Production planning is a three-step process. It involves scheduling, estimating and forecasting. To perform this task, the customers' orders, production capacities and foreseeing of future inventories and trends are essential.
There are five main techniques of production planning. Each technique has its relative merits and demerits. The underlying assumptions and principles are different with each different technique. Also the application of these techniques depends on the type of the ware being produced and the method in which it is being produced. The five main techniques are discussed below.
This technique is used if either one single worker or a group of workers are needed to produce the ware, or product. That is, if the work cannot be broken down into parts, this method is used. The scale of operations for these types of jobs could be simple or complex.
The method is often used when customer specifications are important in the production. Examples of professionals who use the Job Method of production planning are hairdressers, cooks and tailors.
On the simpler end of this technique are jobs that are small-scale in nature, on which the production is fairly easy and simple and for which the worker possesses the required skill set. Equipment required for these jobs is also easy to procure and maintain. Therefore the customer's specific requirements can be incorporated or adjusted at any time during the progress of the job.
The more complex jobs are those that require the use of sophisticated technology and proper control and management. The construction business offers complex jobs that use the Job Method.
Large-scale operations make it imperative for businesses to use the Batch Method. In this method, the work is broken down into parts. To produce on a large scale, one batch of workers works one part while another group works on another. A hitch in this method is that for any part of work to proceed, it is essential that the work in the previous batch is totally completed. This method requires specialization of labor for every division of the business. An example of businesses that use the Batch Method would be manufacturers of electronic parts.
This method is an improvisation on the batch method. The intent here is to improve on the quality of work and on the flow of material being worked, reduction in labor costs and faster delivery of the end product. Work is once again distributed but the process on all parts progresses simultaneously as a flow. Once all the parts are manufactured, they are all assembled together in the end. The ware is produced by numerous interconnected steps in which the raw material moves from one stage to another without interruptions and time delays. Television manufacturing utilizes the Flow Method.
The production uses a uniform sequence. Hence the production is always continuous. The raw materials are few and received from few sources. The end unvaried product is made on the latest and most sophisticated machinery.
Mass Production Method
The organization uses some standardized techniques for the production, focusing on quantity once sufficient quality has been achieved, with quality checks routinely scheduled. There is usually a product-specific layout and balanced production.
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