Producing enough of each unit each day to meet daily demand.
One of the biggest questions that a manufacturing firm faces is the question of how much to produce. Should a manufacturer
wait for a customer order before beginning production, or should they produce in anticipation of demand and possibly be left with excess inventory?
If a particular production line is responsible for production of more than one type of product, these concerns are compounded. How many units should be produced in each batch? How much time is consumed by setup when we switch to producing unit B after we’re done producing unit A? We don’t want to run out of unit A while we produce unit B, so how many of unit A do we have to produce in order to meet demand while we produce unit B?
Uniform Load Scheduling Defined
Uniform Load Scheduling, also called mixed-model sequencing, is a method of manufacturing that tries to simplify and then solve these types of questions. In its most basic form, it is simply a type of batch processing for manufacturing facilities.
Uniform load scheduling can be simply described as the process of manufacturing in small lot sizes. The goal of having a uniform load schedule is to produce enough of each unit each day so that you can meet daily demand.
Old Times Manufacturing:
Traditional Scheduling Approach
Let’s look at a hypothetical situation where Old Times Mfg uses the traditional scheduling method. Old Times must produce two types of products, widgets and gadgets, in two-week periods. In one cycle, Old Time must produce enough widgets and gadgets to meet next period’s demand. At the end of each period, Old Times ships out all the widgets and gadgets they’ve produced, and starts the cycle over.
Let’s assume that demand for both products is equal and constant. At the beginning of week 1, laborers would come in, setup the facility for production of widgets and begin producing widgets. They would produce widgets all week long and stockpile all the widgets.
At the beginning of week 2, the laborers would setup for production of gadgets and produce