Scheduling your work load is a process that seems to change daily. Creating priorities, assigning worker duties and executing an efficient work flow seems an almost impossible job, but it can be done if you are able to break it down to the timing of the drawings, materials and labor hours.

You begin the scheduling process by asking questions regarding all you need to perform your job. You will need to know when you have the approved shop detail drawings, what the arrival dates of the materials will be and what the anticipated delivery date is for the fabricated steel.

If you can, find out how many labor hours were assigned to the project. Use these labor hours as your target to help you determine the required manpower needed in completing the job. As an example, if you have 1000 hours to finish a project, and the delivery is in 10 days, you will need 12 to 13 workers expending 100% of their time on the job to meet the goal. Schedule your start and completion dates, then stick to them.

Scheduling your crew is based on everyone showing up on time every day and producing what you expect. Determine when you can produce small parts and sub-assemblies, making sure that the fitters have what they need to start with first. Accomplishing that, make sure that the shop has everything they need as you move to the larger fabrications.

Watch closely as the project moves along, and look ahead for anything that might slow down or interrupt production. If you see problems about to happen, do what you can to solve them before it slows down or stops the work. Keep track of the hours expended so you will know (as per this example) once you have reached 500 hours you should be more than halfway done.

If the need for overtime to complete the goal become apparent, be sure to alert those that need to know as early as possible. Other options, such as adding workers, may be a way to help maintain schedule. A word of caution, as certain conditions may require training. There is no allowance for training time in fabrication scheduling, so this move may actually slow down what you are trying to speed up.

Think and plan ahead. You may find that you may be able to turn what seems to be impossible into something not only doable, but underbudget!

Schedules are made to change!
Scheduling - Executing your plan!
Steve's Shop Talk
If you are asked to provide a schedule you would start by finding out the completion date and then work the schedule backwards. Allow the necessary time for painting or galvanizing. Work backwards through the allowed time for fabrication, and further back to allow for material staging and working of small parts that need to be attached. If you know how long it should take to fabricate your products, breaking down this process in this way with the calendar will help you visualize what total time frame will be required. Take your total hours, divide by 40, then divide by the number of workers you can apply to the job, and you will find out how long it will take (in weeks) to run the job though the shop.
Figuring a Schedule
Steel Advice - July 2011
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