How does Production Scheduling in ERP Helps Manufacturers


Before we dive into production scheduling and its benefits for manufacturers, let's first look at the roles played by the production department in a manufacturing company.The manufacturing unit converts raw resources into final products. This department may include engineers, technicians, and operators.

Production scheduling is the process of planning and scheduling all production activities within a specified timeframe. This includes developing strategies for allocating machinery, human resources, and production materials.

What is Production Planning?

Developing a plan to manufacture the goods or services your business offers is known as production planning. Large corporations were the first to implement production planning. Yet, it has grown in acceptance among small and medium-sized businesses across numerous industries. This partly results from how simple it is to track production and plan. Demand forecasting, determining raw materials, personnel, and the actions necessary to generate the company's products are just a few components of production planning.

Production Planning vs. Production Scheduling

Production scheduling offers a more accurate picture of how the organization will carry out its plans than production planning does. The production schedule specifies the timing of each stage and the equipment, personnel, and other resources needed to complete the work. Production scheduling can become highly complicated when several goods are produced simultaneously. Software for production scheduling is created to assist companies in creating detailed schedules, monitoring their progress, and making prompt adjustments as necessary. The Key Takeaways:

  • Production planning describes how products and services are manufactured.
  • A production plan outlines the production targets, resources, and overall schedule. It also includes all steps and dependencies.
  • Companies can reduce costs, deliver quality products and solve problems with a well-designed production plan.
  • The technology has made it possible for small and medium-sized companies across multiple industries to make production planning easier to optimize their operations.

Product Planning Explained

Planning for production involves more than just emphasizing manufacturing process efficiency. Almost every other part of the business, including finance, sales, and human resources, is tightly related to production planning. Demand forecasting, which chooses the optimal product mix to meet consumer wants, is a component of production planning. Choosing the most effective strategy for creating these things is also helpful. Planning for production involves determining the resources needed to meet production objectives. Additionally, it describes each step of the manufacturing process. Production schedules should be flexible enough to accommodate operational changes in response to staffing shortages, equipment failures, and supply-chain challenges.

Why is Production Planning Important?

A well-thought-out production strategy can boost sales, profits, and client happiness. Even a poorly thought-out production strategy can result in production issues that might even bring about the company's demise. Planning your production has various advantages:

  • Knowledge: Understanding the manufacturing procedures and resources necessary to fulfill client demands can be done through the production plan. Companies benefit from having a better understanding of prospective production issues and solutions.
  • Efficiency. A thorough production strategy helps to cut costs and eliminate bottlenecks. This keeps expenses in check while ensuring high-quality products.
  • Customer satisfaction. The timely production and delivery of goods are made possible with production planning. Increased client satisfaction and the likelihood of repeat business result from this. 

Types Of Production Planning

The company's production method, as well as other elements like equipment capabilities, order size, and order quantity, as well as other elements like product kind and order type, are all important when designing a product plan. The three primary categories of production planning are as follows:

 Batch Production

Instead of producing identical products one at a time or continuously, this refers to manufacturing similar items in groups. In some firms, batch production can be an excellent strategy to boost productivity. A bakery, for instance, may begin by baking a batch of chocolate chip cookies before moving on to loaves of semolina bread and oatmeal raisin cookies. A clothing firm might set up its cutting and sewing machines to create 500 navy-blue T-shirts. To make 400 tank tops, it might then switch to red cloth and thread. Foreseeing potential bottlenecks and delays in batch processing is crucial. 

Planning Based on Job or Project Requirements

Several small and medium-sized businesses employ job production planning. It focuses on one person producing a single item or set of related goods. Job-based planning is utilized when creating goods in large quantities is challenging due to the client's unique requirements. Many building companies employ this technique. Personalized jewelry and clothing manufacturing are two further examples of companies that may use job production planning.

Planning Flow Production.

Using flow production (also known as continuous production), standardized items are continually mass-produced on an assembly machine. Large manufacturers use this method to produce a steady stream of finished goods. Each item should be able to move smoothly from one stage of the production line to another during production. When there is a steady demand for products, flow production will most efficiently reduce costs and delays. To reduce production time and eliminate delays, manufacturers can quickly determine the equipment, materials, and labor required at each assembly line step. This method is used by companies such as the automotive industry and manufacturers of canned foods and beverages.

5 Steps for Making a Production Plan

Production planning is a substantial undertaking. It starts with forecasting and then includes process design and monitoring. These are five steps of production planning:

Forecast Product Demand

Calculate how many products you will need to produce in a given period. Forecasting can be helped by historical data, but it's essential to consider other factors, such as market trends or the economic situation of your customers. Demand Planning Software helps companies decide how much product they need to meet their customers' needs.

Plan Production Steps and Other Options

This stage determines the steps, processes, and resources required to produce the desired output. The company might also consider outsourcing certain stages to achieve its production goals. Production mapping shows which steps can be done simultaneously and which are interdependent. Let's assume that the task is to make 1,000 bicycles for children. The process of making bicycle frames involves a series of steps. These include welding, cutting metal tubes, and painting. Other activities, such as assembling wheels, can be done simultaneously. Are you sure that you have the right equipment? What happens if your machine fails? Is your supplier able to fulfill your order?

Select a Plan and Program Production

After weighing each plan's risks, costs, and time, you can choose a production strategy. The plan selection should be shared with all stakeholders to ensure a smooth production process. A detailed production plan that details how the company will implement the plan. This includes the timing and resources.

Control and Monitor

Once production is started, monitoring performance and comparing it with the production targets is important. Monitoring is crucial to identify any problems as quickly as possible so they can be addressed as soon as possible.

Make Adjustments as Necessary.

Production will likely be affected by unexpected events you cannot plan for. These events could include client specifications changes, supply chain delays, equipment failures, and worker illnesses. After seeing the plan in action, you can see improvements. Production plans should be flexible enough to allow for adjustments when necessary. Production planning is no different. Football coaches frequently make changes to their game strategy during halftime.

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3 Common Product Planning Mistakes

Companies can avoid potential pitfalls before production begins. These are the top three production planning errors.

  • Do Not Expect To Encounter Any Hiccups

In any intricate industrial process, plans might fail. Production planning should incorporate risk management techniques to support businesses in difficult situations. Serious issues may arise if you don't do this. When a machine breaks down, and you need to have the money set aside for repairs or overtime labor, your business may experience financial difficulty. 

  • Keeping Your Distance

 Despite the fact that production management software offers real-time visibility into the business's production status through web-based reporting, it is a good idea to visit the production line in person to obtain more details. These visits can provide insightful information about the production process that working behind a desk might not be able to provide. 

  • Failure to Maintain Equipment.

In football, it's customary for the offensive linemen's quarterback to purchase their Christmas presents. Why? They keep him safe and let him go about his business. The most valuable asset in your business is manufacturing equipment. Pay attention to it. Monitoring equipment usage and investing in preventative maintenance can guarantee the ongoing profitability of your company. 

Production Planning KPIs

Businesses may use key performance indicators to monitor the state of their manufacturing (KPIs). Companies can track KPIs and compare them to the objectives of the production plan to see if production is on schedule. This will assist in locating any issues and highlighting regions that require care. These are a few illustrations of production KPIs:

  • Downtime

This important efficiency metric measures the percentage of production that does not occur during regular operating hours. Machine breakdowns, tool adjustments, and accidents are all possible causes. While some downtime is necessary for maintenance functions like machine maintenance, having less is generally better.

  • Time to Set Up.

This is also known as the changeover time. It refers to the time required to switch jobs. Because production is stopped during setup time, it can have a negative impact on overall productivity. When planning production schedules, it is important to consider the time and effort required to reconfigure each job. This includes changes to equipment and workers. Increase efficiency by designing production schedules that minimize the time it takes to change over.

Read More: 5 Benefits of Erp software in the Manufacturing Industry

  • Production Rate

This is usually measured in units produced over a period of time in a manufacturing environment. Businesses can identify strengths and problems by comparing each process's actual and planned production rates.

  • Overall Equipment Efficiency (OEE).

This measure measures manufacturing productivity and accounts for quality, performance, and availability. OEE can be described as:

Quality is usually measured in the proportion of parts that meet standards. Performance can be described as the speed at which a process runs compared to its maximum speed. It is expressed in percentages. The percentage of availability during company hours is called uptime. You can increase OEE by reducing downtime and waste and maintaining high production rates.

  • Rejection Rate

This number represents the percentage of products that did not pass quality inspections. It may be possible to salvage rejected products depending on their nature and the problem. Others may have to be thrown away.

  • On-Time Orders

Production delays can damage reputation and money. Producing products on time will reduce the need for costly expedited shipping and other emergency measures to meet deadlines. Customers will be more satisfied if they receive their orders on time. This makes them more likely to do business with you in the future.

Introduction Planning Tools

Businesses utilize a range of technologies to develop product strategies and monitor development. These tools range from powerful software that automates many of these stages to tools for visualization. Standard tools include, for instance:

  • Gantt charts

 Gantt charts are diagrams that display all of the tasks involved in a project, and about a century has passed since the creation of this chart. It was developed by mechanical engineer Henry Laurence Gantt and is now utilized in various sectors, including manufacturing. Many jobs must be planned for and scheduled as part of production planning. The Gantt chart graphically depicts the timing and duration of each task. Yet, it can be time-consuming and expensive to manually create and update Gantt chart charts to represent complicated and evolving production schedules.

  • Spreadsheets

Spreadsheets are occasionally the first tool small businesses use to monitor production schedules. However, the intricacy of production planning quickly outpaces spreadsheet software's capabilities for most businesses. 

  • Software for Production Planning

 Many tasks are part of production planning, including forecasting, supply chain management, inventory tracking, work schedule, and scheduling. Information from all organizational levels and outside the corporation is needed for these actions. To run a business effectively, production planning information is crucial. The company's finance department and other divisions also use it. Because it offers a single method for managing the entire business, enterprise planning (ERP), which includes production planning software, is used by many businesses.

What is the Production Schedule?

Production schedules are an essential tool that may be used to plan, anticipate, and predict future occurrences while also assisting you in meeting deadlines.

The manufacturing schedule determines how orders are filled. It improves production procedures and eliminates waste. The performance of the machinery and the personnel is improved by this schedule. Everyone can better grasp their responsibilities and expectations thanks to this schedule.

Production Scheduling Parts in Manufacturing

  • Plan

Planning is an administrative process that guides the company's production processes. Planning is essential to ensure that your company's production processes are efficient and meet customers' requirements. Planning ensures that raw materials and machines are regularly available to produce finished products.

This step reduces lead times by estimating product demand using past production trends. The plan is compared to the production status.

  • Routing

Routing is the process that determines which route to follow, from raw materials to finished goods. Routing is about finding the most economical and efficient sequence of operations in the production process.

  • Scheduling

It is an essential component of production planning. Manufacturers will adhere to product requirements in this way. Making a master plan and a manufacturing program to route raw materials is scheduled. The route that products will travel from production to the shelves is depicted in the retail schedule. 

  • Dispatching

Once scheduling is complete, production details and schedules will be sent to the correct people. It is essential to include instructions to make production more efficient. Instructions may include information about product design, how specific tools are used, and other information. The delivery process is essential.

  • Execution

Execution is implementing a plan to improve accuracy and reduce time. Staff must work together to ensure items are correctly produced and delivered on schedule. A production schedule that is well executed and leaves no mistakes is more successful.

Production scheduling in an E-Business System Reaches Efficiency

Manufacturing Enterprise Resource Planning software creates an automatic schedule, manages product types and employee availability, and integrates production functions.

These are three ways ERP software can assist manufacturers in increasing their business growth.

  • Connectivity

Planners can access information about what is happening across the organization and how it can affect their schedule. This allows other employees to view the company's production status. Real-time order status information is available to sales. The information concerning inventory needs might be sent to purchasing. It is simple to evaluate quality. Production managers can rapidly report on-site performance. The performance of the plant floor can be rapidly reported by production management. Customer satisfaction rises when productivity rises and deliveries are made on schedule.

  • Lower Prices

Production scheduling in manufacturing ERP lowers costs and improves efficiency. The warehouse is informed about the pick, pack, and shipping dates to reduce expedited shipping costs. Inventory can be managed better and maintained at a high level to reduce shipping costs. Connectivity increases productivity so that you can accomplish more with fewer people.

  • More Control

Manufacturing ERP allows purchasing managers to predict when goods will be required in advance, allowing them to get better pricing. Quality can be improved by managing vendor performance and reducing material variances. This allows you to analyze performance better and make more informed decisions. ERP gives you greater control over the manufacturing process and provides insight.

Read More: How-Does-Production-Scheduling-in-Erp-Helps Manufacturers

How to Create an Agile Production Schedule

  • Create a Flexible Schedule

When creating your schedule, you must be aware of possible disruptions. You must ensure that your team is ready to adjust to new circumstances. Your team's capabilities, resources, and human resources must be considered. In an emergency, you should always have options.

  • True Work-in-Progress

It is essential to understand the jobs you must complete immediately. A plan that prioritizes the jobs you need to complete immediately should be developed. You can then move on to other tasks as needed. If you need to complete a job immediately, it is best not to consider jobs still in process.

  • The Due Dates Must Complete Your Work

Your schedule should be based on product delivery dates. These are the dates that items must arrive. To make your schedule dynamic, consider production and shipping times. This will help you stay on track for delivery dates.

Six Ways That A Production Schedule Can Benefit Manufacturers

  • Customer Service Improvement

When every step of the production process can be automated using production planning, scheduling, and management, it makes it easier to optimize the workflow. All products arrive on time and meet quality standards. Customers are happier and more likely to buy again.

  • Streamlined Processes

Poor workflows can lead to late deliveries. A dynamic production schedule makes processes more efficient. Every step is well-planned and has a contingency plan for any unexpected situations. This allows for efficient production and ensures that deliveries are on time.

ERP's Production Scheduling function automates workflows to increase productivity and reduce errors. This allows workers to concentrate on more important tasks.

  • Optimized Inventory

Manufacturing ERP connects to the shop floor and other business areas. As materials are used, the system automatically orders more material. Just-in-Time scheduling ensures only inventory is kept. Inventory levels are maintained at optimal levels. Tight inventory control reduces costs by Optimized Inventory

  • Enhanced Machinery

An ERP system can connect machines to obtain information about their performance and a maintenance schedule. If the equipment goes down, you will be notified immediately. This alert reminds you to keep your equipment in good condition. Good-condition machines are more productive and help keep production moving.

  • Efficiency increases

Workflow optimization is possible with a well-planned production schedule. Machines and workers can be kept fully functional, and downtime can be reduced or eliminated. Manufacturing ERP allows you to manage inventory, maintain machines, and streamline processes. ERP makes it possible to schedule production efficiently. This improves profitability by decreasing inventory costs and equipment/employee downtime. It also increases efficiency.

  • Higher Quality

Manufacturing ERP assures that product quality is monitored throughout the production process. Planning production requires the procurement of high-quality resources. Material is tracked throughout the supply chain to ensure that materials are available for production. If an item has quality problems, it is possible to trace its source back to the supplier. Quality compliance during production and purchase is key to high-quality products delivered on time. Your business will succeed.

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Manual production planning and scheduling are no longer viable as a business expands. ArionERP's manufacturing ERP software can help boost output, improve quality, and cut expenses. Using this program, you may design a plan that guarantees the timely delivery of finished goods, thereby raising client happiness and profitability.