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5 Ways To Improve Production Planning For Small Manufacturers

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The world we live in today is considered a global village. Contemporary manufacturing is now a concept that any small company willing to grow and stay operational in the foreseeable future can’t overlook. 

Different innovative techniques allow for more resourceful manufacturing practices that consume less energy and are more eco-friendly. Thus, sound production planning is crucial in a world that appreciates modern production. Let’s take activities or tasks running at low efficiency, for instance. Companies will soon realize that such cases, plus congestion problems, can adversely affect manufacturing and planning, resulting in the inability to execute orders. 

Therefore, every organization requires a proper plan to improve production. Yet efficient planning is a compounded procedure that includes a range of tasks to ensure that resources, tools, and workforce are accessible when and where they’re required. Like a road map, production planning helps you find a way to outline your goals or intended results and comprise the main phases or stages necessary to achieve them. 

Here are five benefits of an efficient production plan for small manufacturers:

  • The reduction in wasted time will cut labor expenses and improve process flow.
  • Efficient production planning will reduce the need for surplus production to mitigate the risk of running out of stocks. 
  • It will also lower the need for excess partially finished supplies in every production cycle, thus reducing inventory costs.
  • There will be an improvement in the handling or use of tools.
  • There will be an enhancement in the timely supply of goods and services.

In meeting these five benefits, the following are practical approaches small manufacturers can apply to improve production planning:

 

Leverage Technology

 

Automation can level up production planning. As stated, today’s production has become a very competitive segment. As technology continues to shape the future of production by cutting manufacturing costs, maximizing the swiftness of operations, and reducing inaccuracies, small manufacturers must hop on the bandwagon. Indeed, the personnel in the manufacturing department are the pillars of operations to make sure everything runs at optimum capacity. However, the use of technology, for instance, the Bill of Materials (BOM) manager software in the factories, is crucial to withstand or recover quickly from various changes in the industry.

Small manufacturers need to have efficient inventory management and sound manufacturing processes as their pillars to succeed. Therefore, applying innovative technologies such as BOM manager software for on-time production forecast, resource management, and master production scheduling (MPS) will put them at the forefront of this industry. MPS helps plan which goods and related amounts to manufacture during specific durations.

Additionally, besides staying informed about the most recent trends or developments in manufacturing, small manufacturers can also forecast demand by analyzing sales and stock data. Even though this is a task performed manually, it will be time-consuming to do so. However, if sales management software is applied, it can produce comprehensive and systematic reports of near-precise projections.

 

Provide Regular Forecasting

 

Using a reliable forecasting method to create a production plan will determine whether a company can set itself apart from its competitors. It’s vital to forecast the demand for goods first to establish their production count. This will considerably reduce stock shortages for a small manufacturer, help determine the right quantity of commodities to be manufactured, and help regulate procurement.

 

Understand That Production Capacity Is King

 

Production capacity is generally the highest output that a company can produce using its available resources. In principle, a production factory runs at full capacity. Hence, all the resources used during a manufacturing run are at the maximum percentage and operate under high optimization to reduce downtime. In truth, however, capacity in many small manufacturing businesses is restricted by aspects like equipment breakdown, process flows, and minor stops. It’s worth noting that insufficient production capacity drastically alters inventory fulfillment, thus wasting time and energy in the supply chain process. In turn, this leads to decreased customer fulfillment and revenue projections.

It’s therefore crucial for small manufacturers to know their production capacities and ensure that they’re often examined by production line managers and those concerned with planning. What’s more, it’s critical to monitor the production capacity data frequently and assess and regulate the limits in line with the business environment. Production capacity relies on the output of your personnel, the products you manufacture, and the apparatuses used to manufacture them.

 

Be In Control Of Your Inventory 

 

Try to search for something related to production or manufacturing and you won’t miss the words ‘lean manufacturing’ as it’s now a household name. In a nutshell, lean manufacturing is a technique or process founded on the belief of maximizing output while concurrently reducing waste during production. It regulates stock, ensuring commodities or items produced do not surpass customer demand. Apart from decreasing financial waste, small manufacturers can also apply the concept of lean manufacturing to help them maximize inadequate storing space so items kept in inventory shouldn’t stay there for long.

Meanwhile, manufacturers need to ensure that their suppliers can constantly provide the necessary raw materials in time. This is essential to avoid instances of resource scarcities in the future. This is where an inventory management system comes in as it will help forecast stock needs, give warnings in case of low inventory, and submit orders to dealers.

 

Invest In Training 

 

Production processes need the concentration of the entire workforce for sustained output. The efficiency and competence of your key personnel in the manufacturing department can affect operational activities and product attributes. As a result, it’s vital to put money into their training in addition to ongoing growth. 

Final Thoughts

Small manufacturers must ensure that all the procedures and components linked to production planning are controlled correctly or satisfactorily for optimum production planning. These start from the accessibility of resources, tools, and personnel, then move forward to machine performance and manufacturing timetable. Tracking and verifying the smooth operation of all features involved in production planning is not a stress-free undertaking. Nevertheless, with the help of dedicated software and innovative technology, small manufacturers can handle all these procedures through a central or integrated system.

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