No more sentimentalism: the automatic dispatcher!

“I have a feeling,” says the dispatcher. He sits opposite me and explains his daily routine. The starting point for our discussion was a planned order in the ERP system, which may need to be implemented. “How should I imagine that?” I ask. “Well, I look at the consumption, the requirements and then the stock. That gives me a picture of the situation.” “Is that how you implement the planned order?” Answer: “In principle, yes, but I’m increasing the batch size because there will be more demand in the future. I’ve heard from the sales department that the article will increase.” I drill down: “And that’s how you plan every article?” “Of course, otherwise something could go wrong!” I can’t resist one more question: “Do you think your colleague will come to the same conclusion?” “Well, hardly. My colleague is a bit more generous with safety stock. So he’ll probably order a bit more.”

It’s hard to believe, but this is how planning and scheduling works in many companies. The scheduling decision often depends on the personal assessment of the scheduler. The dispatchers use their experience to the best of their knowledge and belief. But the result is not reproducible. It is shaped by current influences and information, which can lead to decisions being made one way or the other. The results of current projects show that there is another way: The scheduling decision is determined by the ERP system and implemented automatically. The basis for this is a coordinated system that is mapped in the IT systems in the form of a set of rules. The system contains clearly defined parameters that are stored for all requirement situations and lead to reproducible results. The consumption characteristics, the current demand and inventory situation and future demand are of course taken into account. The dispatchers have the task of monitoring the processes. They support relevant key figures such as availability, process costs and coverage. The systems also sound the alarm if unusual situations arise. And then the dispatchers are once again called upon to use their experience to solve the new task. But only then …



Bernd Reineke

Picture of Dr. Bernd Reineke

Dr. Bernd Reineke

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