Production program

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The production program contains the totality of all products of a company in terms of type and quantity and at the same time determines the location of the products to be produced for a specified time or period.

Species according to duration

A distinction is made according to the horizon or the term of the production program:

  1. the strategic production program describes the product fields and basic product types that the company intends to offer in the distant future (up to ten years);
  2. the tactical production program describes the quantities of products or product groups to be produced for a medium-term production period in a summarized form, without precisely specifying the individual product variants; this is also known as the production plan.
  3. The operative production program contains the exact quantities of all product variants of all end products, from which the production and assembly programs for the assemblies and individual parts to be produced in accordance with the parts list are derived. The production period moves - depending on the product - between a week and a month. In the case of complex products (ships, airplanes, railways) the period can also be considerably longer. This is also referred to as the production program.

As a primary requirement, the production program represents the source for the deterministic determination of requirements (see also secondary requirements ). The operational and business management objective is to create a production program with a maximum contribution margin . In terms of added value, this is strived for through optimal use of resources . The starting point and basis of production program planning is , on the one hand, the sales program , which is based on sales plans, customer orders or sales estimates, and, on the other hand, the remaining stock of end products. A production program broken down into the sub-areas of production, taking into account the individual capacities, is referred to as a production program .

Design of the production program

The design of the production program should on the one hand meet customer requirements, on the other hand the requirements of efficient production. In the case of customer-specific production, the product is designed together with the customer (tailor-made suits from the tailor, houses from the architect, special constructions). Here the customer requirements are more prevalent. In mass production for an anonymous market, the company relies on the most common expectation. Often there are also mixtures of the two types, for example when customized products are put together using standardized components that are anonymously produced in stock. The individual products of the production program can also have similarities in terms of

  • of the material used
  • of the paragraph
  • of research and development
  • the production

Research and Development

The research and development (R & D) is a prerequisite for production. In doing so, not only the products but, if necessary, suitable processes and equipment must also be designed. In addition to the development in your own company, external assignment to design offices is also possible, or joint research together with companies in the same or a similar industry. Research and development results can be protected in the form of patents or utility models.

product design

Product design as a sub-area of ​​product policy is determined by marketing aspects. Your job is to determine the properties of the products, such as functionality, aesthetics, size or taste. In addition, the product design must take into account production requirements such as processing justice (access to the areas to be processed), material economy (not too large dimensions) or optimal accuracy (surface quality and permissible dimensional deviations ). In order to be able to better assess the various possible products, a value analysis is recommended .

Production program planning for varied products

The creation of a production program for varied and complex products is a revolving planning process that extends over a long period of time. Long-term sales per country or sales market are initially not estimated for individual products and product variants, but for aggregated product groups or product families, and the global sales plan is created from this. The long-term production plan for the manufacturing plant (s) is derived from this, whereby the capacity limits must be taken into account. On the basis of the production plan, a short-term production program is then drawn up at regular intervals, in which the real customer orders with the precisely specified product variants are included.

This process is particularly easy to understand in the automotive industry. Here, in the long-term area, the sales and production plans are first created in which 'only' the number of vehicle types is planned according to the production capacities to be used. These sales and production plans are gradually refined in terms of time and product in the course of the planning process, as the products are specified more and more precisely. At the end of the planning process, production programs are created for the individual production plants, which contain the actual vehicle orders from customers, dealers and importers. When planning the orders, the number and variants of the vehicles ordered often do not match the available capacities. Therefore the orders have to be distributed in time and place. Due to the large number of variants and due to restrictions (production and delivery capacities), the production program must be smoothed under the premise that all orders are to be produced in good time so that they can be handed over to sales or the customer as agreed (see also leveling (business administration) ) .

The consistency of the production programs between vehicles, units and assemblies is ensured by the fact that the planning terms for the products and production programs are based on an ideal quantity algebra .

The aim is therefore to only manufacture vehicles according to customer orders ( build-to-order ) , if possible , and thus come close to mass customization . For this, the production process must be organized in such a way that as many variants of a product and / or the assemblies as possible can be produced without interruption in a production plant, a production cell or on an assembly line. In the automotive industry, this type of production organization or flow production is very widespread, especially in the form of assembly . From this, specific methods and processes of production planning and control in the automotive industry have developed, which are particularly necessary for the control of the product variants.

The planning of the optimal production program must be based on the existing capacities and bottlenecks. As long as the company is not fully utilized, i.e. there is underemployment and all the products produced can be sold without any problems without building a warehouse, the production program planning (PPPL) is of little importance. Every product with a positive contribution margin contributes to the improvement of the company result and should therefore be included in the production program.


The bottleneck ( English bottleneck , "bottleneck" ) is a stoppage in the production process , which occurs due to scarce capacity. Capacity is the maximum number of personnel , machines , devices , tools and rooms available for the production process in a certain time unit . A bottleneck arises in the production process when the available capacities are not sufficient to cope with the production requirements. The possible production utilization then exceeds the available capacity.

There are four main causes of bottlenecks:

  • Due to capacities that are too tight from the outset: At the start of production, the capacity planning must result in a maximum output that is likely to be sufficient to cover the product demand. Bottlenecks can be provoked by lean production if there are intentionally scarce capacities.
  • Due to fluctuations in capacity : Since capacities are usually not constantly available (e.g. in the event of staff fluctuation, machine failure), bottlenecks due to fluctuations in capacity can quickly arise at full capacity if this unexpectedly encounters insufficient capacity.
  • Due to excessive stress in production: Long-term, excessive stress on machines and personnel can lead to increased risk of failure (machine failure, illness) and leads to insufficient capacities.
  • Due to a lack of harmonization of the production factors : The maximum output of a machine can not be achieved due to insufficient personnel capacities .

See also:


A distinction is made between internal bottlenecks, for example based on operational capacities, and external bottlenecks that can occur in procurement logistics , in particular, in just-in-time production . Internal bottlenecks arise not only with one production factor alone, but also when non-coordinated (harmonized) production factors interact. In order to avoid bottlenecks, the operational production factors must be dimensioned and harmonized in such a way that they can withstand temporary overloads ( e.g. overtime , shift work ).


Bottlenecks can often arise in companies; removing one bottleneck brings about the appearance of other bottlenecks. It is therefore not important to eliminate all bottlenecks, but to coordinate them. This is the subject of congestion planning. The bottleneck determines the maximum possible utilization per unit of time, it limits the performance of the entire chain. The total operational capacity is limited by the sector with the lowest capacity - the bottleneck. Occurring bottlenecks can lead to damage from faulty production , production downtimes and contractual penalties.

Congestion planning

In addition to capacity planning, bottleneck planning is part of operational employment planning. In contrast to capacity planning, bottleneck planning is not based on the theoretical maximum capacities, but concentrates on the factors that limit the procurement, production or sales process. Sectors in which bottlenecks occur are called minimum sectors . The bottleneck in the minimum sector limits the total operational capacity. The minimum sector has an adverse effect on operational performance, which must be eliminated through bottleneck planning. The aim of bottleneck planning is to optimize the production flow. Companies with standardized mass products require a different type of bottleneck planning than those with order-related or one-off production.

Strategies for removing bottlenecks are

Bottleneck calculation

If bottlenecks cannot be eliminated at short notice and if full capacity is available, the question arises as to which bottleneck strategy a company uses. There is generally the possibility of prioritization, according to which the products with the highest profit contributions are produced first. Alternatively, other strategies can also be used.

A bottleneck in production

If there is a single bottleneck (e.g. machine capacity), not all products can be produced. There is a non-production of products that would actually generate a positive contribution margin. This loss of benefit is taken into account in the calculation by determining the opportunity costs of the displaced product . One method for determining the optimal production program with an effective multi-product restriction is relative unit contribution margins . You set the respective required quantity coefficient in relation to the contribution margin that can be achieved by the product, in the example of the machine capacity being too low, this means the contribution margin per machine hour.

Several bottlenecks in production

If there are several bottlenecks in production, a simple consideration based on the opportunity costs is no longer possible. A simultaneous model is to be used for the mathematical solution, which can be solved with the linear optimization (for example the simplex method ). A solution can also be determined graphically to a limited extent, but this solution procedure is limited to a maximum of 3 variables (number of dimensions that can be represented).

In order to avoid production losses, in the automotive industry, rules that relate to the product configuration are used to distribute the products over the production plants, days and assembly lines in such a way that the bottlenecks are compensated and the distribution of the products on the assembly lines is balanced.

See also


  • Wolfgang Domschke, Armin Scholl: Basics of business administration. An introduction from a decision-oriented perspective . 4th edition. Berlin / Heidelberg 2008, ISBN 978-3-540-85077-9 .
  • Hans Jung: General Business Administration . 11th, completely revised and updated edition. R. Oldenbourg Verlag, Munich 2009, ISBN 978-3-486-58762-3 .
  • Wilmjakob Herlyn: PPS in the automotive industry. Production program planning and control of vehicles and assemblies . Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich 2012, ISBN 978-3-446-41370-2 .
  • Florian, Klug: Logistics Management in the Automotive Industry - Basics of Logistics in the Automotive Industry . Springer Verlag, Berlin Heidelberg 2010, ISBN 978-3-642-05292-7

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. REFA Association for Work Studies and Business Organization e. V. (Ed.): Methodology of business organization. Lexicon of the company organization . Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich 1993, ISBN 3-446-17523-7 , p. 77.
  2. ^ Hans Corsten: Production Management . 10th edition. R. Oldenbourg Verlag, Munich 2003, p. 155.
  3. ^ Hans Corsten: Production Management . 6th edition. Munich 1996, pp. 113-147.
  4. ^ Hans Corsten: Production Management . 6th edition. Munich 1996, pp. 147-153.
  5. Wilmjakob Herlyn: PPS in the automotive industry . Munich 2012, p. 81 ff.
  6. Charles T. Horngren, George Foster, Srikant M. Dalar: cost accounting. Decision-oriented perspective. 2001, p. 661 .
  7. ^ Hans Bartels: Lexicon of corporate management . 1973, p. 65.
  8. Torsten Becker: Optimizing processes in production and supply chain , Volume 10. 2008, p. 54 .
  9. Erich Gutenberg : Fundamentals of Business Administration , Volume 1. 1963, p. 164.
  10. ^ Rolf Bühner: Business management organization theory . 2004, p. 264 .
  11. Wilmjakob Herlyn, PPS in the automotive industry . Munich 2012, pp. 193–196, pp. 218–223.