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What Is a Master Production Schedule?

If you work in production, you’ve heard the term: Master Production Schedule. The Master Production Schedule, or MPS, is a plan for the production of individual final items. The MPS lays out the production plan to illustrate each stage’s quantity to produce every final article. In this article, we will break down  MPS and how it is applied in manufacturing.

production with grinder

Related: Mastering The Production Schedule

Master Production Schedule Basics

Here are some basic terms to know when discussing the  MPS:

  • The Stock Keeping Unit, or SKU, refers to each final article. 
  • The Master Production Program is known as the planning horizon and is developed over a period of time. Typically extending between 3 and 18 months, the planning horizon depends on the item’s manufacturing cycles in question.

The following information or input data feeds the MPS:

  • The forecast for each final article, in production units
  • Aggregate production plan, in product units
  • The stock inventory level
  • The current order portfolio
  • The available production capacity

The MPS must be able to be verified at any time against the capacity constraints of critical resources. This process of verification against the capacity constraints is known as the Rough-Cut Capacity Planning (RCCP). The RCCP highlights any possible unfeasible factors in production before the plan can be deemed operational. The manufacturing feasibility should be evaluated throughout the planning horizon to stay on track. After the MPS has been put in place and executed, the planner will then implement the plan for the next period. The planning horizon needs to be as long as the longest cumulative delivery time, along with a future visibility period. The cumulative delivery time constitutes the most prolonged predicted period necessary to carry out the production question’s manufacturing activities. The cumulative delivery time can be determined by the product time structure, or BOM, which looks for the longest performance time in each production step. 

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How Is The MPS Used In Manufacturing Company?

Today, manufacturing is a highly complex process that requires a considerable amount of planning. The MPS is there to decide:

  • What to produce
  • What batch sizes to choose 
  • When to produce
  • What sequence should be adopted

To successfully implement the  MPS, there must be an understanding that the purpose of an MPS is not to dictate the delivery times and quantities of the products. Instead, think of the MPS as a solid contract between Production and Sales. The MPS merely formulates what Production will produce and should not be considered a forecast. The manufacturing variables that the planner needs to account for when running the MPS are:

  • Sequence constraints
  • Batch criteria
  • Set-up times
  • Capacity over-saturation

Related: The Importance Of Lean Manufacturing

 fabric factory

Benefits Of Working With An MPS

There are many benefits for a manufacturing business to introduce an MPS. These benefits include:

  • Providing a solid base to build, improve, and track the sales forecast
  • Providing a solid base to calculate the quantities of subcomponents, parts, or raw materials to purchase or produce, as part of the next stage of the MRP
  • Providing a solid base to calculate the desired inventory levels
  • Providing a solid base for figuring out the necessary amount of labor and shifts, as part of the MRP next stage
  • Allowing for optimizing the installed capacity and balancing the load of the plant.
  • Manufacturing can predict the production and maintenance costs associated with the work centers.
  • The manufacturing company’s financial department can attain income and expenses, which come from the MPS, and produce a forecast of the cash flow in the company. The MPS helps build other financial statements, like the Balance sheets, Profit statements, Loss statements, and investment plans.
  • The Department of Human Resources can use the MPS to predict labor requirements and hiring efforts.

The MPS needs to be able to reflect the business plan as accurately as possible. To achieve this, it requires a constant update through all departments of the company. For example, if the Marketing department plans a sales promotion, then the predicted increase in demand should be reflected in the MPS and the forecast. If the sales team discourages a product line’s sale from putting out another line, the MPS and the forecast will be adjusted. The MPS is vital in assisting the Sales and Marketing departments of a manufacturing company when they start a promotional campaign. The MPS is a helpful resource that makes it possible to discuss and confirm the plan with the Planning department. Being able to achieve a high level of collaboration between the different departments of the company is, in itself, a significant advantage. 

The MPS sets the foundation for formulating the Material Requirements Plan (MRP). The MRP offers a level of detail that is higher, both in item breakdown and in time. Keep in mind that the MRP breaks down each item into individual components. Your purchasing and production departments should be flexible enough to meet additional demand for products through the MRP. The MRP should also delineate enough quantities of the components and sub-assemblies necessary for product manufacturing.

Possible Abnormal Situations For Individual Items

The planner needs to account for any potential undesirable situations related to the individual items or SKUs. Some cases the planner should consider when working with the Master Production Schedule:

  • If there is any lack of material balance over the supply chain
  • If there is material stock-out
  • If there are bottlenecks, which can mean a constraint over the manufacturing supply chain
  • Many other contingencies

The Difference Between Production Scheduling and MPS

“Master Planning” is a term that comes from the recursive process of optimization, meaning that the quantities to be produced of each unit are defined depending on the constraints mentioned above and inputs. The final product of “Master Planning” efforts is the Production Master Plan. This plan will not be static but should be renewed weekly or monthly. While MPS involves planning, it’s a lot more than merely scheduling. 

Scheduling only answers the question of “when” by setting a timeline that lists things to be done chronologically. An example of scheduling is when somebody schedules their dentist appointments, including the list of activities using a calendar and sometimes dictating who will take responsibility.

Unlike scheduling, the MPS involves planning activities in many categories, resources, departments, and people. These categories can be broken down even more minutely into higher detail levels for delivery to multiple team members. Lastly, the team members involved coordinate and work simultaneously to achieve a common business goal. On the other hand, remember that MPS is not the same as Production Planning (PP). Production Planning is the stage previous to MPS defining production levels at higher levels and fewer details. Production Planning establishes the amount of production in terms of families rather than individual items. 

Here’s an example: The PP defines how many chairs should be produced, while the MPS will account for individual SKUs. In the case of PP, the planning horizon is also the middle term, from 6 months up to 24 months. The PP assists with determining the required resources and formulating the inventory levels at higher levels. The PP is a practical plan for the top management to see the business from the manufacturing point of view.

 industrial worker

Related: How To Deliver A Successful MES Project

Prodsmart manufacturing execution system (MES) is a mobile, paperless solution providing the insight you need to track fabricating and manufacturing shop floor production and quality. Optimize your production with Prodsmart.

Looking for manufacturing software solutions? Work with Prodsmart today!

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