Production planning involves scheduling, estimating, and forecasting the future demands for products. This takes into account customer orders, production capacities and capabilities, forecasting of future trends, and inventory levels. Once that is done, there are five main types of production planning: Job, Method, Flow, Process and Mass Production methods. Each is based on different principles and assumptions. Each has their own merits and demerits.

Job Method

Under this method, the complete task of manufacturing a product is handled either by a single worker or by a group. The type of jobs using this method could be small scale or complex. This method is usually incorporated when customer specifications are essential in the production. Tailors, cooks, and hairdressers are all examples of professionals who use the Job method of production planning. Small scale jobs are those for which production is relatively easy, as the worker has the required skill-set for the job. Also relatively little specialized equipment is usually needed in such tasks. Due to those considerations, the customer’s specific requirements can easily be included at anytime during the progression of the job. Complex jobs involve the use of high technology, making project control and management essential. Construction businesses, for example, are complex operations that still use the Job method of production planning.

Batch Method

As businesses grow, and their production volumes grow with them, the Batch method of production planning becomes more common. It requires the division of work into parts. For a part of work to proceed it is essential that the previous part gets completed. Electronic parts manufacturing businesses use the batch method. The Batch method requires specialization of labor for each division.

Flow Method

This method is similar to the batch method. Here the aim is to improve material and work flow, reduce labor and labor costs and finish the work faster. Unlike the batch method, where one batch is completed after another, in this method, work progresses as a flow. Assembly lines that make televisions typically use this method. The product is manufactured by a number of interconnected operations in which the material moves one stage to the second without time lags and interruptions.

Process Method

Here the product is produced using a uniform and standardized sequence. Highly sophisticated machinery is used here. The production is continuous.

Mass Production Method

In this method, goods are produced using standardized techniques like balanced production and product-wise layout.