The Current Reality of Production Planning and Control Department in Apparel Industry

Production Planning and Control (PPC) department is one of the most important departments in a manufacturing company. What I have seen during my visit to factories that many of them do not have PPC department. Though, I think there might be someone appointed for the planning work with a different profile name.

In most of the small size factories the owner or director himself or herself does the planning task. It has both positive and negative impact on the lead time, on on-time process completion and job responsibilities of the employees. Many times, delays start in planning stage and work allocation to the respective employees. In this situation employees can’t do anything as because Mr. Director is responsible for the delay in the beginning.

Few companies have complete set up of PPC department but they have no power to put pressure on pre-production departments, like merchandising and fabric sourcing, instead of just keeping records and doing planning on paper and in their computers. Many times, it was also seen that PPC personnel don’t aware about the actual happenings on the shop floor. This is because production team do not committed to provide them real time information. It results poor re-planning and shuffling of newer orders. This also affect in computing of actual available capacity for the coming weeks. More than that the PPC personnel sometime don’t even aware what product is running in lines.

When I ask production managers that how they plan their production timeline and what is actual production capacity of their lines for different product. Every time I had got similar short and simple answer – on the basis of their 15 years experience?

What is the reason of the shipment delays? Manager’s quick answer will be delay due to late fabric sourcing. Or delay in approvals from merchandising side.

The above reality is confirming that production planning department in the apparel industry is still very weak. Companies continuously targeting for improvement in lead time, reduction in production cost but these will not improve until factories control its production planning and control department. Factories must have professionally strong PPC department. Effective communication of PPC personnel is very important.

Two important principle of getting work done on time is as following.
  • While you delegating any work to somebody it is your responsibility to tell them exactly what outcome you want and when you want it. Tell them, show them and check their understanding whether they understand your requirement or not.
  • Similarly when you are taking any work from others you should ask for when they want work.

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