Follow up in production control

Follow up or expediting is that branch of production – control procedure which regulates the progress of materials and parts through the production process. Although it is the agency charged with the responsibility for the production order after they are dispatched, it is very nevertheless closely interrelated with dispatching. Follow up serves as a catalytic. Agent to fuse the various separate and unrelated production activities into the unified whole that means progress. It concerns itself with the reporting of production data and the investigating of variances from the predetermined time schedules. As such, follow up endeavors to see that the promise is back up by performance.

More and more industrial and other purchasers are turning to delivery performance report to measure the production reliability of their supplier. These reports may be prepared weekly, monthly, but either way, cumulatively over a period of time, they show the number and percentage of each supplier’s shipments which were late as received compared with delivery promise. The records then become one of the factors considered in awarding subsequent purchasing contacts to competing suppliers. The result is an increasing emphasis on making shipments “on time” and a focusing of attention on follow up techniques as the means to improved delivery performance.

Type of follow up


The follow up of purchased material is, as will be noted in the section on procurement. Primarily the responsibility of the purchasing department. The original requisition upon which the purchase of materials is based usually specifies the date on or before which the material is required, and it then becomes the duty of the purchasing department to insure that is received so as to be available by that date. However, certain orders for material or for subcontracted items may be extremely vital to maintenance of delivery promises to the customer, whereas other orders may simply be required to maintain a normal bank of or raw material or parts in anticipation of future customer orders. Changed conditions may require that the delivery date of certain material be advanced.

Thus it is frequently advisable for the follow up section of production control department to follow out standing material requisition placed with the purchasing department which are deemed vital to the maintenance of preplanned schedule. This follow up may be accomplished most simply by feeling one copy of requisition un daily follow up file or in the tickler file according to the date the material is a due to be received.

Delivery information as obtained from the purchasing department through this type of follow up can be transferred to the stock records to supply a ready cross reference for the source of the information.

Work in process

The follow up of work in process in a lay out by product consist primarily of checking the material required for that process and recording the production accomplished for comparison with preplanned scheduled. Ones material enter the production line, it cannot easily becomes side tracked or dormant. Thus, when the material is put into process in the desired sequence, follow up of that material is a relatively simple matter. Generally a daily production record or a control chart will reveal any delays in production items along the line. Thus, by use of principle of exception, late items can be given special attention

The same cannot always be said for the follow up of work in job order manufacture. Where product are diversified and where the number of order are running a concurrently in the plan, it is possible to order sequence to become jumbled or to be changed deliberately to meet emergency condition. Hence, follow up men or expeditor in conjunction with the foreman must continually reexamine the progress of order at values operation so that any delay item can be given the green light through the rest of the process and the lost time can made up.

As a part of follow up activities of job order manufacture, a record is usually made of the start and completion of each job or operation, as well as of the number of pieces made and those which are defective or spoiled. Allied which such record as those showing the idle time of man and of machine which thus reveal lost time condition requiring investigation.

Follow up of job order manufacturing may be organized either by product or by department. Under the first system a follow up clerk is a signed to follow up or “father” a particular product through all each operation and through all department from the raw material to its completion. However, where the follow up is organized according to the department, a follow up clerk expedites all product through a particular department, and when each article move to another department, the responsibility for its control is placed in the hands of another follow up clerk. The “fathering” system usually operates best when the product represent a complicate assembly requiring, numerous component part all of each must be available before assembly of the product can completed, for under this system one men is responsible for following all the component part. However, disadvantage to this system lies in the fact that frequently several follow up men, each interest only in expediting his particular material, hound a certain foreman for the simultaneous use of the same machine and equipment. Thus for less complicate product, it is frequently advisable for the follow up to be organized by the department so that one follow up man is left with the responsibility of advising the foreman how to make the best use of this facilities.

Assembly and erection

Responsibility for assembly and erection of products in assembly manufacture is almost `invariably vested in one follow up man using the fathering technique. Recognizing that is virtually impossible always to bring together component part of an assembly exactly the right instant, many companies provide matching centre for temporary storage of the component parts a waiting assembly. When all parts are available, the follow up man permit assembly or erection of the product to start. In the chase of large and complicate product, the assembly and erection as well as the subsequent servicing of the product may of necessity take place at the purchase plan. This type of erection is frequently required for machinery and for other highly technical article where the follow up man must be thoroughly acquainted with the engineering detail of the product, with the field, and with the trouble shooting and servicing of the product after it goes into service.

Preventing Production delays

As can be seen from the foregoing, the follow up man or expediter is concerned with the delays that creep into industrial production. He learns of the delay through analysis of the production reports and through personal observation. He must not only take corrective action after trouble has occurred but also anticipate and prevent it before it actually develops. An ounce of prevention is far more valuable than a found of cure where delays in industrial production are concerned.

Common causes of delays for which the expediter can help administer the remedy include:

  1. errors in planning

these are essentially errors of production management whereby equipment is scheduled with work beyond its capacity to produce, set ups are excessive as the result of scheduling uneconomically small lots, or manpower demands hae been underestimated. The follow up man, by his close association with plant conditions, is often able to discover such errors and have them rectified before serious trouble is caused.

  1. Lack of materials, tools, or equipment.

Here the problem may be a basic one of improper planning, or it may derive from a delivery failure which could have been prevented by closer follow up by the purchasing department or production expediter.

  1. Equipment break downs

Preventive maintenance and duplication of vital pieces of equipment help to minimize delays from break downs. However, the expediter can assist in seeing that prompt transfer is arranged to the alternate, or “stand-by”, equipment as break downs do occur.

  1. excessive rejections

material scrapped at any point in the process in excess of the scrap factor allowed subsequently cause a shortage in the finished item. The follow up man is instrumental in setting in motion the machinery to replace the defective material in expediting the replacement lot so as not to delay the production of the finished item.

  1. out of balance in process inventories

where the bank of materials builds up to a point of excess between other operations with a resultant starvation of material between other operations, slight spurts or lags in production can cause operators to run out of work. The follow up man must then take steps to level off the float to a point where idle man and idle machine time from this cause is eliminated.