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  1. #1
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    Question How do you find software?

    Hi all!

    I'm in the final steps of launching some scheduling software for job shops, I am trying to come up with my marketing plan now. What I would like to know is a few things,

    Do you use any software in your shop?

    How did you find/come across the software your using?

    What are the biggest issues you have with your software?

    If someone had a program to help run your shop, is there an ideal way to approach you with a product?

    Any feedback would be extremely helpful! This has been a pet project of mine for years now that is finally coming to fruition, I want to make sure I have every detail lined up before kick off.

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    most ERP packages do scheduling. I can't imagine anyone buying software to just do scheduling. But, if it worked really well, for me to consider it, it would have to be reasonably prices, and none of this fucking maintenance bull shit.

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    Most shops I've seen or been to don't use the scheduling software that comes with the ERP. Either it's too complicated to use, or more often, it isn't well suited for that the fast paced environment of that job shop. In faster paced job shops, a lot of ERP's are designed to deal with longer run or production shops. The main ERP's I've dealt with have been E2, Epicore and Job Boss. Every shop I've seen with them has come up with their own separate scheduling method whether it be spreadsheet tools or the white board method.

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    I'd be interested. We're just starting to use something called 'Project Libre' It's a free knock off of Microsoft project. We started using it because we got real busy recently and trying to figure out realistic lead times for customers was becoming increasingly tedious. It's not too bad if someone is available to keep on top of it.
    We've looked at the MRP route but these things ain't cheap, either in the initial payment, maintenance charges and the training required for such complex systems. We're just not big enough to go that route at the moment.
    So:
    How much are you going to charge?
    Have you tried it in a real sub con environment?
    Is it simple enough to be used in a small shop where the guy running it is still on the machines?
    Does it work?

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  7. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by barratt View Post
    We started using it (Project Libre) because we got real busy recently and trying to figure out realistic lead times for customers was becoming increasingly tedious. It's not too bad if someone is available to keep on top of it.
    Determining rational and realistic lead times for new customer orders based on the existing workload is a true challenge to some order-driven, high-variety production systems usually found in job shops. The product mix (heterogeneous workload) in production and planning keeps changing continuously in such systems.

    If we quote lead times shorter than possible, it will cause problems for production people and increase firefighting and late deliveries. On the other hand, if we quote lead times longer than necessary, we unnecessarily face the risk of losing orders. Any job shop scheduling software tool that uses advanced, rigorous scheduling logic (hidden in the code)) can help with this tough task.

    There are some software tools of this type but price, functionality, effectiveness, interface, user friendliness and data requirements greatly vary with the tool. One of such tools is Schedlyzer Lite. A brief YouTube video of it is available for more details. The concerned web site says that this software is available for $2,000 and a free, fully functional, 60-day trial copy of it is also available for evaluation on shop floor.

    Quote Originally Posted by barratt View Post
    We're just starting to use something called 'Project Libre' It's a free knock off of Microsoft project.
    In my opinion, project management tools are not very effective for scheduling in many job shops because they usually create resource overloading in production schedule and force users to laboriously eliminate resource overallocations in the schedule.

    If a job shop that uses MS Project for production scheduling can afford Schedlyzer Lite, it may find value worth at least $2,000 in this tool because MS Project cannot easily generate a production schedule in job shops without resource overallocations.

    Quote Originally Posted by barratt View Post
    We've looked at the MRP route but these things ain't cheap, either in the initial payment, maintenance charges and the training required for such complex systems.
    I would not advise job shops to purchase ERP/MRP systems just for meeting scheduling needs. I guess a majority of job shops developed their own Excel applications for scheduling while ignoring the scheduling modules available in their ERP/MRP packages.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Dickman View Post
    But, if it worked really well, for me to consider it, it would have to be reasonably prices, and none of this fucking maintenance bull shit.
    Schedlyzer Lite may be a right fit for this requirement.

  9. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by barratt View Post
    How much are you going to charge?
    Have you tried it in a real sub con environment?
    Is it simple enough to be used in a small shop where the guy running it is still on the machines?
    Does it work?

    I'm determining pricing now, it's going to be web based and monthly but it will essentially range based on need. Probably going to be as low as $50/month and up depending on use.

    I've had a prototype built in MS Excel working in one of the fastest paced shops I know of for the last 6 years. Everyone usually flinches when they hear Excel or spreadsheet, but what I build in it is an actual program where it doesn't work like a typical spreadsheet. I've built other variants of my program for other shops in my area for the last couple years. But the program I'm releasing soon is a stand alone web program that will be friendly to any device.

    A huge target I've had to build something that meets the needs of the small shop, where you have a program that is a companion to what you do, not a full-time job. I grew up in the shop my dad built and have taken a massive interest in the front-end logistics. I've always hated that our MRP was basically a full time job, and we never even used every feature in it. It's been too big and clunky for a small fast paced shop. So I've started building my own, starting with the trickiest part, scheduling.

    I hope it works! 6 years in use with updates as needed through out. When I first implemented it, we cut our in-house time from 30-40 days to less than 20. Part of that is how you use it, but just having a tool that works great for what-ifs and look ahead scheduling does wonders.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JesseDC View Post
    I'm determining pricing now, it's going to be web based and monthly but it will essentially range based on need. Probably going to be as low as $50/month and up depending on use.
    I was very interested until this sentence. Let me buy it once and download it, or I'm out.

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  12. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
    I was very interested until this sentence. Let me buy it once and download it, or I'm out.
    I may make it downloadable as well. That will be after the web based is out though. Keeping things on the web makes it better available to any device as well as keeps you with the latest and greatest, even though that comes with a monthly sub, the entry fee is essentially like a typical MRP is gone and will still beat any maintenance fee out there.

    But this is also my first time releasing a software, depending on how the interest is and where it goes, downloadable may take over as the primary version.

    The end game of this is to develop the next generation of MRP out of it, but starting with scheduling. Keep it modular, simple and cheap.

  13. #10
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    It may be downloadable later on, but then it would have to have a higher entry cost (hopefully still not as high as a standard system), and then no upgrades without some sort of additional cost. I'm hoping to stay away from the traditional model. I want to have it always suited for a smaller shop which means I have to stay away from that high initial entry cost.

  14. #11
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    As Jesse said, most job shops are unhappy with the scheduling functionality of ERP software for various reasons and develop their own Excel applications for production scheduling. However, for almost every ERP software, we can find some job shops which find the ERP scheduling module suitable and acceptable. It means ERP scheduling modules are not sufficiently versatile to be effective for a wide range of job shops. Almost every job shop scheduling software has a versatility problem to some extent. But, this problem is very much hidden. Therefore, in my opinion, a job shop should purchase a production scheduling software ONLY after evaluating it on its shop floor for some days using real production data.


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