4/1/15 4:25 PM
Production planning and control used to be as simple as monitoring your labor costs and controlling for material waste. In today's industry environment, however, global competition demands that every cost be controlled. That means you have to embrace advanced methods of production planning.
There are many factors that go into the production planning for a facility, and until now it has been assumed that there is no way to control and plan for every cost. New advanced software, however, promises to optimize and provide visibility on just about every cost that is associated with your production process. That means that not only can you reduce your costs for materials, but you can also maximize the efficiency of your labor force, equipment and even freight.
Every factory manager knows that there are some products that just seem to run best when produced in a certain way. Whether it's necessary to run products in a certain order as a way to make sure that the set-up and tear-down times are minimized, or if you simply know that specific products can be made faster when specific employees are assigned to their line, you know that there are definite differences in how your production facilities work best. Production planning software is a way to easily find these relationships and utilize them to maximize your production.
In complex factories, it can be a full time job to figure out the best production schedule, and the introduction of a new order or production problem can throw everything out of balance. On a daily basis, employee absence, broken equipment, and last minute rush orders can toss a carefully crafted production schedule out the window. Instead of scrambling to come up with a solution manually, using a production planning software can automatically generate a new schedule that takes these factors into account. It will analyze all the information available such as: past employee performance, production data, special run rules, customer priorities, and financial inputs, and then come up with the best plan for the business.
By knowing everything you can about what goes on in your production facility, it's possible to make a schedule that maximizes your profits. You'll be able to limit the number of employees that are sitting idle, and every production line will be running as much as possible to deliver on customer commitments on-time. Furthermore, you'll know almost immediately if a production line or employee is not producing as much as expected. This will allow you to address problems proactively before they become large, facility-wide issues.
As an added bonus, you'll be able to show investors and your superiors hard data showing that efficiency in your facility has been improved. Rather than wasting time in emergency production meetings and experimenting with the schedule, it's a much better option to know that the changes you make to the production scheduling system are an investment that will have provable and lasting results.