World Class Master Scheduling: Best Practices and Lean Six Sigma Continuous Improvement

Chapter 1: Understanding the Master Schedule

Master scheduling is probably one of the most important and yet least appreciated processes to control costs in business today. Top management ignores it, middle managers take it for granted, and line management often unknowingly subverts the integrity of the schedule by causing unnecessary changes to it. In contrast, high-performance businesses treat the master scheduling process as the heartbeat of the supply chain and utilize best practices in this space to minimize cost and efficiency and to maximize customer service. Techniques in master scheduling cover lots of business process territory, including links to demand planning, financial planning, inventory strategy, customer service, and rules of engagement.

Topics covered in the chapters to come include what good process would look like, how top managers interact with this driver of requirements called master scheduling, and how to implement a high-performance master production scheduling process in your business. Master scheduling is a passion with some manufacturing professionals. The objective of this book is to capture some of that passion. It is a pleasure to put into writing the power of one process that can help improve numerous processes within both manufacturing and distribution companies. Observation of hundreds of businesses using both good and bad process has helped with the conclusions. The logical place to start this discussion is by defining the master schedule.


The master schedule in an enterprise resource planning (ERP) business system is the detailed driver of requirements in manufacturing companies. This accounting of known and unknown requirements is...