Master Production Schedule or MPS is no doubt one of the business basics that every astute entrepreneur like you needs to follow to the last T.

When you consider it in the entire perspective, the MPS or the master production schedule becomes the key component of a material requirement planning.

As a result, all the procurement, material needs, expense list and overall accounting of the business forms a part of this master production schedule. Often even the actual rollout and key production matrix are deeply dependent on the overall master schedule.

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A business has many facets and the journey from ideation to the execution nitty-gritty is a long journey. An entrepreneur has to move through many layers of planning and re-planning to finally arrive at a workable solution. Now you must understand that once the plan is put to work, it becomes very important to assess its actual feasibility. After all, it is this very fact that determines how you can determine the various elements that go on to translating your business into a success story.

When you ask what is master production schedule, it is important to mention the broad scope that MPS covers, there is a possibility that the Master Production Schedule has superb multi-warehouse utility and flawless plant capability. In effect, it is designed in a way that is to set production schedules in an appropriate time, made to order and meet stock requirements. Another unique feature of the MPS is the fact that it has the capability to accept forecast data from a wide range of sources.

  • It has the capability of being presented in either units or overall currency
  • It comprises of a set reporting series as per user needs
  • It creates three sets of the timeline for better implementation of user plans. The timeline in consideration includes a planning period, a firm planning time and the final demand time.

In this context, it becomes extremely important to take cognizance of the fact that this wide ambit of the planning mechanism also takes into account a series of well defined rules. It is only by virtue of these planning rules, you as an entrepreneur can seek to maintain the overall sanctity and true characteristic of the planning procedure. You must understand as you sit on the planning table trying to put your planning into actual workable solution, the basic capacity plan is maintained on its own.

It is only by virtue of this fact that the master production schedule can be so conveniently used as a forecasting tool to set the momentum for future production targets. It also facilitates a specialized game-plan that can help you as an entrepreneur to make an allocation for effective buffers in the system.

In simple terms, the master production schedule can often be considered the actual brain that drives the overall product efficiency in the long run.

Master Production Schedule Definition

That, therefore, brings us to the next stop in our journey towards understanding what is master production schedule? If you follow business journals and related materials, you will understand that the master production schedule is often defined as a plan for individual commodities that have to be produced and takes into account the whole ambit of production including

  • Inventory
  • Production details
  • Staffing

and all other factors that go into the making of the overall manufacturing process. Very often it is this plan that indicates when and how much of this product will be required and how the demand plan is set to pan out. This is exactly why this plan also comprises of several other significant processes that can work towards optimizing the overall production parameters as well as boost the net demand.

Given how much an MPS is necessary for creating a set direction for the market and the factory output, its accuracy becomes very important. It is based on this crucial data that a company’s viability gets boosted dramatically or vice versa.

These days, most of the master production schedule or MPS are software generated with users tweaking it as per necessity and projected demand. This tweaking is important because most the software generated master production schedules have certain limitations and the ‘master production schedulers’ need to fit in these crucial production aspects. This is the only way to ensure that the plan on paper is as good as the plan on the ground.

However while tinkering with the master plan care needs to be taken to maintain the accuracy of some key elements and these include the

  • Forecast demand
  • Production cost
  • Cost of inventory
  • Overall lead time
  • Capacity inventory
  • Storage that would be available
  • Networking hours
  • Parts supply that is crucial

Master Production Schedule Flow Chart

Master Production Schedule Necessity In Entrepreneurial Success

The fact, however, remains that the choice of what to model or base the plan varies with the product genres and the type of manufacturing process. In other words, it would not be wrong to put the master production schedule definition as a statement of what the company expects to produce, the list of what’s on the purchase list and the final details of the overall staffing requirements, dates of production, follow-up schedules and the like.

Together they work towards translating into a conclusive production plan that ensures accuracy and efficiency of production. In many ways, therefore, the MPS or the master production plan works towards translating the actual customer demand into a basic business plan and schedule orders in an efficient manner for its final fruition.

The MPS will allow you to better handle shortages, deal with competition and clearly schedule a cost expense balance. Working with the master plan will also enable you to be better prepared for exigencies of any sort. This is one of the key reasons why the master plan is such a necessity in your journey towards entrepreneurial success.

Master Production Schedule Example

That said I feel it is important for you to understand by example what a master production schedule specifies? This is crucial because as an entrepreneur, you need to understand every key detail of the overall process of manufacturing and business basics. In this aspect, perhaps no other tool or documentation of business operation is as efficiently planned out as this master plan. It is not just an important tool because of the efficiency and accuracy that is associated with it but also the overall detailing and comprehensive coverage that this plan entails as a whole. Its brilliance is as much in the topics covered as the way they are manifested.

Here is a very simple example that can help you better understand the basics:

Let us assume that we have taken a Make-to-stock environment for our plan. There is a total of 125 units of fixed orders. Of these, there are 110 units already in the basic inventory to start operations. So how will you use the new master production plan to determine the next level of overall inventory allocation and next round of procurement to meet the forecasted demand?

Any given MPS plan generally will give the user details of

  • 12-month demand
  • Projected availability of products

Based on that factor alone the next inventory boost can be calculated. With lead times, time fence and lot size all taken into consideration; an entrepreneur needs to follow the following formula for an almost near correct assumption.

Projected Available = beginning inventory + MPS shipments – forecasted demand

Depending on the overall timeline, the MPS outlines can be derived on a weekly, fortnightly and even monthly basis. The quantity of the products can be ascertained in a constructive manner. This will give you as an entrepreneur a realistic idea of the overall demand graph and the supply metrics that go hand in hand with the overall manufacturing requirements and plan.

Benefits Of Master Production Schedule

It is, therefore, needless to mention that the master production schedule has a multitude of benefits that justify the brilliance of going through the pains of putting it in place. Some of the key ones include:

Smoothing Out Demand Route

With a clear master production schedule in place, a significant amount of customer demand signals can be clearly chalked out. While there is a chance that most customer demand signals will have their peaks and troughs, this profile can better help in planning the problems and efficiency of manufacturing with equal accuracy.

A major plus of this system is that it helps in decoupling the overall customer demand from what is being manufactured in a very efficient manner. The overall batch size can be easily brought to scale t better optimize the entire production process. For example, if demand in a particular case is rather more, it is this master plan that can help you to seamlessly push through manufacturing in a seamless manner without impeding the growth prospects. The supply chain quite effortlessly scales itself up in sync with the overall demand.

Better Paced For Future Deliveries

What happens at times in many organizations is that they avoid taking future deliveries with a time constraint. For example, if a specific product takes 100 days for delivery then the manufacturer may worry and avoid taking an order which is scheduled for 50 day delivery. Not only would it be a major impact on future prospects, but it can often create a situation of panic. In this context, the master production schedule can be extremely useful.

This is because, after all, it is the production schedule that drives the overall manufacturing chain. Irrespective of customer demand, the manufacturing gets adjusted as per this schedule. This alone gives an entrepreneur the requisite lead time to take advantage and prepare for future inevitabilities. Additionally, it gives you the ability to scale up the overall capacity if there is ever a requirement.

Communication Tool

This master production schedule also brings to light a key communication that often becomes absolute indispensable for businesses and keeping the manufacturing plans up to the par. The fact is that this plan, therefore, helps connect every dot in the overall production cycle to better account for exigencies and prioritize potential requirements at par with the need of the hour. Even without a well spelt out plan, the MPS alone can often be instrumental in creating buffers and updating production handicaps in a constructive manner.

It creates a chain of information between supply and metrics that therefore enhance scaling up the process and completely balances out the various demand and environmental concerns. This also helps highlight the inherent challenges of the uncertain production environment.

Supply Chain Priorities

This, then, brings us the next challenge for an entrepreneur, that is how to handle the supply chain priorities. In this context, having a fixed master production schedule helps the supply chain team to take action on their priorities effectively. This is particularly relevant for procurement functions which also hold the key to better supply chain parameters. Needless to mention then supply side bottlenecks too are better handled with the help of these MPS inputs.

Powered by these facilities, suppliers can work better to smoothen out demand even in unstable business conditions. It gears the supply chain to work on the uncertainties of the arena in a far more constructive manner. As a result, the relationship between the various facets of manufacturing also gets enhanced and work towards a greater efficiency overall.

Achieving Production Stability

Typically a well thought out master production schedule does not leave any room for error and planning misses. This also provides flexibility to the production team to better work on failures to ensure more certainty in future. Therefore whatever the problems that might have been faced today can act as greater insurance to safeguard future uncertainties.

Therefore, as a result, greater stability in the business is attained and as a manufacturer and entrepreneur, you are far better geared to deal with the prospects of any uncertainty in future.

This MPS also goes a long way in enabling production teams to concentrate on challenges lying ahead and how they can be worked upon to mitigate or better tackle them in a faultless manner. The overall production environment also gets a lot more stable structure to enhance the basic level of manufacturing, and as a result, the entrepreneur can move ahead with greater confidence.

Master Production Schedule Challenges

Though the benefits of a well thought out master production schedule is huge, there are some challenges associated with it. Like most things in life, there are two sides of a coin in most situations in our day to day lives. So the MPS with all its tangible benefits and a decided advantage to deal with the uncertainties also has a number of challenges that need to be dealt with .

Keeping in mind most of these MPS are computer generated, it necessitates a lot more tweaking and relevant adjustment to bring about harmony in the overall business process in entirety. It is very important that the Master Production Schedule is geared to adjust to the changing realities of the overall business plan.

First and foremost, inventory is a major concern. Dealing with inventory oversupply can be a major challenge and many times, it is this factor alone that can lead to untold expenses for a company. For an entrepreneur, it can mean untold losses, especially in terms of financial liabilities.

Therefore, it is very important to keep a hawk’s eye on the calculation as a whole and ensure that the Master Production Schedule is tweaked at regular intervals to account for these types of emergencies and can be adjusted and synced to the demands of the time naturally.

Another important factor is the fact that the master production schedule is geared better to handle the challenges of the overall demand at all times. If sometimes the demand is lesser than estimates, then there is no inventory oversupply. The basic customer demand cannot be dictating manufacturing supply at all times.

The basic supply chain is what totally dictates it and therefore tweaking as per the ground realities is extremely pertinent, and in no way should be detrimental to the final output level that is envisaged or that an entrepreneur has to cater to at any given point of time.

Therefore, it is appropriate to conclude that the master production schedule is the key nerve point that dictates the overall efficiency of a manufacturing exercise irrespective of the customer demand. It is this aspect alone that can bring out the entrepreneur’s true mettle in terms of handling capacity in a constructive and appropriate manner at all times.

However, the MPS or the master production schedule should not be followed blindly. Human intervention at relevant times and proper measure to cater to ground realities is extremely important. This is exactly how the business model can be kept actively in sync with the changing demands.