What's Your Process for handling rush jobs, urgent or priority orders ?

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ChuckawallaJoe

Howdy Folks, from the Heart of North Carolina!

New forum member here with a quick question.

How to you handle "hots," hot orders, rush jobs, urgent or priority orders?

We work on a lot of prototype projects, one offs and small batch orders. We've started to tell production supervisors to NOT build anything with out an order. We give supervisors a list of job in priority order, once a week. Of course, the priority changes! So ...

When a customer calls, and job number ten become job priority number 1, how do you handle that?

  • Do you have a stand up meeting?
  • Do you have a bulletin board?
  • Do you pull the old traveler and treat it like a new order?
  • Do you do it by email?
  • Do you have two "clothes lines" with travelers and Hots go on the top clothes line?

Looking for your ideas and experiences, especially if you do a lot of small jobs with shifting and sometimes competing priorities.
 
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PaulJSmith

Re: What's Your Process for HOT Orders?

Not sure I understand your question. According to our sales staff, EVERY order is a rush order.

Seriously, though ... our shop is small enough that our Production Manager simply walks back to the technician's bench and says, "Sales Order #xxxxx now needs to ship tomorrow. Make it happen."

Welcome to The Cove, ChuckawallaJoe!
 

Bev D

Heretical Statistician
Leader
Super Moderator
Re: What's Your Process for HOT Orders?

why are some jobs 'hot'? are they late? is your lead time longer than customer expectation? how often does this happen? do you charge a premium for 'rush' jobs?

in my experience the best path forward is to either:
1. create 2 lines: one for rush jobs and one for regular jobs. then charge a premium for the rush job
2. work on reducing the cycle times: eliminate waste and create flow. (read "The Gold Mine")

1. may work for awhile, but unless you do 2. everyone will soon want to do only rush jobs and you're back at square one...

and remember some Customers aren't worth doing business with. (read 'the gold mine')
 

NikkiQSM

Quite Involved in Discussions
We use Order Trackers (travelers).

Normal jobs are printed on white paper. "Hot" jobs are printed on bright green paper. This way everyone who does anything with that job knows immediately it is a rush order.

We charge our customers an expedite fee on top of our price per pound.

As Bev stated, we utilize one line for the expedite jobs, while we have other lines for regular production.
 
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inventrax

Did you try a Planning and Scheduling tool ? This can help you streamline your rush orders.
 

inspector625

Involved In Discussions
Hi,

We do all the same things, every other day we have production meetings, we have daily updates regarding what the top priorities are and we are currently looking to buy a light up board, kind of like an airport that shows which flight is delayed except it will updated by customer service with the current hot/rush jobs. It can be updated straight from their computer and the board will be located on the floor so that all employees are able to know what is top priority. We deal with this rush job stuff all the time because our customers forget to plan for certain orders or will put the order on hold and then realize they need it yesterday. Hope that helps. :whip:
 

Wes Bucey

Prophet of Profit
Howdy Folks, from the Heart of North Carolina!

New forum member here with a quick question.

How to you handle "hots," hot orders, rush jobs, urgent or priority orders?

We work on a lot of prototype projects, one offs and small batch orders. We've started to tell production supervisors to NOT build anything with out an order. We give supervisors a list of job in priority order, once a week. Of course, the priority changes! So ...

When a customer calls, and job number ten become job priority number 1, how do you handle that?

  • Do you have a stand up meeting?
  • Do you have a bulletin board?
  • Do you pull the old traveler and treat it like a new order?
  • Do you do it by email?
  • Do you have two "clothes lines" with travelers and Hots go on the top clothes line?

Looking for your ideas and experiences, especially if you do a lot of small jobs with shifting and sometimes competing priorities.
When I ran a contract machining company, we rarely had "rush orders" because of the way we handled our incoming requests for quotation, summarized in this post
Essentially, our whole demeanor was calculated to instill calm, not panic, into the equation. If a customer said, as part of the request, "I need it by [date.]" Our response was always a calm statement, "That might be doable. We need a few more details."

Sometimes, our normal processes could meet the initial date, because we ran 24/7, with 8 hours virtually "lights out" with only one man to deal with auto alarms when a sensor would detect an issue or to refill stock loaders. If our own machines and men were booked solid, we had a cadre of trusted machine shops with similar or identical equipment which we had groomed to take on extra work. We still remained responsible for the quality of the finished product.

Obviously, we disclosed all to a customer if this became necessary and charged a hefty surcharge for our expediting and taking responsibility for the product. Our regular customers were grateful to have a "known quantity" (us) take the worry out of the equation. It meant the customer did not have to approve our subcontractor because WE were responsible (just as we were responsible if one of our in-house employees messed up.)

My experience over the years tells me that rush or hot orders usually means one of two things:
1) the original supplier failed (will the new supplier keep the business or lose it to someone who bids lower on the next job?)
2) the customer is not well organized in running and planning his own business. That makes for additional risk - will he be a long-term customer or a one time wonder? Is it worth it to alienate regular customers by giving preference (even for a surcharge) to a hit and run buyer?

In ten years of running our machining business, only one regular customer called for a super rush order - a truck had crashed into his warehouse, causing a fire that destroyed stock. We ended up leasing two new machining centers and setting them up in vacant space in our next door neighbor's building to run 24/7 for 3 weeks to replace hundreds of 4 different parts lost in his fire. Since we had the Control Plans from the first runs and the tooling was off-the-shelf, the machines ran continuously with no full-time operators. With his insurance and settlement from the trucking company, our customer easily covered all the extra costs [and our profit surcharge.]
 
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