Reasons for the low usage of scheduling software and the difference in production performance between users and nonusers of scheduling software from a lean manufacturing perspective

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Title: Reasons for the low usage of scheduling software and the difference in production performance between users and nonusers of scheduling software from a lean manufacturing perspective
Author: Yveborg, Sandra
Abstract: It is more important than ever for printers to improve efficiency and productivity, and the means for doing so are available. Computer-assisted scheduling is one method that is claimed to increase throughput speed and reduce costs, among other benefits. Recently, scheduling applications have started to increase in popularity, and many management information systems (MISs) have built-in scheduling features. However, only 15% of the companies that own scheduling software utilize it. The first part of this research project seeks to determine the reasons for the low usage. Another way to increase efficiency is through Lean manufacturing, a strategy for eliminating non-value-added activities, such as defects, excess inventory, and overproduction. Lean manufacturing and computer-assisted scheduling share many of the same objectives. The second part of the research project seeks to determine whether or not there is a difference in production performance between users and nonusers of scheduling software from a lean manufacturing perspective. The analysis is based on data collected through an email questionnaire from 60 commercial printing companies in the U.S. It was found that the surveyed companies who own scheduling software but do not use it, do not rely on the application’s capability because they believe that they can achieve better control with manual scheduling. Furthermore, they believe scheduling software is difficult to integrate with their workflow. Companies who have owned an MIS for 5 years or fewer have a more negative perception about scheduling software compared with those who have owned one for a longer time. In the research, it was also found that companies using scheduling software have higher utilization rates of equipment, shorter lead times for paper storage, and a higher percentage of short makereadies out of the total number of makreadies. Nonusers of scheduling software have shorter throughput time and shorter waiting time for a job between preflighting and platemaking, between platemaking and plate mounting, and between completed printing and the first postpress operation. In general, the scheduling software users in the study are more homogeneous as a group in performance, whereas the nonusers are more diverse in performance, with a relatively high percentage performing at a very low or very high level. The implication of the study is that scheduling software needs to be more userfriendly and easier to customize to increase the flexibility and capability of integrating it into a workflow. Furthermore, companies that own scheduling software, but do not use it, should investigate the possibility of achieving better performance by beginning to use the scheduling application. Scheduling software that is already in house has the capability of enhancing a lean manufacturing effort.
Record URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1850/7779
Date: 2008-08

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