The production control is the function of management which plans, directs and controls the material supply and processing activities of an enterprise so that specified products are produced by specified methods to meet an approved sales programme. It ensures that activities are carried out in such a way that the available labour and capital are used in the best possible way.
The British Standards Institute defines the term production control to include the following:
1. Issuing the necessary orders to the proper personnel through the prescribed channels for effecting the plan.
2. To ensure availability of the means of carrying out the orders — the materials, machines, tools, equipment and manpower — in the required quality at the required time.
3. To ensure carrying out of the orders by the personnel so that goods are produced in the required quantities of the specified quality at the pre-determined time. Thus, the underlying principle of production control is that the highest efficiency in production is obtained by producing the required in time and in the best and cheapest method possible.
Functions involved in Production Control
Following factors are involved in the practice of production control:
1. Control Activities
This is done by releasing manufacturing orders through dispatching. Thus, plans are set in motion at the assigned time.
2. Control of Material Movement
The time at which material is received from the supplier, and issued to the plant is observed and a close watch is kept on its movement from one plant to another to ensure that this movement is in accordance with the production cost.
3. Availability of Tools is Controlled
Steps are to be taken to ensure that tools specified in the production plan are available as and when required.
4. Quantity Produced is Controlled
Work-in-process at pre-determined stages of production is observed to determine that right quantity of specified quality work is processed.
5. Control of Replacement
Quantity of raw material and work-in-process which fails to pass each stage of inspection is observed. Provision is made to issue replacement orders for each material for work.
6. Labour Efficiency and Control
Time taken on each unit of work-in-process is observed and recorded. Comparison of time taken is made with the time allowed in scheduling.
Advantages of Production Control
A good production control system means more production on the same investment without unduly speeding up workers. The advantages of production planning and control are given below:
1. Better service to customers
Promised delivery dates are kept, production flows as per scheduled time. This injects confidence in the traveling salesmen of the firm to set delivery date. Timely delivery and customers’ confidence, improve customer-relations and sales.
2. Less overtime work
As production takes place as per schedule, there will be few rush orders. Therefore, there will be less overtime work in the organization, compared to other firms in the same industry.
3. Need of smaller inventories of work-in-process and of finished goods
Enterprise working under an effective production planning and control system require lower inventories of material, parts, components, etc., for work-in-process and less of finished goods in stocks. This results in less investment in inventory. Funds thus freed may be put to other more income-earning uses. Also, orders of customers can be supplied in full. This would bring the benefits of economy in transport costs too.
Management is constantly kept informed on the current position of all work-in-process and on equipment and personnel requirements for the next few weeks ahead. Therefore, workers can be informed in advance of possible lay-offs, transfers etc. Also belated purchase of equipment and materials can be avoided and idleness of men and machine eliminated.
6. Less loss of time
a. Because of phased flow of material, workers need not wait for the material for long. Hence, there will be less of workmen hours.
b. The time of management staff is conserved in two ways.
First, their personal attention is drawn only when there is any serious flaw in the working of the system. Secondly, they need not spend much time on research and analysis of data, etc., required for long-range planning as they can proceed to prepare such plans for expansion on the basis of the data made available by the production planning and control system.
7. Savings in the cost
A properly designed and introduced system of production planning and control results in major cost-savings.
8. Less work-stoppages
Work-stoppages are avoided or minimized in terms of time-duration. Therefore, delay occurring in the dispatch of goods to customers is very rare.
Requirements of Production Control System
A good and effective production-control system requires sound organizational structure, reliable information, a relatively high degree of standardization and trained personnel for its success. Factors that are needed to make production control successful are summarized below:
1. Information about Requirements and Productive Capacities
Complete knowledge of the products to be produced.
Detailed information about the number and types of each machine and processing unit together with the complete tabulated data on power, speed, and feeds of all machines.
Detailed information about the time and sequence of operations for each part of the final product and for the finished product as a whole.
Accurate up-to-date information regarding total material requirements, materials in stores, quantities to be purchased, time required to get them.
Knowledge on the availability of special tools such as jigs and fixtures needed for each part.
Information about the labor-force in the plant and their productive capacities.
Information on time taken and costs incurred on previous performance.
Records of best performance on similar work with best combinations of tools, feeds and speed;
Precise knowledge of the progress of the work-in-process.
2. The following should Conform to Scientifically Determined Standards
Fabricated and purchased materials
Tools and equipment, to the extent possible
Operations on all parts as per design and procedure only
Production standards for labor force
Provision for adequate inspection to make sure that quality is maintained.
Reports on production performance in comparison with the scheduled production.
3. The Best Organization Structure Set up
First, support from the top management with recognition of the need for production planning followed by delegation of their authority with fixed responsibility. Secondly, full understanding on the part of the supervisory staff that the determination of their work-schedule from the central planning room is just an extension of the principles and in no way amounts to erosion of the prestige and power.
4. Availability of Suitable Personnel
Personnel should understand the scheduled operations.
They should be fully trained to fit into the requirements of the particular system adopted.
They should be properly remunerated to enlist their interest.