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Management Consulting/Requires answers for MBA questions


Hi Lingham,

Can you please provide me answers for the below questions:

1.   Explain Product design. How does it influence the Process Design?

2.   Define Job Design. Identify the important factors and their influences in designing the Job.

3.   What do you mean by Production Planning & Control (PPC)? Explain the role of aggregate planning in PPC.

4.   What is value Engineering and Analysis.  Explain how to organize value engineering function in shoe manufacturing organization.

5.   Explain with the help of block diagram the purchasing decision making process in an engineering organization. Briefly discuss the process of vendor rating.

6.   Write short notes on:

a)   Capacity Planning
b)   Work Sampling
c)   Line Balancing
d)   Acceptance Sampling
e)   Waste Management

7.  (a) “Marketing in the performance of business activities that directs the flow of goods and services from the produces to consumers”. Discuss the above statement by taking two suitable examples of your choice.
(b) Discuss the concept of service and report on the reasons for the growth of the service sector.  

8.  (a) What are the various elements of marketing mix? Explain each of there elements and their importance in the marketing planning process of a consumer durable company manufacturing room air conditioner.   
    (b)  Discuss the procedure of conducting marketing research in the Indian Context.  

9. (a) Who is a consumer? Define consumer behavior and discuss why a knowledge of    consumer behavior in essential for Marketers.
    (b) Discuss Product Life Cycle concept and elaborate on the importance of PLC as a tool
         for monitoring and nurturing a  the brand. Illustrate with suitable examples.

10. (a) What do you understand by the term Marketing Communication and its role in   the promotion of a firms product or service. Discuss with two suitable examples one choosing from FMCG & other from a service offering.
   (b) Discuss the importance and relevance of sales and distribution function in a manufacturing
        and marketing organization of your choice.


I  will send  the balance  asap.

1] Explain Product design. How does it influence the Process Design?

Product design can be defined as the idea  generation, concept  development, testing and manufacturing  or implementation of a physical object or service. Product Designers conceptualize and evaluate ideas, making them tangible through products in a more systematic approach. The role of a product designer encompasses many characteristics of the marketing manager,producr manager, industrial designer and design engineer.
The term is sometimes confused with industrial  design, which defines the field of a broader spectrum of design activities, such as service design, systems  design , interation  desisgn  as well as product design.The role of the product designer combines art, science and technology to create tangible three-dimensional goods. This evolving role has been facilitated by digital tools that allow designers to communicate, visualize and analyze ideas in a way that would have taken greater manpower in the past.

Design is the planning that lays the basis for the making of every object or system.
Design as a process
Design, as a process, can take many forms depending on the object being designed and the individual or individuals participating.

Typical steps
A design process may include a series of steps followed by designers. Depending on the product or service, some of these stages may be irrelevant, ignored in real-world situations in order to save time, reduce cost, or because they may be redundant in the situation.
Typical stages of the design process include:
1   Pre-production design
2   DESIGN  BRIEF  – an early often the beginning statement of design goals
3    ANALYSIS– analysis of current design goals
4   RESEARCH  – investigating similar design solutions in the field or related topics
5   SPECIFICATION– specifying requirements of a design solution for a product  or service.
6   CONCEPTUALIZING  and DOCUMENTING  design solutions
7   PRESENTATION– presenting design solutions
8   Design during production
9   DEVELOPMENT – continuation and improvement of a designed solution
10   Testing –  testing a designed solution
11   Post-production design feedback for future designs
12   IMPLEMENTATION– introducing the designed solution into the environment
13   EVALUATION AND CONCLUSION and  – summary of process and results, including CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM and suggestions for future improvements
14   Redesign – any or all stages in the design process repeated (with corrections made) at any time before, during, or after production.
  Methods of designing
  Design Methods is a broad area that focuses on:
15   EXPLORING  possibilities and constraints by focusing critical thinking skills to research and define problem spaces for existing products or  services—or the creation of new categories.
16     REDEFININGthe specifications of design solutions which can lead to better guidelines for traditional design activities (graphic, industrial, architectural, etc.);
17   MANAGING   the process of exploring, defining, creating artifacts continually over time
18   PROTOTYPING  possible scenarios, or solutions that incrementally or significantly improve the inherited situation
19   Trendspotting; understanding the trend process.

Design and production
The relationship between design and production  is one of planning and executing. In theory, the plan should anticipate and compensate for potential problems in the execution process. Design involves problem-solving and creativity. In contrast, production involves a routine or pre-planned process. A design may also be a mere plan that does not include a production or engineering process, although a working knowledge of such processes is usually expected of designers. In some cases, it may be unnecessary and/or impractical to expect a designer with a broad multidisciplinary  knowledge required for such designs to also have a detailed specialized  knowledge of how to produce the product.

Process design
"Process design" refers to the planning of routine steps of a process aside from the expected result. Processes (in general) are treated as a product of design, not the method of design.

1   Design resolution begins with abstract requirements and refines them
2   Designers move from user-level to operational-level to physical level requirements
3   Main activity in the resolution loop
User-Centered Process
1   Stakeholder focus—Determine needs of all stakeholders and include them in evaluation
2   Empirical evaluation—Collect data about needs, desires, and design quality
3   Iteration—Improve design repeatedly until adequate  

Stakeholder Roles in the  process
Review and validate requirements
Finalize Design
Participate in selection with designers
Select Alternatives
Answer questions
Be subject of empirical studies
Participate in evaluation with designers
Evaluate Alternatives
Participate in generation and improvement
Generate/Improve Alternatives
Answer questions
Review and validate models and documents
Participate in analysis with designers
Analyze Needs
Answer questions
Be subjects of empirical studies
Elicit Needs
Clarify project mission statement
Answer questions
Analyze Product Design Problem

Needs versus Requirements
1   Stakeholder needs and desires define the product design problem.
2   Requirements specify the product design solution.
3   Needs and requirements statements are similar, but the heart of product design is moving from needs to requirements.
4   Conflicting needs and desires
5   Tradeoffs (needs and constraints)
6   Ways of satisfying needs and desires

Needs Elicitation Challenges 1
1   Needs and desires must be understood in the context of the problem domain.
2   Stakeholders may not be available.
3   Stakeholder responses are often hard to understand and sort out.
Needs Elicitation Challenges 2
1   Stakeholders often cannot explain their work, or articulate their needs and desires.
2   Stakeholders make mistakes, leave things out, and are misleading.
3   Stakeholders often don’t understand the capabilities and limitations of technology.

Elicitation Heuristics
1   Learn about the problem domain first.
2   Determine stakeholder goals as the context of stakeholder needs and desires.
3   Study user tasks.

Elicitation Techniques 1
1   Interviews—Designers question stakeholders
2   Most important technique
3   Many ways to do interviews
4   Recording responses
5   Observation—Designers watch users work
6   Better than having people explain their work
7   Several of the right people, several times
8   Talking out loud
9   Recording observations

Elicitation Techniques 2
1   Focus groups—Informal discussion led by a facilitator
2   Six to nine people
3   Facilitator keeps people on task
4   User-level requirements
5   Elicitation workshops—Directed discussion led by a facilitator
6   More directed and detailed than a focus group
7   Specific goals
8   Needs or desires or product features and details
9   Requires committed stakeholders

Elicitation Techniques 3
1   Document studies
2   Books (problem domain)
3   Policies and procedures
4   Process improvement studies
5   Development documentation
6   Problem and bug reports
7   Suggestions
8   Competitive product studies
9   Products themselves
10   Reviews and market studies.

Elicitation Techniques 4
1   Prototype demonstrations
2   A prototype is a working model of part or all of a final product.
3   Ferret out features and capabilities
4   Explore user interface ideas
5   Visionary products
6   Use several techniques, favoring those that allow direct contact with stakeholders.
  Documenting the Problem Domain
7   Organize notes
8   Make a problem domain glossary
9   Make an organization chart
10   Make UML activity diagrams

Categories are based on roles, not individuals, jobs, or titles.

Documenting Needs and Desires
1   A need statement should
2   Name the stakeholder category or categories
3   State one specific need
4   Be a positive declarative sentence
5   Often requires interpretation of raw data
  A need statement documents a single
product feature, function, or property needed
or desired by one or more stakeholders.
  Organizing Need Statements
6   Needs lists should be arranged hierarchically
7   Try arrangements with note cards
8   Prioritize needs
9   Numbers
10   Hi/Med/Lo
11   Consult stakeholders
A needs list catalogs need statements.

1   Many kinds of models can represent the problem and help designers understand it.
2   Many modeling notations and techniques useful for analysis will be discussed later.
3   Various UML diagrams
4   Use case descriptions, user interface diagrams, dialog maps
5   Conceptual modeling, use case modeling

Checking Needs Documentation 1
1   Correctness—A statement is correct if it is contingent and accords with the facts.
2   Scope—A goal or need is within the project scope if it can be satisfied using the planned features of the product created by the project.
3   Terminological consistency—Terminological consistency is using words with the same meaning and not using synonyms.
4   Uniformity—A description has uniformity when it treats similar items in similar ways.
5   Completeness—Documentation is complete when it contains all relevant material.
6   Review activities
7   Developers should use checklists
8   Stakeholders should review documents
Checking Needs Documentation 2

Summary 1
1   The product design process is essentially top-down and user centered.
2   Product design begins with design problem analysis.
3   Stakeholders can play many roles in product design.
4   Needs define the product design problem; requirements state the solution.
Summary 2
1   Designers should understand the problem domain and stakeholder goals before eliciting needs.
2   Needs can be elicited in many ways and preferably by direct contact with stakeholders.
3   Many kinds of models can help understand the problem.
4   Needs must be documented, organized, and checked.

2]Define Job Design. Identify the important factors and their influences in designing the Job.

What is "job design"?
Job design refers to the way that a set of tasks, or an entire job, is organized. Job design helps to determine:
•   what tasks are done,
•   how the tasks are done,
•   how many tasks are done, and
•   in what order the tasks are done.
It takes into account all factors which affect the work, and organizes the content and tasks so that the whole job is less likely to be a risk to the employee. Job design involves administrative areas such as:
•   job rotation,
•   job enlargement,
•   task/machine pacing,
•   work breaks, and
•   working hours.
A well designed job will encourage a variety of 'good' body positions, have reasonable strength requirements, require a reasonable amount of mental activity, and help foster feelings of achievement and self-esteem.
How can job design help with the organization of work?
Job design principles can address problems such as:
•   work overload,
•   work underload,
•   repetitiveness,
•   limited control over work,
•   isolation,
•   shiftwork,
•   delays in filling vacant positions,
•   excessive working hours, and
•   limited understanding of the whole job process.
Job design is sometimes considered as a way to help deal with stress in the workplace.
Is there a difference between job design and workplace design?
Job design and workplace design are often used interchangeably because both contribute to keep the physical requirements of a job reasonable.
Job design refers to administrative changes that can help improve working conditions.
In comparison, workplace design concentrates on dealing with the workstation, the tools, and the body position that all influence the way a person does his or her work. Good workplace design reduces static positions, repetitive motions and awkward body positions.
What are features of "good" job design?
Good job design accommodates employees' mental and physical characteristics by paying attention to:
•   muscular energy such as work/rest schedules or pace of work, and
•   mental energy such as boring versus extremely difficult tasks.
Good job design:
•   allows for employee input. Employees should have the option to vary activities according to personal needs, work habits, and the circumstances in the workplace.
•   gives employees a sense of accomplishment.
•   includes training so employees know what tasks to do and how to do them properly.
•   provides good work/rest schedules.
•   allows for an adjustment period for physically demanding jobs.
•   provides feedback to the employees about their performance.
•   minimizes energy expenditure and force requirements.
•   balances static and dynamic work.
Job design is an ongoing process. The goal is to make adjustments as conditions or tasks change within the workplace.
What are common approaches to job design?
Achieving good job design involves administrative practices that determine what the employee does, for how long, where, and when as well as giving the employees choice where ever possible. In job design, you may choose to examine the various tasks of an individual job or the design of a group of jobs.
Approaches to job design include:
Job Enlargement: Job enlargement changes the jobs to include more and/or different tasks. Job enlargement should add interest to the work but may or may not give employees more responsibility.
Job Rotation: Job rotation moves employees from one task to another. It distributes the group tasks among a number of employees.
Job Enrichment: Job enrichment allows employees to assume more responsibility, accountability, and independence when learning new tasks or to allow for greater participation and new opportunities.
Work Design (Job Engineering): Work design allows employees to see how the work methods, layout and handling procedures link together as well as the interaction between people and machines.
What are the overall goals of job design?
Goals can be in many difference areas and include:
Task Variety
To alleviate boredom, avoid both excessive static body positions and repetitive movements. Design jobs to have a variety of tasks that require changes in body position, muscles used, and mental activities.
Two methods are job enlargement and job rotation. For example, if an employee normally assembles parts, the job may be enlarged to include new tasks such as work planning, inspection / quality control, or maintenance. Alternatively, the tasks may include working in the same department, but changing tasks every hour. For example, in a laundry facility employees can rotate between various stations (sorting, washer, dryer, iron, etc) as long as it provides for a change in physical or mental expenditure.
Work Breaks / Rest Breaks
Rest breaks help alleviate the problems of unavoidable repetitive movements or static body positions. More frequent but shorter breaks (sometimes called "micro breaks") are sometimes preferable to fewer long breaks.
During rest breaks, encourage employees to change body position and to exercise. It is important that employees stretch and use different muscle groups. If the employee has been very active, a rest break should include a stationary activity or stretching.
Allowance for an Adjustment Period
When work demands physical effort, have an adjustment period for new employees and for all employees after holidays, layoffs, or illnesses. Allow time to become accustomed to the physical demands of work by gradually "getting in shape." Employees who work in extreme hot or cold conditions also need time to acclimatize.
Provide Training
Training in correct work procedures and equipment operation is needed so that employees understand what is expected of them and how to work safely. Training should be organized, consistent and ongoing. It may occur in a classroom or on the job.
Vary Mental Activities
Tasks should be coordinated so that they are balanced during the day for the individual employee as well as balanced among a group of employees. You may want to allow the employee some degree of choice as to what types of mental tasks they want to do and when. This choice will allow the employee to do tasks when best suited to their 'alertness' patterns during the day. Some people may prefer routine tasks in the morning (such as checklists or filling in forms) and save tasks such as problem solving until the afternoon, or vice versa.
Job Analysis is a process to identify and determine in detail the particular job duties and requirements and the relative importance of these duties for a given job. Job Analysis is a process where judgements are made about data collected on a job.
There are two key elements of a job analysis:

1. Identification of major job requirements (MJRs) which are the most important duties and responsibilities of the position to be filled. They are the main purpose or primary reasons the position exists. The primary source of MJRs is the most current, official position description.

2. Identification of knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) required to accomplish each MJR and the quality level and amount of the KSAs needed. Most job analyses deal with KSAs that are measurable, that can be documented, and produce meaningful differences between candidates. Typically, possession of KSAs is demonstrated by experience, education, or training. The goal of KSAs is to identify those candidates who are potentially best qualified to perform the position to be filled; they are most useful when they provide meaningful distinctions among qualified candidates. Source documents for KSAs may be the position description, HRM standard  qualifications and job classification standards.
Job Analysis should collect information on the following areas:
•   Duties and Tasks The basic unit of a job is the performance of specific tasks and duties. Information to be collected about these items may include: frequency, duration, effort, skill, complexity, equipment, standards, etc.
•   Environment This may have a significant impact on the physical requirements to be able to perform a job. The work environment may include unpleasant conditions such as offensive odors and temperature extremes. There may also be definite risks to the incumbent such as noxious fumes, radioactive substances, hostile and aggressive people, and dangerous explosives.
•   Tools and Equipment Some duties and tasks are performed using specific equipment and tools. Equipment may include protective clothing. These items need to be specified in a Job Analysis.
•   Relationships Supervision given and received. Relationships with internal or external people.
•   Requirements The knowledges, skills, and abilities (KSA's) required to perform the job. While an incumbent may have higher KSA's than those required for the job, a Job Analysis typically only states the minimum requirements to perform the job.
•   What does or should the person do?
•   What knowledge, skill, and abilities does it take to perform this job?
•   What is the result of the person performing the job?
•   How does this job fit in with other jobs in the organization?
•   What is the job’s contribution toward the organization’s goals?

The process may seek to obtain information about the:
•   work
•   worker
•   context within which the job exists
Worker Functions. The relationship of the worker to data, people, and things.
Work Fields. The techniques used to complete the tasks of the job. Over 100 such fields have been identified. This descriptor also includes the machines, tools, equipment, and work aids that are used in the job.
Materials, Products, Subject Matter, and/or Services. The outcomes of the job or the purpose of performing the job.
Worker Traits. The aptitudes, educational and vocational training, and personal traits required of the worker.
Physical Demands. Job requirements such as strength, observation, and talking. This descriptor also includes the physical environment of the work.
•   skills
•   abilities
•   knowledge
•   tasks
•   work activities
•   work context
•   experience levels required
•   job interests
•   work values/needs
To properly perform a job analysis, the individual performing the job should be observed and interviewed. In addition, co-workers and other individuals with similar and related jobs should be interviewed. It is imperative that job tasks be recorded with videotape, pictures, and/or sketches. Also, if the job is performed in a sequence, the work completed before and after the particular job should be documented.
A. Purpose
What are the job duties necessary for job performance? The number of job duties is usually less than ten essential activities, which are necessary to the job.
B. Job Setting
1. Work-site
What equipment is used in the work setting?
How is the workstation arranged?
How is the work organized?
3. Work Activities
What worker movements are necessary to accomplish the job? If there is another way to perform a job function, note this (lifting with an assistive device, typing with an alternative input device).
What are the subject's anthropometric data? Document the subject's stature; eye, shoulder, and knee height; arm reach; leg length; and waist level. Anthropometric data are used to specify appropriate reach and space requirements for various populations.
What types of personal protective equipment (PPE) are used? Document any gloves, arm guards, hardhats, safety glasses, respirators, or shoes.
B. Workstation
1. Office
Are the space dimensions within the workstation sufficient? The top of the computer monitor should be level with the operator's eyes and positioned at a comfortable viewing distance. (This is task specific.) Repositioning with an adjustable monitor arm is an option. The monitor should be placed directly in front of the chair and over the center of the workstation knee well. Screen height should be between 33 and 42 inches, the angle of the monitor screen should be between 0 and 7 degrees, and viewing distance should be between 18 and 28 inches.
Is glare diffused with panel diffusers and/or glare screens? Task lighting with a dimmer control should help, and adjustable blinds can taper excessive sunlight.
2. Industrial
Is the pace setting appropriate? Document what body parts remain idle and what body parts are in steady motion.
Are the "proper" tools available? Tools that are pneumatic; tools that can be used in either hand; tools with pistol shaped handles for power grips; tools with round edges, padded handles, spring activation, and space between closed handles will reduce palm stress and grip force. Newer tools equipped with tool wraps and tool balancers/positioners are also helpful.
3. Service
Is traffic flow designed to most effectively meet the needs of workers, contractors, and customers? Document the most frequently traveled areas and whether goods are stored in an accessible place.
Is anti-fatigue matting available in areas where individuals must stand for long periods of time? If available, document whether the matting is properly fixed to the floor.
Is a preventive maintenance program in place for all equipment?
4. Health Care
Are laundry and food carts pushed rather than pulled? Do carts have an oval or round push bar around waist height? Are powered push/pull devices available for use with beds and heavy or multiple carts? Some manufactures have a motorized option available on a hospital bed.
Have job task analysis been performed to identify awkward postures and motions in all jobs? Examination of past injury reports can identify areas of concern to address first. Look for tasks involving reaching, bending, prolonged static postures, forceful exertions, and heavy lifting.
5. General
Does the job include repeated and sustained exertions? Document whether the job entails stagnant postures for prolonged periods, repetitive motions, and whole body exertions (lifts, pushes, pulls, etc.).
What are the general environmental factors? Document noise levels, ventilation, flooring material, lighting, air quality, and temperature variations, specifically when the worker is exposed to temperatures greater than 75 degrees or less than 50 degrees.
C. Work-site
1. Spacing
Are extra electrical outlets for workers using powered assistive technology available?
Are walkways blocked? Obstructed walkways should be opened to eliminate the potential for trips and falls. At least one clear path of travel (without stairs) at least 36 inches wide, except for a minimum of 60 inches in two-way halls and 32 inches through doorways should be provided. Allow a minimum of 60 inches of clear, level floor space in front of and behind a door and 18 inches on the latch side of the door.
2. Flooring
Are proper treads, handrails, and detectable warnings installed?
Have changes in floor level been identified with visual and texture contrast?
Are door closers adjusted so that from an open position of 70 degrees, the door will take at least 3 seconds to move to a point 3 inches from the latch? (This is measured to the leading edge of the door.)
Do doorways provide at least 32 inches of level clearance?
Do the inside and outside of doors provide 60 inches of clear floor space and 18 inches to the latch side?
Are materials stored in an accessible area, between 15 inches and 48 inches above the floor?
Are hard-to-reach materials labeled? Materials should have visible labels and color codes.
Are electrical outlets accessible? Electrical outlets should be provided at least 15 inches above the floor.
Are items placed in the most "accessible" place possible? Position storage for pushing rather than pulling, pulling rather than carrying, carrying rather than lowering, and lowering rather than lifting. Make storage available for intermediate transporting and transferring of materials.
Approaches to Job Design  USING  SOCIO  TECHNICAL  SYSTEMS
There are three important approaches to job design, viz.,
Engineering approach,
Human approach and
The Job characteristic approach.
Engineering Approach
The most important single element in the Engineering approaches, proposed by FW Taylor and others, was the task idea, “The work of every workman is fully planned out by the management at least one day in advance and each man receives in most cases complete written instructions, describing in detail the task which he is to accomplish . . . This task specifies not only what is to be done but how it is to be done and the exact time allowed for doing it.” The principles offered by scientific management to job design can be summarised thus:
l Work should be scientifically studied. As  advocated fragmentation and routinisation of work to reap the advantages of specialisation.
l Work should be arranged so that workers can be efficient.
l Employees selected for work should be matched to the demands of the job.
l Employees should be trained to perform the job.
l Monetary compensation should be used to reward successful performance of the job.
These principles to job design seem to be quite rational and appealing because they point towards increased organisational performance. Specialisation and routinisation over a period of time result in job incumbents becoming experts rather quickly, leading to higher levels of output. Despite the assumed gains in efficiency, behavioural scientists have found that some job incumbents dislike specialised and routine jobs.
Human Relations Approach
The human relations approach recognised the need to design jobs in an interesting manner. In the past two decades much work has been directed to changing jobs so that job incumbents can satisfy their needs for growth, recognition and responsibilility, enhancing need satisfaction through what is called job enrichment. One widely publicised approach to job enrichment uses what is called job characteristics model and this has been explained separately in the ensuing section.
Two types of factors, viz. (i) motivators like achievements, recognition, work itself, responsibility, advancement and growth and (ii) hygiene factors (which merely maintain the employee on the job and in the organization) like working conditions, organisational policies, inter-personnel relations, pay and job security. The employee is dissatisfied with the job if maintenance factors to the required degree are not introduced into the job. But, the employee may not be satisfied even if the required maintenance factors are provided. The employee will be satisfied with his job and he will be more productive if motivators are introduced into the job content. As such, he asserts that the job designer has to introduce hygienic factors adequately to reduce dissatisfaction and build motivating factors. Thus, THE emphasis is  on the psychological needs of the employees in designing jobs.
The Job Characteristics Approach
The Job Characteristics Theory states that employees will work hard when they are rewarded for the work they do and when the work gives them satisfaction. Hence, they suggest that motivation, satisfaction and performance should be integrated in the job design. According to this approach, any job can be described in terms of five core job dimensions which are defined as follows:
(a) Skill variety: The degree to which the job requires that workers use a variety of different activities, talents and skills in order to successfully complete the job requirements.
(b) Task identity: The degree to which the job allows workers to complete whole tasks from start to finish, rather than disjointed portions of the job.
(c) Task significance: The degree to which the job significantly impacts the lives of others both within and outside the workplace.
(d) Autonomy: The degree to which the job allows workers freedom in planning and scheduling and the methods used to complete the job.
(e) Feedback: The degree to which the job itself provides workers with clear, direct and understandable knowledge of their performance.
All of the job dimensions impact workers psychologically. The first three dimensions affect whether or not workers view their job as meaningful. Autonomy determines the extent of responsibility workers feel. Feedback allows for feelings of satisfaction for a job well done by providing knowledge of results.
The core job dimensions can be combined into a single predictive index called the Motivating Potential Score. Its computation is as follows:
3]What do you mean by Production Planning & Control (PPC)? Explain the role of aggregate planning in PPC.

PPC stands for production planning and control. Production planning and control as a department plays a vital role in manufacturing organizations. It is clear from name that it is something about planning. Planning is defined as setting goals. PPC deals with setting goals for production. Preparation of Production plan is one of core responsibility of PPC.
PPC coordinate with different departments: such as Production, Marketing, Logistics, Warehouse and other departments depending upon nature of organization. PPC receives data related to orders from marketing department. Production plan based on marketing and production data is prepared in PPC. This production plan provides clear idea about utilization of manufacturing resources for production. Prepared production plan is delivered to production department. Production department manufacture products according to that plan.
PPC provides different kind of information to different departments. It provides information about available manufacturing resources to Marketing department. Marketing department receives orders according to that information. Similarly, it coordinates with other departments and provides relevant information.
A production planner or Manger PPC prepares plan for production. Manager PPC receives and disseminates information to different departments. Manager PPC uses his skills and software to prepare production Plan. Other than preparing production plan, Manager PPC supervises his team, coordinates with Production manager regarding production status. Manager PPC also frequently coordinates with Manager Marketing to provide him information about available manufacturing resources.
Employment in PPC depends upon education and experience. Some organization prefers relevant industry engineering degree holder and others prefers MBAs and other education according to their policy. Working in PPC is challenging task. It requires analytical skills and understanding of manufacturing process. One should be quick and well versed in IT applications to perform this job. There are opportunities of growth and learning in PPC.

Planning is the determinative phase of production management. It “figures out” what is to be done. Production planning translates sales forecasts into master production schedules, takes off material, personnel & equipment requirements & prepares detailed area or department schedules. It also determines the maintaining of raw materials & finished goods at proper levels. Also, it prepares alternative plans of action as a means of meeting emergencies. Control balances production & inventories apart from the determinative phase of planning. Production control supervises the execution of production schedules so that work flows through the manufacturing departments on time & without interruptions. Control also maintains raw material inventories at levels that neither tie-up excessive amounts of working capital nor lead to shortages that interrupt production. At the same time, finished goods inventories are regulated so that they neither become excessive nor fall so low that they fail to meet demands & so cause back orders to accumulate.
Functions/scope of production planning & control

1. Materials: Materials should be made available at the right quality, right quantity, right price & right price. Inventory control & regular supply of materials should be guaranteed.
2. Manpower: It is important to carry out manpower planning to maintain operational & managerial staff possessing requisite skills & expertise.
3. Methods: It is always desirable to consider all the available alternatives & select the best method of processing. Simultaneously, to plan for tooling, jigs & fixtures & to determine the best sequence of operations.
4. Machines & equipments: The choices of manufacturing methods depend on available production facilities & utilization of plant, machines equipments.
5. Routing: The routing function specifies what work is to be done where & when it is to be performed.
6. Estimating: it involves establishing performance standard of each work after duly analyzing operation sheets. These sheets indicate feeds, speeds, depth of cuts, use of special attachments & methods.
7. Loading & scheduling: Loading & scheduling machines have to be made as per the production requirements. Machine loading generates accurate information on work standard, scrap allowances, machine-time requirements & machine capacities. Scheduling is a time-table for performing the job on the available machines so that delivery dates are maintained.
8. Dispatching: Dispatching is the release of orders & instructions to start production as per the route sheets & schedule charts.
9. Expediting: It refers to follow-up which is done after the dispatching function.
10. Inspection: It is related to maintenance of quality in production & processes, methods labour so that improvements can be made to achieve the quality standards.
11. Evaluating: It provides a feedback mechanism on a long term basis so that past experience can be used to improve upon use of methods, facilities & resources in future period.
12. Cost control: In manufacturing products, costs can be kept within control through wastage reduction, value analysis, inventory control & efficient use of resources.
Objectives of production planning & control

1. To make all preparations to manufacture goods within specified time & cost.
2. To make available supply of materials, parts & components at the right time.
3. To ensure most economical use of plant & equipment by scheduling best machine utilization.
4. To provide information for production management & distribution of goods.
5. To issue relevant orders to production personals to implement the production plan.
6. To make available materials, machines, tools, equipment & manpower in the required quality & quantity & at the specified time.
7. To ensure production of goods in the required quantities of the specified quality at the pre-determined time.
8. To keep the plant free from production bottleneck.
9. To maintain spare capacity to deal with rush orders.
10. To maintain cordial industrial relations.
Organization of Production planning & control

Activities in Production planning section includes:

1. Production budget office: In this office, incoming orders are recorded in order book. Budget allocation is done to execute each order. In case the customer gives a required date of delivery, the date is noted for further action.
2. Material Requirement planning: No sooner the planning engineer receives the product to be produced, the production planning department prepares material requirement plan. Material can be applied either internally from the store or ordered from outside.
3. Methods planning office: The responsibility of this office is to assess the potentialities of available methods & to select the best method for producing components.
4. Capacity planning office: This office checks the status of each of the facility & allocates them as per requirement of jobs.
5. Tool & jig design office: The planner tries to provide simple & cost effective tools & jigs for performing the operation. The selection of suitable tool & jig is advised by industrial engineers.
6. Operation layout & routing office: The responsibility of this office is to prepare several forms & documents so that the production people can work with ease.
7. Scheduling office: The planner is excepted to prepare a time table of machine allocation for different jobs. Individual capacity of the machine indicates to the planner that with the existing number of machines how much work can be cleared & time taken to complete the work.

Activities of Production Control section:

1. Dispatching office: This office releases production orders & instructions to those who are expected to carry out production activities.
2. Expediting centre: This centre implements the plan. The centre maintains an effective communication with help from expeditor, between shop floor & the scheduling office.
3. Transportation office: It looks after movement of men & materials within the factory premises.
4. Stores & inspection section: This section assumes the materials management & control functions.
Principles of Production Planning & Control

1. The kind of production planning & the control system required in a factory is determined by the type of production.
2. The operation of production planning & control department is influenced by the number of parts involved in manufacturing the product.
3. The complexity of production planning & control function varies with the number of assembles involved.
4. The scheduling activities must be carried out strictly as per time table.
5. A sound production planning & control system works on the same principle for both small & large plants.
6. An effective production planning & control function brings about cost control.
7. Production planning & control allows “management by exception”.
8. Production planning & control is a tool to coordinate all manufacturing activities in a product system.

Phases of PPC

1. Planning phase: It has two categories of planning ,
a. Prior planning is pre-production planning &
b. Active planning is actual production planning.

Prior planning refers to all the planning efforts that take place prior to active planning. The modules of prior planning are: product development & design, forecasting, aggregate planning, master scheduling etc. Active planning includes various activities directly related to the production. The modules of active planning are: process planning & routing, material planning, tools planning, loading, scheduling etc.

2. Action phase: Action phase directly deals with dispatching. Dispatching is the transition from planning phase to action phase. The employee is ordered to start manufacturing the product. The tasks that are included in dispatching are: job order, store issue order, tool order, time ticket, inspection order, move order etc.
3. Control phase: Control phase includes (a) progress reporting & (b) corrective action. Progress reporting helps to make comparison with the present level of performance. Corrective action makes provisions for an unexpected event e.g., capacity modifications, schedule modifications etc.
Steps in production planning & control

The production planning & control department has thus to initiate the following steps.

1. Routing i.e. determination of the manufacturing path.
2. Scheduling i.e. establishing time for starting & finishing each operation or job.
3. Despatching i.e. issue of orders.
4. Follow-up i.e. ensuring that work proceeds according to plans & there is no variation. This means to ensure smooth flow of work.

Routing is one important step in production planning & control. It is useful for smooth & efficient working of the whole plant or factory. Production planning starts with routing. It decides the path of work & the sequence of operations. The demand for a more systematic method of carrying the work through the shop gave rise to the practice of routing. In fact, production planning starts with routing which includes the following activities:

a. Determining the quality of the product to be manufactured;
b. Determining the men, machines & materials to be used;
c. Determining the types, number & sequence of manufacturing operations; &
d. Determining the place of production.

Routing has the following objectives:

1. It determines the sequence of manufacturing operations.
2. It ensures the strict adherence to the sequence so determined.
3. It strives for the best possible & cheapest sequence of operations.
4. It influences the design & layout of the factory building with a view to get quick & better production results.
5. It also influences the installation of plants & factory for better results.

Advantages of routing:
1. Well chalked out division of labour.
2. Production of goods according to schedule.
3. Maximization of productivity.
4. Interruption free production.
5. Reduction in cost of production.
6. Optimum use of all factors of production.
7. scientific layout of the plant.

Scheduling is next to routing & is concerned with timetable of production. Scheduling arranges the different manufacturing operations in order of priority, fixing the time & date for the commencement & completion of each operation. It includes all requisites of production like scheduling of parts, materials, machines, etc. perfect coordination must exist between operation so that parts that are separately produced are brought to the final assembly in right time. In brief, scheduling means fixing or deciding the amount of work to be done & fixing the time for starting & finishing each operation. It is like a timetable of the production plan.

Essentials of master scheduling:

1. Inventory policy & position.
2. Procurement including subcontract.
3. Sales forecast.
4. Departmental manufacturing capacities.
5. Operations required & operations schedule.
6. Specific operations presenting critical path or imbalance of production flow.
7. Specific customer demands or delivery requirements.
8. Alternative delivery schedules.
9. Production plan including quantitative data.
10. Production standards.
11. Demand for finished products.

Uses of scheduling:

1. Scheduling is certainly a necessity in a large setup which produces a variety of products with numerous components. The time within which products must be manufactured forms an important element in production control.
2. Scheduling also determines the total time required to perform a given piece of work or assembly.
3. Time & motion study helps standardization of methods of work after a careful analysis of all the vital factors surrounding the manufacturing processes.


Dispatching is concerned with starting the processes & operations of production. Dispatching is based on the route sheets & schedule sheets. Dispatching provides the necessary authority to start the routed & schedule work. It is similar to putting oneself into the train after deciding the route of the particular train & the destination.

Functions of dispatching:

1. To ensure that the right materials are moved from stores to machines & from operation to operation.
2. To distribute machine loading & schedule charts, route sheets, operation instruction cards & identification tags for each works order.
3. To instruct tools department to issue the right tools, accessories & fixtures in time.
4. To authorize the work to be taken in hand as per the predetermined dates & time.
5. To direct inspection at various stages of production for inspection report.
6. To maintain proper report of the various subsidiary orders issued with each production order, for filing & reference.
7. To inform the follow-up section that production is starting.


This is the last function of production control. It expedites the movement of materials & production process as a whole. It looks into determination of the present situation expediting the department lagging behind & removing the bottleneck in the production line. Once production commences it is necessary to check that it is proceeding according to plan. Before dispatching new orders to the manufacturing department the progress of outstanding orders must be known. There are certain factors over which the manufacturing department has no control & hence follow-up is necessary. The production schedule is likely to suffer even if slight irregularity is caused by one or more of these factors. The most important factors causing disturbances in production schedule are: excessive labour, absenteeism, machine breakdown, errors in drawings, strikes, late delivery of materials etc. the function of follow-up is to maintain proper records of work, delays & bottleneck. Such records can be used in future to control production.

Follow-up Documents:

Follow-up documents are prepared with the objective to identify the products. They also help to check completion dates with due dates. They vary greatly according to the type of production. These documents include the following information:
1. Labels with part numbers.
2. Order numbers mentioned on the article.
3. Number of products or batches of products.
4. Daily progress sheets showing the position of every order in process.
5. Reports showing orders behind schedule.
Aggregate planning is an operational activity which does an aggregate plan for the production process, in advance of 2 to 18 months, to give an idea to management as to what quantity of materials and other resources are to be procured and when, so that the total cost of operations of the organization is kept to the minimum over that period.
The quantity of outsourcing, subcontracting of items, overtime of labor, numbers to be hired and fired in each period and the amount of inventory to be held in stock and to be backlogged for each period are decided. All of these activities are done within the framework of the company ethics, policies, and long term commitment to the society, community and the country of operation.
Aggregate planning has certain prerequired inputs which are inevitable. They include:
1   Information about the resources and the facilities available.
  Demand forecast for the period for which the planning has to be done.
  •   Cost of various alternatives and resources. This includes cost of holding inventory, ordering cost, cost of production through various production alternatives like subcontracting, backordering and overtime.
  •   Organizational policies regarding the usage of above alternatives.
  "Aggregate Planning is concerned with matching supply and demand of output over the medium time range, up to approximately 12 months into the future. Term aggregate implies that the planning is done for a single overall measure of output or, at the most, a few aggregated product categories. The aim of aggregate planning is to set overall output levels in the near to medium future in the face of fluctuating or uncertain demands. Aggregate planning might seek to influence demand as well as supply."
  Attempts to match the supply of and demand for a product or service by determining the appropriate quantities and timing of inputs, transformation, and outputs. Decisions made on SERVICE production, staffing, inventory and backorder levels.
  Characteristics of aggregate planning:
2   Considers a "planning horizon" from about 3 to 18 months, with periodic updating
3   Looks at aggregate product SERVICE  demand, stated in common terms
4   Looks at aggregate resource quantities, stated in common terms
5   Possible to influence both supply and demand by adjusting production rates, workforce levels, inventory levels, etc., but facilities cannot be expanded.

REQUIREMENT [aggregate plan):
A managerial statement of the period-by-period (time-phased)  rates, work-force levels, and  EQUIPMENT investment, given customer requirements and capacity limitations.
Staffing Plan (service aggregate plan):
A managerial statement of the period-by-period staff sizes and labour-related capacities, given customer requirements and capacity limitations.

Objectives of Aggregate Planning
Objective of aggregate planning frequently is to minimize total cost over the planning horizon.
Other objectives should be considered:
1   maximize customer service
2   minimize EQUIPMENT  investment
3   minimize changes in workforce levels
4   minimize changes in  SERVICE  REQUIREMENT  rates
5   maximize utilization of  RESOURCES

Aggregate Planning Strategies
Active strategy:
1   Attempts to handle fluctuations in demand by focusing on demand management
2   Use pricing strategies and/or advertising and promotion
3   Develop counter-cyclical products
4   Request customers to backorder or advance-order
5   Do not meet demand
Passive strategy (reactive strategy):
1   Attempts to handle fluctuations in demand by focusing on supply and capacity management
2   Vary size work force size by hiring or layoffs
3   Vary utilization of labour and equipment through overtime or idle time
4   Build or draw from inventory
5   Subcontract production
6   Negotiate cooperative arrangements with other firms
7   Allow backlogs, back orders, and/or stockouts
Mixed strategy:
1   Combines elements of both an active strategy and a passive (reactive) strategy
2   Firms will usually use some combination of the two

Passive (reactive) Strategies in Aggregate Planning: Basic Approaches
Chase approach
capacities (workforce levels, production schedules, output rates, etc.) are adjusted to match demand requirements over the planning horizon.
1   anticipation inventory is not required, and investment in inventory is low
2   labour utilization is kept high
1   expense of adjusting output rates and/or workforce levels
2   alienation of workforce
Level Approach
Capacities (workforce levels, SERVICE  REQQUIREMENT  schedules, output rates, etc.) are kept constant over the planning horizon.
1   stable output rates and workforce levels
2   greater inventory investment is required
3   increased overtime and idle time
4   resource utilizations vary over time

Aggregate Planning Methods: Intuitive Methods
Intuitive methods use management intuition, experience, and rules-of-thumb, frequently accompanied by graphical and/or spreadsheet analysis.
1   easy to use and explain
2   many solutions are possible, most of which are not optimal

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Leo Lingham


management consulting process, management consulting career, management development, human resource planning and development, strategic planning in human resources, marketing, careers in management, product management etc


18 years working managerial experience covering business planning, strategic planning, corporate planning, management service, organization development, marketing, sales management etc


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