What is Forward and Backward Scheduling

MIE Solutions offers a made to order job shop ERP system designed for the manufacturer of goods and products.  Most accounting systems are designed for the basic AR, AP and GL side of financials where a manufacturing software product deals with the actual production of the goods and services.   MIE Trak is a full featured ERP system for the made to order and engineer to order manufacturer.

If your estimating system is inaccurate your production scheduling software or manufacturing scheduling software will give you very poor results.  If the quality of your estimates are good then the standard scheduling for a production scheduling software will be more precise.

What is scheduling?

Scheduling is a method where there is a set of x tasks which need to be completed on a set of y resources in an efficient manner.   Wikipedia gives us a good definition of scheduling “Companies use backward and forward scheduling to allocate plant and machinery resources, plan human resources, plan production processes and purchase materials.”


What is forward scheduling?

Forward scheduling is taking a job with a number of tasks and allocates those tasks to resources as early as possible when resources the resources allow.   The first available time that the resource is available to be used the task should make use of it.   As with all scheduling methods there are pros and cons on how they work.   Forward scheduling may result in jobs being completed earlier then the requested due date because forward scheduling schedules the tasks as early as possible.   Forward scheduling tells you when a job could be completed vs completing the job when required.

What is backwards scheduling?

Backwards scheduling is taking a job with a number of tasks and allocates those tasks to resources in reverse orders and schedules the task on the resource.   Backwards scheduling requires a delivery date from the customer because the system schedules backwards from the delivery date to arrive at a start date.   Backward scheduling tells the manufacturer if this date could be hit based on the allocation of resources.   Unlike forward scheduling which schedules into the future, backward scheduling could potentially schedule into the past because the resources where not available to complete the job.   Backwards scheduling then may turn around and actually forward schedule the job to tell the customer the earliest delivery time.
Scheduling is very complex and this blog will try to go over many aspects of scheduling from types of scheduling, np complete problems, how to allocate resources, defining resources, etc.
Some of the benefits of scheduling include :
  • Process change-over reduction
  • Inventory reduction, leveling
  • Reduced scheduling effort
  • Increased production efficiency
  • Labor load leveling
  • Accurate delivery date quotes
  • Real time information

Author: MIE Solutions

David Ferguson has over 20 years of experience in the manufacturing and fabrication industry. David Ferguson has been to over 100 manufacturing companies helping and guiding them to be more efficient and cost effective. As a child in Junior High School David Ferguson found a passion for the early computer systems, which would drive much of his future work. David Ferguson created and sold his first computer program, Arrow Data Systems, which was an early CAD/CAM system for the Apple 2e Computer. In the late 1980's after seeing his father (a sheet metal manufacturer) come home many nights estimating, David Ferguson saw an opportunity to optimize his effort through computer technology. Shortly thereafter the FabriTRAK Production Control package was developed. The Quote It! estimating package was developed out of the FabriTRAK system to become one of the leading sheet metal estimating packages in the world. David Ferguson has always had a passion for developing software to make the manufacturing process simpler, faster and more efficient. Prior to founding MIE Solutions David Ferguson worked with his father at Alco Sheet Metal, METALSOFT Inc. and was a consultant at Toyota Motors Sales. David Ferguson has his Masters in Computer Science and Mathematics from California State University, Long Beach.

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