3 Things We All Hate About Production Planning

September can be beautiful in Europe. It’s still warm, the days are still relatively long and kids are back at school…

But in a planning manager’s life, some things are still the worst, despite all the beauty of late summer.

Here is a list of three things planning managers hate — to celebrate this late summer day. Because it’s good to get it out. It’s cathartic.

Numerous dependencies

Dependency | Source: xkcd

A classic. The company grows out of childhood and suddenly generating plans which click with one another becomes a nightmare. This is particularly visible in complex manufacturing or transportation.

And then there are endless “planning wars” — each planner is accountable only for their narrow area and somehow forgets about the big picture. Moreover, everyone feels like the small brick which supports everything in the picture above.

It would be wonderful to build the plan in a transparent and collaborative fashion, with everyone having the same perspective…

Plan changes at short notice

Willy Wonka - Oh, have some last minute changes? TEll me again how YOUR lack of planning is now my problem.
Last minute changes | Source: memegenerator.net

Another classic.

The last three years have only proven to us how quickly reality can change. Supply bottlenecks or sudden changes in demand are the new normal.

But there are also more menial reasons for frequent planning changes. A machine fails, an employee doesn’t show up or a client has an urgent order which cannot wait.

All of these can render your meticulous planning useless. Unless you are in a position to recompute your plans at a touch of a button. Are you?

Loads of manual work

X, X Everywhere - manual work manual work everywhere
Manual work everywhere | Source: memegenerator.net

Oh, dear… Where would we be if not for MS Excel? It’s been around for what seems to be an eternity now.

Sometimes it’s crystal clear you could do better than a spreadsheet. You’ve seen that at a competitor’s. Or at a competitor’s competitor.

You know that – with all your Excel-based planning – at some point in time you will be at a disadvantage. But time is scarce, money is scarce, and someone needs to keep the plans up to date.

It would be wonderful to have MS Excel 2.0, which could also do all the thinking and talking…

Could these dreams ever come true?

Stay tuned to find out – the next episode comes next week!