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Detailed planning – the foundation for efficiency in productuon scheduling and adherence to schedules

Published: · Last updated: · 9 min reading time

In the fast-paced world of production, where product cycles are shrinking and product variations are expanding, efficient planning is the key to any company’s success. Detailed planning, the process we’ll be delving into, is not just a necessity, but a game-changer. In this blog, we’ll explore the subject, break down the basics, and demonstrate how meticulous detailed planning can ramp up efficiency and ensure deadlines are always met.

What is detailed planning?

Detailed planning, also known as detailed production planning, detailed production planning, or detailed scheduling, is a process within production management that aims to plan and control production orders and resources as efficiently as possible using a production planning method. In detailed planning, detailed schedules are created that consider all aspects of production, including the availability of machines, materials, and personnel.

The tasks of detailed planning include

  • Creating detailed production schedules
  • Prioritize orders as required
  • Allocate resources
  • Reacting flexibly to the current daily situation

Without detailed planning

In a world without detailed planning, the everyday life of a production planner is like walking a tightrope. Without a well-defined production schedule, chaos ensues: material bottlenecks, unpredictable production times, and quality problems are the order of the day. Customer complaints about late deliveries pile up, and high stock levels are the only emergency solution to avoid production stoppages. The planner struggles daily with a lack of flexibility and only reacts to the constant fire-fighting instead of being able to work strategically.

In the manufacturing industry, modern planning tools are decisive in optimally organizing production processes and producing on time and cost-effectively. Machines, operating resources, personnel, and materials are scheduled at a time that is as realistic as possible. Detailed planning is at the heart of the efficient control and optimization of production processes, enabling companies to achieve their goals in terms of quality, adherence to deadlines, and cost efficiency.

Challenges with MRP

In production planning, the standard Material Resource Planning (MRP) and Management Resource Planning (MRP) processes calculate the start times for production orders based on backward scheduling. However, these processes often overlook the critical aspect of production scheduling, which involves assigning tasks to workstations, creating actionable timelines for production, allocating resources to production processes, and setting specific times, dates, and deadlines for production. The calculation is based on the latest throughput times. Neither the order quantities, capacity utilization, or available personnel are considered.

  1. This results in a highly distorted picture of the expected completion dates, which the planner cannot correct by changing the planning parameters
  2. Fails due to variant-rich individual and small series production, incorrect part situations in assembly, and adherence to delivery dates.
  3. The biggest problem is the variance of the calculated order times. Even with a fluctuation of just 5% per order, the probability of accuracy drops to less than 50% after the fourteenth order.

Requirements for a smooth order flow

Successful, smooth order processing requires precise and up-to-date data as well as the integration of various systems and tools:

  • Order data from the ERP: detailed information about the orders to be produced with target dates and priorities
  • Personnel: availability, shift models, and skills
  • Store floor: What resources are available? What is the current operating status of the systems? How many quantities have been produced?
  • Raw materials: availability and quantities required for manufacturing processes

In order to answer these questions, it is essential to continuously integrate the machine, MES, and ERP systems.

  • Thanks to machine data acquisition (MDA) and production data acquisition (PDA), the necessary real-time information from production is available.
  • The production planner must be able to adapt the planning to the current situation with just a few mouse clicks.

Objectives of detailed planning

Detailed planning can be carried out and optimized according to various criteria to

  • Minimize set-up times
  • Optimize personnel costs
  • Reduce production costs
  • Shorten throughput times
  • Maximize capacity utilization
  • Reduce capital commitment
  • Guarantee adherence to delivery dates
  • Optimize batch production planning to minimize overproduction and manage bottlenecks

These objectives often conflict with each other and require careful consideration and prioritization.

Aspects of detailed planning

Detailed planning must be able to react flexibly and quickly to short-term changes. In contrast to rough-cut planning, detailed planning requires a detailed and precise approach in order to address specific requirements. Typical challenges are

  • Shift models: taking into account different shift schedules and models.
  • Staff availability: Ensuring that sufficient qualified staff are available for the various tasks and shifts. Consideration of illness, vacation, and further training of employees.
  • Machine availability: Ensuring that machines are available and ready for operation.
  • Bottleneck management: Early detection and elimination of bottlenecks.
  • Prioritization of orders: Determining the order based on urgency and delivery dates.
  • Maintenance and servicing: scheduling of maintenance and servicing times.
  • Human resources: managing availability, training, and scheduling of personnel.

The role of the production control center

The production control center is not just essential for detailed planning, it’s a powerful tool that plays a central role in production control by monitoring and optimizing production processes. It supplements the production planning and control system (PPC) by precisely controlling and allocating machines, personnel, and orders. The production control center empowers you to dynamically adapt to changes and ensures that all relevant data is processed in real-time, putting you in control of the production process.

Tasks of the production control center

The production control station supports numerous tasks that are essential for the efficient control and optimization of production, including the assignment of production orders to resources:

Allocation of orders and resources

The control center ensures that production orders are assigned to available resources such as machines, personnel, and materials. This is done based on a detailed production plan, current data, and considering capacities and priorities.

Sequence planning

A central aspect of the production control center is sequence planning. This determines the optimum sequence for processing orders to minimize set-up times and maximize machine utilization.

Real-time monitoring

By integrating real-time data from production, the control center enables continuous monitoring of production progress. Deviations from the plan, faults, and bottlenecks are detected immediately and can be rectified quickly.

Bottleneck management

The production control center identifies potential bottlenecks at an early stage and enables appropriate countermeasures to be taken. This helps to keep production processes running smoothly and avoid delays.

Maintenance planning

The control station plans and coordinates machine maintenance and servicing times to minimize unplanned downtime and ensure machine availability.

Production scheduling: Flexibility and adaptation

Flexibility is crucial in a dynamic production environment. The production control center enables quick adjustments to planning in the event of changes to the order situation, machine breakdowns, or unexpected events. This ensures that production continues to run efficiently even under changing conditions. Job production planning is crucial for custom or specialized manufacturing, ensuring accurate forecasting and capacity for customer-requested customizations.

Advantages of detailed planning

Detailed planning offers numerous advantages, including:

  • Determining the optimum order throughput
  • Optimization of capacity utilization and sequence
  • Minimization of set-up times
  • Cost reductions in production, warehouse, and material
  • High adherence to delivery dates
  • Graphical order planning with requirements and capacities
  • Notification in the event of capacity or material bottlenecks
  • Enhance flow production planning to improve efficiencies and reduce costs throughout the supply chain

Conclusion: Detailed planning and production control center

In summary, thorough planning and the use of a production control center are essential for optimal resource utilization and maximum production capacity. Various systems, such as ERP systems and production control stations, play a decisive role in integration and functionality in production planning by enabling efficient data exchange, optimal resource allocation, visualization of production planning, and real-time monitoring.

Planning efforts can be significantly reduced while time and organizational bottlenecks are immediately visible. The ability to react immediately to new customer requests and schedule changes makes a decisive contribution to flexibility and customer satisfaction.

Detailed planning ensures that all resources are used optimally and that deadlines are met even more precisely, thus guaranteeing a high level of customer satisfaction. At a time when market conditions are changing rapidly, detailed planning remains an indispensable tool for every manufacturing company. Production planning involves various steps, activities, and tools to ensure efficient and timely production.

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