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BellHawk Real-Time Scheduling and Demand Driven Materials Planning Capabilities

Scheduling and Planning

BellHawk Systems specializes in meeting the needs of make-to-order and short run, quick turn manufacturers as well as those organizations handling complex engineer-to-order products with short delivery times.

Classic ERP/MES and MRP planning and scheduling solutions do work for these organizations. This is because the starting point for these planning and scheduling algorithms is a long range (typically one to three month) sales and operations requirements forecast, which most make-to-order organizations do not have.

For many make-to-order organizations the delivery time frames have shortened to a few days with little or no advanced visibility of the order stream. This is being driven by "Lean" just-in-time supply chains combined with ordering over the Internet for next day delivery. Even engineer-to-order organizations, which typically have longer lead times, now have to cope with frequent design changes, made easy by CAD systems, and complex release schedules, which change frequently and on short notice.

As one operations manager recently stated: "I used to have six jobs than ran for weeks at a time in my plant. Now I have 400 work-orders for dozens of customer orders, running through 25 operations, with thousands of semi-custom parts that need delivery within a few days or hours."

BellHawk solves this scheduling problem by using a rule-based Artificial Intelligence (AI) approach to the scheduling of work orders by dynamically prioritizing the work to be performed in each work center according to a set of rules that take into account such factors as wanted date, where the work order is in its production process, and the importance of the customer order.

When production workers finish one task they are immediately assigned to the next task by BellHawk, taking into account the dynamically changing status of work orders as new orders arrive, existing ones are completed, machines break down, and people run into problems that delay the completion of operations.

This avoids the need for production workers to continually ask their supervisor about the next job to work on but allows the supervisor to monitor the real-time status of each work order and to intervene electronically, such as by changing the importance of customer orders, when needed.

BellHawk's demand driven materials planning capability predicts the changes in available inventory as new orders arrive.  Resultant predicted shortages in inventory can then be used by the BellHawk RTX alerting software to notify a production manager or materials manager that they need to make or order more materials. These managers can then use the BellHawk demand planning software to assist them in deciding what materials to make or buy and to create the needed work orders or purchase orders.

It should be noted that the BellHawk demand driven materials planning capabilities complement rather than replace long range materials planning for ordering materials with a long lead time. But for those situations where raw materials are available on short notice from a stocking distributor, or a supplier with quick response capabilities, then use of the BellHawk demand planning module can enable the implementation of Lean practices to minimize the cost of carrying raw materials inventory.

Please click on the following links for more information about:

BellHawk Work Center Scheduling Demand Driven Materials Planning
Real-Time Alerts and Warnings Capabilities of the BellHawk Software.
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