All organizations irrespective of size, use production control to some degree. In small organizations, the production control may be performed by one person; but in large complex industries the production control department is normally well-organised and highly specialized. Production control presupposes the existence of production plans, and it involves the use of various control techniques to ensure production performance as per plans. Co-ordinating men and materials and machines is the task of production control.
Production control may be defined as “the process of planning production in advance of operations; establishing the exact route of each individual item, part of assembly; setting and finishing dates for each important item, assembly and the finished products, and releasing the necessary orders as well as initiating the required follow-up to effectivate the smooth functioning of the enterprises.” According to Henry Fayol, production control is the art and science of ensuring that all which occurs is in accordance with the rules established and the instructions issued”. Thus, production control regulates the orderly flow of materials in the manufacturing process from the raw material stage to the finished product.
Production control aims at achieving production targets, optimum use of available resources, increased profits through productivity, better and more economic goods and services etc. An effective production control system requires reliable information, sound organization structure, a high degree of standardization and trained personnel for its successful operation.
A sound production control system contributes to the efficient operation of plant. In terms of manufacturing customer’s orders, production control assures a more positive and accurate completion and delivery date. Delivering an order on time is obviously important to the customer and to the development of customer goodwill. Production control also brings plan and order to chaotic and haphazard manufacturing procedures. This not only increases the plant efficiency but also makes it a more pleasant place in which to work. Most people recognize that employees prefer to work and do better work under conditions of obvious control and plan. Morale may be considerably improved.. Effective production control also maintains working inventories at a minimum, making possible a real saving in both labour and material investment. Thus, good production control helps a company operate and produce more efficiently and achieve lowest possible costs.
Objectives of Production Control
The success of an enterprise greatly depends on the performance of its production control department. The production control department generally has to perform the following functions:
- Provision of raw material, equipment, machines and labour.
- To organize production schedule in conformity with the demand forecasts.
- The resources are used in the best possible manner in such a way that the cost of production is minimized and delivery date is maintained.
- Determination of economic production runs with a view to reduce setup costs.
- Proper co-ordination of the operations of various sections/departments responsible for production.
- To ensure regular and timely supply of raw material at the desired place and of prescribed quality and quantity to avoid delays in production.
- To perform inspection of semi-finished and finished goods and use quality control techniques to ascertain that the produced items are of required specifications.
- It is also responsible for product design and development.
Thus the fundamental objective of production control is to regulate and control the various operations of production process such a way that orderly flow of material is ensured at different stages of the production and the items are produced of right quality, in right quantity, at the right time with minimum efforts and cost.
Levels of Production Control
Production control starts with some particular goal and formulation of some general strategy for the accomplishment of desired objectives. There are three levels of production control namely programming, ordering and dispatching. Programming plans the output of products for the factory as a whole. Ordering plans the output of components from the suppliers and processing departments. Dispatching considers each processing department in turn and plans the output from the machine, tools and other work centers so as to complete the orders by due date.
Factors Determining Production Control Operations
The nature of production control operations varies from organization to organization. The following factors affect the nature and magnitude of production control methods in an organization.
- Nature of production: In job-oriented manufacturing, products and operations are designed for some particular order which may or may not be repeated in future. Hence production usually requires more time, whereas in a continuous manufacturing system inventory problems are more complex but control operations are rather simple due to fixed process. In mixed stock and custom manufacturing systems the problem of control is further complicated due to simultaneous scheduling of combined process.
- Nature of operations/activities: In intermittent manufacturing system the operations are markedly varied in terms of their nature, sequence and duration. Due to this the control procedure requires continuous modifications and adjustments to suit the requirements of each order.
- Magnitude of operations: Centralised control secures the most effective co-ordination but as an organization grows in size, decentralization of some production control functions becomes necessary. The degree to which the performance of an activity should be decentralized depends upon the scope of operations and convenience of their locations.