Amish Easily Adopt & Rapidly Amortize New Production Scheduling System

Nestled quietly in the heart of Ohio’s Amish countryside is a furniture destination, offering:

an eclectic showroom of hand-crafted selections in the modern, rustic, traditional, transitional, live edge, and contemporary styles

a tour of the factory to witness Amish artisans using the ‘heirloom’ approach to woodcraft

and relaxation by the tranquil waterfall in their gardens, to see the trees from which they build their American hardwood furniture.

Homestead Furniture’s core values reflect the local culture of craftsmanship and fair business dealings. They are surrounded by people who turn, bend, stain, carve and otherwise craft hardwoods to create fine furniture. And when they talk business, they talk about improving methodologies and techniques to make better furniture, in lieu of ways to set up offshore manufacturing.

IMPROVEMENTS

On the fabrication technique side:
AmishBilt™ heirloom approach, proprietary Protekt™ finishing, cutting edge color lab for proprietary paint and stain shades, advanced stressing operations

On the manufacturing methodological side:
Implementing the Kaizen cell method of manufacturing, lean inventory management, continuous improvement principles, Six Sigma tactics.

LAST HURDLE
With all these advanced techniques and methodologies in place, the antiquated production scheduling system surfaced as a bottleneck holding them back. The current process was a full time job, highly susceptible to human error due to a myriad of disparate and disconnected spreadsheets and workbooks. But with no Internet access or factory computers not any replacement would do.

The article published in FDMC Magazine describes how a 40 hr/week production scheduling task, requiring an experienced production scheduler, was reduced to a mere 2 hour task by the office clerk for the basic weekly schedule, leaving only a 4 – 6 hour task for the production scheduler to address the typical unexpected changes that occur in process. Of added interest, the article tells the story of how the software implementation alone identified a manufacturing bottleneck. Addressing it not only optimized their processing, but also they were able to reconfigure the new system ‘on-the-fly’ to match the new routings. And last, but not least, the flexibility of the system facilitated their maintaining their familiar way of doing things, insuring rapid adoption.

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