Production planning and control (PPC) is a term that combines two strategies: production planning and production control. In the manufacturing world, production planning and control are defined by four stages: Routing, Scheduling, Dispatching, and Follow-Up. The first two stages relate to production planning while the second two relate to production control.
The Four Stages of Production Planning and Control
The first stage of production planning is to determine the path of production from raw materials to finished goods. Here, you will determine the equipment, resources, materials and sequence to be used.
The second stage of production planning is to determine when operations are scheduled. Here, the goals may be to increase throughput, reduce lead time, or increase profits. Many strategies can be used to create the most efficient schedule.
The third stage of production control starts when production is initiated. That is, when the scheduling plan is implemented, materials and work orders are released, and work is flowing down the production line.
The fourth stage of production controls is to determine whether there are any bottlenecks or inefficiencies in the process. Here, you can compare the predicted run hours and quantities with the actual values reported to determine whether processes can be improved.
Time and Capacity Management are crucial factors to enhance the efficiency of the shop floor and of the business. These factors are directly associated with the second stage of production planning and control: Scheduling.
Knowing this, let's focus specifically on the scheduling stage and the different methods used to approach it:
- Master Production Scheduling (MPS)
- Manufacturing and Operation Scheduling
The Types of Scheduling in Production Planning and Control
Master Production Scheduling
Master Production Scheduling (MPS) is a scheduling strategy that dictates when and how much of each product is going to be produced based on criteria such as demand, capacity, and inventory availability.
This type of scheduling focuses on a planning horizon that is divided into equal time period (called ‘time buckets’). It includes a plan for the production of certain products and defines resources, staffing, inventory, etc required for the allotted time period.
MPS aids in decision making by generating a set of output data based on inputs such as:
- Forecasted demand
- Production costs
- Inventory costs
- Customer needs
- Production lead time
The resulting output information includes:
- The amounts to produce
- Staffing requirements
- Quantity of products Available to Promise
- Projected available funds for production
It also sets the expectations of the revenue that the business is likely to generate. These outputs can then be used to create a Material Requirements Planning (MRP) schedule.
Manufacturing and Operation Scheduling or Detailed scheduling
Manufacturing Scheduling (also called ‘Detailed Scheduling’ or ‘Production Scheduling’) focuses on a shorter horizon than MPS.
This type of scheduling fixes a time and a date to each operation in a continuous timeline rather than in time buckets. Each process can then be visualized in terms of its start time and completion time-frame. The subsequent stages of production planning and control depend on this timeline.
Scheduling looks to optimize the use of time in each step of the production process, from raw or intermediate materials to the delivery of the finished good to the customer.
The goal is to maximize throughput (output) and on-time delivery within the constraints of equipment, labor, storage, and inventory capacity. This usually involves maximizing the utilization of critical bottleneck resources by:
- Minimizing changeovers
- Minimizing cleanout intervals
- Avoiding material starvation
In order to schedule more efficiently, there are a variety of methodologies ans tools that planners can apply.
Master Scheduling and Production Scheduling work in concert to create capacity and inventory plans that maximize a business’s resources to serve its customers efficiently.
Proper use of scheduling methods results in enormous benefits for a manufacturing business. Efficient planning and disciplined schedule execution on the shop floor can have impacts of up to 25% or higher on output and on-time delivery.
Failure to systematize this process can result in lost customers due to late delivery and excessive lead times. In addition, cash flow problems can arise due to delayed shipments, and stressful operating environments are created due to the chaotic and reactive management of resources and orders.
Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS) Software
Advanced Planning and Scheduling Softwares have become a must for modern-day manufacturing operations as customer demand for increased product assortment, fast delivery, and downward cost pressures become prevalent. These systems help planners save time while providing greater agility in updating ever-changing priorities, production schedules, and inventory plans. APS Systems can be quickly integrated with an ERP/MRP software to fill the gaps where these systems lack planning and scheduling flexibility, accuracy, and efficiency.
With APS you can:
- Create optimized schedules that balance production efficiency and delivery performance
- Maximize throughput on bottleneck resources to increase revenue
- Synchronize supply with demand to reduce inventories
- Provide company-wide visibility to resource capacity
- Enable scenario data-driven decision making
The implementation of an Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS) Software will take your manufacturing operations to the next level of production efficiency by taking advantage of the operational data you already possess in your ERP system.
Note: This article was originally published in 2016 and updated for comprehensiveness.