Production Planning Software for Manufacturers

production planning software running on 2 screen computer

What is Production Planning Software?

PPS (Production planning software) can be defined as software that helps manufacturers schedule, plan, control and monitor production. The software supports users in production planning processes i.e., personnel in manufacturing, purchasing, and sales, by providing them with support i.e., data that empowers them to make prudent decisions.

PPS gives manufacturers more control over production planning. The result is better response times. Production planning software also reduces lead time i.e., the time it takes for customer orders to be fulfilled. Long lead times increase the number of dissatisfied customers. In general PPS ensures planning and production work in harmony and efficiently. The software handles four key tasks namely material requirement planning, capacity and time planning, order release planning and order monitoring.

7 Ways Production Planning Software Helps Manufacturers

Production planning programs offers many benefits to manufacturers, the most notable being;

7 ways production planning software helps manufacturers infographic

1. Automation

Manufacturers have many bottlenecks, including manual work that is tedious and prone to human error. Humans are also slow. Production planning software automates many manual manufacturing processes with optimization algorithms, saving time and effort in the process and increasing accuracy. The software is also able to process large amounts of data automatically.

2. Demand Forecasting

Production planning software can accurately forecast demand and prevent eventualities like oversupply and undersupply. Demand for goods varies based on seasons and trends. Manufacturers who can't anticipate demand with accuracy may overproduce or underproduce, which are both negative scenarios. Overproducing is wasteful. Underproducing leads to customer dissatisfaction since orders aren't fulfilled. Reliable production planning programs automates demand forecasting, ensuring production is optimized at any given season or period.

3. Lower Costs

By forecasting demand and automating many tedious and time-consuming tasks done by humans, production is optimized. There are fewer errors, less labor but more efficiency, which translates to cost optimization. It is possible to figure out the perfect expenditure for any production goal. For instance, you can tell how much you should be spending in operations, raw material procurement, energy and employees to produce at capacity while maximizing profits.

4. Better Production Planning

Manufacturers must do proper project planning that follows specific timelines. Production planning software makes project planning more accurate and effective. By eliminating manual plans and replacing them with precise automated production planning, the likelihood of meeting production objectives is higher. The best production planning programs is integrated with procurement, inventory, accounting, production data and warehousing to monitor and manage the production process better.

5. Better Quality Control

Production planning software enhances production processes resulting in higher-quality finished goods. By pre-determining and considering quality requirements, the resulting goods are in great condition and highly marketable. In fact, production planning software can conduct product simulations that assess product quality and provide insights for improvement if needed.

6. Detailed Reporting

Manufacturers also need production planning programs to get comprehensive reports that make it possible to analyze production and make accurate decisions. Manual reports are tedious to prepare and tend to be riddled with errors. Manufacturers who rely on production planning programs are assured of generating precise production analysis reports that are an accurate depiction of the entire process. Reports contain all the necessary data on demand, empowering manufacturers to take full control of production.

7. Increased Profits

The primary goal of production planning programs is to have an efficient process that is free of wastage and risks like stock outs. Efficient production processes ensure customers get high-quality goods fast and at a great price which boosts customer satisfaction. Happy customers tend to buy more and refer others, increasing profitability in the process.

Key Features of Production Planning Software

The best production planning programs have the following features;

  1. A planning feature: This feature makes it possible to plan the entire production cycle and offer valuable insight into finances, inventory, and employees.
  2. Inventory management feature: The best planning software also has an inventory management feature that offers real-time inventory levels as well as future projections automatically adjusted depending on variables like demand and supply. This feature lets manufacturers know the available inventory and minimum inventory levels to avoid stock outs.  It also allows manufacturers to leverage known lead times to refill inventory as needed.
  3. Integration feature: As mentioned, the best production planning software integrates with other systems perfectly. Good software will integrate with accounting, supply chain management, HR, ERP, and other systems to give a broad overview of production and related factors critical in streamlining processes.
  4. Demand forecasting feature: Lastly, the best software can also forecast demand automatically. By monitoring different factors of production, production planning software can provide inventory insights that prevent overstocking and running out of products. Manufacturers can also gain insights into the most effective production schedules during peak seasons.  Accurate forecasts are essential for high fidelity finite capacity planning.

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