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What Is Production Routing?

What Is Production Routing?

The production routing process is an integral part of manufacturing, and it helps to establish the most efficient method of production.

Routing in production is about formulating a plan in detailed steps, to convert raw materials into finished products.

The Importance of Production Routing in Manufacturing

Production routing establishes the steps needed to produce something, defines operational sequence, and the materials and equipment required to convert raw materials into finished products.

It also mentions the time needed for each task.

Effective product routing helps manufacturers to cut costs, optimize operations, and boost efficiency.

Production is streamlined and quick and wastage is minimal; it also facilitates quality control and ensures consistency, essential for customer satisfaction.

Production routing is also required for maintaining compliance as manufacturers are mandated to adhere to several regulations with regard to safety, sustainability, and quality.

You can also become more flexible by adjusting your production routing strategy to adapt to fluctuating demand, sudden equipment breakdown, or supply chain disruptions.

This will help the business to stay competitive.

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The Shop Production Order

This shows all the materials, tasks, and equipment to be used in manufacturing; when the material is comprised of several items, a bill of materials is used to determine what items will be required in manufacturing.

It will also show the steps required to produce a finished good.

The routing shows the flow of work, even if they involve outsourcing to external parties for specific tasks.

Routing established the work to be done, how, and where it will be done.

Routing in production planning establishes the optimal sequence of operations to be executed from one machine to another so that manufacturing can be speedy and economical.

It must be continuously refined to achieve optimal supply chains.

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Product Routing Procedures

Product Routing Procedures


You must have a list of operations to be performed at specific times, along with the resource to be used to execute it – like a technician, a drill, blade, or level plane.

You have to allocate a specific amount of time to perform the task, after which it should be moved to the next operations.

The routing must have these operations in the right order to complete the manufacturing process correctly.

Make or Buy Decision

You have to decide what parts of the product you will manufacture in-house, and what you will buy from external vendors.

These decisions depend on lead time, quality, expertise, cost, etc.

Each component must be assessed to determine the best option.

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Bill of Materials

This is the product recipe, which lists all materials, accessories, sub-assemblies, etc. that are need for manufacturing a product, along with precise quantities of each item needed.

Work Center

This simply means the specific equipment or manual resource to be used in that operation or task.

For equipment, details like item capacity, and for employees, their skills; the system needs to be provided with such information.

Configuration and breakdown times have to be determined for every work center, so that the appropriate time is assigned.


Route Sheet

This document defines the operational sequence of manufacturing, along with machines and tools to be used, time needed for each, and the employee in charge of every step.

Determining Lot Size

This is the quantity produced in one production run, and is determined on the basis of consumer demand, equipment capacity, and inventory levels.

Cost, lot size, and production efficiency must all be carefully balanced.


Scrap is the material lost in manufacturing, and must be factored in to calculate overall production cost, and determining the lot size.

Material is lost in processes like shaping, cutting, melting, etc.

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Outside Processing

This refers to the processes that are outsourced to external vendors; you must ensure that they meet your quality standards and stick to the schedule.

Sometimes they may come to your facility to execute the work.

Give Necessary Information and Forms

Manufacturers should give all requisite information and forms to the production team to ensure product consistency and standardization.

Manufacturing orders, job and inspection tickets, equipment and tools, orders for moving materials, etc. are required to be communicated.

Factors Affecting Routing Procedure

Factors Affecting Routing Procedure

Several factors can impact the efficacy of the routing procedure, and manufacturers need to keep them in mind, and take action to address them so that costs are low and efficiency is high:

  • Complex designs require more steps, special skills, or equipment
  • High-volume production necessitates special equipment or more production lines; low-volume production is less efficient, but more flexible
  • Availability and quality of raw materials is an important factor
  • Unavailability of specialized equipment required for specific operations
  • Labor availability and skill level
  • Poor quality control which causes defects or problems
  • Regulatory compliance requirements must be met
  • Disruptions in supply chain like delayed receipt of raw materials
  • Market demand; production process must be adjusted to meet changes in this demand.

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Personnel In Charge of Production Routing

  • Production planner creates the production schedule and defines the operational sequence required. The production planner tracks the progress of the production and adjusts the schedule.
  • Manufacturing engineer designs and optimizes the manufacturing processes needed to manufacture every product. He also checks for snags or inefficiencies in the process.
  • Production supervisor oversees the production and ascertains that every step of the routing is performed efficiently. It’s his job to ensure that they stick to the schedule and optimize the process, manage the employees involved in production, and handle their training.

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  • Materials Manager is in charge of handling materials flow through the process, and has to make sure that materials are available as required, without stocking excess inventory. They must ensure material quality and meet the requisite specification for every product.
  • Quality control manager is responsible for products fulfilling requisite quality standards. He tests and inspects products comprehensively prior to their launch in the market.

All these personnel collaborate with one another to ensure optimal and economic production processes, and ensure efficiency and productivity, and product quality.

When Is Production Routing Typically Used

When Is Production Routing Typically Used

  • When a new product is developed, the sequence of operations is established via production routing and the raw materials, human resources, and equipment required to execute every step are identified.
  • The changes required in the production process in the event of upgrading existing products is defined in a production routing along with all the resources required.

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  • To optimize production processes and identify wastage and inefficiencies, the production process in use is assessed to detect hurdles and redundancies.
  • At the time of planning expansion of production capacity, routing establishes additional resources that will be required for it after evaluating current processes and identifying areas where extra capacity is required.
  • When product quality has to be improved, production routing can identify where quality control measures can be implemented, by assessing the current process and detecting quality issues to be fixed.

KPIs Used to Measure the Effectiveness of a Production Routing System

KPIs Used to Measure the Effectiveness of a Production Routing System

  • On-time Delivery – refers to the percentage of orders that were delivered on the promised date or earlier; high OTD rate indicates efficiency.
  • Cycle Time – time taken to finish a production cycle, from the start of an operation to the start of the following one. This rate helps in identifying process bottlenecks.
  • Capacity utilization – percentage of production capacity that is actually used; a high rate indicates efficiency
  • Overall Equipment Effectiveness – indicates how well equipment is used in production, factoring in equipment quality, performance, and availability.

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  • Scrap rate – percentage of materials or products discarded or wasted in production; lower the rate, lower the wastage
  • First pass yield – percentage of products manufactured correctly on the first try – high rate is desirable
  • Work-in-progress – value of products in production currently but not yet completed. This metric helps detect production process bottlenecks
  • Cost per unit – the total cost of producing a single unit of that product; this helps in spotting areas where costs can be reduced.

Challenges of Implementing Production Routing

Challenges of Implementing Production Routing

As in everything, implementing production routing has its own problems; especially so when it’s a large manufacturing company.

1. No Standardization

Lack of standardization is a huge challenge as production routing requires collaboration of multiple employees and departments.

In the absence of standardization, you will find no consistency, and several anomalies in production processes that could give rise to mistakes, more expenses, and delays.

2. Incorrect Data

Production routing needs accurate data on personnel, equipment, and raw material for every step, and without it, the routing may be incomplete, leading to chaotic production processes.

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3. Resistance to Change

Implementing any new system means your employee have to learn new procedures and methods, and they often resent and resist change.

They may fear change thinking their job security is reduced.

This resistance can cause delayed implementation, leading to poor productivity and higher expenses.

4. Lack of Collaboration

We have already seen that production routing includes multiple individuals and departments; if these departments don’t collaborate there can be several anomalies in production.

It is critical that you encourage all departments and personnel involved to communicate and collaborate so that everyone knows what is happening.

5. Training and Education

It is essential that you provide adequate training to your employees so that they get familiar with the new system and how it helps in attaining company objectives.

Without training, there can be a lot of confusion and mistakes, leading to expensive delays in production processes.

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The Role of Technology Developing and Managing Production Routing in Manufacturing

The Role of Technology Developing and Managing Production Routing in Manufacturing

Technology is an essential part of developing and managing production routing, as the manufacturing environment of today is complex and fast-paced.

1. Manufacturing Software

Manufacturing software helps manufacturers streamline and automate production processes like scheduling production, inventory control, and quality control.

It can also help manufacturing companies to develop and manage production routing by offering a centralized platform to plan and monitor the production process.

2. Automation

Automation helps manufacturers to boost efficiency and productivity, enhance quality of products, and decrease costs.

Robots and automated machines can execute labor-intensive, repetitive tasks more efficiently and quickly, freeing human employees to concentrate on complex tasks that add value.

Automation also helps production to be more accurate and consistent, making for high-quality products.

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3. Machine Learning

Machine learning leverages algorithms and statistical models to help machines to ‘learn’ from historical data to make more accurate forecasts and identify problems in production that could possibly occur, while optimizing production schedules.

Machine learning algorithms study production data and detect patterns and trends that human beings may overlook.

4. Internet of Things (IoT)

IoT means a network of interconnected devices and machines; the technology can be used in production routing for keeping a watch on equipment, improve processes, and facilitate real-time decision taking.

Equipment is embedded with IoT sensors that gather data on different aspects of the production process, like inventory levels, machinery performance, and environmental circumstances.

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5. Digital Twin

This is a virtual prototype of an actual system or product, and is used to simulate and enhance processes before real-world deployment.

If they have a digital twin of a specific process, manufacturers can detect latent production issues and test varying scenarios without disturbing production.

Tranquil offers real-time visibility into inventory, assets, and more, delivering valuable insights that helps you take informed decisions for business growth. Schedule a FREE demo at your convenience to know more.

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