We schedule you relax
A COMPLETE PRODUCTION MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
The Power to Manage
e have created a scheduling centric
enterprise resource planning system.
INNOVATION AT THOMSON PRESS (INDIA) LIMITED
Thomson Press (India) Limited is the largest printer and integrated data services provider in India and South Asia. It
is part of the India Today Group – one of India’s major media houses with diversified interest in publishing, printing,
television, radio and now in advanced software product development.
With hundreds of active print jobs each comprising of several elemental activities, day-to-day scheduling with end-to-end
visibility of all orders was indeed a major problem for us. Like anyone, our first attempts were to look for readymade
scheduling / ERP packages in the market to suit our requirement. After an extensive search we soon realised that real-time,
micro-level scheduling that would decide what activities to perform now, and when they are over the next, with impact
on completion times on all orders in-hand is supposed to be an impossible to solve problem in any reasonable time frame:
mathematically classified as an NP-hard problem.
Thus was the genesis of innovation at Thomson Press. We not just figured out how the scheduling problem could be
easily solved but also created and perfected the solution painstakingly over more than a decade. What we have created
is a scheduling centric enterprise resource planning system that not just solves our scheduling problem but can be applied
to any kind of manufacturing or project industry.
ANY ANSWER TO THESE TWO SIMPLE
Given the existing load,
when will a new
order be completed?
No matter what happens NOW,
what is the impact
on all orders in-hand:
revised completion date/time
for each order?
SCHEDULING PROBLEM SOLVED!
Scheduling is indeed a major issue in all manufacturing and project execution facilities. It is also recognized that if
scheduling is efficient and automated, huge benefits could result as existing resource usage can be maximized allowing
dramatic increase in number of orders processed at the same time substantially reducing cost of production while ensuring
reliability in delivery on the committed date. No wonder scheduling is a hot research topic and the market is flooded with
scheduling systems of sorts. Still a truly efficient and automatic scheduling system remains an elusive dream as scheduling,
even for the most elementary manufacturing setup, is considered difficult. Real life manufacturing setups are complex both
in terms of number of orders being handled and diversity of work flows and equipment required to execute them. Even
if one manages to create a schedule it soon goes out of sync with what actually gets executed on the shop floor. Time
required to recreate a new “schedule” taking into consideration current situation itself is enough cause to ever keep it out
of sync with reality.
Manufacturing or project execution is a dynamic process. In order to handle a dynamic process, we need a real-time
system that automatically reschedules itself in accordance with what is happening on the shop floor at the speed at which
Imagine a scenario where every operator or work center is informed what to do now. The person concerned then starts
executing the task in-hand and notifies in real-time its completion. Within minutes the concerned operator or work center
gets to know “what to do next”. This cycle of allotting tasks and seeking feedback from the shop floor goes on for each
work center / operator 24x7. In order to make this possible, we must have at the core a fully automatic scheduling engine
that takes into account every conceivable constraint and restriction of the factory at a micro-level and in real-time before
deciding to allot individual tasks to individual work centers. As if a real super-human Scheduler is managing the show.
We have created and perfected such a scheduling engine. It works 24x7 proactively controlling all factory work centres
at a micro-level. It decides what tasks of which orders can and should be actually allotted for execution to the shop
floor. Complete information of allotted tasks flows to the concerned work centre in real-time. Operators start execution
of allotted tasks while notifying interim milestones achieved until it is over. All notifications flow back in real-time to the
scheduling engine to be taken cognizance of during the next reschedule. This cycle of allotting tasks, getting feedback
notifications, and subsequent fresh allotment on each work centre on the shop floor goes on endlessly, allowing even
the most complex manufacturing setups to run without human “scheduling” intervention – a true computer controlled
MANAGING A FACTORY IS A CIRCUS
AS EACH IMPORTANT ACTIVITY IS AN ISLAND. PEOPLE HAVE TRIED AUTOMATION WITHIN ISLANDS.
HOWEVER, CO-ORDINATION BETWEEN THESE ISLANDS STILL MUST BE DONE MANUALLY.
WHEN A NEW JOB WILL
BE COMPLETED GIVEN
OF A JOB WHEN
ANY SOLUTION ?
Experts say, we have to live with this problem as it is impossible to integrate these islands of activities.
It is too complex and dynamic a problem for automation.
When all are equally inconvenienced,
the inconvenience should not be considered to be a handicap.
WE WISH TO MAKE A MODEST CLAIM
It is not just possible to automate and integrate these islands of activities
but do so in real-time with Talika PMS: one solution to integrate the entire manufacturing process end-to-end.
Most manufacturing or project setups typically deal with high mix low volume orders that need to be handled using shared and
limited resources. New jobs keep coming in whereas predicted completion dates of current jobs must be regularly monitored
to ensure we honor commitments already made notwithstanding occurrence of disruptions like breakdowns, delays, holidays
and host of other unexpected and uncontrollable events. Talika PMS is the only dynamic real-time system that tells you when
each order in-hand would be completed no matter what is the situation now.
WHAT MANUFACTURING INDUSTRIES NEED TODAY?
At the core of any manufacturing or project setup is the day-to-day scheduling and execution of
jobs/projects. Material & resource management, financial accounting are actually peripheral activities
emanating from and driven by these core scheduling decisions. ERP systems seldom address the scheduling
core, instead tackle the peripheral activities. Talika PMS is indeed a true scheduling centric ERP system.
Do business: The Whole Nine Yards.
One can do so if one can –
1. Increase throughput from existing resources.
An order is an abstraction. What we actually execute are individual
tasks or activities to accomplish the order. If one really decides to
list them individually, then even a simple order can have several
elemental tasks. The more orders we deal with, higher is the number
of individual tasks involved making things immediately very complex?
It would be a painstaking endeavour to create an efficient schedule in
the first place and well impossible to re-schedule all activities all over
again to conform to changed situation in real-time.
We provide a solution that –
• Enables one to quickly break down an order in form of
• This same representation is used to estimate the cost, wastage
and host of other details about the order;
• Also the same representation is used subsequently by the
scheduling engine to schedule / reschedule the job with an
emphasis on maximizing resource utilization until it is over.
2. Cut cost of production drastically.
The cost of coordinating order execution is comparable
or may be even more than the actual cost of performing
all tasks comprising the order.
We provide a solution that-
• Automatically coordinates and manages order
execution through the shop floor in real time 24x7
3. Quickly know when new orders can
be delivered without disturbing
Any business is an on-going concern – existing orders
get completed and new ones keep coming in. We
must always be in a position to quickly commit when
a new order can be delivered given the existing load
in-hand without disturbing any existing commitments.
We provide a solution where –
• One can directly add new orders to existing order
load and get to know delivery dates or perform
an extensive what-if analysis to see how best to
accommodate the new order.
4. Always ensure 100% on-time
If it is possible to predict when each order in hand
would be completed given the existing conditions in
real-time, then it is rather a matter of simply monitoring
completion dates vis-à-vis commitment dates.
We provide a solution that -
• Enables full future schedule visibility across all
orders until each order in-hand is not completed.
The prediction is automatically revised as
conditions change in real-time.
JSW for job definition
Starting point of our system is the job definition done in the Job Study Wizard (JSW) that defines any
job / project as a Component Task (CT) diagram. It is an easy to understand complete representation of the workflow or
recipe of accomplishing a job or project and maps exactly to what needs to be done: What-You-See-Is-What-You-Do.
• Calculation of wastages, cost and task-wise time required for doing the job is part of this representation.
• So is estimation of final product cost including cost of work-in-progress as well as generation of a Bill of material.
One can even create an input time-table showing how much each input could be delayed without affecting
• Specify execution preferences for the scheduling engine to follow.
JSW for monitoring and controlling job
JSW has several real-time views of the shop-floor including
a Gantt chart. One can view what’s going on each work
centre, see job status or just run a slide show to see current
status of what is happening on the shop floor. One can also
change execution preferences of one or more activities of any
job already scheduled.
Manage the 3W’s automatically
If one asks a question “what does it mean to manage any
shop floor or project execution on a day-to-day basis?” An
answer in simple terms would be deciding the 3W’s - What
to do, When to do, Where to do so that all jobs / projects
in-hand are completed as soon as possible while simultaneously
optimizing production cost. 3W decisions are the basis for
everything? Future plans, material planning, dispatch planning
and financial accounting all emanate from here. It is the “heart
of the matter” and it is this heart that is completely handled
by the scheduling engine.
Extensive what-if analysis (Simulator)
A defined job can also be simulated to know when it would be completed taking into consideration the current load in
real-time NOW on the shop floor. It is here that execution preferences play a major role. For example, one may run one or
more of all activities of a job on a holiday. Set your preferences and re-simulate to know its impact on the delivery dates of
all jobs already in-hand and new ones added in. One can even group different kinds of permutations of execution preferences
on the same job or a set of its activities.
Simulation is not limited to adding or removing jobs alone. One can even play with work center and their availability: drop
or add holidays, change work center efficiencies, duplicate or remove them and do a lot more. Imagine any scenario and it can
be simulated. Possibilities are endless.
We schedule you relax
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