Repetitive Production

(1)Achieving the production for short-term delivery and ready for whatever changes come along with TPiCS-X

■ What is the production for short-term delivery?
Nobody knows whether end consumers are going to buy the products or not, and when they are going to buy what specific product and how many of it. All the corporate activities and all the productions are influenced by the trend of end consumers (= humans.) When you are distant (for example, research and development) from end consumers, you have trouble seeing this connection between you and them. No research or development must be done for what is free from the possibility of being accepted by the world. Although you manage to predict the behavioral principles of humans that are difficult to predict, and the direction to aspire for accuracy improvement of the prediction is one of the answers, as a different answer it is also important to reflect the fluctuation of demand in the production at the point of time as close to the transition of the demand as possible. More importance on “accuracy improvement of prediction” had been placed in the high-growth period before the bubble economy burst compared to “keeping pace with demand fluctuation.” But as we are aware of our limitations of “prediction,” it seems that the road to keep pace with demand fluctuation has entirely been demanded these days. Since “keeping pace with demand fluctuation” is too broad for a theme, however, we call it “the production for short-term delivery” in TPiCS, and I’m going to deal with this problem.

For instance,

① You want to realize the system to ship orders from your customers as soon as possible with as low in inventory as possible.
② You are running the production getting pushed around by the daily customer orders because it is difficult to predict the market with such as the sales plan. But you want to improve that somehow.
③ You are receiving the forecast information from your customers. But since the firm orders close at hand change a great deal, you are being forced to always accept the confoundedness.
④ You are receiving requests for shortening the deliveries from your customers.
⑤ You want to more smoothly respond to urgent orders and orders from sudden visitors.

The “production for short-term delivery” is the one to solve these problems. You should be able to respond to them in a brain match instead of a physical match with guts and toughness. We call the ability to achieve them with as low in inventory as possible the “production for short-term delivery.”

■ Misperception about the production for short-term delivery.

 As for the production for short-term delivery, many people have great misperception and I guess such a situation of “though we understand the needs, we can’t quite move forward.”
① “Adding to our misery that we have a hard time of delays in production even now, there’s no chance to produce more for short-term delivery.” This is a typical misperception about the production for short-term delivery. Now examine more in detail about this problem, sorting out the causes of delays in production. 
・Now examine more in detail about this problem, sorting out the causes of delays in production. 
 I’ll start with a store for you to most easily understand.

For instance, assume that the capacity of equipment is 900 pieces per day and the production is behind to produce the scheduled quantity of 1,000 per days. Since it doesn’t matter that the 1,000 was decided a few months ago as long as the equipment capacity is 900, the delay in production due to this reason has nothing to do with the production for short-term delivery or the shortening of delivery period. 
・The case where delays in delivery for parts is the cause.
 There’s the answer in the function of TPiCS-X.

 One of the basic ideas of f-MRP in TPiCS-X is that “parts and materials are purchased at the right time as required.” The parts that have no other choice to be purchased three months before, even with the production for short-term delivery, are to be purchased three months before (described later for details.)When you think about the production for short-term delivery, you must “not make arrangements for required parts after the production is decided” but “simulate whether or not to be able to produce from things that have already been arranged.” Of course, since you had better make arrangements for the things that can make it in time even after the decision of the production once it is decided, the more with shorter procurement period you have, the more possibility of being able to you get as a result of the simulation. In order to further increase the possibility, you ought to set up a “reserve (buffer) for the fluctuation of the production” for the parts of which procurement period is long, and increase the setting value. If you implement the production for short-term delivery only with the parts and the materials that have already been arranged, and when you have no functions to use as the “buffer” and forcibly implement it, that “stirs up” the productions in your suppliers and results in delays in delivery of the parts and the materials. If you set up a required buffer, however, delays of the parts never increase even when the production for short-term delivery is implemented as TPiCS-X can effectively utilize it.
・The case where defects are the main cause.
 We are not thinking about “achieving the production for short-term delivery by forcedly producing in a hurry.” As with purchases for parts and materials, there’s no other choice to produce taking three days whenever it takes the process three days. Thus, defects don’t necessarily increase even if the production for short-term delivery is implemented.
② What is preventing you from the production for short-term delivery most, however, may be a thought of “Are you asking us to produce for shorter-term deliveries though we are so busy even now? That we can’t do.”
 Let’s think about this story separating factory floor and office.
 A story on the factory floor would go: you can understand if you think about it as with the misperception of the ① That is, there’s no difference between the 1,000 decided three days before and those decided two months before because the workload would be the same. The busyness on the factory floor never changes even for the production for short-term delivery. Office work won’t go that way as might be expected. The office work that occurs in proportion to production volume wouldn’t increase even for the production for short-term delivery as long as the quantity is the same 1,000 pieces. But the “work that should be done by today” would increase. That “sense of urgency” might make you feel “having been busy.” Since TPiCS-X is something like a “dedicated machine for the production for short-term delivery,” however, you can achieve it with ease if you use TPiCS-X.
③ The problem of the leveling also prevents you from the production for short-term delivery.
 Let’s think about an extreme case as an example to make it easy to understand. It’s a case of receiving an order today and producing it today. In this case, the quantity of the customer order would directly be applied to that of the production.
 That is, since the fluctuation of customer order volume directly becomes that of production volume, the leveling becomes difficult. The following problem has to be considered as far as the leveling is concerned.
When you wanted the leveling to occur on a weekly basis, you couldn’t do the adjustment work for the leveling itself unless the schedule of the following week is at least determined by Friday. And when you thought about an intermediate or first process, you should be doing work for the week after next at the end of the following week. Therefore, the schedule for the first day of the week after next should also have to be decided. You have a tendency to think that the schedule of the nearest two weeks has to be determined, or that you fail to reflect the needs of your customers.
④ The last misperception is the case of “making the work period shorter is impossible due to the long work from start to finish.”
 Although I may not be able to call this case the misperception, you would give up without knowing TPiCS-X, or you end up choosing the road that doesn’t lead to an answer.
 In the case of producing something that can’t be held within the factory (= put into inventory) on the grounds of the problem on the quality control or something once the work has been started, there’ is no way out. But if it’s possible, you can solve this problem. Least of all, in the case of something becoming a different product in the middle of the process depending on the processing method or the embedded part, you can get big benefit out of it. If you are flipping through the pages of this booklet with a cynical thought of “that system boy is only saying good things anyway,” nothing will come of it. I would like you to read these texts in a serious manner thinking, “we may be able to do the production for short-term delivery.”

■ Achieving the production for short-term delivery and ready for whatever changes come along.
 In order to think about this problem, you have to think about what should be done to achieve the production for short-term delivery to begin with. Let’s have a run-through on “what is needed for the production?” for that. When you open any textbooks of the production control - To be honest with you, I completely forget about it because that was nearly forty years ago, - you always find “5 major elements of the production” written in the first chapter.
① Equipment and place.  ② Humans. ③ Parts and materials.  ④ Drawings and specifications. ⑤ Funds. If my memory is correct, what is written in the textbooks are such as they are. I feel like I might be able to add"⑥ Outsourcing suppliers and partners” to the list. Anyway, these are the 5 major elements indispensable for the production. It is the ③that is largely concerned with the production for short-term delivery among them. Now let’s move on focusing on the procurement of parts and materials.
We are going to think about what is different in the procurement of parts and materials by comparing the “production for short-term delivery” with the “traditional production to be 3 to 4 months ahead.” It used to “make arrangements after the production schedule is determined” in the past. To put it the other way around, it used to “produce at the time when arrangements make it in time. ”To think about the “production,” you can’t finish it with only a part missing no matter how many parts are used and no matter simple the part is. 
Therefore, you have to adjust your production to something that will take the most time to get it among the parts and materials to be used. That’s why it was “reflected in the production to be 3 to 4 months ahead.”
 When you think about the procurement period of parts and materials, what you shouldn’t forget about is the power balance. Normally the procurement period is determined by the production schedule and the point of view of the supplier. 
But if the side to purchase has overwhelming buying capacity (ability to buy a lot, technical capabilities, ability for leadership, etc.,) it can make the supplier side to deliver in 3 or 4 days after the purchase ignoring the schedule on the supplier side.
Let the consideration here focus on the general manufacturing business instead of these “particular circumstances of big boys.” In order to purchase parts and materials as requested (as scheduled,) you have to make a purchase considering the timing to be able to get the part (purchase lead time.)

When you make a purchase at the time way before, however, you end up making the purchase before “what to make eventually” is determined among the production for short-term delivery. 

This means that you have to think about “what to make” among the parts and the materials that have already been arranged in order to do the production for short-term delivery. 

That is, it means that you have to think about the production schedule based on the situations of arrangements.
Of course, the procurement period varies depending on the part and the material. There may be a lot of cases where it will be the same among suppliers in reality, but the part and the material essentially determine it.
When you think about the production schedule on that basis, you have to consider “something that can make it in time if making a purchase from now” and “something that can’t make it in time any more” by part and material.
According to the MRP calculations of TPiCS-X, they are performed definitely separating, by part and material, the period where purchase orders have already been released, and the period where purchased goods can make it in time if purchase orders are released from now on. The general production control systems are designed based on the assumption of “there were schedules for products in the beginning,” and the idea of making a purchase for the parts required for the implementation. You already understand at this point that it will be too difficult for the general production control systems to handle the production for short-term delivery because of that.

Since we can think of “what is already being purchased” and “what is already being ordered for production” as the “schedule” here, we’ll call these the “already-arranged schedules.”
When you think about the relationship between “parts for a long procurement period” and the production for short-term delivery, you begin to realize that it is similar to the problem of equipment impacting on the production schedule. Generally speaking, it takes a certain amount of period to build a piece of equipment, and it’s not a matter of today and tomorrow.  Then, that leads to an idea of “making a production schedule within the equipment capacity that is already fixed.” However, there is something slightly different in purchases of parts and materials from the equipment capacity. 

There’s an aspect of “where might is master, justice is servant” to some extent in purchases of parts and materials, which offer great flexibility more or less comparing to those of equipment. They may rather be similar to the problem of staff in terms of offering flexibility.

■ An idea of simulation.
 If you have to make a purchase of parts and materials more or less before determining what and how many to produce, you have to make the production schedule considering those “already-arranged schedules.” To make the production schedule wondering whether the parts get short or not, and whether they make it in time or not, we normally call it a simulation. 

 Yes, an idea of simulation is extremely strong in the MRP calculations of TPiCS-X.
 On the other hand, the general production control system is limited to the one-way concept of “calculating the required quantity and issuing the instruction”. Allocating inventory and performing the rounding in lot-size to required quantities, and purchasing parts and materials to suppliers and releasing work orders to production, they would eventually say, “Keep up the good job for the rest.” They would shut their eyes ignoring whether you can do it as expected or not. I call them ”runaway production control.” We generally call purchased schedules “order-released schedules,” and we exclude them from the following MRP calculations. Or, by differentiating the period subject to the MRP calculations from the period not subject to the MRP calculations, that is, the period not subject to schedule changes in the system, we separate them with the concept of “time fence. When they say, “Since we have already released it as the system, we no longer include it in the calculations,” you believe at a glace that they are right on the money. Or, you may have believed it as “all too real” until this point. But once you have to implement the production for short-term delivery until the latest moment and come to get into the time fence, you have trouble then.
 Even for the most recent schedule we do the calculations on it with the system in a proper way, do the maintenance on it creating the vision for being possible or impossible, and we see all the production activities in action around that production schedule. This is our idea of the production for short-term delivery.

■ A little bit difficult story.
 There’s a hurdle to overcome, however, in order to achieve this. When you calculate something with the system, you wonder based on what the system is going to calculate. That’s masters pre-registered in the system. It uses inventory information, too. And what you shouldn’t forget about is the Schedule data, already arranged and finalized.
Now what happens if there’s “something that has nowhere to go” mixed up in the Already-arranged Schedule data?
Since the system doesn’t know whether that something has “somewhere to go” or “no where to go,” the system will calculate based on the assumption that deliveries are to be made anyway according to the Already-arranged Schedule data including those schedule data in the calculations. That results in the calculation contradictory to the reality that the current schedules satisfy the stock needs although a new schedule that uses the parts in question for its product comes in.  As the parts in question are not going to be delivered, however, they shouldn’t have been used.  To put it differently, the system can’t give you alert information when they shouldn’t actually be used.
In order for the MRP calculations to deliver correct simulation results,

① Masters to be registered in the system,
② Inventory volume in the system,
③ Schedules themselves recorded in the system,
the above has to be maintained accurately.

 Generally the ① and the ② are talked about but the ③ is not really. Let’s think about why.
There used to be a manner of operation before in general that the MRP calculations were performed only once a month. Using the case where the MRP calculations are performed on the 1st every month, it will be on the 1st of the following month that the MRP calculations are to be performed next. If the MRP calculations were performed on the 1st of the month of N, for example, the next MRP calculations would be on the 1st of (N+1.) When the 1st of the month of (N+1) comes, all the days from the 1st to the 31st of the month of N are obviously excluded from the re-calculations of MRP since they are all past days. As a result, the schedules entered to the MRP systems were called “Master Plan” or “Master Schedule,” which was positioned as the “schedule to order parts and materials with.” The schedule to actually produce on a daily basis with was called “Execution Plan,” and people got to think, “those two are different by definition.” And the idea of “changing the Master Plan based on the Execution Plan” didn’t have its need or its function in the system.
Since the general systems are designed as an extension of that idea even now, the schedules of which orders have been released are excluded from the re-calculations. And we call the interval not to re-calculate (possible to re-calculate) for “time fence,” and explain as follows. “You are saying to change the schedules for today, tomorrow and the most recent, but we can’t. We had trouble up until now because you forced us to do it. Since our system protects you with the time fence, it’s going to clear up the confusion like before.” Whether it’s tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, however, the situation where we have to change the schedules does occur. Although the assumption, to begin with, is that the “Master Plan” and the “Execution Plan” are different, he says, “The system protects the Master Plan with the time fence.”  I guess she must not be thrilled at all to hear that…
Now, we are going to think about what happens if the “Master Plan” and the “Execution Plan” are different when using the system?

(A)    Even if parts and materials have been delivered according to the order sheet calculated from the Master Plan, nobody knows for sure whether or not there will be a shortage in parts by just looking at the “Execution Plans” for today and tomorrow. Even with the production control system at hand, you have to work overtime every day and verify with a calculator in hand that the parts required for the production for tomorrow and the day after tomorrow will really be sufficient. 
(B)    You can’t tell what will be produced and made today and tomorrow by looking at the production schedule from the system.
(C)    Since the system doesn’t process the most recent production changes for you, you will have to handle them with “exceptional handling” if you produce the most recent additions. 

 However, the TPiCS-X-style logic of “no time fence = what has been order-released is always subject to the re-calculations until its completion” is not a completely “happy-go-lucky guy.” There are restraints of these: Even the schedule that has been order-released must not lose touch with reality of the situation. The Schedule data in the system must always be adjusted to the “Execution Plan,” which is a feasible plan.
I believe those who are experienced in business of this field will understand both the difficulty and the importance of achieving them.
Something might be worked out as to internal matters if you did your best. But when it comes to information on an external supplier, you couldn’t quite get it. I always tell the following story in the training workshops my company holds.
“I was working on the production control in a manufacturing business some 20 years ago. At that time, if I had participated in the training workshop of TPiCS and heard someone say, “In order to proficiently use TPiCS, I have to do the maintenance on the schedule down to the level of parts and materials to make it constantly feasible,” after having gone back to my office, I would have written the report that reads, “It’s impossible to use TPiCS-X in our company.”
The story continues a little bit.“ But about 2 years ago, someone who had heard this story thought, “The schedule without the maintenance on it never leads to essential problem resolution for sure.” And he bought TPiCS-X and put the operation to maintain the schedule in a proper fashion in practice. I hear that as a result, he could get very big benefit out of it.”
For instance,
● When we had requests of moving delivery dates forward and additional orders from our customers, previously it took us about 2 weeks to get an answer of being possible or impossible to handle. But it takes us just 1 day since the implementation of TPiCS-X.
● As we have diligently been doing the maintenance on the schedule, we have come to understand “what will complete and when that will be” or “what we should do now” whoever watches the screens of TPiCS-X. 
● Delays in delivery to our customers have reduced.
● The sales have become as 1.5 times as the last year’s.
I hear that he has seen such effects as above.
I doubt that the implementation of TPiCS-X had an impact on each one of them including the sales having become 1.5 times, but those are music for my ears.
He has proven for me, “you can do it if you try hard enough” and “you can really make a difference if you try hard enough” although it appeared to be impossible.

■ Schedule Management
 In order to achieve the production for short-term delivery, however, there are two important things for TPiCS-X users to do:
① Constantly do the maintenance on the Schedule data in the system in line with the Execution Plan.
 In order to make the MRP calculations (simulation) in TPiCS-X correct and meaningful, you have to do the maintenance on all the Schedule data as described above.
② Run production lines observing the schedule in the system.
 Needless to say, nothing will start without the attitude of “observing the schedule.” Only in observing the schedule, you can realize the consistent production and achieve the production for short-term delivery.
 We call such way of thinking and manner of operation “Schedule Management.”
Let’s not have a misunderstanding.
If you are satisfied with the level of operation equivalent to the general production control systems, you don’t need the “Schedule Management” even using TPiCS-X.
● When looking at the screen of the system, it is displaying something different from what is going on now on the factory floor
● When a new order comes in, you can’t tell whether or not it’s possible to produce without a calculator.
● As the system can’t handle the most recent schedule changes, you have to frequently issue additional orders as special processing.
● Or, anticipating it, a purchasing guy in charge is purchasing an extra.
● Even if parts are delivered up to the order sheet, you always have to do the inventory count and confirm it with an calculator as you don’t know whether or not they will cover the production for today and tomorrow.
● Thinking about the above, you can’t help having too much inventory.
If you don’t mind these situations to remain, you don’t need the “Schedule Management” even using TPiCS-X.

■ Information on external suppliers.

 While you manage to apply the in-house Execution Plan to the system if you try hard enough, it is very hard to get accurate information from external suppliers in the case of purchased items.
 Isn’t it on the purchasing side, however, that most of the reasons to make it hard lie?
I have never actually found myself in such a position in my days of the manufacturing business because I was in a different department. 
 But let me think about what I would have done if I had been informed by a supplier, “The delivery seems to be behind schedule.”

When a “stretching request” came in from a supplier, the systems in those days had no functions to enter the information to them with. As a result, people had to cover all of such things with handlings outside the system while they were constantly working with it. Since it was the system of the general-purpose machine 20 years ago, and the system operation was mixed with manual labor, which came first in a sense, it must have rather been easy. But that was a troublesome job at any rate. It wasn’t a kind of job appreciated by everybody and if I did such a thing in the factory day in and day out, my grades would be getting worse. They used to be purchasing parts for their delivery in 3 to 4 months back then.
 So if I were informed of a stretching request, I would like to handle it as follows:

When a supplier called me right after they received my order sheet, I would say, “Do something about it! Because you still have enough time until the due date.”
On the contrary, when they called me right before the due date, I would say, “What the hell were you doing up until now?!” Then, I would hang up right away.
Thinking that all I do would be to hang up right away, no suppliers would call me and say, “It appears to be late.”
“No stretching requests or no actual delays in delivery” will be the best, but “no delays in delivery” isn’t that easy in reality. 
It would be me who received a cancellation at the last minute. Getting the information as soon and widely as possible, I would have to do something right. If I had known the delay in delivery in advance, I would be able to think of something right. I would be at a loss on the very day to hear, “We are sorry.”
 In order to solve this kind of problem as much as possible, what we have developed is SCM Option. (Refer to the 5th chapter of “Information Sharing with Suppliers” on the SCM Option.)

■ Why can’t you achieve the production for short-term delivery?
Think again here about, “Why can’t we achieve the production for short-term delivery?”
● We have gone through the “Production Control System” several times until now, but we haven’t adopted it, thinking that it wouldn’t fit our job.
● We can’t make the job doing the production control with hand working or Excel.
There may be these cases.
Or, you are already using the production control system,
① Using the “system adopting the time fence,” We can’t adjust the schedule of the system to the Execution Plan
② We can’t tell whether or not we cover the production for today or tomorrow with parts already delivered even using the production control system.
③ The person in charge of materials has to confirm with a calculator.
④ We are checking the production and delivery statuses for parts within the nearest few weeks in the confirmation work since we can’t make it when we find a shortage in parts even if we are making some noise about today and tomorrow.
⑤ We don’t want the schedule to be changed once we have checked its period delivery status because checking it again and again is painful. Besides we can’t make it anyway even if we find a shortage during that time.

⑥ So we can’t make the short-term shorter that it is.
Am I right?
What do you say? With the problematic points having been cleared so far and the specific solution having been offered, you think that you may be able to achieve the production for short-term delivery, don’t you?

■ Problem of the leveling.
 Whenever you’ve gone a long way to think about the production for short-term delivery, you bump into the problem of the leveling.
Thinking about the know-how of the production like “receiving an order today, producing it today, and shipping it today” or “receiving an order today with its shipment in 3 days,” you find the production volume linked to the customer order volume. It’s good to have the customer order volume leveled, but if it’s not leveled, the production volume ends up swelling according to the customer order volume.
Besides, the schedule has to be determined in first for the period you want the leveling of since the leveling job itself cannot be done unless the production schedule is determined.
TPiCS-X solves this contradictory problem of “We want the leveling, and the production for short-term delivery as well” with the following two functions:
① Function of “make the production schedule fixing the nearest two weeks temporarily” using the parameter of “Period to Fix.”
 The plan for the required period (for example, 2 weeks before) will be fixed in the MRP calculations, but you will make instructions unissued yet (the production schedule is temporarily fixed.)The Customer Order data are entered every day and the MRP calculations are performed every day. If no shortage or overage is found, which means they are within a set acceptable range, in the temporarily fixed schedule, the schedule is executed as-is. If a shortage or an overage is found, the production schedule is corrected then as the system tells you so.
There are two kinds of schedules in the MRP calculations of TPiCS-X; the fixed schedule (similar to what is called the independent demand) and the schedule derived from calculations (similar to the dependent demand.)While the schedule of the independent demand can only apply to the finished goods in the general production control systems, it can be calculated having any process and any end part and material fixed in TPiCS-X. Having them fixed once, you can further specify how many nearest days to be fixed for. We solve the problem of the leveling using this function.
② Shop Floor Control Option.
 The starting point of leveling is that when people in the field try to work according to the work instructions, it is a problem if they are in a state where “We have a lot of work today, but tomorrow we have only half a day’s work”.  He is in trouble with such a situation. Thinking about the problem returning to this origin, we can think that all that’s required is for him to know, “How much I should finish today in order for me to go home?”
 Although the shop floor control option allows him to judge, “What should I do now?,” it also allows him to know, “How much should I finish?” at the same time. Even if the production schedule itself has a quantity of unevenness, it can clearly display up to what work he should finish today or whether or not he has to get to the work for tomorrow on the terminal of the factory floor, assuming the leveling, for example, from Monday to Friday.
(Refer to the 4th chapter of “How to make the production schedule, having the nearest two weeks temporarily fixed” and the 6th chapter of “Instructions of the factory floor and the leveling” respectively.)

■ In the case of a long work period from start to finish.
 If there are 10 processes from start to finish, for example, and we can set up inventory points between processes, even if it takes 10 days to finish, we can set up the standard inventory for items in the processes of TPiCS-X and perform the MRP calculations using it for the allocation. Thus, we can reflect today’s customer orders in tomorrow’s completion schedule.
 Furthermore, in the case of processing common materials to make some common work-in-processes and finally turning them to more than one finished product according to different processing methods in the middle of a process, we can perform the MRP calculations allocating those as well since intermediate processes can also be treated as if they were common parts.
It’s rather hard to explain this usage of TPiCS-X in detail as it behaves perfectly natural as the system, but it doesn’t seem to be quite understandable for the customers. It is very important and efficient.

■ Actual results.
 Generally speaking, people say, “In order to for MRP to correctly be calculated, actual results must correctly be entered. It is the same as with TPiCS-X that the data entered to the system must all be correct, but the schedule management (to accurately maintain the schedule) is more important than the actual results entry in TPiCS-X only in terms of getting the accurate MRP calculation result (simulation result).Because the MRP calculations can be done with some degree of accuracy except for special cases (occurrence of a large amount of defect, etc.) without actual results being entered since the MRP calculations in TPiCS-X are done based on the schedules, as described in “■ A little bit difficult story,” as far as unfinished schedules are concerned.
In contrast, the system couldn’t accurately calculate without the information being applied to it even if a supplier informed me, “The delivery will be late.”

(2)Attempting to make the factory floor observable with TPiCS-X.

● Try to think about what happens if the “Schedule Management” can be done successfully. The schedule data in the system are all living, the factory floor runs according to the schedule, and the suppliers also come to deliver things according to the schedule.
All will be known to everybody, then, by just looking at the screens of the system like what is going on now on each factory floor and what they can do for tomorrow. So, situations of the factory floors will be grasped by just looking at the screens of PCs without actually going there. This is what I mean “observable.”
● The “essence of observable,” though, is not in simply observing but in making it observable to know what to do next after the observation.
You should lead the result to a campaign or implement appropriate measures in advance like the “chilly hat” activity of safety control in factories: watching a little signal (predictor) prevents big troubles from happening.
● A little bit crafty programmer could easily make the system which only displays data on the screen.
But it’s hard to make the system display constantly living data on the screen.
And it’s harder to actually utilize the data.
I might say, “to put the soul into the system.”
● On the other hand, in terms of actual results, we provide a “management chart” as a visualization function. This is to create management materials and analysis materials based on the data of TPiCS-X. It aggregates and displays data for progress management, shipping progress management, work efficiency management, cost reduction management, sales order / arrangement amount management, yield management, inventory amount management, stagnant inventory management, output (plan / actual results) management, and Item Master analysis.


The management chart can analyze the actual results from various perspectives.

For example, if you click “Progress Management Chart”, the display will switch to the graph. The biggest bottleneck in progress management analysis is consideration of the effects of delays in materials and previous processes. With this management chart, it is possible to analyze by subtracting the delay of the previous process and the follow-up status to the advance plan from the initial delivery date. Inventory analysis can also be performed based on the inventory amount and inventory days for each item.

(3)Solving the problem of delay with TPiCS-X.

 I think that those who have been engaged in the production control for a long time still remember the “Fire accident in the Nihonzaka tunnel,” and the “Piston ring of the Chuetsu Offshore Earthquake” in recent years. We can’t prevent delays in production and parts due to sudden accidents and disasters from happening no matter what we try.  I think that this is a kind of problem that should rather be handled with the point of view of “Risk Management.”
 In contrast, as for the delays that occur in the course of our daily lives, there’s no other way of resolution to “foresee troubles soon and take measures soon.”
There are two kinds of delays that occur in our daily lives, delays due to external factors and those due to internal factors. It is obvious that poorly tackling them causes delays in shipment to occur and a lot of problems to customers at any rate.
If the factor of delays lies close to the production control operations, TPiCS-X can solve most of them.

① Delays due to external factors.
 In order to get rid of delays in delivery from suppliers, you have to do a purchase to keep the delivery deadline, getting rid of the cause (unreasonable orders) of delays in delivery the purchasing side makes first.
 The purchasing can be done without “stirring up” the production in suppliers in TPiCS-X by “purchasing parts and materials at the time when they are required,” and utilizing the function of a “reserve (buffer) for the fluctuation of the production” as described in “■ Misperception about the production for short-term delivery.”
In addition, the “On Schedule and Delay List” of TPiCS-X plays an important role in the sense of taking preventive measures against delays. For example, the report containing outstanding orders, of which scheduled delivery date will be forthcoming in the next week, is sent to all suppliers by e-mail with a click of the button every Friday to have them confirm the schedule. If there’s something that has already been delayed then, it will obviously appear on the report as “delayed.”
No matter how hard you try to execute these things, however, there won’t be a day when there are no delays. And if there is a delay, you have to foresee the risk as soon as possible as descried in terms of the Schedule Management, constantly getting living information such as notification of a stretched delivery date.
When you receive notification of a stretched delivery date from a supplier, you have to know whether or not the delay has impact on the current schedule, and what and how much you should make adjustments to in the first place. If you put off the schedule of products, you look for something to be produced instead since you don’t want the production volume reduced for that day. You can find answers to what you can make and how many of them you have enough parts to cover, performing the simulation on those in the system with TPiCS-X. Even if you still have delays to occur by this, you can minimize effect of the occurrence.
Just to be safe, I’d like to add that you shouldn’t necessarily accept notification of a stretched delivery date without any reason as a matter of course. It is very important in the conduct of the production control to “keep the schedule” – to build a framework to have your suppliers keep delivery dates.
And yet, as what’s really impossible can’t be helped, we are going to think about the production schedule as a realistic solution among what’s possible.

② Delays due to internal factors.
 (A)     Delays due to oversight of customer orders beyond your ability.
 (B)     Delays due to oversight in applying to the schedule and arrangement mistake.
 (C)     Delays due to not-thorough instructions to the factory floor.
 (D)     Delays due to design mistake.
 (E)     Delays due to troubles with equipment, jig, and mold.
 (F)     Delays due to downturn of attendance ratio.
 (G)    Others
 Citing some of the causes, there is something that can be solved by just what is called “managing in the system,” and something that can’t. That is something that can be prevented by systemization as to (A,) (B,) and (C.)
And even if delays should occur, you still can minimize effect of them by promptly making an executable recovery schedule as with delays due to external factors.
If the data in the system are improper, however, they won’t help you here, either.

(4)Balancing inventory reduction and the production for short-term delivery with TPiCS-X

As they say, “inventory comes at the end of all production activities,” there are many factors that influence inventory. No matter how many factors there are, however, you can’t get an answer without analyzing them.
Sorting out the source of inventory in the first place, we’ll think about inventory reduction on that basis.
① “Dead stock” due to miscalculation and arrangement mistake, or engineering change,
② “Operating inventory” that spontaneously occurs in day-to-day production activities,
③ Self-defensive inventory that prepares for any changes,
Firstly, the source has been divided into the above three.
● In order to reduce “dead stock” it is necessary to “improve prediction accuracy” or “to eliminate arrangement mistakes.” As the countermeasure we can think of the “calculations with the multidimensional analysis system,” the “implementation of double-checking as to confirmation work and important matters” and such. matter how eagerly you try such countermeasures, you won’t be able to predict the future 100% or completely eliminate mistakes.
The world has been globalized, and the factors to get the market going have increased but never decreased.
In addition, the quality standards and the safety standards to be required must go up but never go down from now on. Engineering changes because of it will increase more and more, and engineering changes because of cost reduction will also last for years to come.
If “something you don’t want to happen” like these mistakes and miscalculations never happens again, it’s an important answer as well to minimize the damage when “something you don’t want to happen” did happen. That’s where the production control is put to the test.
And it is necessary to conduct speedy monozukuri in order to achieve this. If you shorten procurement period for parts and materials, and make procured lot sizes small, you can reduce dead stock for parts and materials. Ditto with the production for products, you can reduce dead stock for products by the shortening of manufacturing lead-time and compacted lot size. If you purchase parts for 3 months, there’s a possibility that you could have dead stock worth 3 months when some trouble comes up. But if you purchase them only for a month, the dead stock could remain as much as only a month. In corporate activities “swiftness solves 100 problems.”
● “Swiftness” is also the key to reduce operating inventory.
Since “all that come into the factory and go out from there become inventory,” all you have to do is shorten the period between in and out in order to reduce inventory.
Even if parts and materials have been delivered, you can’t start your work until you have everything you need. Even if you start it, processes won’t go off smoothly with frequent defects and reworks. If it takes time for tooling change, the production period until finished goods are shipped out will be long. Unnecessary stagnation makes the production period long. All the work results in the production period and inventory.
Operating inventory is controlled by “delivery lead-time and manufacturing lead-time” and “lot size” in TPiCS-X. Lessening these values can make operating inventory reduced.
In the state of the “Schedule Management” having been achieved you will find the critical point at which these settings can’t be lessened any more while they are being lessened. That’s the bottleneck in terms of reducing inventory. You are going to have to improve it.
● The general production control systems do not have a function to re-calculate the schedule when the most recent schedule has changed, allocating the schedule for parts and materials that have been arranged. The person in charge of arrangements makes the purchase, adding some to what is called the required quantity with “seat-of-the-pants” and sometimes “guts.” Needless to say, missing his guess leads to dead stock and the inability to handle changes when less quantity is purchased. Although work relying on the “seat-of-the-pants” must essentially be the supposedly impermissible “working method” in a moment of cool-headed, rational thought, such manner of operation is permitted by any manufacturing business due to the restrictions of the general production control systems. Work is sort of judged by a good or bad “instinct” in a sense here. 
There’s a function of “handling changes with a setup buffer” in TPiCS-X. It automatically reserves a buffer in the MRP calculations as set up in the master. And when a change - difference between forecast and firm orders, urgent order, etc. - arises, it can build the schedule by utilizing it and absorb the change with the buffer.
Additionally, the buffer can hold the set value constantly and properly with the function of “standard inventory improvement.” You should reduce unnecessary inventory by turning work relying on the “seat-of-the-pants” to work managed by the system, and you are going to enable your factory to handle changes.

(5)Handling short-term turnaround of new products, and engineering changes with TPiCS-X.

The cycle of changes in the world has become rapid and the period in which things sell has really shortened.Full production has become necessary as soon as possible not to miss sales opportunities and not to have leftover goods. Drawings for trial production are submitted, arrangements are made, and trial products are made. It is repeated several times, and moves on to high-volume trial production and then to high-volume production. Drawing changes are ceaselessly repeated during that period.
As a matter of course, this problem largely includes the elements other than the production control such as design development and production engineering. I am going to explain how to use TPiCS-X and how to approach to the “short-term turnaround” in this kind of problem.
Here are two points to raise:
① Function to convert the bill of material information (E/BOM) on the design to the bill of material information (M/BOM) of the production control, including engineering changes.
② Manage both the trial and the repetitive productions only with TPiCS-X.

■ Function to convert the bill of material information (E/BOM) on the design that is kept in CAD and Excel to the bill of material information (M/BOM) of the production control, including engineering changes.

● The “Structure Information Conversion Option(CAD)” of TPiCS-X coverts the bill of material information for the design to that for the production control. The bill of material information for the design is written to a CSV file, imported by TPiCS-X, and converted to that for the production control. The CSV file can be created from Excel as long as the bill of materials is managed not only in CAD but also in Excel.
In general, the bill of material information for the design is different from that for the production control.
You were to produce personal computers, for example.
I think your designer would treat the power switch as a component of the power circuit.

However, the power switch is mounted on the front panel. When you were to actually produce it, you would purchase it to your partner as the “front panel assembly,” and they would connect it to the lead wire stretching from the power circuit in the assembly process.
If you follow the way of this production, you position the power switch as a component of the front panel in the bill of materials for the production. 
You can easily make these changes of the structure using the drag-and-drop functionality on the screen of the Structure Information Conversion Option(CAD). After changing to the structure for the production, you are gong to import it to the masters of TPiCS-X (the Bill of Materials and the Item master.) Adding the unit cost, the supplier, the lot size, addition to that, you’ll be done and able to perform the MRP calculations as a new product.

The system development is not so hard if these functions only deal with the conversion of new drawings. When you learn to manage as far as the engineering change information, it becomes hard all of a sudden.
Let’s assume that the power switch changes from SW1 to SW2 in the engineering change. The information of the change on the design is the one of “Change the power switch SW1 as a component in the power circuit to SW2.”But there’s no power switch under the power circuit according to the structure for the production. It appears to be all right if you find the “SW1” and change it to the “SW2” at any rate, but it doesn’t go that way in reality.
It is all right in the case that the power switch is used only in one place like that of a personal computer, and that all are to be changed even if it is used more than one place. But if the same part is used in more than one place, you can’t identify which part among those used in multiple places has been changed.
The Structure Information Conversion Option(CAD) of TPiCS-X keeps the information on both structures in one table, and when the structure information on the design changes, you can apply the engineering change to that for the production.

● In the case of individual production, there is a strong connection between the drawing and the mfg. 
no., so with TPiCS-X, the mfg. no. is used as a key to directly collate with what has already been arranged, and a cancellation slip can be issued or additional instructions can be issued. In the repetitive production, however, changes are applied to the production by specifying the period for the change.
As specification changes other than the above occur everywhere, the system, like any other things, has to be able to process them.
・How to switch to a new part since the time when inventory and what is already arranged are used up (engineering changes for the purpose of running change and cost reduction.)
・How to change the quantity used depending on the period (season) (seasoning with salt in food.)
・How to use a different part only for a limited time period and to turn it back to the original once the period is over (limited-time product.)
・How to use a part of other maker’s when the part from a maker different from the instructions of the drawing is usable in the production (the case that is frequently seen in electronic parts.)
・In the case of producing based on a special specification only this time by customer’s request.
・In the case of the change after the work orderorders issuance and the production instructions.
・In the case of the change after completion.
(Such cases where products are actually to be renovated, and where a master error is found after completion and only the data has to be corrected.)
・This is not an engineering change, but the processing where the structure varies depending on the place to produce at.
(Internal production and external production, and arrangement method gets changed depending on the place to produce at.)
Engineering changes have impact on material arrangements.
The required quantities decrease in parts before change, and those of new parts have to increase.
In the case of producing based on a temporary, special specification other than the engineering change being explained as the premise now, a similar processing is also required.
In the case of a temporary, special specification, you can process it   without applying it to the master (bill of material information) in the production control system. When you choose to process it without applying it, you will not need the part in the structure information and will have to make arrangements for a part with the special specification.
When issue instructions are given for the part from the warehouse to the factory floor, the new part has to appear on the issue report.
And the inventory relief processing for materials is influenced at the time of completion.
Furthermore, after they become inventory at the time of completion,sometimes they have to be treated as something different and sometimes they are treated as the same things as commercial products.
As the explanation would go into too much detail if I were to explain those functions in the system and setting methods, I would like to omit it in this booklet but to say that all can be processed in TPiCS-X.

■ Manage both the trial and the repetitive productions only with TPiCS-X.

 There’s an aspect where even products for the repetitive production are more manageable at the stage of the trial production with the discrete production-like management.
TPiCS-X has both the functions mainly for the repetitive production and those mainly for the discrete production (“3. Discrete Production” for detail) in one package. You can manage your production with TPiCS-X as the discrete production (manufacturing number control) at the stage of the trial production, and as the repetitive production (the MRP calculations) at the time of the high-volume production.
When you manage your trial production with the functions for the repetitive production without using the functions for the discrete production, you will have trouble if what was arranged for the trial production is allocated by the MRP calculations for the high-volume production. On the contrary, in the case that the parts are the same as those in old models, there are times where you want the work order sheet to be issued performing the MRP calculations including those for the trial production.
 There’s a function of “excluded from the allocation by the MRP calculations” in TPiCS-X, and you can have the parts to be used for the trial production “excluded from the allocation” or “included in the allocation” by it. You can differentiate the stage of the order balances from that after being put into stock with the setting.
If you manage with the same system as for the high-volume production from the stage of the trial production, you can “check the masters for the high-volume production while doing the trial production,” and achieve the prompt start-up for the high-volume production.
 It’s a tremendous job to build the proper masters while there are so many changes in the start-up time. One false move and you have a missing part, or you end up arranging an unnecessary part. While the long-term turnaround only generates a small amount of influence from the wrong arrangement, the short-term turnaround will increase the damage.

■ The essence of difficulty and toughness of the production control lies in “change and alteration.”

 Think about this. If what and how many to make, and the specifications were determined for the past 6 months, the production control would be an easy job to do, wouldn’t it?
“Change” means “change in quantity and period” and “specification change.”
“Change in quantity and period” can be solved by the concept of the schedule management centered on f-MRP, and TPiCS has its own answer as for “specification change” as well.
And, in reality, “change in quantity and period” and “specification change” are pouring in in a mixed, chaotic state. TPiCS-X can process them as routine.
I would like you to do your job of the production control in a prompt, accurate, and easy manner using TPiCS-X.