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76 SMT Magazine • September 2017 by David Prunier MC ASSEMBLY So, you have a wedding coming up. Among the struggles of deciding what colors the brides- maids are going to be wearing and who gets to sit next to eccentric old Uncle Russ, you may have had to stop and ask yourself how many people can fit into the church? Then how many people can fit into each pew, (comfortably) and especially, who can endure Uncle Russ for an hour. This little exercise of determining how many relatives, friends and strangers can fit in the church is in its simplest form and ex- ample of capacity planning. For the benefit of our readers, this discussion will focus on the use of capacity planning (CP) in the context related to contract manufacturing. Uncle Russ symbolizes the unknown constraints that may influence your ability to meet customer's de- mand, which a good CP tool should take into consideration. In our first example of determining how many people would fit in the church, we were doing a rough-cut capacity plan. Finite capaci- ty planning (FCP) was determining how many people could fit into each pew, seat or bench. Unfortunately, not all CP is that simple. For those who grew up in manufactur- ing during the 1980s, you probably remem- ber the term MRP II. Manufacturing Resource Planning or MRP II is not to be confused with Material Requirements Planning (MRP). One is the software used to manage the invento- ry, materials purchasing activities and produc- tion plans to meet the customer delivery dates (MRP) versus the methods used for efficiently managing the manufacturing resources of the company (MRP II). We are not going to bore you with the details behind each terminology but rather we want to focus in one of the im- portant elements of MRP II where we see most EMS companies struggling. We will focus our discussion in the Capacity Planning process under the MRP II method. If you would like to learn more about MRP II, we suggest you read the book "The Oliver Wight Class A Standard for Business Excellence". IMPLEMENTING A CAPACITY PLANNING TOOL ARTICLE Figure 1: The MC Assembly customer focus teams meet daily to review findings and identify opportunities for product and process improvement.

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