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Shop floor planning and control in production planning

Shop floor planning and control is a crucial element of maintaining a healthy and successful production line. Discover how you can improve it.

March 18, 2024
17 min read
Team Katana

Team Katana

Katana Team

Taking a step into the unknown is often considered bravery.

And maybe that’s true. But, when it comes to manufacturing, sending your employees out without a plan is a recipe for disaster. That’s why having a system in place is essential to help you carry out production tasks.

However, the even bigger question is, how do you plan, implement, and monitor the progress of tasks?

In this article, we explore the world of shop floor planning, from the advantages, the different aspects you need to consider, and how you can implement it into your manufacturing business.

Real-time overview of your shop floor

Stop. Drop. Open up [the] Shop [Floor App]. Get a live look at your business and the visibility you need to make decisions in real time. Request a demo today.

What is shop floor control?

Shop floor planning and control is the process of using methods and tools to track, schedule, and report the status of work-in-progress (WIP) manufacturing from your floor-level, giving you a clear channel of communication between your operators and managers on the production line. Shop floor activity control is an essential tool for the effective implementation of your:

But what is the workflow of shop floor manufacturing planning?

What are the three phases in shop floor control?

Production planning is important for reducing costs in your business. 

Moody teenagers aren’t the only ones who go through phases.

Shop floor planning concerns the management of your operations planning, inventory, equipment, and workers. Your shop floor planning and control will go through these three phases:

  • Order release
  • Order scheduling
  • Order progress

Phase 1 — order release    

Using shop floor applications, the master production schedule will inform which manufacturing order needs to be generated. Then from there, the order release document will inform the shop floor management boards of the resources and manufacturing processes needed to complete the order.

Phase 2 — order scheduling  

Once the order release has been generated, shop floor applications will schedule the production of the order, while providing you with a detailed workflow of the manufacturing route the order will pass through. The order scheduling phase will explain:

  • The work stations the order passes through
  • The materials and quantity needed for the order

This allows managers and employees to understand what needs to be done, who needs to do it, and how it needs to be done.

Phase 3 — order progress  

The shop floor scheduling boards monitor the progress of the manufacturing order and various other manufacturing operations within your business. Giving you breakdowns of:

  • The entire overview of in-waiting, WIP, and finished manufacturing orders
  • Individual orders along the production line
  • The employees who are working, about to work, or have worked on an order

So, that’s the workflow, what’re the advantages of shop floor control?

What is the importance of shop floor control?

Two workers on shop floor talking while examining a stage of production.

Using shop floor management boards aren’t only going to give you access to automated manufacturing, but also give you more control and visibility over your production lines and operators. So, here are the advantages of shop floor control.

1. Real-time information     

Shop floor planning and control software gives you real-time updates immediately, allowing managers and operators to understand the progress of manufacturing orders passing through the factory. This up-to-minute information from your shop floor planning software enables you to identify problems on your production line and make changes to your production schedule on the fly.

2. Reduced setup cost

Shop floor management lean practices will help you locate areas along your production line that needs improvement, such as areas that are prone to bottlenecks in manufacturing. Improving the efficiency of your manufacturing will allow you to:

  • Reduce your manufacturing lead time
  • Reduce your manufacturing overheads
  • Increase your profit margin by avoiding delays from unexpected problems emerging

3. Resource planning

One of the other advantages of shop floor control is how easy it is to allocate resources to other tasks as the software can handle the production process efficiently.

Not only will shop floor planning software help you automate your resource allocation and workflow but because it helps you perform these tasks quicker, you remove the need to have a team member stuck in inefficient spreadsheets developing the master production schedule.

4. Problems and variations become transparent

Shop floor management boards give managers and operators an overview of any relevant information, open topics, and manufacturing orders in production, so everyone can be on the same page, and work toward a shared goal.

This means everyone can start their workday with a complete understanding of what is happening along the production line. Cost transparency can increase profitability to around 21%, increasing profitability from about 2.3% to 2.8% per customer.

5. Direct support of management

Everyone within the business can communicate with each other quickly and efficiently, which will allow them to solve issues faster, and keep production going without delays.

Having your shop floor data in one place, and easily accessible, means you don’t have to waste time trying to explain issues or waste time giving feedback to other departments when trying to address an issue.

6. Key performance indicators (KPI)

It probably goes without saying, but a skilled and experienced team with be crucial for a successful production run. Using shop floor applications allows you to communicate back to your team on performance levels, and help provide more training for those underperforming, boosting productivity.

7. Quality control

Shop floor control software gives your managers the ability to trace:

  • Batch failures
  • Material waste
  • Separate repairable batch failures from the main inventory

Your operators will easily handle different units of measure and report material waste while identifying whether batch failures are recoverable or not.

8. Price products fairly 

As already mentioned under KPI’s, improved analytics and reporting means you can gather data collection on manufacturing aspects such as:

This information will help you better understand how many products you can produce at any given time and the value of those consumer products.

9. Project-based purchasing  

Perfect for businesses that practice bespoke manufacturing. Although shop floor manufacturing software does support both make to order (MTO) and make to stock (MTS), the software will help you with material procurement for:

However, it doesn’t have to be one or the other, shop floor planning software can help you switch between workflows for individual projects.

10. Paperless manufacturing

The latest trends and predictions show that customers are more informed than ever before, and want to purchase goods with businesses that practice eco-friendly manufacturing.

Adopting shop floor planning on your production lines allows you to achieve a paperless manufacturing workflow, by giving you the tools to:

  • Schedule production
  • Track progress
  • Manage your entire business from a smartphone, tablet, or computer

So, that’s the 10 advantages of shop floor control. But, what are the other aspects you need to be aware of with shop floor planning?

Metal worker on shop floor, using a vice and grinder to modify a material, surrounded by tools and machinery.

Can the production environment influence shop floor control?

How you tackle your shop floor control will all depend on the type of industry you operate in, as we have briefly touched on with the different manufacturing workflows. Depending on the workflow you follow, or the manufacturing processes you adopt, your shop floor control will change to incorporate:

  • Due dates
  • Promised delivery schedules
  • The sequencing of manufacturing orders through the manufacturing route

For example, a make-to-stock workflow handles a high volume of finished goods. To achieve this high volume, the manufacturer will make products in a flow shop or continuous manufacturing flow, which will require the shop floor planning software to perform flow control.

Case study

Essence One increased visibility of their inventory and production with Katana’s Shop Floor App, helping them get a better overview of their business, boost efficiency, and improve cross-team communication. Check out how they did it here.

Production activity control

Several workers on the shop floor, wearing protective clothing and masks gathered around an object preparing it for manufacturing.

Production activity control in shop floor planning is the process of coordinating your:

  • Manufacturing resources
  • Productions orders
  • Schedules
  • Material consumption

Production activity control is going to be responsible for executing your plans with proper guidance on how to complete production.

Shop floor management boards will allow you to analyze which workloads you should prioritize to a workstation and the ideal capacity that a workstation can take before it becomes under or overworked.

Material requirement planning system

Leather manufacturer looking for material in a draw.

Material requirement planning (MRP) software is essentially an inventory management tool for improving productivity for manufacturing businesses.

Essentially, the purpose of MRP systems is to tell you the number of materials and finished goods you need to meet demand planning and at what point you’ll need those quantities. Your MRP will be able to figure out these quantities by using your:

Bill of materials

Your bill of materials will detail the materials, components, sub-assemblies, and manufacturing costs associated with making a product.

Planning data

Once you’ve set up your resources and operations, the material requirements planning and execution system will formulate a plan for a manufacturing order, so you know the:

  • Routing
  • Labor needed
  • Machines and tools needed

Production scheduling software

Maximize productivity and get a floor-level overview of your business with software designed to give you total shop floor control. Katana tracks time spent on tasks and material usage to provide you with the insights you need to grow.

How to improve shop floor planning and control in your business?

Although manufacturing shop floor planning and control can be performed via spreadsheets or a Kanban board, it’s going to take up time and resources that could be better spent elsewhere in your business. By using cloud manufacturing software, you can make shop floor management lean.


Automated manufacturing processes will save you time and money by improving the accuracy of your shop floor control.

Collecting data

Using automated tools will allow you to collect in-depth data, providing you with an overview of the shop floor production processes.


Streamline how you develop your schedules with automated production scheduling and have materials and resources assigned to manufacturing orders automatically.


Have a centralized overview of your entire shop floor in manufacturing to view:

So, here is how you can easily and quickly improve your shop floor planning and control, but what’s the best tool for the job?

Shop floor control in ERP with Katana

Katana's cloud manufacturing software open on a laptop

Katana cloud manufacturing software is an all-in-one solution for modern manufacturers looking to get more control over:

Cloud manufacturing software is built to support shop floor planning by giving you the tools you need.

Planning the work

Manufacturing orders are automatically split into tasks, and those tasks are automatically assigned to operators and resources. However, managers can easily transfer and reassign tasks if you need to change the workflow.

Task management

Managers can assign tasks to operators and track the progress of those tasks. While operators can:

  • Receive tasks
  • Start tasks
  • Pause tasks
  • Complete tasks

Time tracking

Get a better understanding of your operator’s working hours, break times, downtimes, and the set-up and clean-up time with improved tracking.

Analytics and reporting

Finally, Katana’s shop floor planning feature allows you to gather data on your business’s performance, so you can better understand:

  • Price estimation based on actual time
  • Product lead-time estimation
  • Shop floor employee efficiency
  • Labor costs

And there we have it, everything you need to know about shop floor planning and control in production planning. If you want to improve your shop floor planning, Katana can help you. Request a demo today and see how the shop floor system benefits your business. We hope that you found this article useful, and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch and we’d be more than happy to answer them.

And until next time, happy manufacturing.

Team Katana

Team Katana

Katana Team
Katana’s cloud inventory platform covers the live inventory, production, accounting, and reporting features that give businesses the knowledge they need to make the right decisions.

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