Notes on Production Planning and Control

What is Production Planning and Control?

Production planning and control may be defined as the direction and coordination of the firm’s material and physical facilities towards the attainment of pre-specific production goals in the most efficient available way.

According to Gordon B. Carson,

Production planning and control consists of the organization and the planning of the manufacturing processes routing, scheduling, dispatching and inspection, coordination and the control of materials, methods, machines, tooling and operating time. The ultimate objective is the organization of the supply and movement of materials and labor, machine utilization and related activities in order to bring about the desired manufacturing results in the terms of quality, time and price.

Main elements of Production Planning and Control

During the course of planning and controlling the production process, the following elements or techniques should be followed in a phased manner. We may also call them production planning and control functions. These are —

  1. routing,
  2. loading,
  3. scheduling,
  4. despatching and
  5. follow-up or expediting.

Objectives of Production Planning and Control

The principal objectives of the production planning and control are as follows:

1. Quality of the output

The most important objective of production planning and control is to ensure the safe and economical manufacture of desired products in required quantity and in quality.

2. Plant utilization

To ensure maximum plant utilization so that productivity of highest degree can be achieved.

3. Process efficiency

To maintain maximum process efficiency by proper coordination.

4. Delivery of goods

To deliver the products to the customers whenever they are needed.

5. Maintenance of inventories

To maintain an adequate supply of finished goods and having sufficient work-in-process ensure that deliveries are made to the customers who may want the product in less than the manufacturing time.

6. Flexibility

To maintain flexibility in manufacturing operations so that an occasional rush job can be taken care of.

7. Effectiveness of work

Production planning and control ensures the right man for the right job, at the right place, at right time on right wages and salaries so that maximum effectiveness is obtained.

8. Absenteeism

Production planning and control can be introduced to minimize and regulate the absenteeism.

9. Team spirit

To develop the team spirit and feeling of brotherhood among workers is another aim of production planning and control.

10. Ideas for new methods

Production planning and control aims at giving encouragement to the workers for new ideas and new methods.

11. Reduced supervision

The other objective of production planning and control is to reduce supervision by creating interest in work amongst workforce.

12. Reduced waiting time

Production planning and control aims at reducing waiting time arising due to want of material, tools, equipment, supervision, inspection deliveries, etc.

Stages of Production Planning and Control

Pre-planning, Planning and Control, are the important stages of Production planning and control. They are briefly discussed below.

1. Pre-planning

This covers an analysis of data and outline of basic planning policy based on sales reports, market research, and product development and design. On the broad aspects of planning, this stage is concerned with problems of equipment policy, new process and materials, layout and work-flow. Pre-planning production as a production planning and control responsibility is also preoccupied with collecting data on the ‘9Ms’, i.e., on men, money, materials, methods, machines, market, matter, minutes and milieu mainly with respect to availability, scope and capacity.

2. Planning

When the task has been specified, a thorough analysis of the ‘9Ms’ is first undertaken to select the appropriate materials, methods and facilities by means of which the work can be accomplished. This analysis is followed by routing, estimating and scheduling.

The more detailed, realistic and precise the planning, the greater conformity to schedules achieved during production, and subsequently the greater the efficiency of the plant. There are two aspects of planning — a short-term one, concerned with immediate production programmes, and a long-term phase, where plans for the more distant future are considered and shaped. Prominent planning functions are those dealing with standardization and simplification of products, materials and methods.

3. Control

This stage is affected by means of dispatching, inspection and expediting. Control of inventories, control of scrap, analysis of work-in-progress, and control and transportation are essential links of this stage. Finally, evaluation takes place to complete the production planning and control cycle.

Prof. Wiener said of the social system that it,

is an organization like the individual, that it is bound together by a system of communications; and that it has a dynamics, in which circular processes of a feedback nature play an important part.

If this is true of the social system, it is certainly true of the production system also. Once the main policies have been defined by management, production planning and control is the director and co-ordinator of the plant’s production operations. The control functions ensures corrective actions by providing main sources of feedback information. Effective communication systems are, however, pre-requisites to efficient control and are, therefore, of great concern to production planning and control.

Stages of Production Planning and Control

Stages of Production Planning and Control

Organization for Production Planning and Control

The status of production planning and control department in the organization depends upon many factors such as degree of centralization desirable, composition of internal structure of production planning and control manufacturing system and management policy.

1. In case of highly repetitive type of production with higher degree of automation, the planning work is carried out by line staff. There may not be a formal planning department.

2. For the product type of layout where the sequence of operations is prefixed, then production planning and control may be the part of manufacturing department itself.

3. An independent production planning and control department is to be setup if each product requires varying capacity, variety is more, requires different sequence of operations with a functional layout. A separate department with a production planning and control head reporting directly to the works manager should exist.

Centralized and Decentralized Production Planning and Control

In centralized planning, the functions of production planning are controlled by a specialist staff. Centralized planning is more effective in case of multi-product, multi-plant organizations and it takes away the burden of planning from line function to allow them to concentrate on manufacturing. The decentralized planning involves the line staff in planning the production and which take away the majority of their time in performing functions.

Higher degree of centralization is recommended for multi-product, multiple plants, large workforce, and low degree of centralization is preferred, for the organizations having pre-fixed sequence of operations and having small workforce. The typical organization for production planning and control in an organization is given below:

Typical organisation for production planning and control in a firm

Typical organization for production planning and control in a firm

Information Requirements of Production Planning and Control

The effectiveness of production planning and control depends to a greater extent upon the accuracy of the information it gets from other departments. The following information is vital to the success of production planning and control function in an organization. The information required and its sources and the department responsible for providing the information is given below.

Information Required for Production Planning and Control

Information Sources of Information Department
1. Production Programme – Quantity to be produced, Delivery Date, Variety and different models and special features The sales order or the order accepted by the marketing department. Marketing department
2. Quality Standards – Specifications and tolerences Engineering or design who translate the customer needs into specifications. Engineering, Purchase and Stores.
3. Production Materials – Types of materials, Quality and quantity, Procurement lead time, Stock position Drawing and Bill of Materials (BOM), Material stock cards. Production planning and control
4. Tools Standard and Special tools Production Planning and Control Department
5. Operational Details – Sequence of operations, Process capability of machines and equipment, Jigs and fixtures needed, Cutting parameters or process parameters. Process Sheets, Load charts, Process capability studies. Industrial Engineering
6. Standard time for operation and set-up time. Work measurement data Production planning and control
7. Starting and finishing date Machine load and schedule charts. Production
8. Process of work (Status of work) Production reports Production