Production control is how different materials are managed and regulated while a production cycle is processed. Such a cycle starts with acquiring the raw materials used in manufacturing an item to the delivery of the finished product. Then, manufacturing is done according to the instructions that have been provided to workers and according to the type of plan that the organization’s production management team has developed.
Additionally, production control is a system that has been devised to ensure that product orders are delivered within the agreed-upon periods and in the requested quantities. Value-added materials and activities in the manufacturing process must result in costs of the products that exceed the initial value of inputs. Therefore, it is of fundamental importance that production control identifies any production process failures and solves them immediately.
Without proper production control, nothing guarantees that a company’s manufacturing processes and the final product will meet the necessary quality demands expected by the customer.
Therefore, in this article, we will see in detail what production control is in a manufacturing firm and why it is essential to plan for it. We will also examine its benefits and, above all, the good, related practices that are recommended.
Whatever manufacturing line a company is in, we know that these ideas will always be helpful. This is because they apply to any development or creation of a product and any service.
A definition of Production Control
To begin with, production control is a sum of actions and responsibilities that guarantee quality conditions, costs, and delivery times in the creation of manufactured products or services.
Through this process, companies’ employees monitor production and apply both preventive and corrective measures. In other words, the staff makes sure that the advances in manufacturing conform to the estimates that have been made in the production planning. Staff is also charged with the responsibility to make decisions that ensure that they do.
Four fundamental elements of Production Control
From this basic definition, we can synthesize the multiple objectives that manufacturers can achieve with production control into at least four important ones:
- Monitor that each process has the materials it needs.
- Readjust production planning according to advances or delays, as well as knowing their causes.
- Guarantee the delivery of orders in the terms and quantities requested.
- Generate product traceability, that is, the ability to identify the origin of each item and its destination in each phase of the supply chain.
The benefits of controlling production
Implementing a method or system for production control is mandatory in critical industries such as pharmaceuticals and food and those such as aerospace, in which part failure is a vital matter of safety. However, the benefits of these practices are universal, since in all cases, there are quality standards to be met, both by clients and by regulatory authorities.
This is how we summarize the benefits companies achieve by being attentive to the issue of production control.
- Manufacturers use the production capacity correctly through the proper programming of tools and machinery.
- Companies keep inventories at optimal levels at all times and, therefore, reduce their carrying costs.
- Manufacturers meet production schedules and increase their productivity.
- Companies can respond to possible unforeseen events to meet delivery deadlines.
- Producers know in advance if they can meet agreed-upon delivery deadlines.
- Businesses can get suppliers to deliver raw material in advance in the quantities required by scheduled production.
- Manufacturers reduce the total cost of production and control possible waste.
- Organizations utilize best practices in production control
Before continuing, it is essential to remember that production control must be part of a manufacturer’s quality policy. In other words, it is not a solo effort by a single department but must be well documented and established in the company’s overall operating standards.
As we already know, a quality system is the responsibility of the company’s management. Its objective is to continuously improve the effectiveness of the entire company, starting with its suppliers.
In this sense, these are eight practices framed in a quality policy that will help improve any company’s production control.
1. Dedicate a space to production control
Manufacturers should have an area dedicated to quality control. This special space should be independent of the production area. To learn more about the elements of a quality system in manufacturing, we can consult a document that examines best practices as an example.
2. Include suppliers
We must establish procedures to select suppliers and follow up on them. Companies must always seek the highest quality throughout the entirety of the supply chain.
3. Monitor outsourced activities
Production control is not limited to a company’s own manufacturing plants. Also, there must be procedures to ensure the management of activities that have been outsourced to third parties.
4. Continuous monitoring
Of course, without permanent monitoring measures, it is impossible to control production processes. We must take the results of the continuous monitoring that has been conducted into account for the release of each batch.
Steps to take to implement production control
Successful manufacturers must adhere to the following steps to be able to implement a production control system:
Manufacturers must maintain the assurance of optimal and continuous performance. To make this a reality, manufacturers must be sure that materials and products constantly flow throughout production. There must be no shortages during the development of the process.
Companies should work to ensure that the changes that occur in the production stage are very few. This is since the objective is to obtain the best quality production and establish a strong brand identity.
This should be the main element of a production control system. This is a fact because through it, manufacturers can achieve a better measure of the activities. In the same way, the appropriate staff assignments can be made to ensure the production process. The company must consider the need for teamwork among those on the production lines and those that perform other activities that are a part of the process.
Instructions to the work team
At the beginning of the process, management should only once share the instructions related to manufacturing a product with the work team. Then, a daily habit will ensure that they can be remembered and executed without difficulty. Doing this will help the company to avoid having to invest in specialized training.
Changes in production lines should not affect a manufacturer’s performance unless making them is necessary. Therefore, if possible, manufacturers should make changes at times outside of the workday. Other non-equipment changes that companies can make include decreasing or increasing the number of employees on a shift, reducing the length of breaks, and adding extra shifts. If there are no changes, it can be expected that production will continue to be the same.
Nowadays, it is necessary to have a system for production control. It is the ideal tool to obtain information on the times that have been dedicated to each task, the employees who performed it, the units that manufacturers produced, the productivity of each worker, and much more.
The cost control of a company is the fundamental priority to remain competitive in competitive global markets. Today’s environment is one in which companies are increasingly forced to offer their products at a lower price and, in turn, must strive to manufacture a product with increasingly better quality.
It is impossible to reduce the cost of manufacturing products without having the appropriate information. For this reason, production control is an essential component of a company’s success.