Master Production Schedule

What is a master production schedule (MPS)?

A master production schedule (MPS) delineates what products a manufacturer will produce, when and in what quantities. An MPS links sales demand with manufacturing capacity. The purpose of master production scheduling is to create a realistic plan that minimizes overstock while maximizing on-time delivery. Master production scheduling software is an element of modern advanced planning and scheduling (APS) software.

Master production scheduling is a dynamic process, and MPS software is designed to incorporate changes in demand or capacity promptly. It extracts actual order and capacity data to ensure that the MPS is based on the most up-to-date information. MPS calculations account for forecasts, known and anticipated orders, key capacity constraints, inventory levels, stock buffer requirements, and demands from departments such as research and development. MPS software generates the master production schedule automatically but also allows for manual adjustments to accommodate specific needs or objectives.

Additionally, master production scheduling software allows for planned production volume to be overridden with scheduled volume. The master production schedule is then recalculated to meet current conditions.

APS software leverages the master production schedule to support interactive schedule visualization, in which data can be displayed as stock profile graphs and capacity usage graphs. Planners using this functionality are able to evaluate alternatives within the schedule. The MPS can be changed simply by clicking and dragging a point on a stock or capacity graph. Similarly, production of a particular item may be moved to another production period through the interactive schedule, and this change will be reflected in the MPS.

Male worker using digital tablet to review the master production schedule at a manufacturing plant.

The role of a master production schedule in advanced planning and scheduling

Within APS software, the master production schedule interacts with the bill of materials (BOM) and material requirements planning (MRP 1) to help orchestrate efficient production. Once the timing and quantities of finished goods to be produced has been determined by the MPS software, this information is combined with the BOM to determine the type and amounts of materials needed to fulfill production in accordance with the MPS.

MPS software then provides input data to MRP 1 software regarding the schedule of production capacity and resources to be used and quantities of finished goods to be produced. MRP 1 software uses this information to optimize material acquisition, storage and deployment to meet the requirements of the MPS.

The master production schedule also provides data about the capacity requirements needed to fulfill current orders, and this information supports manufacturing capacity planning efforts to maximize actual production output.

Benefits of master production scheduling

By employing master production scheduling software, manufacturers can ensure that the master production schedule accurately reflects current demand and capacity, and promptly adjusts to any changes. As part of a robust APS system, MPS software also accelerates the MPS development process, freeing planners from the time and effort associated with manual MPS development.

Additional benefits:

  • Improved visibility between sales and manufacturing teams
  • Reduced equipment idle time
  • Reduced overstocks and shortages
  • Reduced manufacturing costs