Production Planner

Production Planner jobs

In any production situation, from a workshop to a high-volume production line, there is a fine balance between producing items much faster than they can be sold and going too slow to keep up with demand. In the ideal zone there needs to be a slight leeway, with any slack taken up by warehousing, but since this has a series of cost implications of its own, it needs to be minimised.

The production planner will be in charge of ensuring productivity is always at an optimal level to meet all demands while cutting out overproduction. Where products are perishable or otherwise time-sensitive this would simply not be an option as overproduction is pure waste. But even making things that will sell eventually but slowly will be a drain on the company’s credit and cash flow.

Using materials requirements planning (MRP) software and systems, the production planner will stay in tune with current stock levels, raw materials availability and customer demands to ensure that as productivity rises and falls, all stock levels are optimised. The planner will be in touch with several parties on a regular basis, most notably forecasters, sales and marketing teams, warehousing staff, suppliers and the factory floor. This is all to gain the best possible insight into the ability to meet customer demand and to guide productivity as it rises and falls throughout the year.

The skills required

The main personal characteristic of a production planner will be a logical, analytical mindset. This he or she will engage to perform the mental juggling act that is production planning. Business understanding will be highly valued, as there is little to distinguish running a business and keeping abreast of the costs and planning production based on the best intelligence. Plans will be being made weekly or monthly, but they will always be subject to change as the situation changes – the good planner will be able to take these changes, and all their after-effects and permutations, in their stride.

There are several popular MRP solutions on the market, and there is a good chance any large company will use one of them, so experience in using one would certainly help. A good working knowledge of all the main spreadsheeting and word processing solutions will also be helpful for analysis and communication.

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