If you have a business in manufacturing and production, you will need a quality production plan. Having a sound production plan can help things move forward in many ways. First of all, it will help in terms of labor costs. It will mean that employees time is used more efficiently, and you will all be working more effectively. Second, of all, it can save you money with inventory costs too. If your process is working well, then you don’t have the need think about the stock being wasted or reduced. There will be less need for trials and practices if things are working soundly. Equipment will be working as it should, and it will mean that things will be working to capacity. How much better would it be to know that your business is running in the most cost efficient way? It will save you money, so how can you get an effective production plan? Here are a few ideas for you.
First of all, you need to think about the expectations of the market. Being able to be one step ahead of the game is key. Then you can plan effectively. So estimate the potential sales of your business. Obviously, it is hard to guess the amount of future sales you will have precisely. What you can do, though, is estimate the sales based on previous sales years and trends in the market.
Next, you need to look at the availability of the equipment that you have. How are things running at the moment? You need to look at the ‘open time’, between the time that orders are placed, to when production is started. When you are managing this open time well, it will help to not create any delays in the process. It is a good idea to make sure that you don’t over order, though. It might look good on paper and be good for cash flow. But it is a good idea to leave a little margin for any errors or small changes in the orders that may arise. Then how can you make the plan work well? To start with the production plan needs to look at particular areas well ahead of time of production. Then you can make sure that there is an unbroken workflow, as things go on.
Here are some things that you should consider ahead of production:
- Ordering Materials
Some items and materials that you need to order will have quite a long order time on them. You might also be ordering them from quite far away. So these are the kinds of things that do need to be ordered ahead of time. Then there won’t be anything stopping production when the time comes to it. Again; these are the kinds of things that you have to forecast the amount needed. You won’t know for sure. So you have to go on what has been ordered in the past and estimate the amount. If you can create an ongoing order with a supplier, then that would be most useful too. Then you will always have certain items or materials coming in.
- Procurement and Equipment
For some requirements in the business, there will be some quite specific items that you will need. If you are designing specific pieces of kit, they might need to be designed with something like Z-Suite. With Z-Suite you can easily convert your design to a 3D printed model. This is a bonus to add to your production plan. But it can be timely to set up and might give the overall production process a longer lead time. Staff might need to be trained on how to use it, as well as it being complicated to set up. So it does need to be drawn into the plan.
Once these kinds of things have been considered into the plan, you need to think about communicating the plan. Your staff and team need to know what the aims of the production plan are. It is good to have a visual to look at, so it might be worth having it drawn up on a computer. Then people will always have a reference to look at. As you move forward with your plan, you do need to mindful of changes. These will happen all the time. So update the plan as you go along. Again; communicate this out to your team. When you are all on the same page as to what is going ahead, production will be much more efficient and cost effective.