Production Planning for Major Projects-“Planning” vs. “Production Planning and Control”

It is very important to clarify a few terms.

Pull systems receive a lot of attention as they exploit the immense knowledge and cooperation of the field trades to achieve the project goals. Pull systems are driven by field-level managers including trades and subcontractors. In a pull system, these field managers provide input to the production plan and make the plan.

Push systems are developed and driven by the upper levels of project management. They develop the production plan based on the baseline plan, and then coordinate the trades and subcontractors to achieve that plan.

Project Planning is a process whereby experts decide in advance the needed activities and their sequence to achieve the project (Kelley and Walker 1959). Planning focuses on long-term goals, and should result in a comprehensive strategy of what should be done, when, and by whom.

Project Control is “putting plans into action to cause objectives to be achieved. The job of project controls is to set cost and schedule targets in alignment with project scope, and to monitor progress toward those targets” (Ballard and Tommelein 2016).Production planning is the detailed process required to operate day to day with maximum reliability, efficiency, and value. Production planning focuses on the flow and how works will be done (Abdelhamid 2004). The production plan must remain nimble to adjust the workforce for changes, delays, bottlenecks, and other minor hiccups with minimal downtime or waste.

Production Control functions as a steering mechanism to keep operations on track by continually aligning progress with its targets. Control is achieved when promised assignments are met (Abdelhamid 2012). When targets are not materialized, it is detected quickly using a customized problem solving technique. Then, alternative ways to achieve the targets are developed in a rapid learning and reliable promising fashion (Ballard and Tommelein 2016).

Construction Scheduling is the process of determining the work breakdown structure of the project, estimating resources, estimating the activity durations, determining the start and finish dates of each activity, and sequencing the project activities based on independencies, constraints, and logic.

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Dr. Luai M. El-Sabek