Shop floor planning & control


Shop floor planning and control include the principles and techniques that are necessary to plan, schedule, control and evaluate the effectiveness of production operations. Shop floor activity control integrates the activities of the factors of production of a manufacturing facility such as workers, machines, and material handling systems. Shop floor activity control helps in the efficient implementation of master production schedule; control of priorities in processing and ensuring minimum work-in-progress and finished goods inventories. Ultimately, it minimizes the manufacturing cycle time and helps in improving customer service by meeting the promised delivery dates.

The Production Environment

Management of shop floor planning and control activities differ widely in make-to-order and make-to-stock manufacturing firms. In make–to-order situation, due dates (or promised delivery schedules) are important and sequencing of customer orders at various work centers becomes an important function. Make-to-stock products are generally high volume consumer products. Manufacture of standardized high volume products involves flow shop or continuous production system requiring a shop floor control system known as flow control.

Moving from Plans to Reality

The company’s operation’s strategy is carried out by a series of scheduling decisions and activities at various levels in a manufacturing facility, whatever may be the type of production shops, viz., job, batch or continuous production. The company’s operations strategy and long range capacity plan lead to the selection of the type and amount of fixed capacity needed to meet the market demands.

The aggregate capacity plan provides the adjustable capacity to ensure effective and efficient operation to meet the demands within the intermediate time horizon. Effective scheduling and control of the available capacity in the short-term determines how effectively the capacity is utilized.

For every type of product produced, each customer order must be broken down into its component parts and the sequence of operations must be recorded in the route sheet and the jobs must be routed through various work centers as per the sequences of operations recorded in the route sheets.

Production Activity Control / Shop Floor Activity Control

The material requirement planning system specifies what products or components are needed in what quantities and when they are required. The production activity control (PAC) or Shop Floor Activity Control (SFAC) directs how, when and where the products/components should be made in order to ensure the delivery of goods as per schedules or due dates

Priority control ensures that the production or shop floor activities are carried out as per a predetermined priority plan. This involves control of orders to vendors/sub contractors and in-house production shops.

Capacity control ensures that, the amount of equipment and labor hours necessary at various work centers to carry out the scheduled work are provided.

The concept of priority control and capacity control can be applied both in production systems and services systems even though the problems associated vary in nature and difficulty.

Objectives of Production Activity Control

1. To know the current status of the job (i.e. what jobs are being processed, at which work center or on which machine?)
2. To determine what should be the next job to be processed and in which work center?

3. To ensure that the correct quantities of materials are in the right place (machine or work centre) at the right time and the required capacity and tooling are provided.

4. To maximize operational efficiency i.e. efficiency of labor and machine utilization.

5. To minimize work-in-progress inventory.

6. To minimize set-up costs.

7. To maintain control of operations by monitoring job status and lead times, measuring progress and indicate corrective action when necessary.

The above objectives of a production activity control system help integrate and coordinate the human and machine resources of a production system.

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