Depending on the manufacturing styles used at your facility, L2L’s Concurrent Production capability can be a powerful asset for accurately managing your production operations. Concurrent Production enables any production line(s) within your system to produce two or more products at the same time such that two or more product orders are in process synchronously. Molding or stamping operations are examples of manufacturing where this may be applicable: a single mold may contain three cavities for producing Part 1 and one for producing Part 2, so a Molding Line would end up running the orders for Part 1 and Part 2 simultaneously.
In this article, we will walk through the flow of establishing Concurrent Production within your system and interacting with it during your daily production management.
To begin using Concurrent Production in any site within Leading2Lean, first contact L2L Support (firstname.lastname@example.org) or your site representative to enable the “Enable Product Order Groups” Site Properties setting. This will populate settings and controls for Concurrent Production throughout the system.
Once the site setting has been enabled, a site administrator can then enable “Enable Product Order Groups” within the Production Settings > Operator Portal Settings to provide access to the Concurrent Production controls throughout the system.
With the Site and Production settings enabled for use of Product Order Groups, a new Line setting, "Production Mode", will be available in the Line Detail screen. A System Manager can go through and designate, for each production line, the production method: "Can produce one product at a time" for single-product, single-order product; or "Can produce multiple products at the same time (order groups)" for multi-product, concurrent orders. An important note is that when a line is designated as "Can produce multiple products at the same time (order groups)", this line can produce single orders in addition to concurrent orders.
An additional production setting is also available to sites enabling "Enable Product Order Groups". The Production Labels segment of the Production Settings screen, the "Ratio Label" setting allows for a custom term to be entered describing the concurrent production levels of different products; for example, a molding operation may want to specify the term "cavitation" in this setting, as the quantity of each product created at one time will be determined by the number of cavities for each product within the mold. The entered term in this field will be populated throughout the system so references to the production ratio are referenced in local terminology.
After the above Site, Production, and Line settings have been modified to permit Concurrent Production on a site, Product Order Group Templates can then be established. These templates represent the clusters of products that will be produced concurrently going forward; returning to the example of a molding operation, Product Order Group Templates would represent the different molds that could be applied to a line. Templates are not required to be established to use Concurrent Production; the are intended simply as a shortcut associating future orders based on which products are typically made in parallel, such as a common mold is used to produce 3 parts of Part A for each Part B.
Product Order Group Templates are created by a user with Planner permissions accessing the screen from the Production menu: Production > Product Order Group Templates. This will bring up a list of existing templates and indicate which products are included in each group as well as the line(s) to which the template can be applied. Selecting the "Add New" button from the upper right brings up the Add Product Order Group Template screen. The template can be assigned a name, allocated for use on one or more production lines with the Production Mode "Can produce multiple products at the same time (order groups)" enabled, and given an Asset/Item Cycle Time. The Asset/Item Cycle Time represents the time required for the subject piece of equipment or tooling to complete a cycle of concurrent production; in the mold analogy from previous, it is the time required to produce three units of Part 1 and one unit of Part 2.
Once this information is saved, the Product Order Group Template detail screen is accessed. Specific products and their production ratios can be assigned to the Template from this interface via the "Add" link in the upper right corner of the Products table; selecting this will open a modal that lists the Products that can be produced on the line(s) associated with the Product Order Group Template.
A product to be produced by this Template is selected from the "Product" dropdown list, and the number of units produced of that product at one time entered in the "Ratio" field. Once completed, "Save" is selected. Additional products are included in the Template by repeating the "Add" process. If any product needs to be removed from the Template, the black circle with "-" in it at the end of the product row can be selected within the product table.
Should the Template itself need to be eliminated, it can be deactivated by first selecting the "Edit" button within the Template details screen and then unchecking the "Active" box.
Deactivating a Template does not delete the template, but prevents it from showing in the Product Order Group Templates list unless otherwise selected. The "Filters" button in the upper right of the Templates list screen can be used to modify what templates are listed at a given time based on associated line, product, and status (active, inactive).
Product Order Groups are the means by which product orders are clustered together to indicate they will run concurrently through a single line. As such, Product Order Groups are 'single-use' time-bound artifacts, just like product orders, as they operate as an additional layer of production information over orders.
There are two pathways to create a Product Order Group, depending on the state of any orders to be associated to the Group; independently or from a Product Order Group Template. When creating a Group from a Template, product orders that already exist within Leading2Lean cannot be added to the Group - product orders can only be created from within the Group. Alternatively, a Group can be created independently, not from a Template, and product orders can either be added to it, if they already exist, or created from within it.
To create a Product Order Group from a Template, simply access the appropriate Product Order Group Template from the Template list page, and select one of the "Create Product Order Group" buttons within the Template details page.
This will open the "Add Product Order Group" page; details can be entered here both for the Product Order Group as well as the product orders to which it will be associated. The Product Order Group must be assigned a Name - a unique identifier for the particular cluster of orders, a Line - selected form the Lines with which the Product Order Group template was associated, a Scheduled Start and a Due Date - dates when all orders within the group will be scheduled to begin and due, a Max Asset/Item Cycle Time - production rate of products from the asset for that group, and, if needed, an External ID - to associate the group with any external system.
With the Product Order Group data populated, product orders are then created within the Group under the "Product Orders" section. Product information is pre-populated for each order according to the Template data; the Planned Ratio value is also brought over but can be edited as needed. The product order for each product must additionally be named and assigned Order Quantity. Once the Product Order Group and associated product order information is entered, the information is saved and the Group and orders created by selecting "Save".
A Product Order Group without an associated template is built via the "Add New +" button in the upper right of the Product Order Groups list screen, Production > Product Order Groups. Selecting "Add New +" will open a similar screen to the Add Product Order Group page detailed above, wherein in the same information must first be detailed: a Name - a unique identifier for the particular cluster of orders, a Line - selected form the Lines with which the Product Order Group template was associated, a Scheduled Start and a Due Date - dates when all orders within the group will be scheduled to begin and due, a Max Asset/Item Cycle Time - production rate of products from the asset for that group, and, if needed, an External ID - to associate the group with any external system. Once the Product Order Group data is captured, it is saved by selecting "Save".
With the group data populated and saved, product orders can now be associated with the Product Order Group: this can be done either by including existing orders into the group or creating new orders that will be under the group. Orders are added or created via the "Add" link on the right side of the Product Orders section header:
An existing order can be selected by choosing the "Add Existing" link from the "Add" link dropdown. This will open the Add a Product Order modal: the dropdown lists available product orders created with via API, import, or manually from the Product Orders. Selecting a product order from this dropdown then choosing "Save" in the modal will populate this order to the Product Order Group. This action can be repeated as needed to add the appropriate existing orders to the Product Order Group.
New product orders can also be added to the Product Order Group, using the "Add New" link from the "Add" link dropdown on the Product Orders header. Selecting this will open the "Add Product Order" page: this page is completed as for with any other product order, according to our product order support article, with the further inclusions of the Planned Ratio of the product within the Product Order Group as well as the Actual Ratio produced.
This action can be repeated as needed to create additional orders to be included in the Product Order Group.
Product Order Groups are scheduled in the Order Planner or eKanban Planner screens similarly to single product orders. Area, Line, Status, Scheduled Start and End date, Order, and Product dropdowns, dependent on the Planner being worked in, can be used to specify which product orders and Product Order Groups are displayed on the planning screens. Product orders will appear as usual in color-coded blocks with product, order name, build sequence, and status information on either screen.
Product Order Groups will be similarly shown: the product orders within the group will each have their own colored blocks with the product, order name, build sequence, and status data, with the addition of the Stack icon. This icon indicates that the tagged product order is part of a Product Order group. As well, product orders belonging to the same Product Order Group will appear stacked on top of one another in the Order Planner, or side-by-side in the eKanban Planner, to indicate that they are running concurrently.
When using the planning functions on either screen, such as the "Redistribute" or "Heijunka Ideal" buttons or the click-and-drag manual scheduling, the product orders in a Product Order Group move together on the calendar view such that they remain scheduled concurrently. Once product orders that are part of a Product Order Group are scheduled, they are available to be worked on in the Operator Portal as with other non-grouped orders.
Product Order Groups appear in the Operator Portal similarly to single product orders in the eKanban Queue, Current Order view, and Planned Product column of the pitch table. In the eKanban Queue, the same columns of information as for single product orders are included: #, Product, Order, Order Qty, and Status. This data is populated for product orders in a Product Order Group as usual, with the addition of a 'header' row with the Product Order Group name specified that appears above the product orders within the group. As well, if the Planned Product column is being displayed on the Operator Portal, it will include the Product Order Group name and 'group' icon for each pitch.
To begin working on a Product Order Group and have it listed as the Current Order in the Operator Portal, click on one of the orders within the group from the eKanban Queue list, as with a single product order, and select "Start Changeover". This will begin the changeover for the Product Order Group, set all order statuses to "Changeover/Setup" if any changeover times have been specified for the products within the group, split the current pitch, and document the Product Order Group name and 'group' icon in the Actual Product column. The changeover is completed by clicking on an order within the Product Order Group within the Current Order widget and choosing "Finish Changeover". This concludes the changeover period, closing the background dispatch and switching all product order statuses to "Work In Progress".
Pitch information is documented for Product Order Group orders through the same pitch modal pop-up as with single product orders, though the screen has some minor modifications. To enter data for a pitch, the appropriate pitch is selected to access the modal. The modal includes fields for entering Pitch Actual, Pitch Scrap, possibly Operator Count, and Comments as usual with the additions of the Product dropdown and Actual Ratio fields as well. Pitch data for a Product Order Group order (product) is entered by first choosing the proper product from the group from the Product dropdown, then entering the Actual and Scrap values for that product and pitch, updating the actual ratio of products within the group if necessary, and entering the Operator Count and Comments for the pitch before saving. This process is repeated for each product in the group for the pitch to ensure the proper Actual and Scrap quantities are applied to the product orders listed in the Current Order window on the right of the Operator Portal. The Actual and Scrap columns in the Operator Portal will reflect the total values of Actual and Scrap product made across the Product Order Group for that pitch; clicking on the value will open a separate tab detailing the count attributed to each product for the pitch.
Once sufficient quantities of all products for all product orders within the Product Order Groups has been manufactured and documented across the relevant pitches, the Product Order Group is completed by selecting an order from the Current Order window and clicking "Complete Order" in the pop-up modal. This will move all orders within the group to a status of "Complete" and remove the Product Order Group and orders from within the Current Order window. all orders within a single group cannot have differing statuses - they will all maintain a synched status. As such, if sufficient quantity of one product within the group is manufactured ahead of all other products within the group, the first product order must remain as "Work In Progress" until all product orders in the group have reached the proper build quantity to allow all product orders within the group to be completed.