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

MATERIAL REQUIREMENTS PLANNING

At the heart of almost every material planning process within manufacturing is some form of MRP. MRP has gotten a bad rap in recent years. Among the constraint advocates, Six Sigma people, lean gurus, software visionaries, and the just plain inexperienced types, the word on the street is that MRP is dead. Nothing could be farther from the truth. When the discussion point is strictly described as netting of future requirements, few would argue with the need to do this in manufacturing planning both now and in the future. The truth is, almost every major successful manufacturing business on the face of this planet uses some form of MRP, whether they want to admit it or not.

The software vendors have as much to do with this confusion concerning the terminology as anybody, and it is understandable. Much like the label station wagon is out of date (the term is now SUV), MRP also has a few new names. Most of these names are recognizable by hints like advanced scheduler, advanced planning and scheduling module, or even drop-and-drag order sequencer. These newer labels are the four-wheel-drive SUV versions of the MRP station wagon! Some of the names are actually quite clever. At the end of the day, however, these planning engines are basically netting requirements and time phasing the resulting signals for either procurement or manufacturing MRP!


Figure 5.6: MRP Inputs and Outputs

Material planning is the process of taking the requirements handed off from the...