, right now. A properly implemented, event-driven dispatching system relies on customizable, management-defined rules along with data regarding lot and equipment states, equipment capabilities, management priorities, and constraints in order to accurately and efficiently keep WIP flowing from one process step to the next.
Equipment-specific dispatching lists for all queued lots are presented to equipment operators at each piece of equipment. The lists are presented and adjusted in real-time as events occur such as material track-in/track-out, lot hold/release, equipment state or capability changes, or accommodations for batch reservations.
Event-driven dispatch lists ensure that only the lots capable of being processed on a piece of equipment are available for selection. Just because equipment is “up” doesn’t mean it offers the recipe, process chemicals, tooling, or other requirements necessary to process a lot. Event-driven dispatch lists make important details regarding the recommended processing of lots visible to equipment operators. For instance, if a lot at the highest priority position for a tool isn’t runnable because the tool doesn’t offer the required process capability, then the operator can immediately see “why” this is the case. Or, perhaps, a lot has just completed processing in a furnace and needs to cool before further processing. In this case, a minimum timer would block the lot from proceeding to the next step and timer restriction details would be visible to the operator. To read several more examples of real-world manufacturing challenges and how they can be solved with event-driven dispatching,
If deviations from the recommendations of an event-driven dispatching system become common, it’s likely that floor operators have information that is not available to the dispatching system for some reason. That information should be used to create new rules which will improve the event-driven dispatcher’s recommendations. Compliance monitoring is encouraged to support the ongoing incorporation of human processing intelligence into event-driven dispatching logic.
Improve cycle time by automating the synthesis and evaluation of data required for efficient dispatching of material from one process step to the next
Maximize manufacturing capacity without increasing labor cost by automating manual processes
Ensure unanticipated events don't disrupt your ability to efficiently move WIP through the factory
SYSTEMA’s Approach – The Art of Automation
SYSTEMA goes beyond providing software licensing. We are solutions consultants who partner with and advise our clients as they explore the art of automation. We begin by gaining a comprehensive understanding of your business. During on-site workshops, working together we will identify, gather, and prioritize requirements, determine ROI, formulate KPIs, and align the vision and objectives with stakeholders (management, production, IT, enterprise management, etc.). From there, we typically strive to first develop and provide a proof-of-concept as a basis for further iteration and development into a final product for testing and future deployment. Our teams are present across the globe including locations in the EU, US, India, SEA, and Israel. We are prepared to support your initiatives, large and small, to efficiently realize the benefits of a digital transformation of manufacturing.
SYSTEMA’s Event-Driven Dispatcher (EDDi) delivers real-time, efficient production control and optimization. Read more about EDDi.