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8 January 2007                www.strategosinc.com

A Systems View of Scheduling

Or Creating Chaos From Thin Air

Disorder, confusion, chaos-- all too common descriptors for activities on the plant floor. People normally attribute this to causes such as:

  • Lack of Discipline

  • Inadequate Training

  • Poor Processes

  • Bad Layout

  • Poor Attitudes

  • Etc., etc., etc.,....

While the above factors would aggravate any situation, the root cause is often systemic, i.e., the design of the process and scheduling system.

Manufacturing processes and scheduling are in a class of systems that, under certain conditions, are inherently unstable and/or unpredictable even without external perturbations. Such systems generate their own instability. When overlaid with the usual random factors (above) it is difficult to identify the true sources of resulting problems.

Therefore, it is vital to understand the origins of this self-generating instability and minimize it. Some solutions involving complex arrangements, time delays, batching, non-linearity and amplification actually exacerbate the problem.

Our new web pages on A Systems View of Scheduling address this. They derive from our training program on Strategic Scheduling and Kanban as well as my latest book (soon available) on Kanban. They explain why Kanban works so well. This theory provides a foundation for designing and implementing an effective Lean Scheduling Strategy.

I find these ideas fascinating and useful and I hope you do so as well.

Best Regards,

Quarterman Lee


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