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planning and scheduling

Strategic Design

In the phase of the strategic design of the Rhythm Wheel, the products and resources to be scheduled with the Rhythm Wheel concept are defined as they will fundamentally influence the characteristics of the Rhythm Wheel.

First, the product portfolio has to be analyzed. A segmentation of the product portfolio in the dimensions volume and variability has turned out to be the most beneficial. Volume is the production volume or sales for a certain period of time, for instance, one year. Variability refers to the variability of sales, usually measured as the coefficient of variation. Best suited for the Rhythm Wheel concept are products with a medium to high volume and a medium to low demand variability. Those products can be produced in every Rhythm Wheel cycle in an almost constant quantity.

Nevertheless, low-volume products with high variability can also be scheduled with the Rhythm Wheel concept. Those products with highly unpredictable demand are then produced in the optimal sequence when demand occurs, minimizing the required time for changeover.


The optimal Rhythm Wheel design depends strongly on the products scheduled on the production resource. The following three factors have to be considered:

  • How many products are going to be scheduled on the production resource?
    The number of products determines the number of changeovers. More products lead to more changeovers, which in turn lead to a longer cycle.
  • Are the scheduled products low-volume or high-volume products?
    Different volumes lead to different production quantities requiring different production times, therefore leading to either shorter or longer cycles.
  • Do the products have stable demand or highly variable demand?
    This has a direct impact on the required amount of buffer time in the cycle, which can be used to react to demand peaks or to squeeze in low-volume orders.