Effective Scheduling Critical to Food Processing

By: Thomas Cutler

Effective Scheduling Critical to Food Processing
The benefits of effective scheduling in the Food Process industry are also unique - and substantial. Good schedules mean more time producing and less time performing cleanouts - resulting in increased output and higher revenues. Also, risks associated with spoilage and cross contamination are reduced as are the costs of storing products that are produced too early or shipped late. Even transport costs can be reduced by tightly integrating shipment schedules with production.
In many ways Food Process production is similar to other industries: products must be produced on time to meet demand, production capacity is limited, raw material purchasing and intermediate production must be coordinated, and there are constraints limiting which products can be made on which equipment. In addition, Food Process manufacturing poses a number of unique production scheduling challenges. For example there are spoilage concerns, cross contamination must be avoided, cleanouts can be lengthy, intermediate storage is limited and conveyance equipment constrains material flow paths.

According to Evan Garber, Escape Velocity Systems' President, "Product Specific Resource Assignment is critical. In any manufacturing process there are limitations on which machines are capable of producing which products: machine A may be able to product products x and y while machine B can produce products y and z. Assuming machines A and B are in the same work center this can be handled by simply specifying the required work center in the product formula/routing for each production step. In the Food Process industry this method of work assignment can be much more complex and more flexible logic is needed."

Process Manufacturing describes a manufacturing process whereby materials are blended, cooked, or mixed as opposed to assembled from discrete units.

Escape Velocity Systems (EVS) was formed in 2001 to combine specific industry knowledge related to process manufacturing, distribution, and ERP implementations with cutting edge software development. The company focus is to create tools that enable mid-market enterprises to achieve their goals, focusing on lean processes and ROI. According Garber, "We realize that good ERP software is the hub of information in any process manufacturing enterprise. Timely, reliable, and centralized data are non-negotiable elements for businesses competing in the 21st century."

The term escape velocity refers to the speed that is necessary for an object to overcome gravity and soar into space. EVS provides direct applications for businesses looking for a catalyst, not just a software package. Process manufacturers require the best software solution coupled with industry experience that will accelerate the velocity with which they race towards their goals. The gravity of status-quo opposes aggressive, cutting edge organizations as they strive towards high quality and short lead time delivery while reducing inventories and operating costs.

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