The Key to Effective Production Planning


Read Time: 3 min

Understanding production planning is critical for the success of any manufacturer. By scheduling your production process, you can make sure that you have the necessary materials, equipment, and workforce on hand to meet your business’s production needs. Careful production planning can help you maximize your profits and minimize your waste while ensuring your customers’ needs are being met on time.

Let's take a closer look:

What Is Production Planning?

Production planning is the allocation of materials, people, and equipment to create goods and services. Manufacturing businesses will adjust their production plan to balance their resources with the needs of their customers. The more information a manufacturing business has on stock levels and the condition of its machinery, the more effective its production planning will be. Accurate production planning is the key to ensuring your customers’ needs are being met. 

The key aspects of production planning include:


Estimating is the process of deciding the quantity of output depending on your organization’s sales forecast. It involves deciding the requirements of manpower, machinery, and tools you will need to meet the requirements of your production. If your manufacturing business has a direct order from a customer, then forecasting what resources you’ll need will be much easier.


Planning is the process of deciding what outcomes you’ll need and by what time frame. The more information you have on your production line’s current and past performance, the more accurate your production plan will be. To create a solid production plan, it’s imperative to take note of the following: 

  • Your raw material stock and availability
  • The market demand and projected sales volumes
  • Availability of resources like labor and tools
  • The capacity of the production process
  • Your product’s shelf life

Effective production planning requires a cross-functional approach. It relies on data from the sales and marketing department, and from the manufacturing plant floor. The more data you have access to, the more effective your production planning will be.


Routing is the process of identifying the path your product will take. This means planning the process from raw materials through production to the finished product. The main objective of routing is to identify the most efficient sequences of operations in the production process. 

Many manufacturers today have to complete increasingly complex production processes, as there is a higher demand for customized products with a fast turnaround. Manufacturers must rely on larger pools of data to identify the most efficient procedures within their production lines.


Once you know what resources you will need and have planned your production process, you can start to schedule your operations. Scheduling is the process of arranging and optimizing workloads in the manufacturing process. Scheduling lays the foundation for all the steps of your production processes. Manufacturers must consider the overall schedule, or ‘master schedule,’ the scheduling of the manufacturing, and the scheduling of the retail operation. 


Once your production, scheduling, and routing plans are in place, then you will need to plan the dispatch of your operation, including planning the initiation of your production process. This means ensuring your machinery is ready for operation and that your staff have the necessary instructions and information to initiate the production process. 

Intelligent Production Planning Is the Future 

The key to effective production planning is having access to as much data on your manufacturing line as possible. By understanding your stock levels, machinery output, past performance, and waste levels, you can accurately schedule your production process. The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) allows you to have access to huge quantities of data that would have previously been inaccessible. By harnessing the power of your plant’s data and identifying the most efficient manufacturing processes, you can meet your customers’ requirements while maximizing profits and minimizing waste. 

Tags: Industrial Internet of Things Automotive Retail and Consumer Products Aerospace and Defense Electronics and High Tech Connected Devices

About the Author

Prema Srinivasan, Digital Content Marketing Manager

As a Digital Content Marketing Manager, I bring the latest technology stories to the forefront. I'm passionate about engaging readers and empowering decision makers with relevant, up-to-date content.