Numerous factors are taken into account and weighed up when planning production in print companies. These include the type of print jobs, delivery deadlines, available resources such as machines including their set-up times, personnel, storage capacities and, of course, the diverse customer requirements. The interplay of the numerous parameters must be perfectly balanced so that the best possible margin is achieved at the end of the printing project. This is a demanding task that requires careful planning and coordination and knowledge of all the information down to the smallest detail.
Digitally supported production planning
Especially in print companies with countless job variations, it is essential to have a holistic overview of everything and to be able to track every change in the process. Deadlines must be met, material and resource utilisation optimised, set-up times minimised, flexibility guaranteed and planning times shortened.
The demands placed on the targets set are extremely high: a mammoth task that can hardly be accomplished efficiently nowadays without the support of modern technologies and software solutions.
Keeping deadlines and delivery times with advanter
To support on-time delivery, advanter plans the production of standard jobs based on the delivery date.
“Sets” are defined in advanter for the processing of standard jobs. In addition to all the parameters required to complete the job, these sets also contain the corresponding production and processing times for the individual items (see also “advanter special – calculations in print companies“)
Production is then automatically pre-assigned and digitally planned based on the delivery date.
The final print is scheduled as close as possible to the delivery date in order to be able to accommodate last-minute changes to the motif or other last-minute requests for the order and to optimise storage capacities.
Flexibility - essential in business
In case of bottlenecks or schedule changes, each item can be readjusted or rescheduled directly in the planning overview. In the overview, simply move the dates to the desired date using the blue box symbols.
advanter offers every flexibility for manual adjustment:
No matter which planning screen you work in: The flexibility for changes is given in advanter at all times: the individual items can be moved directly by drag-and-drop. advanter optimises the planning around the manual change.
Optimum utilisation of material - for the margin and the environment
In production planning with “unplanned items”, advanter lists all pending items per day for each trade and each machine:
Further planning is carried out manually by the processor: the individual positions for jobs on the machine can be moved into the desired sequence using drag and drop. In this way, jobs can easily be moved in consideration of the delivery dates with the aim of achieving the best possible material utilisation. The overviews provide all the necessary detailed information.
Optimise machine utilisation, minimise set-up times: Planning queues in advanter
An alternative option is to plan according to so-called planning queues (pronounced KJU = a logical filing or sequence of tasks to be processed).
Accordingly, all order items (per trade, e.g. printing, cutting, sewing, etc.) are planned in advanter for each day for each machine or resource. The order of order processing is determined by priority and material type.
advanter automatically creates a schedule for each day for each resource. This results in one or more queues per machine / per day in each trade:
The picture shows the example planning for 11.12.23. The daily prio 1, or the first queue, results from the delivery times and the material to be printed. The first substrate is Dekotex, format on the roll 5050×50000. Now advanter combines all the jobs that match the deadline, material and format (queue 1).
Once the jobs from the first queue have been completed, the machine can be retooled for the jobs from queue 2.
This is a real juggling act and not just planning strictly according to deadlines and orders. A detailed weighing up of all factors is required: What is more expensive: having the motive or graphic reworked so that it still fits on the 5 metre roll, or converting the machine for the other roll? Which delivery dates are actually absolutely fixed? Where do I still have room for manoeuvre?
All factors must be weighed up across the orders in order to produce efficiently in the end.
Minimise planning times: the advanter print+sign planning board
The print+sign planning board provides you with a graphical overview of all current and planned orders. Here, all trades including machines / cost centres are displayed graphically one below the other.
The planning board displays the cost centres as rows and the time axis as columns.
You can filter whether you want to display a complete overview or individual trades. The time period can also be defined.
The entire production planning can be carried out directly via the graphical planning board. The planning of the individual order items/cost centres is then carried out using drag ‘n’ drop.
Maximum flexibility for "quick fixes"
A short-term Priority A order comes in. This can also be scheduled quickly and optimally using drag ‘n’ drop. Unplanned items (shown in blue) are selected and inserted directly into the desired time window on the appropriate machine in the time sheet.
Little help - big time saving
Planning times can also be minimised with optimised user guidance and helpful additional features.
Mass changes are easily possible. A checkbox is used to select all operations that are to be moved to another date, for example. The function selection menu can be used to select a corresponding processing, a postponement, etc.
To visualise the overview of the status in the other trades as well, advanter provides the diggets. These show the status of each individual cost centre per trade at a glance:
Comprehensive overviews for each trade
It is important to keep an eye on the planning of the upstream and downstream trades. Each trade has its own planning board:
The planning of the trades must be synchronised. If, for example, the printing of an item is postponed, it should also be ensured that the “cutting” trade has the capacity to continue processing the job on time on the changed date.
Above a certain order volume, efficient processing is difficult without digital support. Too many small and large factors have to be taken into account. If you don’t have a comprehensive overview, planning efficiency can simply no longer be guaranteed.
Every poor or inaccurate planning, every little mistake, no matter how small, has a bitter impact: the margin falls, or in the worst case becomes negative. However, many bottlenecks can be recognised in good time with the help of well thought-out planning software and balanced out through clever rescheduling. Many issues can be quickly and easily ironed out with digital support.
Only those who have an overview, a view of the big picture, can recognise and exploit the potential for optimisation. Even changing the smallest parameters can have a major impact.
How can we support you?
Experience in a personal online live demo how you can use advanter in your business and also optimise your processes. We will be happy to support you in focussing on the big picture or even the smallest details.
Further topics from our blog
Data handling in print companies is a highly sensitive and complex task. Find out how data handling works and is simplified with advanter in our new article.
Process optimisation in the printing industry – benefits of ERP software for large format & digital printing
With an ERP solution, you can map your individual business process completely digitally.