When starting or scaling up your operations, it’s essential to have a plan in mind; like all ambitious endeavors in life, planning is the foundation upon which your successes will be built. A production schedule is your best bet for ensuring your manufacturing business meets all of its goals promptly.
Prodsmart understands how easy it is to get swept up in the excitement of innovation, but you must have a game plan. Without a concrete plan in mind, your production pipeline may suffer significant delays and that will easily result in unsatisfied customers. Thankfully, a successful production pipeline is possible when you put a little time and effort into the earliest stages.
What is Production Planning?
Production planning is just what it sounds like: it’s a plan you and your team outline to ensure that your production pipeline stays on target and that your timeline is as speedy as it is efficient.
How specific a production schedule should be depends on:
- What exactly you are manufacturing
- How large the production scale is
- How many clients are involved
- How many resources are available to you
- Your stock capacity, according to warehouse space, type of products and type of production
A production schedule can be as simple as listing the worker, tasks, and due dates on a sheet, or as complex as large, multilayered schedules that include more detailed information that you can adjust in real-time, such as it is on Prodsmart.
Why Is It Important to Schedule Production Process?
Production schedules clarify what all of your milestones are, when your production order should be delivered, as well as which essential tasks are to be completed when creating your product. Financial information and delegation of duties are also typically included. Scheduling each step of production is the key to ensuring deadlines are met, and they are met efficiently.
Let’s say your design for a new product is finished, and you’re ready to put it into production. To do so, you need to outline your product specifications and create a schedule that tracks each step, how much to produce, and other details important to the process. Doing this not only standardizes production but makes life easier for you and your production team.
Still unsure if you need a scheduled production process? Schedule a consultation with one of our Lean Manufacturing experts, today!
Who Should Use a Production Schedule
Production schedules are most commonly referenced by:
Manufacturing Plant Manager
These managers oversee the plant where you produce your product and administrate entire plant operations. They are typically responsible for staffing and ensuring the overall efficiency of the plant.
Production managers usually are responsible for the operation on the floor and keep track of staff schedules, workstations, service orders, and repairs.
Operators reference the production schedule frequently, overseeing the direct production, and ensuring that the team is producing at an acceptable level. They are the ones who operate all necessary equipment and report directly to the production manager.
Sales Managers & Reps:
The faces of your production, sales managers and reps need the production schedule in order to communicate details of a contract, as well as apprising clients of turnaround times on their orders. They use the production schedule to coordinate sales and marketing decisions about your product, broadly.
Why Production Schedule is beneficial for every industry
Every industry needs a plan in place, no matter how large or small your team is. Every industry needs a cohesive strategy to maximize time and money. They are found in industries that traditionally, we do not think of as manufacturing “products,” even.
What Factors to Consider When Scheduling a Production of Products?
Good production scheduling involves considering everything involving the preparation and manufacturing of your finished product.
If you are concerned about what exactly to account for in your production schedule, it helps to think about the bigger picture first, and then about the parts needed to execute your vision. Aspects of a production pipeline like your team size, your production capacity, the flow in your plant, how you plan to address problems during production, and how well you understand the specific manufacturing process.
Are you looking to streamline your production pipeline? Let Prodsmart guide you through the process!
Your team is the backbone of your entire operation. If you do not have an adequate amount of workers, your production pipeline will be slow-going and riddled with problems. To use your team to the fullest of their potential, you need to understand how their individual skills play into your larger vision.
Managing your team is more than just assigning them roles and leaving them to their duties without oversight. You need to be proactive in their development, and keep a steady watch on their progress; you have to be aware of what each person is best at, and what they struggle with. Doing so allows you to train, coach, and assign your team members to areas they are most productive and happy with.
This falls under general optimization for your productivity, and it means ensuring that your pipeline is outputting at its maximum capacity. Even small slowdowns in one area of your production can bring your pipeline to a grinding halt. That’s why it’s important to maintain a good amount of oversight on your product output, and keeping an accurate production schedule is part of that. Keeping your milestones as the main priority helps you gauge how effective your management is, and if your plant is operating at 100% capacity.
The tiny details can make or break your operations, and it’s critical to remember that fact when troubleshooting or addressing problems in your production. It may be that your equipment is in need of updating, or perhaps the team member you assigned to a specific task is not the proper choice for that station. These tiny logistical problems can be corrected if caught early, but it’s not uncommon for organizations to ignore the small and end up paying for it later on.
Logistical problems have a way of accumulating, and part of preventing these problems from adding up is by referencing your production schedule. By doing so, you can pinpoint at which junction your pipeline is suffering problems, and target your solutions much more efficiently.
When you maintain a production schedule, you can use it to narrow down your focus in the event of a problem. You need to ask yourself at which point in the pipeline is failure occurring, and this is only possible if you keep good documentation and tracking. Problem-solving should not drain your resources completely; there are many cases where companies exhaust valuable time and resources to root out the problem.
Understand The Manufacturing Process
This is the most critical part where everything you know about your product comes into play. Simply creating a production schedule is not sufficient. You need to truly understand every part of the production process, and build your schedule off of that. A methodical, systematic approach to tracking your production is the best way to maximize the skills of your staff, minimize the number of resources spent problem-solving, and get your focus back on track.
Why Shouldn’t You Use Excel?
Excel is one of the most popular spreadsheet generators, and it is useful in most roles. However, you should think twice before deciding to use Excel to outline and implement your production schedule. While a powerful app that can execute a lot, it doesn’t measure up as a production tracker for the following reasons:
While good in a pinch, executing functions and designating tasks in Excel can be time-consuming and feel outdated when there is more efficient modeling software on the market. For example, where Excel lacks the function to work in real-time, Prodsmart does not. You can adjust the calendar in Prodsmart with a single click, which will automatically be available for everyone instantly. Additionally, Excel is very labor-intensive, and unless you’re up for coding a bunch of automation scripts in bash or zsh, you’re better off with a different choice.
Excel can be modified by anyone, and it’s not always easy to keep accurate documentation of who did what, and when they did it. This means that your errors can go unnoticed for quite a long time, and this can spell disaster if it sets you back.
Excel does not update in real-time, which makes coordination another issue. If you can’t track changes to the schedule as they happen, you may misinform your team and clients on the timeline, spelling disaster for your overall product-to-consumer pipeline.
How Can Prodsmart Help With Production Scheduling?
Prodsmart’s mission is to equip you with the very best in manufacturing tracking and production management. We believe that proper planning and scheduline and efficient management keeps teams happy and keeps production moving forward.
We offer solutions to complex scheduling problems, and our core values of communication and flexibility ensure that we tailor our data collection and management tools to suit your unique needs. A production schedule should not feel slow or labor intensive, but efficient while avoiding errors when making immediate changes. We believe that no problem is too severe that smart, targeted solutions can’t fix.
Whether you are a small team that is just getting your product up and running, or an established brand looking to optimize your pipeline, Prodsmart wants you to understand the power of mastering the production schedule. By maintaining a strong foundation through our production schedule, your pipeline will be efficient and expedient. This leads to happier workers, clients, and shareholders. All of this is possible with just a little planning, management, and communication.
Are you ready to master your production schedule? Prodsmart is here to guide you every step of the way!