The Resource Flow
If you’re involved in physical project management (as opposed to more abstract financial types of PM), you may have use for a Master Production Schedule. This tool, generally based on the use of specific software, is good for visualization of the flow of resources that you preside over. It helps you to “see” what is needed and anticipate changes, as well as potential shortages or surpluses that could have a negative impact on any phase of a project. The MPS is used by many in manufacturing project management to provide a larger measure of foresight, representing the successful synergy between human initiative and the vast computational power of the microchip.
Using the MPS
Essentially, the Master Production Schedule breaks a business plan down into a more production-oriented plan that shows more detail in how resources are allocated. Those who craft the MPS hope that it can use the “broad strokes” of a project to correctly predict how much of each raw material will be needed and how that material will be produced. Some of the things that a project manager might input into a MPS include:
- Work schedules
- Amounts of Raw Materials on Site
- Amounts of Raw Materials in Transit/On Order
- Machine Specs (quantity of production/hr)
- Storage Capacity
- Estimated Frequency of Stoppage for Maintenance
These and other variables will produce an estimate on how much will be processed in any specific timeline that project planners plug into the equation.
So how do project managers use these kinds of “master schedule” tools to their advantage? A master production schedule is as unique and individual as a business plan. Illustrations and case studies are available online; for example, the BNet business site has compiled a list of “Master Schedule Case Studies” including the stories of some large firms like Boeing and Honeywell as well as more general re-manufacturing case studies.
MPS Offerings from Software Firms
At 2020 Software, different MPS software tools are demo’d online with details on functionality for busy project managers who want to know more about how master scheduling works. Or you can go with the old standard (Microsoft) and create an MPS with MS Project. Either way, using a master production schedule can put your projects on the road toward greater efficiency and an upper hand in your markets!