Process planning is known as the description of the process flow and the sequence of manufacturing operations. A process plan can either be a rough or a detailed outline of the individual steps in the assembly of various parts, depending on the amount of information available and the environment in which the operation progresses. This can be printed out on a piece of paper or built into the company's manufacturing software. A cohesive process plan is important for a good to be doled out quickly, which is also necessary for restocking inventories at retail stores to help maintain the flow of goods across the supply chain. Various factors are considered while refining and choosing the final process plan: the overall cost of the scheme, the amount of time it takes for the finished goods to be sent out to retail stores, the availability of certain raw materials, etc.
How Process Planning Works
There are five steps:
1. A client communicates with the head of operations or the team leader to discuss a design's specifications when proper client-planner engagement is established, and environment analysis is already carried out. Environment analysis refers to assessing external factors (technology, market prices, competitors, political climate, etc.) and internal factors (personnel resources, facilities, knowledge of employees, etc.) to fully understand the status quo.
2. Then, a mission is determined, and its objectives are outlined. By recognizing the market in which the firm operates and its target audience, a clear purpose can be identified very fast. A sense of direction is found as goals are divided and formulated at all levels of management, with each department serving a unique purpose.
3. The next step is collecting and analyzing relevant information to ensure that the product's quality is not compromised. Once the analysis is complete, the team moves on to developing strategies to achieve the agendas set up. Strategy development involves a deeper analysis of the competitors in the market, and the best way to edge them out is chosen.
4. After all of the above steps have been successfully carried out, the team can move on to formulating an action plan that will determine the execution and implementation of the plan. An action plan has three components: the time limit of performance, the allocation of tasks to personnel in each department, and the schedule of work to accomplish targets within the stated period.
5. Once the implementation process has begun, monitoring the progress of the operations regularly and altering variables accordingly is crucial to greater efficiency. Results are compared with predetermined standards, and corrective measures are taken to ensure the project's success.
The advantage of using a process plan is it can make anyone understand the exact order of operations to reach the finished good. It's also used to track the movement of resources and their conversion within each process. The plan is available on each floor of a shop, and once an operation is completed, it is marked as 'complete' or 'closed.'
Types of Process Planning
There are two types: manual and automated.
Also known as man-variant planning, manual planning involves the knowledge of parts that can match an engineer's design with the available tools and machines, whose capabilities also affect the final plan. A combination of processes are tested and selected, and depending on machine utilization, the plan is implemented almost immediately.
As you may have already predicted, any labor-intensive task inevitably becomes tedious. If a job as important as this becomes erroneous and prone to flaws, this can create many holes in the system. Different planners may have completely different ways of scheming an assembly line, so a frequent change of planners also leads to a complete overhaul of a production line that has already become familiar to numerous employees. Such disadvantages have led many in the industry to seek automated process planning as a cheaper and more viable alternative, especially given the advent of new technology in almost every aspect of the business.
Computer-aided process planning (CAPP) uses computer technology to create a process plan. It eliminates the process planner from the equation and reduces planning time. Most companies integrate their process plans into the enterprise resource planning (ERP) software that they use, in which each operation is a 'cost center' and has defined resources.
ERP Modules Used For Process Planning
Most ERP systems have a process planning module which contains several modules of its own.
a. Financial management tools: Meeting financial objectives and developing a financial plan is important to ensure proper sponsorship of raw materials. This means modules such as general ledger, where balance sheet and income statement transactions are recorded and stored, are used to keep track of finances.
b. Tools for resources: Ordering the right amount of resources and obtaining them at the right time is extremely vital for the system to work properly. Thus, modules such as purchase order entry, where all the details of an order are recorded, become crucial for keeping track of resources.
c. Tools for customers: Finally, to ensure proper engagement with the customers and to maximize their satisfaction, a module must be devised to establish clear communication with them. Hence, modules such as customer master records are used to store information such as customer ID, company name, billing address, shipping address, etc.
There are many such ERP software out there with such capabilities. We recommend Odoo. Odoo is a user-friendly software built under the same UI which uses one app to do all the jobs in one: streamlining operations, managing invoices, and boosting sales. It has fast servers all over the world and has many different apps, including one for ERP, which includes the ability to customize and design a template for your firm. It has different modules, one specifically catered towards process planning. Ergo Ventures Limited, a digital transformation company based in Dhaka, is the only Odoo Silver Partner in Bangladesh. To contact Odoo, call us at +88 019 388 555 00 or shoot a mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.