Block planning is an industrial planning system used for in-house production. A product type can be produced in different variations using the same resources and following the same basic process plan. Block planning supports the production planning and scheduling for this type of system. A block represents a pre-defined sequence of production orders of variable size.
Block planning enables the planning or pre-assignment of resource capacities in the production process for products with specific attributes. It enables a more rational and efficient use of those capacities. Blocks are defined with specific duration and attributes, for example, 3 days per block on which products are manufactured in various colours.
In piece-oriented sectors such as metal and paper production, upstream planning is often used to define the type of products and which attributes are to be produced. This typically relates to plant needing to be set up in a particular way, when it is inefficient in terms of time and costs to change the set-up more than is necessary.
There is more emphasis, in piece-oriented production, on the resource for which only one production step is executed. It is usual for an order for run over several resources, in which each of the operations could be grouped according to different aspects.
By contrast, the process industry commonly groups several orders together as a ‘campaign’, which is more defined by the material characteristics of the end product. The emphasis is more on an order level, as the process cannot normally be interrupted once it has begun.
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