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Flat Production Vs Variable Production Flat Production is where each week (or day) is the same. Each week you produce the same number of products in the same quantities. Variable Production is where you know how much you will produce in a year, but day to day, week to week or month to month can vary significantly. Many companies have seasonal variations in their products. Ice-cream is more popular in the summer, Christmas products sell better in the months leading up to Christmas etc. So if your orders vary significantly across the year are you better off having flat production or a variable production? Flat Production is very easy to administrate; each day or week is the same. So you can work on a week to week operation, matching budgets and output to targets. Under a Flat Production operation, you can maximise productivity, utilisation, efficiency and resource management. The downside is that you have high stock levels. If each week you are producing the same yet your order quantities are different, then your stock levels will need to be high to compensate. If you have Variable Production then you can minimise stock levels and achieve your operational goals however it is not easy to set up. Once you have Variable Production operational, it can run itself with a minimal amount of administration. Here are some questions about your products to assess which would be better: Does your product have an expiration date (within a year)? If yes then a Variable Production may be better. Is storage expensive? The more expensive the storage costs then the more variable the production needs to be. Do the products change? If a product is linked to fashion, then you don’t want to be left with a warehouse full of unsaleable items or be unable to fulfill orders. So a Variable Production operation benefits fashionable items. Does the product have long lead times? If you have long lead times, then you need to be organised so Flat Production could be better. If you have to have a quick turnaround on products, then Variable Production may give you better flexibility. If you want to introduce Variable Production, then the first step is Annualised Hours. Our two-day training course on Annualised Hours and Holiday Entitlement take you through Variable Production using Annualised Hours and other annualised procedures. Alternatively why not book our Business Health Check and we can tell you what production system would be best for you. The Business Health Check also includes a tailored shift pattern specific to your requirements and a detailed report on how to implement changes. To book your place on one of our courses or to book the Business Health Check please go to our on-line shop. Or contact us directly to discuss your requirements. Call us on (+44) 01636 816466 or email alec@visualrota.co.uk
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