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Language: English

A Food Manufacturing Plan for All Seasons


Constraint-based Planning Constraint-based Scheduling Food Manufacturing Plan

In a business based on time-limited seasonal harvests, proper manufacturing planning is essential.

A full year’s supply for an entire fresh-packed product family must be produced in a few short weeks, while bulk ingredients are also produced in a form that has a longer shelf life, allowing year-round processing to take place. This requires both an accurate long-term demand forecast (to determine the proper mix and quantities of products to be produced) and a constraint-based production planning and scheduling solution (to minimize the impact of constraints and changeovers when processing lines produce multiple product families with different seasonality).

Long-term requirements for materials and finished goods drive successful sales and operations planning (S&OP), while short-term scheduling allows the plant to execute efficiently.

Key items covered in this paper include:
- Safety stock calculations must take into account harvest timing uncertainty as well as forecast uncertainty in order to maintain sufficient inventory to meet unexpected demand during the off-season when no production is possible.
- Insufficient yield may create the need to optimally allocate a constrained supply to a set of products (decide “what not to make”). An ABC classification scheme based on the relative importance and value of different finished goods is essential to making smart planning and production decisions.
- Allergen cleanings, packaging configurations, kosher processing requirements and other factors make it extremely important to minimize equipment changeovers while achieving maximum manufacturing utility. This calls for intelligent sequencing of product families on production lines.
- Supply push (what the production line is producing) and demand pull (the finished packaged goods that need to be made) must be synchronized so that full-scale processing matches the full opportunity presented by the market.

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