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.
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.
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
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.