Receiving A Job | The "Unreleased" Job List
New jobs can arrive in the system from many sources - administration, sales people and clients for example. Each company will advise production of a new job in different ways - paperwork, emails, verbal advice.
However the job is received it will enter M-Power in an "in-tray" that we call unreleased jobs. Reviewing the list of unreleased jobs it the starting point for managing work-in-progress.
Some considerations for job review and release are detailed in the image below.
Pulling Jobs | Releasing Jobs
The first goal of the production manager is to ‘release’ the job to production. The production manager acts as gatekeeper to review and approve jobs before production is started so that jobs are accurate, complete and have the best chance of flowing through production without intervention.
This process starts by reviewing new jobs that have been entered into the system and working with the client, salesperson or accounts dept to resolve issues that prevent us starting on the job.
The business rules will be different for every company but common conditions that must be met before releasing the job may include.
- Do we accept the pricing on the job, and is this accepted by the client.
- Have confirmed that the job details that they have supplied with the job are the same as what we quoted on.
- Do we accept the clients payment terms? – does the client have an account, or are they required to pay a deposit?
- Can meet their specified delivery date
- Has the client has supplied adequate artwork or drawings? If we have created the drawings, have they approved them
- Can we meet their operational requirements – ie have the asked for something using a material/process that simply won’t meet their needs
- Do we need to order material and are the materials available?
Jobs that are ‘unreleased’ sit on their own tab within the work-in-progress screen so that they are separated from jobs we can work on.
When you are confident that the job is to proceed, we ‘release’ the job by pressing the ‘release’ button. This step that allows us to automatically trigger actions that commit the job to production. Common actions we include in the automated job release include:
- Allocating materials from inventory to the job
- Making the job visible to the schedule
- Sending an order confirmation email to the client
- Assigning a work-in-progress status
- Queueing the job at the first scheduled process
- Assigning a template of key dates
The production manager may also configure the job with additional information that helps with production control
- Assigning tags that assist with finding and grouping jobs in production
- Manually assigning Work in Progress statuses to allow staff to find exceptions to resolve
- Assigning key dates for the job that show on calendars for better visibility
- Scheduling key processes and assigning them to resources.
Once the job has been releasing into production, staff will work on the job. As they start each process (using the scanning system) the system will update work-in-progress with their activities
- remove processes from the schedule that have been completed
- queue the product at the next scheduled process in the workflow sequence and report this on the WIP screen
- Record the time that they have worked on the job for costing purposes
- Update the WIP with the date and time that the last activity has been performed
- Optionally change the WIP Status if the process is setup to do so.
The Production Managers Daily Role
The scanning system provides the feedback that keeps the status of jobs up to date. This means that the production manager can focus on identifying the exceptions that are preventing jobs from flowing smoothly through production and work to both "Push" and "Pull" the jobs through to completion.
Understanding Your WIP
- Work down the WIP list form – look at each job to determine if the status consistent with the activity that has occurred with the job.
- When was it last worked on.
- Has it been invoiced – but not dispatched
- Does it have scan time against
- Print the weekly report
- This shows all jobs that are expected out of the factory over the next week and highlight jobs that are overdue
- Contact people that have jobs overdue – acting proactively will ensure that you don’t get called by grumpy people
- Print the ‘on hold’ job list – understand why they are on hold and if the status has changed (awaiting payment for instance)
- Print the WIP – by Status. This groups each job under its status
- This is useful to understand where each job is at
Act on your WIP
Look for overdue, on-hold jobs, and jobs due for delivery for the next few days. Is anything preventing them from being worked on?
- Have we received the stock for the job – this can be checked in WIP tab in you are purchasing through m-power.
- Has the artwork been approved – use events to record artwork being sent, approved.
- Record notes against the job in WIP so that everyone understands the status of the jobs and the job history–
- Use the events buttons to systematically enter common events – for instance a proof issued
- Paste the contents of emails into the job log.
- Place jobs on hold that can’t be resumed soon – this takes them out of most statistics and places a red flag.
- Change the WIP status of the job everyone understands the current status
- Cancel jobs that have not proceeded – WIP needs to reflect what we actually have to work on – and actions that need to be taken – use the ‘hold’, ‘status’, ‘unrelease’ tools to sideline jobs that cant be worked on - triage
Manage the Schedule
Review the Schedule form. Start with a filter by department
- check that each process has a resource assigned to it
- This shows the list of jobs for each staff member – split by jobs committed to the schedule and those that are ‘pending’
Filter by process and resource
- Look for people / areas that are overcommitted for time – we need to balance production and allocations evenly
- If the job is urgent Re-Assign the priority in the queue – it will be ordered by job due date by default but you can over-ride this. Make sure staff know of the new assignment
- If the process has already been completed – delete it from schedule (this does nothing to the job – so is safe.
When you are happy the schedule priorities are balanced and correct – print a hard copy for your staff. In addition they can ‘cross off’ the jobs and get a feeling that they have a target.
if the schedule is printed staff can follow up jobs themselves (internally) to make sure that they ‘pull’ jobs into their own schedule
Some companies allow people to re-organise their jobs within a day for greater efficiency providing the daily totals are met