According to the Office for National Statistics, UK productivity is significantly lower than the average of other G7 advanced economies
According to the Office for National Statistics, UK productivity is significantly lower than the average of other G7 advanced economies. While it’s tempting to put this down to “lazy British workers”, the truth is more likely that businesses aren’t making the most of their employees’ time.
The solution? For manufacturing industries, one of the best ways to boost productivity is using a master production schedule.
What’s the point of a master production schedule?
Put simply, a master production schedule (MPS) is a centralised system which tells you everything that needs to be produced. That includes how many of each component or product is required, and when they need to be produced by.
Many businesses compromise on their MPS by using sub-standard spreadsheet software. For a small business with just a couple of product variants, this might suffice. However, as things get more complex, it becomes almost impossible to manage supply and demand for different products – potentially comprising several components – through a rudimentary spreadsheet.
Soon enough, things become messy, confusing and difficult to navigate. In contrast, a good MPS will be clear, organised and easy-to-use. It allows employees from different stages of production to see information which is relevant to them – with important materials, components or products automatically prioritised.
For a master production schedule example, imagine a workshop that makes bags. There needs to be different sections for employees making the bags and those in charge of ordering raw materials. Anything else simply results in confusion.
In short, an effective MPS tells employees what they need to know in an instant. This has a range of important benefits for your business…
Whether you’re small, large or somewhere in between, it can be difficult for businesses of any size to manage demand. As soon as everything is going well, you get a huge order out of the blue. No business in the right mind will turn down orders, so it’s up to production managers to find the resources and capacity to fulfil the order.
Rather than having to drop smaller orders, an MPS automatically generates the best possible solution, so large unexpected orders can be taken care of alongside pre-existing ones with minimal disruption. It keeps everything running smoothly, helping you prioritise requirement in the best way possible.
An MPS also acts as a communication platform for different parts of the production line and different departments of your business. Translation? Everyone knows what they need to know at all times. New product information or orders are input in the system and shared across the network.
This eliminates errors like misallocation of resources or inaccurate purchases of materials, which are frustratingly commonplace when departments have to constantly inform one another of new information.
Arguably most important of all, MPS systems maintain a stable flow of production. Production managers are aware of capacity, material and staffing requirements as demand changes. They can also plan for the weeks and months ahead with accurate forecasting, making adjustments where required.
On top of that, an MPS provides a clear overview of your production process, highlighting any problem areas such as low productivity or bottlenecks. In the long run, this helps businesses maximise productivity across their workforce, keeping lead-time as low as possible for customers and minimising costs.
Time to make the change?
A makeshift production schedule could be costing your business more than you think. If you’re looking to improve productivity, it’s certainly worth looking into a purpose-built MPS.