Manufacturing is a complex process. It requires a balance of production capacity and the necessary materials to fulfill orders. Once you’ve got your inventory secured, you need to schedule your production.
Creating a master production schedule is crucial in ensuring your supplies match demand. A robust master production schedule also supports your sales force and strengthens your businesses’ capacity to meet the needs of your customers.
What Is a Master Production Schedule?
A master production schedule outlines which products will be manufactured and when they are made. This includes data from the bills of material, which is a list of all the raw materials required to produce your product. This list is integrated with your current inventory to determine if any procurement for further materials is needed to begin manufacturing.
This schedule outlines the various processes and resources to make production move forward smoothly while identifying potential bottlenecks and creating plans to avoid them. It can be the difference between an organization making a profit or experiencing a loss in revenue.
The Schedule Keeps the Team Connected
A master production schedule also serves as a channel for communication between the sales and the manufacturing teams. Because this is a continuous dialogue, the master production schedule is flexible and open to change as needed.
To summarize, it’s a plan for making whatever commodity your organization produces. It schedules production of that commodity, but also includes the staffing and inventory that are required. The plan itself is determined by the demand for the product, which information is provided by sales.
Function of a Master Production Schedule
Having a plan that can forecast the demand for your product over a period of time is the primary purpose of a master production schedule. Other than that, it also saves time managing the various processes involved in the manufacturing of your product.
The main functions include:
- Planning: Balancing market demand to materials, labor and the capacity of your equipment to deliver the goods.
- Make Adjustments to Schedule: Schedules need to have a contingency for unexpected delays or mistakes that stop the flow of product.
- Prevent Stockouts: Planning for capacity requirements to maintain output of production.
- Improve Efficiency and Control Costs: The better the plan, the more likely you’ll stay on schedule and identify potential efficiencies.
Another function is to keep your commitments to your customer base. Manufacturing only works when it serves its customers on time and within budget.
When you have the right master production schedule process, your demand flows smoother, lead times improve, communication is standardized, requirements are prioritized and production is kept stable.
Master Production Schedule Process
When making a master production schedule, you need to follow a process to fulfill the function of the schedule. The best way to do that is by following these steps.
- Start with a demand plan, which maps all the demands that your master production schedule is going to respond to.
- Identify all the raw materials you’ll need and secure a supply chain to deliver those materials to your production.
- Develop a proposal of the master production schedule to make sure the schedule is able to meet its requirements.
- Make any calculations necessary to see if it can meet the demands of your master production schedule draft. These calculations should continue throughout the process to make sure you’re always meeting demand.
- Once you’ve tested the draft and it meets your requirements, you can ensure that it aligns with your customer service, resources and the investment you’ve made into inventory.
- The next step is making sure you clearly communicate the production schedule to everyone who is involved in the manufacturing process. You want to make sure your team is on the same page.
- Return to your schedule to see if your supply is balanced with demand. It should tell you whether you need to increase or decrease production. This will make sure you produce the orders generated by your sales team and deliver them on time and with the expected quality.
What Goes Into a Master Production Schedule?
Before you make your master production schedule, you need a demand plan to understand what your customers want. A demand plan depends on accurate historical sales data, which will help you figure out what demand will be in the coming weeks. The demand plan must be regularly reviewed and updated.
It’s helpful to have what’s called a safety stock stored in case demand unexpectedly spikes. This will carry you through the period while you update your master production schedule. Don’t neglect to replenish your safety stock after you use it.
The master production schedule will include these parts.
- Product List: A listing of all the products you make.
- Variation Sublist: You want a column with variations, such as sizes or color.
- Dates: Any schedule must have dates to accurately forecast demand and delivery. It’s best to break your schedule into months and weeks and adjust as needed.
- Production Quantities: This is the number of units you’re going to manufacture each week. Be sure to break this up to include how many units of each variation are made up of the total number.
How to Use a Master Production Schedule
There are several ways to use a master production schedule, but the best way is to keep it simple. If it tries to cover too much then you’ll lose efficiency. That said, without enough details, there will be issues with production.
The master production schedule must be flexible to match the different types of production operations. The common factor is that all the schedules are based on the smallest number of production options.
For example, when working on items built from a larger number of components, such as a computer, the master production schedule would focus on the finished goods. However, in the opposite environment, where many goods are made from a smaller amount of raw materials, the schedule will focus on the delivery of raw materials.
Benefits of Using a Master Production Schedule
The main benefits of using a master production schedule are that it helps with your demand planning, which is an ongoing concern in manufacturing. The better you understand your manufacturing process, the better you’ll be able to plan to meet the changing demands of your customer base.
Inventory is also helped by using a master production schedule. Over time, the ideal level of inventory is clear and you’ll always have that stock to dip into as needed. This includes resources, so your HR department knows in advance how many people you’ll need to run production.
The master production schedule helps you avoid stockouts and helps you better schedule maintenance in the plant because you know how long production will take. It also makes for a more accurate estimate of what inventory you’ll need, which helps with future procurement.
How ProjectManager.com Manages Your Master Production Schedule
ProjectManager.com is an award-winning software that organizes work, teams and projects. Using project management tools can help you plan, schedule and implement manufacturing processes more efficiently.
Using our online Gantt chart helps you manage your product manufacturing across a timeline with resources, such as raw materials, tracked by cost to make sure you’re never overspending. Even better, the dynamic Gantt chart is flexible and can be quickly edited to reflect changes in orders and capacity.
Gantt charts are planning tools that help you schedule tasks across a timeline. You can then link any dependent tasks to avoid bottlenecks in your manufacturing. For example, if a strap needs to be stitched to the body of a handbag before the embroidery can be added, you identify this dependency and link the two tasks to keep production running smoothly.
The Gantt can also be shared, and because the tool is cloud-based, all the data about your manufacturing process is collected in real-time. Therefore, if there’s a delay with needed materials you can easily adjust the schedule.
The master production schedule needs to reflect demand and supply. Therefore, it also needs a tool that can give you a high-level view of your production. The real-time dashboard collects data and automatically calculates time, costs and other metrics to give you a high-level view of your production.
ProjectManager.com is an award-winning tool that organizes your manufacturing to help you work more productively. Plan, schedule and adjust your master production schedule as demand and capacity require. Try our cloud-based software today for free with this 30-day trial.