Production Scheduling

“He who fails to plan is planning to fail” – Sir Winston Churchill

Most of us generate production plans in order to plan production. Very few production facilities have no idea what they need to produce in some future period. This is done in some way or another. It is the way that production is planned that effects the efficiency of the facility.

Last minute product run changes, short run lengths, increased temporary staff requirements, insufficient raw material availability, high work-in-progress on the floor, …… Yes these things do happen at some stage, but are they the norm?

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Planning rules such as fixed time fences, having the right planning tool, planning visibility, etc will help make production life simpler. How accurate or reliable is your sales forecast? Get this very wrong and you will never win with planning production effectively. More of this in Demand Planning.

Do you understand what your plant or production line output capability is? There is a difference between the demonstrated output (actual average) and the output capability. Which one do you plan against?

What happens when you plan to keep a work centre running, for longer than is needed to meet demand, in order to claim the uptime for financial recoveries? This is a great idea if the work centre is a bottle-neck operation, but if its not, it will cost you.

Note as well that you don’t have to plan each and every work centre. In some cases a simple kan-ban type process replaces the need to plan for a work centre that supplies interim production to multiple or single work centres down stream.