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Once the production plan is place, it is necessary to provide more granularity for manufacturing as to what specific products will be made, in what quantity, and the timetable for this production.

The Master Production Schedule (MPS) provides this information as it is derived from the sales forecasts (dependent demand) but also includes independent demand (e.g., subassemblies, spares, repair parts, etc.).

One of the advantages to using an MPS (and a Material Requirements Planning (MRP) system) is that schedules can be changed or adjusted to accommodate current or new customers. So, an intrinsic quality of these systems are their inherent flexibility.

Below is a snapshot of the Master Production Schedule for a finished good, SBC-0500-4401.

One key rule that affects the ability of the Master Scheduler to change the Master Production Schedule (MPS) is the concept of adhering to the agreed to ‘planning time fences’ as much as possible. What are ‘planning time fences?’

Historically there have been two defined time periods with regards to ‘planning time fences,’ a ‘frozen’ (or ‘firm’) time period and a ‘non-frozen’ (‘non-firmed’) time period. The ‘firm’ or ‘frozen’ planning time fence is named as such to denote that any changes inside this ‘frozen’ time period can adversely affect production and customer deliveries. This happens because schedule changes may affect the availability and delivery of raw materials or manufacturing cell capacity.

Likewise, these changes may affect total cost. Therefore, companies like to restrict changes in this frozen time period to as little as possible.

The ‘non-frozen’ or time period outside of the ‘firm’ period is open to changes. There normally are very few issues when adding schedules or changing schedules in this section of the MPS. Therefore, it is important to try and arrange customer orders to be scheduled well in advance whenever possible, i.e., reserving capacity and driving raw materials for manufacturing.

Typically there are contractual arrangements that support manufacturing schedules, both inside and outside of the ‘frozen’ planning time fences.

The bottom line is that Master Production Schedule (MPS) generates more details for the manufacturing group by showing what finished goods are needed and when these products are to be available for customers.

In turn this MPS drives the Material Requirements Planning (MRP) system that notifies Purchasing and Production Control what and when raw materials and machine capacity are needed. This way the shop floor can produce parts in an organized fashion and for the budgeted cost.

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