Production planning is the systematic design of production processes in an organization, to achieve maximum efficiency and utility. The end result of an effective production planning system is the ability to produce products at lower cost, faster, and with fewer defects. Production planning systems generally share a set of common objectives.
Minimize Production Time
A main goal of production planning is to ensure that production processes are completed in as little time as possible, freeing up resources for additional production. Gantt charts and PERT/CPM are utilized as means of determining the most efficient start and end times for each production activity, and as a way of determining when specific activities are behind schedule. These techniques can also pinpoint which production activities experience slack times, creating the possibility for additional capacity utilization.
Supply Chain Scheduling (SCS) is another component of production planning Systems. SCS seeks to reduce stockout and back-order costs by synchronizing raw material delivery with material outflow. The principles of lean manufacturing are very popular, and rely heavily on Just-in-Time inventory methods that in turn rely heavily on interaction with suppliers and transparency throughout the supply chain.
Use Resources Efficiently
Capacity Requirements Planning is a method of decreasing raw materials inventory on hand, and ensuring that each production department has exactly the right materials at the right time. While the principles of Supply Chain Scheduling mentioned above ensure that there are always enough raw materials for production processes, Capacity Requirements Planning ensures that there is never too much raw materials inventory on hand, and reduces costs associated with the misallocation of resources.
The over-riding focus of production planning systems is on increasing customer satisfaction. By creating a lean, cost efficient production system, your organization will be able to minimize defects, reduce prices, and quicken throughput, making more reliable products at lower prices available more quickly to your customers.
There are many resources available to aid you in production planning. According to www.productionplanning.com, T-cards, spreadsheets, and computer software are the most popular aids in production planning implementation. Follow the link at the end of this article to find a number of companies that offer these resources.
T-cards are the most basic of planning aids. Often taking the form of traditional bulletin boards, they can be an effective way to keep internal staff on target, whether those targets are reduced defects, improved throughput times, or other increases in efficiency.
Spreadsheets are available to assist in the creation of Gantt charts as well as PERT/CPM analysis and the tracking of any improvements required by your production plan. Recorded data can easily be inserted into pre-formatted spreadsheets that will organize results in charts and data models that are easier to read, comprehend, and present.
Computer software is the most powerful and versatile tool available to production planners. Depending on the solution chosen, software packages can handle and present data on all aspects of your production system, and decisions can be made based on consolidated data presentation rather than the manual aggregation of unrelated sources.
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