Torey Heinz, the founder of Shopflow productivity software for marine, canvas and upholstery shops, discussed the importance of shop scheduling during his presentation at the IFAI Fabricators Conference & Showcase on Monday, Feb. 22, 2021.
Heinz introduced the idea of using a digital job board to organize and display jobs so that shop owners can streamline their shops and minimize chaos. He used Shopflow software to illustrate a simple workflow from start to finish and discussed how to implement a digital job board to maximize shop throughput.
“Scheduling is hard,” says Heinz. “There’s no magical system that works for every shop.” He says small custom job shops are especially difficult to organize because each project is unique. The key, he says, is to have scheduling mechanisms that help a shop earn profit by not spending time on things that don’t add value. Here are some key points from his presentation:
- The goal of a schedule: Focus limited resources on the right thing and the right time to maximize throughput. Prioritize efforts and time in order to make a profit.
- What should be scheduled: Anything that contributes to completing customer orders and when projects are released into production.
- Limit work in process (WIP): To maximize flow, Heinz says it’s important to identify shop constraints and limit the number of projects being worked on at any one time. He says it doesn’t always make sense to start a project right away if it will make all the projects being worked on take longer.
- Identify blockages and solve them: Blockages include waiting on information and materials. Rather than taking on another job, Heinz says it’s more important to focus on the project that is blocked, or it will simply create more chaos and inefficiency in the shop.