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Master Production Schedule

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Production Shutdown

As we approach the year 2000, product life cycles seem to be getting shorter and shorter. Therefore, the master scheduler sometimes may be faced with a production shutdown for a product line or even an entire plant.
Plant shutdowns are management decisions sometimes difficult to make. However once the decision is made, the management team has other decisions to make. The team may decide that it is better to keep the production line open and build enough product to cover the next several periods of expected demand before shutting the line down. Of course, the trade-off here is production efficiency versus carrying the inventory. The results may be that it may cost less to carry the inventory than it would be to maintain low volume production. Once the product is built, the line could then be shut down.

There are other issues that must be addressed when the demand for the product is reduced, recalled, or stopped. What about the materials that are already in the stock­room, the materials that are on order, the people in production, the production facility itself, etc.? Should the company try to rebuild the demand through aggressive public relations and advertising or should the company just let it go? Answers to these types of questions require more than just the master scheduler's input.

The production plan is management's expressed direction for the company when it comes to manufacturing. The master schedule provides specific direction by item, quan­tity, and due date. If there are several items within a product family (the level that sales and operations plan­ning takes place), it can be very dangerous if the company does not insure that management's direction is being carried out. Most companies provide a tolerance (e.g., plus or minus 10%) to provide the master scheduler with some latitude to overplan, use inventories, work yield issues, etc.

Summary

Successful companies have a way in which they meet these challenges. Watching a successful master scheduler at work is like watching an artist paint a beautiful seascape or mountain scene. If a true artist makes a mistake or wants to change the picture, they merely put a few more brush strokes to the canvas. When a skillful master scheduler decides to change the picture, he or she makes a few terminal keystrokes and the problem is generally solved. Why is this so true? Successful master schedulers have mastered the art of change.

For balance of this article, click on the below link:
Lean Manufacturing Articles and go to Series 02

 


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