Before discussing the aggregate planning and processes we will spend time in understanding production planning and control. Production planning and Control is the organization and planning of the manufacturing processes, it coordinates supply and movements of materials and labor; ensures economic and balanced utilization of machines and equipments as well as other activities related with production to achieve the desired manufacturing results in terms of quantity, quality, time and place. Production planning implies formulation, coordination and determination of activities in a manufacturing system necessary for the accomplishment of desired objectives whereas production control is the process of maintaining a balance between various activities evolved during production planning providing most effective and efficient utilization of resources. Objectives of production planning and control;

  • Determining the nature and magnitude of various inputs factors to manufacture the desired output
  • To coordinate labor , machines and equipment in the most effective and economic manner,
  • Establishing targets and checking these against performance.
  • Ensuring smooth flow of material by eliminating bottlenecks, if any, in production
  • Utilization of under employed resources
  • To manufacture the desired output of right quality and quantity at right time

Production planning is a function of management which decides about the resources which the firm will require for its future manufacturing operations and of allocating these resources to produce the desired output in required amount at least cost. Production planning sets the framework within which detailed schedules and inventory control schemes must operate. The necessity of production planning arises for strictly managing internal operations to manufacture goods / services in the face of outside demand and constraints in multi-plant operations; production planning includes decisions with reference to the amount of each item to be made in of the plant. Pre-requisite for production planning is the decision regarding the method of production, i.e. pre-planning about the type of product and its design and the amount of output. Alternatively, production planning is necessary for directing and controlling the methods used for production and deals with the setting up of production facilities viz. building, machines, equipment etc. in available space. It involves the pre- determination of manufacturing requirements such as materials, money, order priority, production processes. For efficient production of desired goods and services planning is projecting appropriate action well in time about some predetermined objectives together with means necessary to achieve the objective. It involves study of various alternatives and to select the best alternative under a set of conditions using logistics.

Production planning can be done at three levels, namely

  • Factory Planning
  • Processes Planning
  • Operation Planning

The fundamental object of production planning is to produce right type of material both in quantity and quality at the right time , using the most appropriate method of production in the most effective manner, The various objectives or goals of production planning are;

  • Systematic coordination and regulation of various activities, keeping in view the capacity of the resources and objectives of the organization
  • To maintain proper balance of the activities for efficient production
  • Determination of raw material, machines, equipments etc. and other output requirements for desired output
  • Anticipation of business changes and reacting to them in proper manner
  • To have optimum use of the resources with optimum cost and time by having Most economical combination
  • To provide alternative production strategies in the case of emergencies

Production planning processes can broadly be divided in three categories;

  • Routing—Routing means determination of path or route over which each piece is to travel in being transformed from raw material into the finished product.
  • Scheduling is the process of prescribing “when” each operation in a production process is to be executed. In other words it involves designing the time table of manufacturing activities indicating the time required for the production of units in each stage. It is a description of when and where each operation in a production process is to be executed.
  • Loading- It studies relationship between load and capacity of work centers in the systems

Production Planning only prescribes and outlines the objectives and provides guidelines for various activities involved in the transformation process of inputs into outputs. But it is the production control which directs and regulates all activities of production process it verifies whether the activities are going in accordance with the production plan or not. It is some sort of dynamic activity controlling the production cycle to ensure that the facilities and the personnel are economically utilized and products are manufactured within time and cost limits. Production Control provides the foundation, on which most of the other industrial controls are based, the production control department generally has to perform the following functions;

  • Provision of raw materials , equipments , machines and labor,
  • To organize production schedule in conformity with the demand forecasts
  • The resources are used in the best possible manner in such a way that the cost of production is minimized and delivery date is maintained,
  • Proper coordination of the operations of various sections / departments responsible for production
  • Determination of economic production runs with a view to reduce set ups.
  • Ensure regular and timely supply of raw material at the desired place and prescribed quality and quantity to avoid delays in production
  • To perform inspection of semi finished and finished goods and use quality control techniques to ascertain that the produced goods are of required specifications.
  • It is also responsible for product design and development.

Thus, the fundamental objective of production control is to regulate and control the various operations of the production process in such a way that orderly flow of material is ensured at different stages of production and the items are produced of right quality in right quantity at the right time with minimum effort and cost.

Production Control starts with some particular goals and formulation of some general strategy for accomplishment of desired objectives. There are three levels of production control namely;

  • Programming   plans the output of products for the factory as a whole. It regulates the supply of finished products in desired amount at the due date in accordance with a production plan. Programming ensures efficient use of labor, equipment and capital
  • Ordering   plans the output of components from the suppliers and processing departments. It breaks down the requirements for the product to be completed at specific times into orders to materials and processed parts and attempts to do so in such a way that they are available when needed.
  • Dispatching is the routine of setting production activities in motion through the release of order and instructions in accordance with previously planned times and sequence embodied in route sheets and schedule charts.

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