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Planning & Scheduling for shop fabrication

19 replies [Last post]
Sreejith Nair
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Dear planners,
Let me take you to an Imaginary company ABC Ltd.
ABC is dealing with shop fabrication for major oil producers.
They have good work shop facility and in house inspection services.
ABC is undertaking minor and major fabrication jobs.There will be not less than 300 ongoing jobs. The company is now functioning more as a ’Functional Oriented’ organisation than ’Projectised’ organisation. Company has got a Planning department with1 planning engineer & 2 planners.
Size of piping jobs vary from 100 diameter inches to 10,000 dia inches (Number of small jobs are more).Structural projects vary from 1 Tonne to 50 Tonne.
For moderately large projects , planning & scheduling and tracking is carried out well and in a detailed manner.
Now company want to control the smaller jobs which make larger portion of the profit through the implementation of daily/ weekly planning, resource control & progress monitoring.
Assume you have been taken on board as incharge of ’Production Planning’.
What will be the procedures / methodologies you may implement to have a good production planning and control over progress & resources ?

Lets show your professional flare & share your ideas.

(As you know a lot of fabrication companies are working on such business model, this discussion will benifit all of us for sure)

Cheers!

Sreejith Nair

Replies

David Allin
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The action or process of manufacturing or inventing something call fabrication there are many kinds of fabrication like steel fabrication, metal fabrication in Western Canada saskarc.com is a fabrication service provider and Equipment sales and rental. for more information you can check this http://saskarc.com/steel-fabrication/

Rafael Davila
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The following is a sample schedule for two jobs I prepared under a single master schedule for simplicity as to show how spatial and consumable resources can be modeled.  Neither P6 or MSP provide such functionality, you must look elsewhere, perhaps Spider Project or Aurora.

Spatial&Consumable photo SpatialampConsumable_zps6cf5gsbs.jpg

Note that while the jobs share production space there is no logic link between jobs, if any job is delayed or halted because of credit issues every time this happens if using soft/preferential links it would be a nightmare revising the links.

For many such jobs you better use Portfolio Management where every job will have a separate schedule but will be resource leveled on a portfolio of shared schedules and resources. As soon as a job is finished then you detach it from the portfolio keeping active only those still unfinished.

Rafael Davila
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SCHEDULING OF TASKS

If your jobs can be put on hold because of lack of fabrication materials you need to consider consumable resources that cannot be modeled as if regular resources.

  • pipes of different size and materials
  • structural steel sections
  • raw materials received in multiple deliveries

Material Requirements Planning (MRP) is a computer-based production planning and inventory control system. MRP is concerned with both production scheduling and inventory control. It is a material control system that attempts to keep adequate inventory levels to assure that required materials are available when needed.

Materials Requirement Planning (MRP) is not just given a schedule what I need; you also got to consider the other side, what happens if the required materials are not in time, what shall I do?  It is not unusual that because of delivery limitations you have to plan for materials deliveries not as per an ideal world.

If your jobs can be put on hold because of lack of fabrication space you need to consider spatial resources, again these resources cannot be modeled using regular resource types.

  • shop areas

You can try modeling such jobs using artificial links to move your jobs among one/multiple production areas and hand splitting of activities until consumable materials become available.  Keep in mind this can be difficult for a single job, now imagine hundreds of jobs with changing conditions every day that might require hand changing all the logic.

http://www.pmknowledgecenter.com/node/104

Frequency and methodology for schedule updating is another important consideration.  Because I do 100% construction jobs our approach is simple, we use default scheduling option.

COST ACCOUNTING

A practical approach can be:

  1. For timed cash flow cost load the jobs at a high WBS level. There is no need for much granularity.
  2. For time and materials where much granularity is needed use separate accounting system even though theoretically you can do it with some scheduling software. Here you will need supporting documentation such as materials transfers, time cards, use of shop area(s) if billable ... It might be required/desirable for time and material records be signed ASAP by a client representative.

Instead of using a single Jack of all Trades I prefer to follow Best of Breed approach. For Scheduling I use Spider Project, for Accounting I rather use SAP or SAGE even when both of the last two have a Scheduling Module [by far none the best scheduling tool].

Good Luck,

Rafael

Christopher Ether...
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Deleted

I answered by E-mail.
Best Regards,
Vladimir
Sreejith Nair
User offline. Last seen 7 years 51 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 28 Mar 2008
Posts: 63
Dear Mr.Vladimir :
I have just checked out the ’Spider Project’ website.
I have downloaded all the manuals & training materials.

It seems to be great and suitable for fabrication shops with fixed resources.

Do you have any representative in the middle east who can come down and do a presentation in our company? - We are located at Doha - Qatar.

Please let me know.

Sreejith Nair
sreejith.gce@gmail.com
+974-5863241
Oliver Melling
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Sreejith Nair,

You could try this,

Create a master plan in MSP for all jobs.

Create an XL spreadsheet with the following columns.

Job No
Job Name
Baseline Finish
Current Finish
Delivery Date
Float

Once the master plan is complete, list all the jobs in XL complete with job number/name and the customers required date.
Copy the baseline dates from your plan into the XL spreadsheet.
Take the current finish date from your MSP master plan and paste special the link to XL so it updates automatically when you open the spreadsheet.

Float will be the distance between the customers needed delivery date and the current date.

Sort the XL table by float and it will give you a rough priority based upon delivering on-time to the customer.
This methodology is used by many plants where Spider Project is used for production scheduling.

With MS Project the approach shall be different. It cannot level resources on project portfolio. So you shall create multi-project and add the projects that represent new orders to this portfolio.
MS Project cannot work with activity volumes. So you shall create this field in Excel, calculate activity duration in Excel and then export this information to MS Project. Norm libraries shall be created in Excel too. But if the number of work types is high then you shall think about other tools.
I recommend to create a library of typical orders. Each order is a small project in this library (we call it as the library of typical fragnets). In these projects all links, resources and other constraints shall be defined. If the new order appears (contract signed) then corresponding project shall be added to your multi-project (portfolio) with the adjustment of physical quantities (volumes). Using MS Project you shall adjust the volumes (and durations) manually before adding the order to multi-project.

Everything is much easier in Spider Project but the approach is the same - you shall start with creating the library of norms and the library of typical orders.

Regards,
Vladimir
Sreejith Nair
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Posts: 63
Vladimir :Good methodology..

I think the discussion is getting more and more interesting..

More inputs please..
Sreejith Nair
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Ya, Mr.Oliver.. u r right

Lets assume we have only the basics

Planning Engineer(You) -1
Planner / asst planner -1
Software- MS Project & MS Excel

Now you have the entire fab shop & 300 ongoing small jobs
Hi Sreejith!
Mike presumed that the jobs have delivery dates and are made when you received some orders. This is one model. Another one - that you produced something and place it at some storage for future buyers (mass production).
I asked my questions to be able to understand your task.

If you produce something by orders then your task can be considered as project portfolio management. Each order can be considered as the separate project. All orders constitute project portfolio. The scheduling can be done using project and portfolio management software like Spider Project. You are right suggesting to use Norms libraries. In Spider Project we call them Reference-books. These Reference-books can include the databases on resource productivities on typical asignments, marterial requirements per typical activity volume units, unit costs, etc.

The original activity information includes the volume (quantity) of work to be done in physical units (pieces, meters, tons, etc.) and assigned resources. Activity duration is calculated basing on productivity norms.
These norms shall be adjusted regularly.

Best Regards,
Vladimir
Oliver Melling
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The best methodology to manage your work depends upon the tools you have at your disposal.
Sreejith Nair
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Joined: 28 Mar 2008
Posts: 63
Let me clarify what a job is...
A job is a contract or a purchase order here..it can be
1)Fabrication of pipe spools & supports for Pig Launcher
2)Fabrication of 3 supports for boiler area
3)Load test of accommodation container
4)New hand rails for boiler access platform extension .....etc ..etc

location ? all these jobs are happening inside a work shop !

(Please read the first post or _root)

C’on planners! come up with real life solutions ..
Raviraj Bhedase
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50 JOBS A WEEK!!!

Considering a 6 day week, daily output is 8.33 jobs a day

Considering 10 hour a day, you r executing 1 job an hour

U can Prepare a tracker in this case for small jobs (Excel file)

It will b very easy to monitor and update.

Just refer to any project from PEB (Pre-Engineered Buildings) sector, wherein they complete hundreds of jobs from different sections (Hot-rolled, cold-rolled, B.O. items and direct from factory to site and so on)

It will be very cumbersome a prepare a master schedule as jobs will be keep on mounting up. 50 jobs a week, means u have 200+ jobs ongoing in different areas.

Its better that you divide the jobs into different zones. Like, if factory is in UAE, then u may split jobs from

- Dubai
- RAK
- Sharjah
- Abu Dhabi
- Others
- Exports and So, on.

This will make ur schedule look easy and easy to track.

Cheers,

Ravi
Mike Testro
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Hi Sreejith

From what I have just read each "job" has a number of activities which are resource loaded and effort modelled for duration.

Presumably each "job" has a delivery date on the order.

Your priority must be the "jobs" with the least float between completion and and delivery.

Once you have set up your schedule of "jobs" on your barchart - each with its own delivery date - you can just keep the system rolling by removing completed "jobs" and adding new orders.

The resource modelling can be refined from the time feed back.

PowerProject is good for this type of scheduling because you can get down to a time unit in seconds if necessary. Also you can copy / paste data directly from spreadsheets.

Best regards

Mike Testro.
Sreejith Nair
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"If several jobs compete for the same resources and all are ready to start which will be chosen?"
Scheduled finish date, job priority, % complete till date can be taken as basis for deciding "Which one to do first & in what order"

This can be addressed while making the weekly master schedule, which i discussed in my last post.

Well, this thread concentrate on the work environment specified in the first message(Root)- Many small jobs..

Well, I would like to have suggestions from other planners, rather than me bombarding with all my ideas !!
Sreejith Nair wrote:
5)Which ever jobs are ready with material and has got a green signal from Engg., can be started.
6)Make a master schedule for the week(Remember we have 300 ongoing jobs and we are not going to do all of them in a week !). List the jobs which are ’Ready’ and include in the master schedule.Say we have 50 jobs ready for the week.

If several jobs compete for the same resources and all are ready to start which will be chosen? You did not describe the methodology that shall be the same if there are 50 jobs in a week or 500.
Sreejith Nair
User offline. Last seen 7 years 51 weeks ago. Offline
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Posts: 63
Hi Mike!
Infact , I want to pull out the methodologies followed by various ppl and find out whether I am uptodate. Many people initiated "Lean Production" in fabrication for process industry , which was once stuck to automobile & OEM industry!

Some companies employ enterprise level computer systems for fabrication control and automatically generates work schedule, productivity and norms.

Okay. Let me get this thread moving.
If I was taken aborad as production planner, The following will be my possible actions:(Assume, prelim study of systems & procedure are done)
1) Take one of the planning assistant and dedicate him for the Fab shop.
2) Ensure each job has a schedule and a simple tracker.. no matter how small the job is.
3) Have an estimate of the manhour required to execute the job .. get this from the estimation dpt. or norms library (OPA)
4) Since fixed manpower is available at the shop , the biggest constraints will be material & engg holds
- Update material status & engineering status in schedule
Or you may use an exel work book for the ongoing jobs(You may also use a red pen and write it down against the corresponding activity in the schedule!)
5)Which ever jobs are ready with material and has got a green signal from Engg., can be started.
6)Make a master schedule for the week(Remember we have 300 ongoing jobs and we are not going to do all of them in a week !). List the jobs which are ’Ready’ and include in the master schedule.Say we have 50 jobs ready for the week.
7)Update the master schedule on daily basis & mark progress (Make sure to have a simple progress tracker for all these small jobs like Dia inch welded / Total Dia inch)
8)Dont hesitate to include any job which has done and was not originally in the weekly master schedule.
9)Analyze progress & productivity at the end of the week

The production planning assistant will track manhour consumed for each job (with the help of time sheets / time keepers) and measure quantity of work executed.This will eventually help to develop or refine norms and will help in further week’s planning.

The advantage of this methodology is its tailored to the business environment , where there are 300+ small jobs, but 25-50 jobs are executed per week which are ready from material & engineering point of view.Manpower will also be a concern , when there are many jobs ready.

This methodology will ensure flow & better productivity.

Please post your comments below

Mike Testro
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Hi Sreejith.

I get the impression that you are asking us who know how to do it to tell you how to do it.

What you are asking is simple planning controls.

Break the work down into manageable sections.

Add proper resources and calendars.

Link up the sections.

Reschedule.

Done! What could be simpler?

Best regards

Mike Testro