Author: Paul Henriques in: Business Solutions
The flexibility and customization required by discrete manufacturing to meet the needs on your customers can be a headache to plan. The constant monitoring of stock levels and variability of product cycles can make a planning department feel like any new purchase order is a workout.
In other words, planning your production line is a complex process that involves many decisions and trade-offs with the goal of finding the optimal way to produce your product line for your customer due date with a finite set of resources.
Production planning is all about balancing the supplies you have on-hand with the current and forecast demand from your customers. This balancing act becomes more complex for discrete manufacturing due to the batch sized orders that are received. With your demand variation being greater for certain products based on any number of factors (like seasonality, or market trends), you will also need to keep a close eye on the changes to your supply (like vendor issues, labor shortages, or production capacity). Some of the challenges that your planners may face include:
While planning can seem a problematic area of the discrete manufacturing process, the truth is that decades of practice have created many systems and tools to improve planning productivity. Some of the systems and tools used include:
Production planning in discrete manufacturing is a complex and dynamic process that requires a lot of coordination and collaboration to work. While it is an ongoing process that requires constant oversight, with the appropriate methods and tools, your planning team can see an improvement to their performance that improves your quality, timeliness, and customer satisfaction for a lower overall cost. All these benefits will in turn increase your competitiveness and profit.
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