Have you ever thought about taking your business career to the next level? Learning doesn’t have to stop after your bachelor’s degree. The basics of production planning is just one place to begin if you want to pursue an online master’s degree.
Production planning typically falls to production managers and those under them, such as supply and operations personnel, along with purchasing managers. However, it’s important for business administrators at all levels to understand this process, because production planning impacts several business areas.
If you’re going to pursue an online master’s degree in business administration, production planning will be a valuable skill to have. Let’s start with the basics.
What Is a Production Plan?
“A production plan serves as a guide for your company’s production activities,” according to the International Finance Corporation. “It establishes and sequences activities which must be carried out to achieve a production target, so that all staff involved are aware of who needs to do what, when, where and how.”
A production plan serves as a guide or, according to management consulting and training firm Faber Infinite, “represents the beating heart” of processes. A strong production plan minimizes production time and costs, efficiently organizes resources and maximizes efficiency in the workplace.
There are various tools used in production planning. One example is SAP’s Production Planning, which is used with a manufacturer’s supply chain to plan the manufacturing, sale and distribution of goods. One feature is storing and manipulating master data to make production planning tasks more efficient. For instance, when a production order is created, the tool uses master data about the raw materials needed to produce the finished product, which will also be used to create a sales order.
An online master’s degree will help you become more qualified to create a production plan and see it through to completion.
Why Is Production Planning Important?
Because production planning plays a central role in manufacturing and production for organizations, this process can be responsible for a company’s success or failure in these core areas of responsibility.
But it doesn’t end there. Production planning helps organizations examine how they are doing with sales and distribution, as well as materials management. Improving these areas reflects on a company’s bottom line. As a result, production planning has a direct impact on finance. It’s also relevant to other areas, such as quality management and human resources, as production planning can monitor how organizations are delivering to their customers and ensure there is an optimal amount of staff for different operations.
The Production Planning Process
There are five steps to the production planning process, according to the International Finance Corporation.
- Forecast Demand: Estimate how many products you need to produce within a specific time frame. This includes confirmed orders and predicted orders. There are different methods used for forecasting. You could estimate product demand based on historical information or take into account events in your business environment that might alter past patterns.
- Determine Production Options: Look at different production options to meet the forecasted demand. Begin by mapping all the steps of your production process, such as using a flowchart. This will help you examine how to improve process flow by considering bottlenecks. Then determine the resources needed to complete each task involved in your production process.
- Choose the Option That Uses Resources Most Effectively: Compare the cost and time of each production option and choose the one that maximizes the operational capacity of your firm. Make sure you can cover costs that are involved, which span the purchase of materials, office rent, payment of staff salary, leasing and more. Share the production plan with departments and staff that are relevant to the process.
- Monitor and Control: To ensure the plan is working as intended, compare what is happening with what should be happening. This control system should be in place to help you notice problems when they happen, giving you more time to correct issues.
- Adjust: Be ready to adjust the plan if needed. It should have some flexibility to accommodate changes in customer demand. The plan should also have a risk mitigation plan if certain risks occur during the production process, such as a machine breaking down, workers getting sick or suppliers not delivering on time.
Pursuing an Online Master’s Degree in Business Management
Production planning is just one skill you could be developing with an online master’s degree.
The Grace College Master of Business Administration degree is constructed and courses are delivered with an intentional applied emphasis. Consistent with learning-by-doing, course assignments allow students to use course concepts in their current employment setting. This allows students to quickly develop an initial proficiency with the concepts being covered. It also allows students to demonstrate to their employers the value-added nature of the program.