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Scheduling Strategies for Fabricators

September 10, 2014 / , , , , , , , , ,


As customer demands for faster delivery increase, one of the biggest challenges fabricators face is scheduling. No matter how big or small an order, it is not uncommon for today’s customer to expect next-day or two-day turnaround. And, of course, there is almost always an expedited request thrown into the mix.

When it comes to scheduling, today’s managers need to be able to adapt on the fly, keep production moving, and still get everything out the door on time. As any manager will attest, this is no small feat. While 99 percent on-time delivery is always the goal, the reality is that a host of variables makes it almost impossible to achieve.

This is especially challenging for high-mix fabrication operations, where there are even more variables to consider. According to the annual Financial Ratios & Operational Benchmarking Survey  from the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association International, many custom fabricators are achieving on-time delivery (OTD) rates between 85 and 88 percent. In other words, there is room for improvement.

As this white paper from the LENOX Institute of Technology (LIT) states, meeting delivery demands starts with having the right equipment and efficient production processes. However, it also means making sure your scheduling processes are helping—not hindering—your operation. Below are a few strategies to help today’s fabricators tackle their scheduling challenges and, hopefully, improve their OTD rates: