What is Production Follow Up?
Follow up or expediting or progressing is that branch of production control procedure which regulates the progress of materials and parts through production process. Following up closely interrelates with the activities of a despatcher to whom the scheduling responsibility is delegated. However, follow-up needs a separate description because of complexities of production.
Following up is a novel tool which acts as a regulator of materials and component parts when they are traveling on the path of performance as laid down by routing sheets and schedule charts. It materializes the back up promises made by the routing and scheduling sections. It investigates thoroughly the variations arising through production process in the light of predetermined time schedules.
Follow up is the means by which the execution of the production plan is efficiently, coordinated so as to reveal and as far as possible to eliminate any variation from the plan which has set production control in motion to achieve a definite goal.
Need for Follow up
Follow up becomes necessary because there are many factors over which the manufacturing department has no control. Even slight irregularities relating to one or more of these factors may seriously affect the progress of production from the scheduled programme.
For example, late delivery of materials, associated departments falling behind schedule in their respective production, unexpected excessive labour absenteeism, breakdown of machines and tools beyond anticipation, errors in drawings and occurrence of natural calamities may hold up production.
Qualities of a Follow up Person
Follow up persons or ‘chasers’ or ‘expeditors’ may be responsible for the processes or for the products.
Robust health, ability to mix well with people at all levels, excellent memory and amicable disposition.
2. Processes Responsibility
It means that the responsibility is confined to the process or department allotted to a follow up person and the ‘progress clerk’.
Under this system, all products will be expedited through a particular process, say, the lathe department or the drill department. When each article moves to another process, the responsibility for its ‘progress’ passes into the hands of another follow up person.
The processing responsibility has two advantages. First, the follow-up person becomes very familiar with each process, knowing both their strong and weak points and, secondly, he/she knows intimately the geographical features of his/her department and can, therefore, know immediately the spots where items are likely to be mislaid.
3. Product Responsibility
Under this method, a follow up person is responsible for the progress of a single product from its inception to packing.
Problems of Follow up
Follow up section has to meet two important problems — Obtaining information from the production department (also known as feedback); and the problem of volume. Information can be obtained from the production department in any of the following ways:
1. Mechanical counting and reordering device may be used.
2. Operator’s work record may be used which would show the particular and number of operations carried out by the operator concerned.
3. Use of job card: Job card is different from the work record in that each operator is supplied with a card specifying the work to be done by him/her. This card is prepared in the routing section. In this, the operator fills in the quantity of the operation carried out by him/her, the serial number, his/her own name.
4. Use of detachable tickets: A ticket is prepared which accompanies each item. Each ticket bears the job number of the product, its serial number and a list of operations through which the product will pass. On completion of the product, the ticket is detached and kept in record.
The volume of work obtained varies according to the type of production. Invariably it is the most difficult in batch production.
Types of Follow up
1. Materials follow up
Follow up of the materials purchased is the primary responsibility of the purchase department. Nevertheless, the follow up section of the production control department has to follow up the outstanding material requisition which are vital for keeping the plan schedules. For this purpose, a copy of the requisition may be kept in the daily follow up file. Delivery information may be obtained from the purchase department.
2. Work-in-process follow up
The follow up work-in-process varies according to the type of production. In flow production with product layout, follow up consists of checking of materials required and recording the production completed for comparison with the pre-planned schedules.
But in job production as well as in batch production, record has to be kept of the commencement and completion of each product or batch of product or operations. Also records of number of pieces made of defective and special pieces of time of operators and machines spent in producing them are prepared. Analysis is to be made of the time lost as well as causes of spoilage or defective production.
3. Assembly and Erection follow up
In case, of assembly manufacture the responsibility for assembly and erection is usually vested in one follow up person. In case of large and highly complicated products, usually the assembly and erection have to be done at customer’s site. This is particularly so in case of heavy machines and highly technical articles. The follow up person in such cases, have to be well versed with engineering details of the product.