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The Washington Independent

Production Planning Tips From The Experts

Production Planning Tips From The Experts

Whatever business or endeavor you find yourself into, the first and of the utmost importance is a question of production - of an item, idea, or service. Business owners and every entrepreneur start their business only when the production prediction is met and its process carefully planned.

Paolo Reyna
Finance
Aug 17, 2021

Table of Contents

Whatever business or endeavor you find yourself into, the first and of the utmost importance is a question of production - of an item, idea, or service. Business owners and every entrepreneur start their business only when the production prediction is met and its process carefully planned.

Never mind if you’re looking for tips on how to boost your production or start one - one can always find a good piece of advice helpful and non-sufficient. Therefore, here’s what you will need to do or follow if you want your manufacture or creation to thrive.

Recognize the Market

If you have an idea of the product or merchandise you want to start producing and offer to the world and the market, it would be smart to think about its actual need.

The factors like starting research of the competition, representation of the product, a saturation of the market… make the biggest impact on your future production planning.

There is a tendency of overloading the market with certain products or services that seem to be actual, popular or required by potential customers. This, of course, affects the demand and the price and you should be aware and ready for this kind of business phenomenon. The biggest problem is that very often this demand is scant and will pass onto the next thing, or there is a possibility that your product won’t get enough attention.

So, get familiar with the market first as it might not be advisable to start production in the first place. On the other hand, certain productions are not affected by the increasing number of new businesses opening, like it’s seen in the craft beer industry.

Sticking to the Plan?

Once you’ve found acceptable and healthy demand and you’re sure that you have a good story and that the production can begin - make sure you’ve made a plan first. Have you taken all the aspects and circumstances into account?

The tip here is quite simple - put down (or make a scheme) all the production steps and details, from ingredients, to how many people are going to participate in the production either planning or operating, to what possibly could go wrong. Production line breaking down, electricity shortage, increasing or decreasing demand, storage options, you name it, as long as you recognize all the aspects and make a plan for each one. And for every manufacturing to work, the golden rule is to stick to that all-covered plan, and the results and production rate will follow.

Except very often you need to modify the plan, on the account you’ve forgotten to mention or predict at least something in the original one. So, be prepared to upgrade or assimilate your plan “on the go” and based on actual changing factors.

Optimize the Process

Now, how you organize the planning activity and the whole scheming might be quite important for the production as well. Imagine if you have all the planning only to yourself, without a proper thought organization. Not only you won’t be able to keep up, but your colleagues or employees will be left out and the whole business will eventually collapse. It usually does, if all the planning is up to one person, experts say.

Therefore, to make a process way easier, more transparent, and simply well organized, you should go ahead and use the perks of the age of the internet and apps revolution. Using MRP software that offers improved equipment utilization and efficiency and inventory overview, by adopting real-time reporting and quoting would really help you out. Other benefits include automating inventory transactions, viewing purchase requirements, tracking lots, and, most importantly, software like these enhance communication. Just imagine the communication between sales, production lines, warehousing, administration, and finance as easy as it gets, while all that guarantees on-time deliveries and customer satisfaction.

What more do you want!

Availability of Resources

Another highly helpful tip from the experts is being familiar with your resources, like equipment and human ones. Every business owner’s drive is to maximize productivity, and although a complex process that needs to cover a wide variety of activities, production planning is crucial in ensuring that materials, equipment, and human resources are available when and where needed.

So, make sure that you include in planning:

Capacity

You should very well know your production capacity and try to stay at the top of it (but not exceed it as it is wise to leave room for unexpected changes that may appear). Make sure that your employees and supervisors are aware of it too and do control and update the production capacity at regular intervals or when any changes are made on the market or in the predictions.

Time

Mostly meaning “available” or “open” time between the manufacturing processes that allow delivery, rest, maintenance, and cleaning. Plan this time and ensure that it is well-utilized, without delays or idling.

People

Besides basic HR organization, it would be wise to make a plan on who else can help you with the market research, production planning, time, costs, and prediction. Don’t hesitate to ask for more professional help if you’re not sure about your possibilities.

Forecast/Predict

Lastly, the prediction of the risk factors, and the change in the demand, is going to be and become one of the most frequent sectors you will come back to and update, along the way and all the time.

This is a real-time and everyday part of production planning, once you start the manufacturing process. And you should try and preserve reality in it, regarding expectations, rate of success, demand, and your ability to meet all of that. Very often business owners and management wrongly assume, instead of listening to the numbers, comparing previous years and the seasons, collecting historical information on similar experiences... 

So, do not assume but rather predict by analyzing existing data and proper research.

Production planning is no easy business, especially for a new business owner or manager. If you follow these pieces of advice, you just may avoid some common mistakes or maybe the whole process will be a bit clearer. Whether you use paper and the pen, spreadsheets, or planning software, every endeavor is possible if you carefully make a plan and adjust it along the way.

Paolo Reyna | Paolo is a senior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, majoring in International Studies with a Latin American emphasis. During the fall semester of 2012, he had the opportunity to study abroad in Peru, which piqued his interest in international growth. He learned about the disparities that impact indigenous peoples, got a taste of Peruvian culture, and improved his Spanish skills. Mitchel interned with the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, conducting research on food security in Latin America, after being inspired by his foreign experience. He wants to work in international development and for a government department, writing legislation. He loves playing intramural basketball and practicing for the Chicago marathon when he is not thinking about current events in Latin America.

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