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Experiential exercises with four production planning and control systems

International Journal of Production Research. July 17, 2014

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In the authors’ experience, students have difficulty in understanding the differences between production planning and control techniques. Presumably, current business managers, although they have heard about these systems, may also lack clarity on the differences between them. We outline manual games for simulating production runs in four systems (Materials Requirements Planning, Just-In-Time, Theory of Constraints and CONWIP) to give managers and students’ insight into the mechanics of different production planning control techniques. We then provide Excel-based simulation tools to allow users to vary parameters for each system and see the impact on inventory and throughput. We believe that the combination of manual and Excel-based games significantly enhances understanding of the systems as well as their differences.