This is where you get an overview of your entire business, from how much work you can do, to how much you can take on at any given point.
The 3 Types of Capacity Planning
There are three main types of capacity planning that you need to be aware of before you get started. Having a plan in place will ensure that you have the right amount of everything you need to produce your products and grow your business.
Workforce Capacity Planning
Workforce capacity planning means you will ensure that you have enough team members working, for the required number of hours in order to produce your required products. Workforce planning is a lot easier when you have an overview of your shop floor operations, so it is worth investing in a tool that can provide this.
Equipment Capacity Planning
Equipment capacity planning is the process of ensuring that you have the right equipment available to produce and complete an order. Depending on what you are producing this can be anything from assembly line components to drilling machinery.
Learning and development (L&D) shouldn’t be considered an optional perk for your workers or exclusive training for managers.
L&D is an important part of ensuring the delivery of quality products and improving your manufacturing lead time.
This is why, when you’re putting together your resource capacity plan, it’s important to leave some time free to schedule L&D sessions for your workers.
4. Calculate Your True Availability
You’re going to have moments where employees are involved with tasks that will only be focused on their workload.
Some examples of this could be:
Searching for information; or
Even sitting in unproductive meetings.
You’re going to need to calculate the amount of time that an employee spends on these tasks, to figure out their true availability when doing your resource capacity planning.
5. Prioritize Project to Allocate Resources
Finally, a good practice for developing your resource capacity plan is to prioritize projects and manufacturing orders.
The criteria for a priority project can be:
Time-sensitive orders; or
An important opportunity for your business.
Finding a tool that can help you prioritize manufacturing orders will allow you to easily communicate with your employees about which tasks need to be completed sooner rather than later.
Resource Capacity Planning Challenges
When you’re working on your capacity resource planning there’s going to be challenges you’ll need to overcome to make your plans a success.
Project Management Maturity
This ties in with a lot with what was mentioned about focusing on the skills of your workforce. Your resource capacity plan is only going to be as strong as the abilities of the planner.
The best resource capacity plans are put together in collaboration between managers and team members.
Putting together this plan requires experience and flexibility to adapt when things inevitably don’t go to plan.
Your resource capacity plan relies heavily on data, such as the performance of your business, to be put together.
However, the more data or in-depth analytics you collect, the more effort that’s required to maintain these documents.
When collecting information, decide if you should be focusing on:
Production or order scheduling.
Recommendations for Using Capacity Resource Planning
If you’re ready to get started on the road to developing your resource capacity planning, you can use these follow tips to get you started on the right foot:
Begin with Looking into Critical ResourcesYou don’t need to jump into the deep-end by capturing and analyzing data for every team member.First, start by picking just one or two resources that have high demand, and start investigating their utilization and capacity.
Start with Looking into Project or Workstation EstimatesIf working out a resource capacity plan is something new to you, don’t start off by analyzing the individual tasks of resources.Even though that’ll be the eventual goal, just by looking into the performance of one workstation, you’ll start to understand the capacity levels of this area, address that, and move to the next station until you’re able to delve deeper.
Capture and Use DataYou’re going to need to start capturing data, even if it isn’t perfect, so the rest of your workforce can start implementing good work practices of recording information for analysis.Otherwise, if the data isn’t being utilized, your workers will eventually stop collecting data for you as it’ll be a waste of their time.
CommunicateWhile you set out to record and collect this data, be transparent with your workers. Make them aware that the purpose of this is to improve productivity.Let everyone in the business know what is expected of them and how it all serves to help everyone be more successful.
Teach Workers or Learn How to Forecast DemandA great resource capacity plan all depends on how good a person’s forecasting is. Take the time to learn how to do your demand planning, as this information is going to be vital in understanding how much capacity is needed.
Don’t Begin Your Resource Capacity Planning with Time TrackingAlthough time tracking can be useful, it’s not exactly necessary for a resource capacity plan.Clock-watching only serves to show what an employee has done with their time, and does not imply capacity.
So, that’s everything you need to know about what is a resource plan and how to go about implementing it into your business.
However, what’s the best software for helping you make these capacity forecasts?