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gadgets all week long, stockpiling the finished product.  At the end of the two week period, they have enough widgets and gadgets to meet demand for the upcoming period, ship out all finished goods inventory, and begin production for the next upcoming period.

Old Times Mfg:

Uniform Load Schedule Approach

Now let’s look at Old Times Mfg in a new light.  We’ll keep our assumptions from the traditional structure, meaning that we must still produce the same amount of widgets and gadgets and demand

Two Steps:


Calculate average daily demand


Arrange production to meet daily demand


Not every variation was needed all the time.  They scheduled several high-volume repeaters then mixed in the others.

remains constant.  But rather than scheduling production in two week cycles, we’ll reorganize it to use a uniform load schedule.

Since we know the demand for both widgets and gadgets, we can calculate the average daily demand.  The object of uniform load scheduling is to produce this average daily demand every day. Said differently, we want to reduce our two-week period into a one-day period.

So in the morning, Old Times sets up the facility to produce widgets.  Production of widgets continues until daily demand has been met.  Then the facility is setup to produce gadgets, and gadgets are produced until we have enough to meet daily demand.  At the end of the day, everything is shipped out, and we start again the next day.


Real-life Application

In 1982, one of 3M’s product lines consisted of magnetic recording tape.  There were about 100 different variations of the end item needed. Case, length, cartridge, and speed are some of the things that varied on demand, not including the labels for different customers.  30-40 variations were fairly common, and 3M only shipped 40-50% of their orders on time.

Realizing that change was needed if they wanted to stay in the market, 3M began to examine its options.  Product engineering changes were not an option, so 3M began to examine the scheduling process.  They took a Just-in-time/Total quality approach, addressed several issues, and implemented many changes to correct their problems:

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