What is Loading in Production Planning and Control?

What is Loading in Production Planning and Control?

This article explains what loading is, its objectives, techniques like infinite and finite loading, steps involved, challenges faced, and the importance of proper loading. Topics covered include PPC basics, meaning of loading, goals of loading, manual and computerized loading methods, sequencing of operations, capacity planning, avoiding bottlenecks, minimizing WIP, and more. Proper loading ensures optimum utilization of production facilities, balanced workflows, and timely completion of orders at minimal costs.

Loading is an important concept in production planning and control. It refers to the allocation of work to a production facility over a certain period. Proper loading ensures efficient utilization of production capacity and smooth flow of work.

What is Production Planning and Control?

Production planning and control (PPC) can be defined as the system of planning and controlling all aspects of manufacturing, including manpower, materials, methods, machines and money. Some key functions of PPC are:

  • Determining the exact route of production for each product.
  • Scheduling the orderly movement of goods through the production process.
  • Ensuring adequate availability of all production resources - raw material, machinery, manpower etc.
  • Controlling production activities to achieve targets.
  • Monitoring progress and acting if required.
  • Ensuring optimization of organization's profitability through maximizing output at minimal costs.

Effective PPC is crucial for the success of any manufacturing unit.

Understanding Loading

Loading determines exactly when and on which resource each operation of a production task will be performed. It is a critical step in production planning and control. Some key aspects of loading are:

  • Loading is time-phased. The time required to complete each task is specified.
  • Capacity requirements for work centers are calculated. This forms the basis for planning capacities.
  • Loading is used to develop production schedules. Detailed start and finish times for each job are established.
  • Operations are sequenced in the order processing requirements.
  • Problems like over/under utilization of resources can be identified.

Objectives of Loading

The major goals of loading are:

  • Achieve optimum utilization of men, machines and facilities.
  • Maximize output within available resources.
  • Avoid irregularities in flow of work.
  • Maintain a balanced work flow through the plant.
  • Reduce bottlenecks and idle time.
  • Establish the priority of jobs.
  • Meet delivery dates as per schedule.
  • Synchronize various interdependent departments.
  • Minimize work-in-process and costs.

Techniques of Loading

Some popular techniques of loading are:

1. Infinite Loading

  • Infinite capacity for all work centers is assumed.
  • Determines total time required to complete the schedule.
  • Useful for long-term capacity planning.

2. Finite Loading

  • Capacity constraints of work centers is considered.
  • Schedules are built based on actual capacity available.
  • Ensures no overloading of resources.

3. Manual Loading

  • Loading is done manually using knowledge and experience.
  • Best suited for small enterprises with stable conditions.

4. Computerized Loading

  • Loading is done using computerized packages.
  • Complex calculations are performed quickly.
  • Useful for large dynamic companies.

Steps in Loading

Loading typically involves the following steps:

  • Classify products into part families based on routing similarities.
  • Determine operation sequence and time for each part.
  • Identify capacities of work centers.
    • Allocate jobs to work centers considering:
    • Load on each work center
    • Priority of jobs
    • Batch size
    • Delivery dates
    • Efficient machine utilization
  • Check for overloads and make adjustments if required.
  • Finalize starting date and completion date for each operation.
  • Document the loading plan and communicate to relevant departments.

Challenges in Loading

Some key challenges faced in loading are:

  • Uncertainties in process times.
  • Frequent revisions of orders.
  • Machine breakdowns.
  • Absenteeism of workers.
  • Unplanned events like strikes or accidents.
  • Inadequate capacities for peak periods.
  • Lack of coordination between departments.

Proper contingencies must be devised to address these challenges and minimize disruptions.

Importance of Loading

Some major benefits of effective loading are:

  • Optimum utilization of capacity.
  • Improved labor productivity.
  • Reduced work-in-process inventory.
  • Smooth production flows.
  • Realistic delivery schedules.
  • Effective coordination between production and other departments.
  • Maximum output at minimal cost.

In short, loading is a crucial step in transforming production plans into executable schedules. A good loading plan is key to leveraging your manufacturing assets optimally.

FAQs on Loading

What are the prerequisites for loading?

The prerequisites for loading are finalized route sheets, process sheets, production orders, bill of materials, and capacity planning.

What is the difference between finite and infinite loading?

In finite loading, capacity constraints are considered while infinite loading assumes unlimited capacity. Finite loading is more practical.

How does loading help in capacity planning?

Loading highlights periods of overloads and underloads. This helps plan capacities to match load requirements.

Can loading be done manually or does it require software?

Loading can be done manually for small static problems. But computerized systems are must for large dynamic production environments.

How frequently should loading plans be revised?

Loading plans should be revised whenever changes happen in production orders, routes, capacities, or inventories. Continuous revision is key.

Loading is a crucial production planning activity. Proper loading ensures smooth workflow and timely completion of orders with minimum costs. Effective loading is key for leveraging production resources optimally. With the right loading plan, production systems can deliver their full potential.

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