Self-optimizing Production Planning and Control

  Production Planning Copyright: Cluster of Excellence Integrated Production Technology for High-Wage Countries

Nowadays, production processes are characterized by growing customer orientation, greater product variety, and more complex material flow. Production control needs to be able to ensure robust production processes in order to cope with the increasing dynamic within production. Many software solutions have been developed in the past to live up to this challenge including advanced planning and scheduling systems that calculate an optimal processing order for assignments using specifically designed algorithms. Currently existing IT-systems are often criticized for missing responsiveness and poor prognosis quality. These shortcomings mostly occur due to bad data quality, and wrong system configurations. In order to counteract these deficits, a surveillance and optimization system will be developed for an advanced planning and scheduling system in a surrounding of the demonstrator of the self-optimizing production planning and control (PPC). The surveillance system therefore reveals discrepancies between the IT-system and reality and shows optimization suggestions. A successful start of the project “ProSense” which is sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) was enabled because of preparatory work of the excellence cluster concerning this subject.

 

Challenges

Structure Copyright: Cluster of Excellence Integrated Production Technology for High-Wage Countries

Since the beginning of the 1990s, challenges in production control have been characterized by short delivery
time and products, which are developed according to individual customer demands. Consequently, production
life cycles are shortened constantly to live up to the market demands and to stand up to the international
competition. Concurrently, decreasing lot sizes of single product variants go hand in hand with an increasing
product variety. Additionally, volatile lot sizes increase the challenges for PPC in such a dynamic environment.
The goal of the PPC is to cope with these dynamics and to master these complex processes. Typically, a major
issue is the strong deviation between planning results and the actual outcome of the production system. This leads
to a general dissatisfaction in afflicted enterprises and is accompanied by poor achievements of logistical target.
Therefore, it is paramount to include the complexity of the order structures and of the material flow in the PPC
to allow real-time adjustments. The production processes and their planning have to be improved continuously to
react to changed circumstances in a dynamic environment. Nowadays, software does not permit this flexible adaption, is configured in erratic intervals and thus often presents worse control results than with a simple First-In-
First-Out (FIFO)-prioritization.

 

Approach

iPad Copyright: Cluster of Excellence Integrated Production Technology for High-Wage Countries

A surveillance system is needed in order to improve the prognosis results and quality of the control systems. This
surveillance system compares the planning results of the IT-system with the actual material flow on the shop floor
and identifies potential divergences. These variances can for instance occur because of an order prioritization made by the employees on the shop-floor differing from the prioritizations made by the IT system. If a divergence is
being identified two reactions are possible: the employee gets informed and he can change the parameters in the
IT-system or he can adapt the parameters given by the ITsystem and inform fellow employees to follow the given
order. In addition to the comparison of IT-results and actual material flow the surveillance system can also reveal production control potentials by simulating different scenarios. Potential measures are visualized for the employee and an assessment of the improvement in logistical targets is given. This way, the employees stay in the position of the decision maker while being supported via an user-friendly and interactive visualization.