Production scheduling is the management and allocation of resources, events and processes to create goods and services. A business adjusts its production schedule based on the availability of resources, client orders and efficiencies. The goal of production scheduling is to balance client needs with available resources while operating in the most cost-efficient manner.
Production scheduling requires a strong focus on the availability of the resources of a business. Resources include the raw materials used to create goods, the availability of machines and the availability of workers. Typically, production schedulers track all resources and find constraints or resource outages that will affect different volume levels of production; this is called capacity planning. Once a scheduler identifies resource constraints, he adds additional supplies, machines and personnel to ensure production goals are met.
Production schedulers review client orders based on the time frame requested, client importance and available production capacity. They work closely with sales and marketing to meet customer expectations and maximize sales.
Production scheduling includes giving orders to the production department about the volume of goods produced, scheduling personnel, the order of production processing and due dates. Production scheduling also arranges necessary down time for routine maintenance and cleaning.
Production scheduling attempts to maximize personnel through job rotation, effective break schedules, cross-training and teamwork opportunities. A balance between work processes, training and group activities creates a more productive workforce.
Typically, production schedulers create plans that account for potential problems, such as resource outages, machine failure and employment shortages, so personnel and management know what action to take when facing an unexpected glitch in production.
Most companies with large-scale production use powerful software for scheduling, which must account for complex multiple constraints and varied information levels. Popular software includes AMS Real Time Projects, Artemis 7, Cando, Delmia 5, D-Opt, Hydra, Microsoft Project, Primavera and Prochain. Many software packages are tailored to specific industries and can be modified for individual business needs.