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Planning for manufacturing

Planning is the heart of an organization and the 80% of the performance of the organization depends on the agile, practical and flexible planning strategy. While retail market trend has gone through a paradigm shift disruptively and silently in last decade, speed, right first time and sustainable product quality have become the first priority. Specially, after new normal, precise, flexible and adaptable planning has become critical, regardless of the volume, style mix and PO quantities. Thus, planning strategy should be vigilant, visible, accountable and effective through SMART goals.


Usually planning are divided into three segments in manufacturing, 1> Strategic, 2> Tactical 3> Operational. If we simplify all activities of those three segments, it may look like below according to the best practiced organizations successful history.

Strategic plan: It’s also called high level plan:

• Business strategy: Draw forward capacity plan based on current and upcoming capacity. Find buyers and styles to merchandise based on previous trends, performances and future retail trends.

• Business analysis: Feedback sales with a pre analysis on potential confirmed orders with different scenarios to take a best decision during order confirmations. It includes capacity analysis of production and washing factories, internal and external challenges and feasibility analysis on product groups, which helps sales to decide a right product mix. Draw co-relation analysis on confirmed, projected and foretasted order for quarterly/half yearly along with allocations and financial feasibility.

To do this, a Planner has to study the retail trends well, need a good understanding of the market situations and VSM of the merchandising process, availability and speed of the supply process as well as capability of dying/washing/printing/embroidery process as well.

Tactical plan: It’s a bridging in between high level and low level plan:

• Set MRP and sync with agreed high level plan to suggest required financial and purchase slots for upcoming months, which is a per-requisite for supply chain and finance team.

• Set high level plan information in Fast React or similar planning software or in spreadsheets and negotiate with factories and wash facilities prior to Management approvals. And draw a Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP) plan.

• Roll out agreed S&OP plan with supply chain, procurement and finance dept. for their respective actions for supporting the master plan.

• Set section wise TNA and critical path and monitor strictly.

Low level plan: Mostly execution, control, calibration and optimization:

Lead the factory level planners to elaborate the S&OP into low level detailed planning by manufacturing units(Production, Embellishment, washing etc.) and sub departments(Cutting, Sewing, Finishing, Shipping etc.). Some of the major tasks are-

• Detailed line plan to satisfy the S&OP and develop consequential plans for each sub-department (Cutting, Sewing, Finishing, Shipping etc.).

• Control the compliance to plan for each dept. and record periodic performance and analyze to find the gap and help to solve in real time.

• Daily basis adjust the plan based on budgeted cost per minute and efficiency targets.

• Track OTIF (On Time In full) of materials and finished goods and co relate with budgeted targets to find the gaps, analyze and find root causes to help to solve in real time.

• Track Cut to Ship, EOQ of Material WHS, overdue dates of finished goods stock and section wise throughput time, to help connecting in between counter departments to find their gap and improve accordingly.

• Develop pre and post-performance report by style, wash type and fabric type to help sales to analyze performances and set future plans of marketing and costing.

If the organization is using Fast React, GSD, Real time tracking and ERP software for manufacturing control, a simple, visible and effective synchronization is a must to ensure the information flow is working without mistakes. It is extremely vital for future strategies and regular improvement actions.

Training and development: Mostly cascade the strategies into small KPI sets:

It is vital to cascade down the high level strategic plans up to supervisor level, so that, everyone is aligned with same goal, vision and mission set by the stakeholders and top managements. Finding gaps in understanding and training different counterparts inside the organization is a vital role of planning head. They work together with IE and HR to roll out such training as needed.

Regular reporting: Mostly control system for the major organizational KPI:

• TNA performance reports of sales, merchandising, supply chain & manufacturing units.

• Cut to ship, order to ship & style closing reports by factory, zone and group.

• S&OP, Production alignment report & Monthly performance reports by group.

• OTIF reports for materials, sub materials and finished goods.

• Compliance to plan analysis for Sub dept. (FABRIC, CTG, SWG, FIN. WASH etc.)

• Planed vs. actual style performance analysis with root causes and preventive actions (Action plans are to gather from operation/production heads from factories). OQL, Rejections, DC claims, excess & short shipment analysis.

• Compliance to plan for each dept. root cause analysis and monitor improvement actions daily, weekly & monthly.

• Budgeted SAM, EFF & Learning curve vs. actual performance analysis to set future planning strategies and help IE & PDN team to set their improvement plans. Monitor accordingly.

Engr. Anisul Hoque Ansari
Author: Engr. Anisul Hoque Ansari APRM™ I CSSBB™ I TPS™ I CBSI™


A Planning department should be designed to perform all above irrespective of the business trends, internal or external barriers or bureaucracy. Planning department should be equipped with latest software and technologies to perform their agile sets of KPI precisely and timely. Most importantly, the stakeholders of the organization should act the ‘Planning Head’ role through methodological and accountable actions.

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