A production scheduler typically works in the manufacturing industry and schedules manufacturing processes to maximize company efficiency and satisfy customer needs. The scheduler determines production priorities and ensures the company has the resources to achieve them. The overall goal is to keep production processes flowing smoothly.
A combination of technical skills and business skills typically are required for effective production scheduling. A scheduler must be knowledgeable about the machines, equipment, materials, and technologies used in a specific industry. A scheduler must also be familiar with business operations, such as sales procedures, order processing, and accounting practices.
An industrial facility often receives orders from many clients with different scheduling needs. A production scheduler oversees each order from the time a sale is made until the order is delivered to the client. The scheduler prioritizes orders and decides how a facility’s resources—machines, materials, and people— will be utilized to produce each order and deliver it on time.
A production scheduler also is concerned with product quality, production costs, and waste minimization. The scheduler verifies that quality standards are met before finished orders are delivered to clients. The production processes also are scheduled carefully to minimize company costs and the amount of waste material that is produced.
The inventory of materials and supplies that a facility needs to manufacture its products are monitored by production schedulers as well. The scheduler checks the inventory regularly to verify that the facility has enough materials and supplies to fulfill incoming orders. If the inventory is going to fall short, the scheduler ensures that more materials and supplies are purchased.
Production scheduling also involves team work. The scheduler communicates the schedule to all the affected departments and then coordinates the work flow between departments. This requires cooperation with sales people, order processors, inventory and purchasing managers, quality inspectors, and the engineers and technical specialists who oversee the production processes. Schedulers also work closely with labor supervisors to ensure that a sufficient number of employees are available to do the jobs needed.
Other job duties of a production scheduler include collecting data and compiling progress reports that describe how well a facility is meeting its production goals. The scheduler identifies any problem areas and recommends solutions for fixing them. This information may be used by managers to decide if and when a facility should be expanded or more employees should be hired.
Production schedulers often try to predict future orders based on past orders as well. The scheduler follows sales trends and collects data on historical demand for particular products. The scheduler may use forecasting software to estimate future demand for these products and help a facility plan its future production goals.