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IT Challenge: Using batch scheduling with a demand-driven model

In this IT Challenge, learn whether batch scheduling can work with a demand-driven manufacturing model.

The IT Challenge of the Month for December 2012:

My company has traditionally operated through batch scheduling, rather than make-to-order methods. However, we are pursuing a new demand-driven manufacturing angle and are trying to reduce waste across the board. Can batch scheduling and demand-driven manufacturing coexist peacefully, or are the two polar opposites?

Do you have a solution to this challenge? Have you encountered a similar issue at your business? If so, please contact the editors and share your suggestions or experiences. 

IT Challenge respondents will receive a free copy of a new book from SAP Press.

And be sure to check back here all this month -- we'll be posting solutions from experts and readers as we receive them.

From industry expert and author Steve Phillips:

Certain traditional scheduling techniques and demand-driven manufacturing are not necessarily mutually exclusive. For example, discrete or batch scheduling -- making a specific quantity of product, due on a specific date -- can apply within a demand-driven environment. In this case, the quantity to make is based on actual customer orders, not a forecast. Also, reorder points or other "demand pull" techniques can be used instead, in some situations. 

However, in order to make-to-order, most companies must reduce equipment changeover times, improve the workflow and make the process much more flexible in order to respond to customer needs without the extra inventory.

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