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Planning and scheduling are two vital business activities that aim at ensuring flow of production which is essential for any successful and sustainable enterprise.  They have indisputable advantages to the company. They operate within the budget thereby keeping cost down. Business operates in a realistic atmosphere in the sense that the availability of resources and matching demand for the products do not lead to any unforeseen unmanageable crisis. Business goals, to put it simply, remain achievable and such style of business administration never falters into less familiar areas for business.

Scheduling gains significance as it operates taking into account the availability of resources. Experts talk about two kinds of scheduling, primarily: Finite Capacity Scheduling and Infinite Capacity Scheduling. Let us briefly look into both of them.

Both the types of scheduling have their own strengths and weaknesses and which method is to use depends on the availability of resources in terms of the demand for the product on the immediate order, to begin with.

Finite Capacity

Business always carries with it the other most important related fact, namely, the amount of available resources which can be put to use effectively to reach the goal of the company. Resources include, apart from the basic finance, people, tools and expertise. This is finite planning as it takes into account the available resources which are finite in amount.  That is, resource constraint is taken into consideration while planning and scheduling. The fundamental guiding principle is order must be honoured in time with  adequate quantity to satisfy the customer. Suppose you need to produce 1000 readymade garments and supply them to the customer in two months time. You plan first to meet the deadline; you work backwards, tracking down every detail with definite time-frame. You answer the questions like how much raw materials already available; if not enough, how much more you need and when to place order for the raw materials with which supplier who will not fail you; how many machines and how many men you need to have the finished products in time to the required quantity; if not available, when to get men and machines. For all these questions, you fix up a timeframe and see to it that a provision is made to monitor the progress of the acquisition of all these components.

Generally finite capacity planning foresees no such lapses on a serious level and salesmen have been so trained that they are well-informed of the capacity of the company in terms of the quantity of products it will have to supply on demand with a reasonable time frame. The businesses that can be brought under this category can be, say, window cleaners, automobile manufacturers, contractors etc.


Infinite Capacity

Infinite capacity does not give attention to resource constraints. It plans production backward from a customer due date or any other fixed end date. It has to use lead times or work times of the production flow and back-schedule the work. It disregards any existing commitments of the resources. Online retail order is a good example for a business operating with infinite capacity planning.

The subject is so complex that brief introduction of this kind will not be enough to appreciate the intricacies involved in them; however, as basic familiarization, this will be enough.
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