Production Scheduling Definition

production scheduling definition

Production scheduling in manufacturing includes planning all production activities including, materials, machinery, production processes, and labor.  The production schedule is created in manufacturing scheduling software and the purpose is to reduce production time and costs by optimizing what to make, when to make it, and where to make it.

What is Planning and Scheduling?

Planning and scheduling are two peas in a pod. Planning deals with choosing the right policies and procedures to deliver on the objectives of the project. Scheduling converts your project procedures and estimates for time, scope, quality, and cost into a working timetable. The schedule assigns time, human resources, and machinery to the specific goals in the plan.

Planning and scheduling optimization is performed by the production planning and scheduling system, also known as the advanced planning and scheduling system (APS).  The APS integrates with the enterprise resource planning (ERP), manufacturing execution system (MES), and material resource planning (MRP) systems and extends their planning and scheduling capabilities.

Importance of Production Planning and Scheduling

Optimal use of resources: The planning and scheduling prepare in-depth estimates of needed resources, including workforce, money, or machinery needed to deliver on the project. It prevents wastage.

Better Customer Service

Production scheduling optimizes production and ensures timely delivery of products which makes customers happy.

Inventory Control

The plans and schedules help balance inventory, striking a sweet spot between maintaining enough inventory and minimizing costs and risks of excess inventory.

Equipment Improvement

The plans and schedules reveal gaps or inefficiencies in equipment performance, utilization, and allocation. Fixing performance and perfecting resource allocation boosts performance.  This can alleviate the need for the procurement of additional equipment or even larger capital expenditures to implement additional production lines.

Saves Downtime

Production scheduling and planning reduce the risk of unplanned downtime due to personnel unavailability or machine repair.

The Production Planning and Scheduling Process

Production Planning

It starts with identifying, measuring, and tracking raw materials, labor, and other resources needed to make the finished goods.  A production scheduling template can help you keep track of all the scheduling input requirements.


The next step is identifying the route, path, or process sequences for which production will follow and mapping them out clearly.


The production scheduling step is all about assigning time, equipment, workforce to each stage of the production process.


The plan and the schedule are implemented with meticulous accuracy to save time, reduce risks and improve throughput through orders and instructions that enable production.

Production Scheduling Tools

Bar Chart

Bar charts represent a simplified means of production scheduling. The horizontal axis is for the time and the vertical for jobs and activities. Each bar represents the specific tasks in manufacturing.

Gantt Chart

Gantt charts are rectangular charts with horizontal and vertical parallel lines. Gant charts show the sequencing, facility loads, and progress pegged on work effort over a defined period. These charts help to show planned production vs. actual performance, resource allocation, and project events that may necessitate rescheduling.

Production Scheduling Techniques

CPM & PERT Technique

The PERT (Project Evaluation and Review Technique) measures the project's performance by the planned timelines. PERT focuses on optimizing time. CPM (Critical Path Method) shows the relationship between cost and time and focuses on cost reduction.

The Runout Approach

The Runout approach focuses on inventory control. The demand-oriented process planning assigns critical priority to resources that are scarce in manufacturing. It estimates runout time and delivers forecasts targeting to minimize stick-outs.

Fast Optimization Production Scheduling Solution

The integration of planning and scheduling serves as the fundamental basis for tracking and controlling project activity in its entire life cycle. Switch to Optessa APS today for fully automated, accurate, comprehensive, and integrated production planning and scheduling. 

Manufacturing Scheduling

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