As a business owner or manager, you know that time is money. That’s why having a well-planned production schedule is crucial to the success of your business, whether you’re producing cars, cakes, or content.
Often overlooked, this behind-the-scenes process is the heart of any production operation, orchestrating the seamless coordination between resources, tasks, and timelines.
While production scheduling has always been important, technological advancements and data-driven approaches have changed the game.
The old days of static spreadsheets and disjointed workflows are fading away. Now, a wave of innovation is empowering businesses to streamline their operations, minimize their downtime, and increase their productivity.
Ready to maximize output like never before? We’ll tell you how to create and implement a production schedule — and how Motion can help.
What is a production schedule?
A production schedule is a detailed plan that outlines the specific activities and timeline for producing goods or services. It is a crucial component of production management, helping businesses efficiently allocate resources and meet production targets.
In simple terms, a production schedule is like a to-do list for a business to make things. It is a plan that shows what needs to be done, when it should be done, and how long it will take to complete each task.
Imagine you have a bakery, and you want to make and sell different types of cakes. A production schedule would outline the specific steps and timings for making each cake.
For example, it might say that on Monday morning, you need to gather all the ingredients, and in the afternoon, you mix the batter. You bake the cakes on Tuesday, and on Wednesday, you decorate them. The schedule also includes when the cakes will be ready for sale.
A production schedule helps you organize your work and ensure everything happens smoothly. It helps you know what needs to be done next and how long it will take so that you can plan your resources accordingly.
That way, you can avoid running out of supplies, manage your time effectively, and deliver your project on time — satisfying your customers.
Considerations to make when creating a production schedule
There are a few factors you should consider when crafting a production schedule. Here are just a few of them:
How much can you produce within the given timeframe?
Production capacity is the maximum number of goods that you can produce within a given timeframe. Establishing this number before creating your schedule is important, as it will affect the timeline for each production run.
How much demand do you think there will be for your product or service?
Estimating how much demand there will be for your product or service will help you to plan how much to produce at each step of the process. You can use past sales data, market research, and other information to make an educated guess.
How long will the process take, from the raw material procurement to the final product delivery?
Lead time is the amount of time it takes from when you order raw materials to when you deliver the final product. This factor can have a big impact on how long it takes to complete each run, so make sure to factor it in when creating your schedule.
Do you have all the raw materials, components, and supplies you need?
Having all the items you need is vital to completing a run successfully. Unfortunately, only 22% of companies have a proactive supply chain, which means that most businesses struggle with material availability. So be sure to plan ahead before starting a new production run.
Equipment and machinery
Do you have the right equipment to manufacture your goods?
Make sure you have the correct tools and other equipment throughout the production schedule. Be sure to check that all of your equipment is functioning properly and that you have backups in case of breakdowns.
Labor availability and skills
Do you have the right number of people, and do they have the correct skills?
Having enough workers with the right skills helps ensure that production will run smoothly and finish on time.
What goes into a production schedule?
Creating a production schedule takes a bit of time and effort, but it’s worth it to ensure that you meet your long-term goals. Here is a list of information to include in your production schedule for timely delivery and quality outcomes:
Tasks and activities
This is the first and most crucial step in creating a production schedule. List all the tasks involved in the production process, from procuring the raw materials to shipping and packaging. That way, everyone involved in the process can understand what’s expected of them.
A good task manager can help you keep track of everything as you go along. Check out Motion’s Task Manager to help you stay on top of your tasks.
Sequence of operations
Next, determine the order in which you need to execute your tasks. Arranging the tasks in a logical sequence helps keep the production process moving smoothly and delays at bay.
Set start and end dates for each task or activity in the production schedule to keep everything on track. This allows everyone involved to keep the expected delivery date in mind and work to ensure that all tasks are completed on time.
This part of creating a production schedule is about making sure the right people have the necessary resources at each stage. Ensure that everyone can do their tasks efficiently through either skilled labor or productivity tools.
Constraints and considerations
It’s highly unlikely that your production schedule will go off without a hitch. Even the most comprehensive plan can encounter hurdles, including unforeseen challenges or delays, at any time.
Make a list of constraints and considerations that could potentially derail your production schedule. These could relate to budget, legal requirements, customer demand, or market conditions. It’s a good idea to incorporate extra time to account for any unexpected events.
Benefits of creating a production schedule
Creating a production schedule has many benefits. Planning ahead lets your team accomplish more in less time.
Efficient use of resources
Up to 20% of every dollar spent in the manufacturing industry is wasted.
A well-designed production schedule can help you efficiently allocate resources, thus reducing wastage and overall costs.
A production schedule acts as a kind of product roadmap that everyone on the team can follow in pursuit of a common work goal. With clearly defined roles and deadlines, team members know what’s expected of them and can work more efficiently and productively.
Delivering products on time
With a work schedule in place, your team will know exactly when each product will be ready for market. This can help you set realistic and achievable deadlines.
When every team member has access to a production schedule, they’re aware of each other’s workloads and can plan their work accordingly. This can help prevent confusion and optimize team productivity.
Using Motion to create a production schedule enhances team collaboration and coordination among team members. A centralized platform for task and deadline management is a great way to keep everyone aligned throughout the production process.
Your production schedule can provide insights into what’s working and what isn’t. You can use this information to make adjustments and improve the process in the future. This helps your team remain nimble and responsive to change, improving your organization’s resilience in the face of competitors.
One concrete example of continuous improvement in manufacturing comes from The Raymond Corporation. They implemented lean management techniques, such as defect reduction, visual management, and active quality control circles. Because of these initiatives, the company was able to double its production volume and increase overall quality by 35% over three years. Such remarkable growth in production efficiency could not have been achieved without a culture of continuous improvement.
More satisfied customers
Delivering quality goods on time and in full helps you build a good reputation among your customers. This can translate to repeat business and more referrals. When you prioritize quality and delivery, you give customers a reason to come back for more.
5 stages of production scheduling
Creating a clear and robust production schedule is easier when you break the process down into stages. The five stages of production scheduling are as follows:
Set production goals and assess the availability of resources to achieve them. You can then create a plan that outlines the specific steps you need to take to meet those goals.
Production planning is vital to ensuring that your team knows the direction in which they’re heading and that everyone is on the same page.
Routing involves identifying the operations required to produce each product and the most efficient production path. Carefully analyze every step in the production process, from gathering the raw materials to the product’s completion.
The goal here is to come up with a streamlined production process that minimizes waste, maximizes output, and meets the quality standards you set.
Essentially, this step involves creating a timeline to ensure that each stage of production is completed on time.
Assign start and end dates for each operation. Assess the production capacity needed for them, and ensure that resources are available as necessary.
Next, issue work orders to the production team and assign tasks to individual workers.
At this stage, it’s essential to ensure that each worker knows what they’re supposed to do during the process. Clear communication between team members is crucial to ensuring that everyone works effectively.
The fifth and final stage is execution.
At this stage, the team follows the production plan according to the schedule and work orders. You monitor progress and adjust the manufacturing schedule as needed to ensure that everything runs smoothly. The goal is to run an efficient production process, meet the quality standards you set, and produce output on time.
Keep your production schedule on track with Motion
A production schedule can make or break the success of any project. Luckily, there’s an easy and effective way to streamline the production scheduling process: Motion.
Motion automates the process of production scheduling, eliminating the tedious and time-consuming aspects of the job. With it, you can easily keep your team members informed and on track, ensuring that each step of the production process is completed on time and within budget.
Whether you’re new to project management or a seasoned professional, Motion can help take your operations to the next level. So why not give it a try today? Sign up for a free 7-day trial.