Your Lead Time Will Never Get Shorter – Because You Planned it That Way.

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Your lead time will never get shorter – because you planned it that way.

Why isn’t your production lead time getting shorter? Why aren’t stocks decreasing? Why are there always so many missing parts – despite high inventories? Because you planned it that way yourself!

In many companies, the workshop foreman is responsible for the detailed scheduling of production areas. I see this is as a fundamental error! Why? If a foreman only optimizes the sequencing for his own area, he often has little idea what effect this may have on the delivery date at the end of the value chain. Also, if any micro area schedules an order without careful coordination with other areas, the synchronization of parallel running and merging processes can never take place.

This automatically leads to long stagnation times, high inventories of semi-finished products, long production lead times and constant missing parts. Thus, end-to-end scheduling and optimized sequencing with finite capacities, is the key to shortening lead times.

The main task of both the production management and foremen is to successfully complete the production schedule. The scheduling should never be created by the production department itself—it is an executive body. Their specific tasks should be to execute scheduled production orders—just-in-time—without delay, and this includes:


  • Ensuring 100% resource availability
  • Standardization of all production processes and methods
  • Training employees so that they can maintain set standards
  • Kaizen: the constant questioning and improving of set standards
  • Training employees to become multi-product and multi-process employees, in order to increase their flexibility