Planning for Production can Provide Flexibility


Scheduling production is always difficult. We have learned a few lessons on how to increase efficiencies. When we plan our production, we not only look week-to-week, but we look at specific days. Here are a few things we have learned:


Know Your Products

If you have a good handle on items that move quickly vs. the ones that don’t, you can add flexibility to your plan. If you have open time on a machine, plug in those items that you know will move, don’t wait until you see the demand for them. This will also allow you to plan downtime for PM’s on your packaging machinery, as well as reduce or eliminate your overtime. If a customer calls with a last minute request, you will be in a better position to help them, and we all know everyone loves a hero!

Kill the Changeover

Stopping a line half way through a shift to change out products is one of the worst things you can do for productivity. You may look at your smaller volume lines/items and shrug your shoulders. You may assume that they can’t be avoided... Well they can be! Every environment is different, and it may be hard to see, but changeovers are VERY costly. Look at reducing the headcount on a line and running slower to consume a whole shift. This will allow the changeover to be made during an off-shift, or between shifts. Can you add headcount to the line? Rather than the run taking 1.5 shifts, it now takes 1. You can set up a line that’s not in use, in advance, so the amount of downtime is limited to the length of time it takes to walk to that new line. Whatever it is, make it a priority to kill the changeovers. 

Get Everyone Involved

Who knows the equipment, products, people and environment better than the people on the floor? Look to them for input. Find out what items run well together. Is there a day of the week that people are sluggish or hate running a certain item? Seek out the items that people like to run, "the easy ones". Put those on schedule for Monday mornings and Friday afternoons. If you get the buy in of your labor force, you are much more likely to execute a plan you’ve put together.

At the end of the day, you can increase your productivity by thinking differently about how you schedule.

Talk to our team about making your packaging lines the most productive:

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About Jarrod Dizazzo, Vice President

Vice President at Industrial Packaging I believe that the strength of one is shown by looking at those around them. We've got a wonderful team in SCS and coming to work for IP is a joy every day. When not in the plant, you can find me fishing, hiking, or being goofy around the house with my 2 daughters and my wife.