How to Create a Master Production Schedule (MPS)


Manufacturing is a complex process. It requires balancing production capacity, inventory levels, material requirements and other aspects to fulfill orders. Once you’ve aligned these project aspects, 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 capacity to meet the needs of your customers.

What Is a Master Production Schedule?

A master production schedule (MPS) outlines which products will be manufactured and when they are made. This schedule outlines the various processes and resources needed to make production move forward smoothly while identifying potential bottlenecks and creating plans to avoid them.

A master production schedule is critical in manufacturing, as it can be the difference between an organization making a profit or experiencing a loss in revenue. To make sure you don’t miss anything, there are several data sources you can use as input for the development of a master production schedule. Here are some of the most commonly used ones.

  • Aggregate planning: This method allows organizations to create manufacturing plans that focus on uninterrupted production in periods from six to 18 months. Using aggregate planning as input is a great way to create a master production schedule.
  • Stock inventory level: You’ll need to know your current inventory levels to create an efficient production schedule that minimizes inventory costs down and meets customer demand.
  • Production capacity: This is the maximum output that can be achieved by your organization in terms of manufactured goods. It’s essential to know this before creating a master production schedule.
  • Material requirements planning: This is a system that’s used to calculate the components and materials necessary to manufacture a product. The basic inputs include a master production schedule, inventory status file and bill of materials.

To create an effective master production schedule, it’s important to use the right project management software. ProjectManager’s Gantt charts, kanban boards, and project calendars allow you to create an interactive MPS so you can assign work, track timelines and collaborate with your team online in real time. Get started with this free production schedule template.

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Production schedule template

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Why Should You Use 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. However, there are other key important roles that a MPS plays in manufacturing and production planning.

The main functions of a master production schedule 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 the 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 stabilized.

How to Create a Master Production Schedule

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.

  1. Start with a demand plan, which maps the demands that your master production schedule is going to respond to.
  2. Identify the raw materials you’ll need and secure a supply chain to deliver those materials to your production.
  3. Develop a proposal of the master production schedule to make sure the schedule can meet its requirements.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. The next step is making sure you clearly communicate the production schedule to everyone involved in the manufacturing process. You want to make sure your team is on the same page.
  7. 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 ensures you produce the orders generated by your sales team and deliver them on time and with the expected quality.
Screenshot of the 2024 manufacturing ebook by ProjectManager

What Should Be Included in 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 helps 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 colors.
  • 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 include how many units of each variation are made up of the total number.

Master Production Schedule Template

Our free master production schedule template is a great tool to get started with production planning. It can be easily customized to fit your business’s needs.

Production schedule template in ProjectManager

Related: 10 Free Manufacturing Excel Templates

Benefits of Using a Master Production Schedule

Using a master production schedule is a necessity for manufacturing businesses. The better you understand your manufacturing process, the better you can meet the changing demands of your customer base. Here are some of the main benefits of using one.

  • Helps with demand planning
  • Helps with inventory management
  • Helps with production staffing
  • Prevents stockouts
  • Facilitates maintenance planning
  • Helps create better estimates for procurement

A master production schedule also serves as a channel for communication between the sales and 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 the production process of that commodity, but also includes the staffing and inventory that are required. The plan itself is determined by the demand for the product, and this information is provided by sales.

How ProjectManager Manages Your Master Production Schedule

ProjectManager is award-winning software that organizes work, teams and projects. Using project management tools can help you plan, schedule and implement manufacturing processes more efficiently.

Use our online Gantt chart to create a master production schedule that lets you map tasks across a timeline while keeping track of costs and resources 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 cycle. 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.

See how to do that and more by watching this short video on how to schedule with ProjectManager.

Project management training video (9tjhryzghn)

The Gantt can also be shared, and because the project management tool is online, all data about your manufacturing process is collected in real-time. If there’s a delay with needed materials, you can easily adjust the schedule.

screenshot of the dashboard in ProjectManager

The master production schedule needs to reflect demand and supply. This means 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.

Related Content

We publish blogs, videos and guides that explain all the different aspects of production management. Here are a few of the ones that focus on production scheduling and other similar topics:

ProjectManager 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 requirements. Get started for free.