What Are the Steps in Production Planning and Control?

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin

Without planning; it is difficult to be successful. Similarly, manufacturing businesses need an efficient production planning and control system to run successfully. As manufacturing operations have become more varied and complex, there are many things to monitor, such as supply chain management, inventory control, material requirements planning, human resources, machinery, and much more. Production planning and control help by managing labor, schedules, resources, equipment, and various other aspects while ensuring the efficient delivery of high-quality products and services.

What is Production Planning?

Production planning helps determine things such as production volume, material requirements, schedule timelines, and capacity available for production.

Production control monitors production performance, provides visibility of manufacturing operations, and enhances reporting activities.

Production planning and control helps to ensure materials, labor, equipment, and other resources are available at the right time to optimize the production process. Below are the steps in the production planning and control process.

1.     Planning – What will be produced, how will it be produced, and by whom will it be produced?

As mentioned before, planning indicates all the labor, materials, equipment, manufacturing techniques, and other resources required to complete the production process. The relevant information is gathered from different sources. For instance, order quantity requirements and promised delivery date information are gathered from sales data, and production specifications come from engineering data. It strengthens the production process by avoiding the misuse of resources and eliminating schedule miscommunications to streamline processes and meet delivery deadlines.

2.     Routing – Determines the path of raw materials to finished goods

This step determines the movement of raw materials through multiple operations and machines on the shop floor. It helps find the appropriate operational sequence to transform raw materials into finished goods. The information helps to determine the machines and personnel needed to complete the production process. To find the right path, a detailed routing plan is prepared to indicate the sequence of machines and operations needed for the production process. When implemented correctly, the routing plan identifies the most efficient operational sequences and processes, machines, and resources utilized for each production phase. It streamlines production by considering the availability of machines and any potential bottlenecks.

3.     Scheduling – When should the work be done?

The time element is planned in this step of the production planning and control process. It includes the estimated start and completion time for operations to be performed. Manufacturers can leverage different types of scheduling processes, such as daily, operation, master, or detailed schedules, based on what makes sense for them. The master schedule considers shop floor resources, while the detailed schedule handles the manufacturing and assembly operations needed for each product. This step ensures operations start on time, progress is updated regularly, machines are available, and the desired delivery time is met.

4.     Loading – Workload management of workers and machines

Loading determines the proper workload allocated to machines and staff based on their capacity. It is important to assign jobs to work centers so that setup, processing, throughput, and idle time are minimized. If a machine has available capacity, more orders can be assigned to avoid underload and proactive measures can be taken to prevent bottlenecks from overload. Loading enables businesses to identify potential shortages of labor and any other workstation challenges to enhance productivity.

5.     Dispatching – Implementation of production according to routine and scheduling activities

Dispatching ensures the availability of all items for employees to do their jobs. After following the routing and scheduling directions, it releases the orders and related instructions. It ensures that the material is moved to the appropriate workplace, tools are ready for specific operations, and the overall work is moving according to the routing instructions. It also carries out the physical work according to the scheduling directions. Dispatching can be either centralized (when orders are provided by a specific authority) or decentralized (when instructions are issued by all business units). Dispatching includes:

  • Issuance of materials or fixtures that are important for actual production
  • Issuance of orders to initiate the work
  • Maintaining the records of starting and finishing each job on time
  • Initiating the control process
  • Recording the idle time of machines
  • Cascading the work from one process to another

6.     Expediting

Expediting or follow-up is the last stage of production planning and control. It checks the progress of production and ensures it is carried out as planned. In this step, the actual performance is measured from start to end and compared to the expected performance. The primary purpose of expediting is to identify the bottlenecks, defects, and loopholes in the production process while investigating the variances from the predetermined schedule. It includes the following:

  • Ensuring that all the tools, materials, accessories, and parts are available at the work centers in the right quantities for initiating and carrying out the manufacturing operations.
  • Checking on the work-in-progress and completed work status at multiple workstations. It includes the collection of information related to the start and finish time of work, the status of work-in-progress relative to the scheduled time of completion, the movement of materials, and inspection results.
  • Preparing progress records and keeping management up-to-date.
  • Reporting to production management on deviations so that corrective actions can be taken accordingly.

How Can a Modern Cloud ERP Solution Help Manufacturers with Production Planning and Control?

Cloud manufacturing ERP includes production planning and control that helps streamline the manufacturing process from the procurement of raw materials until its conversion to the final product. It helps manage the production process by forecasting demand, controlling inventory, and reducing waste. By implementing cloud manufacturing ERP, manufacturers can produce products with less risk and increased profits.


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