7 Steps to Effective Planning and Control
Benchmark your Production Planning and Control (PPC) Process
There are some vital areas that many manufacturers continue to overlook, which can offer huge opportunities to improve productivity and reduce overhead costs. We believe the most significant of these is the PPC process – effective planning, coordination and easy visibility of problems.
In most businesses:
The PPC process is ‘disconnected’, fragmented and an intensely manual job. Planning is not realistic enough and based on too many simple rules and averages. Coordinating buyers, suppliers, merchandisers, development, purchasing and production teams is a real headache. Management have a hard time seeing problems quickly
The result is that the plan changes too often and a huge amount of firefighting and crisis management is required to keep production running smoothly and deliveries on time. This is hugely inefficient and badly affects your cost efficiency, the ability to deliver on time and will restrict your ability to achieve the shorter lead times demanded by the market.
”Fast React’s Evolve solution helps us to understand any possible late deliveries and identifies any problems in the critical path. This enables management to focus on problem solving instead of fact finding. It also helps us take proactive actions and reduce firefighting.” Mr. M. A. Matin MBE, the Group Chairman at FCI Bangladesh
The planning process can be broken down into 7 clear steps:
1. Define the end goals
2. Set realistic targets
3. Give ownership and communicate
4. Update status
5. Report the exceptions/problems
7. KPI analysis
“Fast React has taken us into a different dimension of planning as the planning process was not prominent for us before. Fast React has helped us to establish a central point of reference for management and control, allowing us to establish better planning practices.” Mr. Arshad Ali Chowdhury CFO of Epyllion group, Bangladesh
If any of these steps are missing or ineffective, the end result will be compromised.
1. Define the end goals What do we want to achieve? Sounds obvious, right? Fill our factories with work, achieve on time delivery for our buyers, and allow enough lead time to get it all done. However, it’s not quite as simple as that.
– You should plan such that you can achieve good productivity and therefore cost efficiency. Many businesses don’t put enough effort into this because they believe that the plan will change many times before they start production anyway. – We say every little bit helps and if you can plan to optimise efficiency and succeed a good proportion of the time, in some of the lines, it’s better than not trying at all! The seasonal nature of most buyers ordering means that capacity will be underloaded or overloaded some months. Critical to managing this is the ability to plan quickly and accurately such that you can have pull forward or delivery extension conversations with your buyers before final confirmation. Some factories tell us it’s a pointless exercise as the buyer doesn’t care and it’s the factory problem to solve. However, our conversations with brands and retailers suggest this is changing. With margins throughout the supply chain under pressure, sourcing teams are understanding that ignoring issues like this that increases costs (and compliance risk) and somehow, somewhere that cost must be absorbed into the final price. So, it’s better to team up and find a cost-effective solution to seasonal capacity headaches. 2. Set realistic targets The targets that are used in, and generated from, the plan must be both realistic and achievable. To do this, you have to include all the variables you can reasonably plan for in advance and allow some buffer for the unexpected.