The Stream by River Logic

5 Survivor Secrets to Boost Quality Production Planning

September 10, 2019 | By River Logic

Have you ever wondered why tackling production planning makes you feel like a battle-worn contestant on Survivor? Seemingly on an island with your colleagues, you sport the team colors, brainstorm a strategy, and prepare for the next leg of the journey.

Imagine if planning didn’t have to be difficult, time-consuming, or territorial? Considering the continuing expansion of automation and data, is this possible?

We all know these planning frustrations well.

So, why should your business consider another way?

Whether you’re planning for days, weeks, or months, ensuring your production planning and scheduling is keeping you competitive means giving up inflexible, yet familiar methods. Simply put: To gain a competitive advantage, you’ll have to ditch traditional processes.

Then what’s the challenge?

In this article, we’ll explain five ways to boost production planning.

#1: Get Rid of Spreadsheets as Your Primary Planning Tool

Using spreadsheets in comparison to an integrated, dynamic tool is like hacking through the jungle with a butter knife: Survival is short-lived, as spreadsheets can’t be repurposed for ongoing performance boosts. Plus, a Ventana Research study showed that many companies report inaccurate plans when using spreadsheets versus dedicated planning software.¹

#2: Go for Speed in Your Manufacturing Plan

Production planning and control must include the element of speed. For example, when one snack-food company moved to intelligent modeling (versus spreadsheets), they were able to profitably allocate the right demand to the optimal line at fewer overall hours than before. They found hundreds of thousands in cost savings per week, in addition to huge opportunity costs due to freed up inventory.

#3: Make Production Planning a Team Sport

Opening up visibility in planning provides a competitive advantage to aggregate production planning. Make sure every team member has a map, providing better insights to leverage the team’s intellectual property. These insights help confirm which trade-offs may make sense in immediate and future situations.

#4: Prove It

A master production schedule is fully optimized when it can be validated, so what’s the answer? It’s crucial to have full visibility into financial outcomes of your production plans before actions are taken; this prescribed best plan of action marks the ultimate survivor skill.

#5: Make Aggregate Planning Ongoing

To sum it up, your master production planning can survive traditional means with an integrated tool that builds upon each planning process. Making planning more agile and ongoing rather than starting from scratch is optimal for meeting fast-changing market demands, turning the survival process into a successful adventure. 

¹Sales and Operations Planning: Just Mediocre, Nov. 15, 2018, Ventana Research.

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