Challenges & Resolution: Production Planning & Control/Scheduling (PPC)

Challenges & Resolution: Production Planning & Control/Scheduling (PPC)

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail” ―Benjamin Franklin

We are not living in an ideal world. There are bound to be failures. Some may be inherent and others may be due to a special cause like COVID-19. But we cannot just sit idle and accept any variation in the process. The concerned process owners have to take desired actions.

Production Planning & Control (PPC) process is the backbone of any organization. In this process too, there are many inherent and special causes which impact the supply chain and affect the timely supply to the customer. Organizations have to preempt the possible failures, their impact, possible reasons and action to avoid or minimize the effect.

Some of the possible challenges w.r.t PPC process are as follows.

Organizations have to implement a CFT approach wherein process owners from different processes will have to work together to find possible solutions to the challenges which can make the planning process effective and efficient. 

S.No. Possible Challenges & Impact Possible Reasons Possible Measures
1 Erratic Customer schedule



-High premium freight

-Delay in despatches

-Uneven pressure in the entire supply chain

Communication gap


Communication with the customer can be enhanced


Not understanding the variation in customer schedule based on past data like year ending or festival season


Analyse the trend of customer schedule for the last 1 to 3 years to understand the fluctuations and plan production schedule accordingly
Poor planning at customer end Keep high inventory for that customer. See past trends to analyse, communication with the customer
2 Not order-driven



-Inventory pileup


-The high cost of production

Customer schedule is uneven Customer can be communicated about organizations expectation
Organization and its supplier do not have a system to be order-driven The organization can develop its internal processes to be order-driven and implement the same with its key suppliers
3 Supplier Quality problems



-Delay in supplies

-PPC has to change the plan

-Customer delivery can also get impacted if adequate inventory is not available


Inventory levels not built up as per supplier’s previous performance


Inventory levels of the troublesome suppliers can be reviewed, if dependent on them
No action is taken for supplier up-gradation or duplication in spite of repeated quality issues Those suppliers can be considered for up-gradation or alternate suppliers can be developed
The supplier issues are not highlighted to top management to take a firm decision Firm action can be taken against those suppliers with repeated quality issues like less share of a business, financial penalty etc.
4 Supplier Delivery Problems



-Delay is supplies

PPC has to change the plan

-Customer delivery can also get impacted if adequate inventory is not available


Supplier delivery schedule is not aligned with PPC and customer schedules


Based on the desired lead time, delivery lead time for the supplier can be calculated and supplier delivery schedule can be planned accordingly
Supplier schedule is quantity-based and not time-based


Schedule to the supplier can be both quantity and time based
The supplier issues are not highlighted to top management to take a firm decision Firm action can be taken against those suppliers with repeated delivery issues like less share of a   business, financial penalty etc.
5 Inaccurate Capacity Data



-Planning will never be accurate

-the entire supply chain will always remain in pressure

Periodic Updation/review of capacity planning not done


The organization can plan a CFT who can periodically review the capacity data for any changes
Concept of capacity review lacking. Importance of capacity planning and its impact on the entire supply chain has to be understood and communicated to the concerned process owners.
Inaccurate capacity planning like no consideration about the planned shutdown, calibration plan, preventive maintenance planning etc. The concerned process owners can be trained about capacity planning calculations or software can be purchased which can help the organization.
6 No Defined Inventory Level



-Any impact from supplier or production will put entire supply in pressure

-Customer schedule adherence will be uneven

The organization does not have a system to define the inventory level. Even if defined, it is not followed. Based on the past experience and statistical study, inventory level can be defined and followed.

Concerned personnel can be trained.

7 Unplanned Preventive Maintenance



-Availability of machines will be difficult

-It will lead to a delay in production

-Effectiveness of PM will be compromised

Generally, preventive maintenance is planned for all the machines at a certain periodic frequency like 3 months or 6 months without any analysis of criticality. It put pressure on production to stop machines.


PM can be planned based on the criticality of the machines and other relevant factors.


Maintenance is not equipped with sufficient manpower to complete PM on time Competency of personnel’s can be defined and appropriate personnel can be selected and trained.
8 Unplanned Shutdown



-The entire supply chain will stop

Due to the break-down of key equipment or utility, it can happen Effective contingency plan. Regular and timely preventive and predictive maintenance. Availability of critical spare parts
Poor maintenance of key machines and utilities Effective predictive and preventive maintenance planning can improve unplanned shutdown
9 No linkage between Production and Calibration planning



-Production target not achieved due to non-availability of machine

-Calibration not done effectively and delayed

Calibration plan is not shared with PPC.


Share calibration plan with PPC.


Different process owners are planning calibration for their instruments like Production, Maintenance, Quality. It can lead to miscommunication Even if there are different process owners for calibration, there can be one common repository for monitoring the calibration plan
10 Non-availability of competent manpower



-Production delay

-Quality impacted


Inadequate manpower planning.



Review of the existing manpower and the gap can be defined based on competence.


Competency not correctly defined. Competency for each role can be reviewed and defined as per the process and customer requirement.
11 No defined responsibility and authority



-Cannot take a decision which is reflected in the effectiveness of the planning process

PPC process not considered that much important


Importance of the

 process has to be understood

Not lead by the senior person Being a key process, it should be headed by a senior and competent person with desired authorities



ISO 9000: 2015

ISO 9004: 2018

IATF 16949: 2016


This is the 67th article of this Quality Management series. Every weekend, you will find useful information that will make your Management System journey Productive. Please share it with your colleagues too.

Your genuine feedback and response are extremely valuable. Please suggest topics for the coming weeks.

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Sunil Ailavadi
Sunil Ailavadi
3 years ago

Very well written article shows Mr. Mangla’s in-depth knowledge

3 years ago

“I want to to thank you for this excellent read!! I definitely loved every bit of it. I have got you saved as a favorite to look at new things you postÖ”
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