Scheduling Manufacturing tasks

Hey everyone - I’m trying to build a tool that will help me schedule manufacturing tasks. Basically it’d be a project that will repeat over and over.

Say we have serialized bikes. Each one goes through these steps:

  1. Paint
  2. Add Brakes
  3. Add seat

Each should take 1 day to complete.

Serial number 101 starts on 6/1. Serial number 102 starts on 6/2. Serial number 103 starts on 6/3.

I want to track serial number 101 through these steps, but then also look ahead at 6/3 and see the following schedule:
Paint - 103
Brakes - 102
Seat - 101

Then also to be able to look at all of the serial numbers one stage has during a day. Say Brakes’ assignment on 6/3 - which would be SN102.

Obviously this would be way more complex but I’m trying to build up the back bone of this thing, and see if this is even possible. I’m experimenting with the Gantt block - which I THINK is the answer. But I get bogged down because each record needs a start and end date. In this example if Paint was a record, it might have a start date - day 1 of the company. But never really end.
Serial Numbers have a similar issue. SN 101 starts on 5/31, but this doesn’t give me the ability to see what a given station’s assignment is on 6/1.

Thank you for any help!

I’m going to take the coward’s way out and merely point you to two earlier posts. I think your answer lies in combining aspects of both:

On re-reading your post, it may be the framework alone would meet your needs — yours is pretty much the use case form which it was written. What you would do is first define what I call a process template — essentially, a group of interrelated tasks, such as ‘Paint’, ‘Brakes’, ‘Seat’, and so on. The master task for the template could be ‘Ship’, in which case the relative dates for each step would be specified as a negative offset from the shipping date, or ‘Paint’, where subsequent tasks are given offset dates following the first task. (Your master task could also be a task anywhere during the process, with some subtasks defined as falling before and others after the master task’s date. Offsets can also be specified as offset in days or workdays, in which case the framework will shift dates falling on weekends and holidays as desired.)

Once your template is completed, you then create task instances in a scheduling table. In your example – assuming ‘Paint’ to be the master task – you would create an instance of a ‘Paint’ task named ‘SN101’ and assign it a date. The framework would then generate¹ and schedule the appropriate subtasks – ‘SN101: Brakes’, ‘SN101: Seat’, and the like. Once instanced, you can adjust the schedule of ‘SN101: Paint’ in a Calendar view using drag-and-drop, and the subtask dates would be adjusted accordingly.

The one thing the framework currently doesn’t support is project management capabilities. For instance, if you’re a JIT shop and the shipment of brake shoes is a day late, you can’t adjust the date of ‘SN101: Brakes’ and have the rest of the schedule slip a day. (However, you can override any derived date; you’d just have to move all task dates for ‘SN101’ manually.) Unfortunately, the Gantt Block came out while I was working on the scheduling framework, so I’ve not looked to see how to integrate the two. (Version 2.0, perhaps…?)

There are a number of other features, as well. There’s a detailed Users Guide to the framework included as a PDF attachment in the base’s [Documentation] table. (Actually, I’d forgotten I’d also uploaded it to Airtable Universe, so you can explore the base and check out the documentation there without having to copy it, if you want.)

This solution looks really great - but just looking at it, I’m not really sure how to mould this to fit my needs.
I’m going to keep playing around with it, so thank you again for providing this!

Hi @Sam_Smiley - here’s my attempt at solving this. Not sure how well it scales for a process with many steps, but see what you think.

I started with a tasks table:

I’ve got a calendar table:

Then I’ve got an “orders” table which records instances of the process you’ve got in the 3 steps:

The serial number is just a formula on the autonumber ID field. Tasks is a link to the Tasks table and Start Date is a link to Calendar where you decide which day you want each order to begin on.

Now we come to the manual part - Step 2 C&P is the calculated date for step 2 (in this case, Start Date + 1 day). When you’re created the order copy this calculated date into the next field “Step 2 Date for Cal”. This is a linked field and when you paste you make the link. Step3 C&P and Step 3 Date for Cal is the same idea, just another day forward.

At the end of this table I’ve got a lookup to the tasks table to pull in the steps in the process:

Now back in my calendar table, I’ve already got linked fields for start date, Step 2 Date for Cal and Step 3 Date for Cal (here shown as Orders, Orders 2 and Orders 3. Using these I can lookup the 3 steps in the process, linked to their dates:

What’s nice is I can also create another (3-step) process:

And choose this to start on a given date:

The C&P element of this base is a bit tedious, although when you’re entering this data you’re just going from cell to cell horizontally, so can be quite quick. I can’t figure out a way to automate this as it seems you want a field to be both calculated (+ 1 day) and also a link in another table, which you can’t do, so getting the data correct, then pasting into the linked cell seems like an OK workaround.

Maybe this gives you some more ideas?

JB