A refined production scheduling approach helps a manufacturing plant increase its production efficiency and customer fill rate.
After implementing West Monroe's suggested supply chain strategy, a manufacturer's production efficiency increased to 90% and their customer fill rate increased to 95%.

The client is a manufacturing plant for a global leader in the metal transformation industry— a company with an industrial presence in 30 countries and commercial activities around the world.

Meeting a mandate for more efficient production.
With increasing cost pressures from overseas competitors and a mandate from its headquarters to improve its production efficiency and customer fill rate, the plant’s management team sought a scheduling solution that would enable it to:

  • Reduce work-in-progress inventory
  • Increase throughput without adding new equipment
  • Improve the flow of people and material in its production floor
  • Generate better visibility of its production orders

For assistance, the plant manager and production director turned to West Monroe Partners. West Monroe Partners offered expertise in planning and scheduling processes and technologies and production optimization. In addition, it had extensive experience designing and applying complex algorithms and decision-making tools.

From selection to successful implementation.
The West Monroe Partners project team applied its production and scheduling knowledge to help the plant design, select, and implement an appropriate solution for its needs. Key steps in this process included:

  • Reviewing the plant’s current scheduling process
  • Establishing a manufacturing execution system to control work orders
  • Establishing a system to manage rework
  • Building a scheduling algorithm to optimize throughput and minimize work-in-process inventory
  • Cleaning data—including routings, operation times, and set-up times— before converting it to a new system
  • Implementing and configuring an advanced planning scheduling tool
  • Training the plant’s system users

The project team utilized a robust project management approach, and it maintained open communication with the plant manager and other key stakeholders through regular status meetings and other forums.  Together, these efforts helped keep the project on scope and on schedule for completion within five months.

More accurate, efficient scheduling.
With new scheduling tools and rules in place, the plant has experienced significant production improvements:

  • Increased production efficiency to 90 percent, beating production records for four consecutive months following implementation
  • Increased its customer fill rate to 95 percent