Preparing a production plan is a fundamental step before manufacturing your company’s products. If you plan each point well, the next stage will develop much better in every way.
This will allow you to make better decisions after graphically displaying the elements involved in manufacturing, the factors that can influence it and the resources available to you.
And so that deadlines and orders are affected as little as possible by setbacks, you can help yourself with tools that facilitate planning.
Planning manufacturing sets the timing and determines the development of the production process, following the objectives set by management. But, before preparing a production plan, you should know what to analyze beforehand because it is also important. We will explain it to you.
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What to Analyze Before Planning Manufacturing
First of all, you have to analyze the procedure to follow when starting manufacturing the units. You need to have each piece in the right place in the gear for the result to be a success. And what are these pieces? Human resources and materials (operators, raw materials, machines, computer equipment, etc.) are essential in a factory or plant.
Planning manufacturing implies having all these participating elements ready and having the processes that will be carried out well managed. This includes the placing of orders, work orders, the organization of work shifts and the allocation of resources, among other procedures related to supply or internal logistics.
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Measurements and controls in both aspects are essential to meet the planning expectations you set in each production line. They allow you to square the different dates on the calendar to meet them if there are no changes. You can identify what works and what you need to improve or change throughout the entire production process.
How to Develop a Production Plan
With everything clear after the previous analysis, you can begin developing your production plan. This consists of setting the steps to manufacture a product while determining the materials necessary for it. Thus, it affects both the supply chain and transportation.
This document includes the so-called master production plan (PMP), in which you must indicate what you will produce, in what quantities and at what times.
Planning manufacturing allows you to define the productive capacity of your company, knowledge that is key to delivering orders to your customers within the agreed deadlines, and better deal with unforeseen events that may arise.
The objective of a PMP is to minimize the incidents that may appear. When preparing it, you must take into account some key factors :
Sales: Knowing with anticipation and precision what sales will be is essential to adjusting production, including all the necessary resources.
The existences: Inventory management is another relevant factor in setting the demand for raw materials and semi-finished products within the production flow.
The scalability: By this, we mean that the workers must determine the priorities and organize the production process based on them. Thus, purchasing management, logistics and manufacturing are perfectly coordinated.
The suitability: With the PMP, it is also possible to manage the flows and the capacity of the plant, establishing at the same time the production limits.
The idea is that you follow a series of steps or stages to prepare your production plan. We describe them below.
It simply consists of identifying the demand for each of your final products once they leave the factory. To make this forecast, consult the strategic planning included in the business plan.
Knowledge of Available Resources
After the first step, you must identify the available resources and those required to make the units. That is the raw material, labor, machinery, equipment, etc. If you get a good estimate of what is needed, you can plan the warehouse stocks and thus reduce the storage cost.
On the other hand, it is convenient to quantify the materials that will participate in the production process, how many units will come out of it and at what times. In this way, you will be able to organize the workloads and the duration of the operators’ working hours.
Development of Planning Strategies
This step requires coordination between the director of operations and the head of the production. Both must establish strategies to plan to manufacture without taking their eyes off how demand evolves. In other words, adjusting the production rate to that of the market.
Analysis of the Ability to Resolve Conflicts
The final stage is analyzing the capacity to act preventively in the face of possible conflicts or problems. Those that can harm workers, customers or, in general, must identify the company.
Example of a Master Production Plan
Now that you know how to develop a master production plan to go from theory to practice, we show you the different variables it includes in this table. Different references within the same family of products, different percentages of planning and even the average capacity of the factory can appear on it.
If you want the tasks necessary to plan manufacturing in your company to be simpler, faster and more useful, choose a suitable program to manage them. For example, the EKON Production software, which is specialized in this sector and allows you to improve the efficiency and productivity of the business and be agile, comprehensive and profitable.
One of its strong points is predictability, something very important in a production plan, as you have already seen. It allows you to reduce operational uncertainty by predicting costs, times and lead times and adapting the production process to unforeseen situations.
In addition, it makes it easier to send the products within the established deadlines, with which you will improve the level of satisfaction of your customers.
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