HomeBlogAgileWhat is Capacity Planning? Types, Strategies, Benefits

What is Capacity Planning? Types, Strategies, Benefits

17th May, 2024
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    What is Capacity Planning? Types, Strategies, Benefits

    Capacity planning is an excellent method for increasing corporate efficiency. When done correctly, it can aid in locating potential areas for growth, boost investment returns, and maintain good worker morale. Planning your resource capacity can be quite helpful when managing several projects, improving your chances of finishing several on schedule and within budget.

    Resources here may include people, processes, and technology i.e. all that augment the business abilities in delivering value to the customer. Using capacity-based planning will help you cut expenses while maximizing the value of your resources across all business areas. The certified Scrum Product owner certification is the best program to gain information about capacity planning examples, tools, and more. 

    What is Capacity Planning?

    Capacity planning is the process of determining how many resources will be required to meet demand. This "demand" may be for the upcoming week, season, or year. It can include the following things: 

    • Hiring personnel to satisfy anticipated demand 
    • Having sufficient resources (machinery, materials, processes) 
    • obtaining everything required to finish the work at hand 
    • Making a decision about any additional tasks that may be required 

    It is about putting yourself and your company in the best possible shape for the future, whatever that may entail. With it, you'll understand how to grow, produce superior design, and anticipate supply chain constraints.

    There are workforce capacity planning tools that help employers determine if they have the appropriate mix and number of workers with the necessary skills, behaviours, competencies, and attributes to provide high-quality care and support. Resource capacity planning tools help businesses plan their resources according to their needs. 

    For example: Figuring out how many pies can be made and baked in a given day using existing equipment and staff (capacity) enables the bakery to plan how many pies they can sell and what resources they need (staff, ingredients, etc.) 

    Network capacity planning is a continuous process that includes constantly assessing network utilization, traffic volumes, and traffic type to identify flaws that could cause performance chokepoints affecting end-user experience and to determine when and where upgrades are required. 

    Different Types of Capacity Planning

    The three different types of capacity planning ensure that you have sufficient amounts of three key resources for both the short- and long-term. You should make plans several weeks, months, or even a year in advance: 

    1. Product Capacity Planning

    You can be confident you'll have enough items or ingredients for your deliveries if you have a product capacity strategy. This would include flowers, vases, and cards for a florist. Likewise, necessities like chlorine for a business that maintains swimming pools. 

    2. Workforce Capacity Planning 

    Planning your workforce capacity ensures you have adequate team members and work time available to finish tasks. Additionally, this planning will show you when to acquire more people and help you establish how far in advance you need to start employing based on the length of your orientation process. It’ll also assist you in communicating overall business, resource, and personnel needs to pertinent stakeholders. 

    3. Tool Capacity Planning

    Planning for tool capacity ensures you have adequate equipment to finish jobs. This includes any trucks, equipment for an assembly line, or machinery required to produce and distribute your product. 

    Capacity Planning Strategies

    Strategic planning is the proactive component of capacity planning to ensure that the company has the resources necessary to achieve its long-term objectives. 

    types of capacity planning strategies

    The lag strategy, the lead strategy, and the match strategy are the three most popular approaches to capacity planning:

    1. Lag Strategy

    Lag strategy involves having sufficient resources to meet actual demand rather than projected demand estimates. The lag strategy is a conservative approach to capacity planning that guarantees the lowest possible costs. This tactic's possible drawback is that it can cause a delay in the provision of goods or services to clients, hence the name. The lag strategy may prevent you from achieving deadlines if you suddenly see a rush in orders or sign a big new client demanding quick turnaround times. 

    2. Lead Strategy

    Increasing your capacity in advance of anticipated future demand allows you to meet that need as quickly as feasible. Lead strategy involves more risk than lag strategy. In lead strategy, you have two options: extend your system or contribute resources. The most typical technique to improve capacity is via adding resources. However, you may incorporate it into your resource planning. 

    3. Match Strategy

    The middle ground between lag and lead strategy is called match strategy. You perform strategic capacity planning more often when you use the match strategy. You keep a careful eye on changes/trends in the market as well as actual and forecast demand. You modify your capacity management to fulfill demand incrementally based on this knowledge. This approach provides the greatest degree of flexibility with the least risk compared to the lead strategy, but it also scales better than the lag strategy. 

    How to Create a Capacity Plan?

    creating capacity planning proces

    Although the capacity planning process might differ from business to business, there are a few fundamental elements that are followed in every process: 

    1. Calculate Current Capacity

    It is time to assess how well your present production capacity is positioned to fulfill demand once you have established the capacity needed. This multi-tiered strategy aims to respond to four important queries: 

    • What is the maximum output my company is capable of producing? 
    • Does it match the demands of the present? 
    • Am I already producing to my fullest potential? 
    • Do I have the bandwidth to accommodate any additional activities?

    2. Track Staff Skills

    Staff participation in a project is not solely dependent on their availability. It's also about their abilities. Therefore, you must be aware of the capabilities and level of competence of all the resources at your fingertips. This will enable you to choose the best candidates for each project. You will comprehend the "supply" side of the capacity planning equation by tracking and knowing this.

    3. Analyze Project Requirements

    The next step is to decide the tasks your team will be working on. If you have a lag strategy, take a look at the projects you have on your books right now and make a reasonable critical path for each one of them. If you're utilizing lead strategy, consider upcoming initiatives and project what resources they will likely need. Consequently, you have the "demand" side of the equation.

    4. Create Visibility

    When you know both the supply and demand sides of the issue, you can determine whether you have the resources necessary to finish your tasks. Senior managers need the means to compare project needs with available resources. They will need to make certain judgments if the capacity to complete specific initiatives is unavailable. Are certain initiatives moved, postponed, or rejected, for instance? Alternatively, do they hire extra personnel to handle the workload?

    5. Choose What to Use

    Spreadsheets, Kanban boards, and individual Gantt charts can all be used to plan capacity. Nevertheless, using specialized software is the most efficient method. The critical path can be drastically altered by a single staff member being absent due to illness or by a change in the project's scope. Additionally, since resources are frequently divided among several projects, this may have a negative impact on several different bodies of work. In such a complicated setting, manually modifying plans would be time-consuming and prone to human mistakes. However, resource planning software can automatically adjust capacity plans with just a few clicks.

    6. Allocate Resources

    Now, allocate those projects according to priority, ensuring they align with the company's objectives. Also, make sure to revisit allocations after constantly reviewing actuals and forecasts to ensure optimal utilization and effective execution of the plan.

    7. Capture KPIs

    Without measurement, management is impossible. Developing and monitoring the Key Performance Indicators is crucial to determine whether your capacity strategy is effective.

    Get certified now with project management professional (PMP) certification and unleash your potential in project management. Elevate your skills and become a certified project management expert!

    Benefits of Capacity Planning

    By forecasting future production requirements, businesses may ensure they have the necessary resources to meet demand. Let’s check out some of the key benefits below:

    1. Reduces Stock-outs

    When you are unable to satisfy customer demand, stock-outs happen. Customers don't like to wait, and the fact that you are "out" of a product or service will simply cause them to go on to another company that can meet their needs. Fortunately, capacity planning has the added benefit of helping you minimize or even completely avoid stock-outs.

    2. Increase Capacity Delivery

    By measuring your delivery capacity, you can ensure that you have the personnel on hand to deliver your items as soon as they are ordered, giving you an advantage over other companies in the market. Many Agile certifications are there to know more about how to increase delivery.

    3. Identifies Process Inefficiencies

    Think about how long your team would take to complete a particular assignment. Knowing how many jobs or projects each team member can take on to complete the project on schedule is quite helpful, especially for the service business. Consider the nature of the work or task each resource is conducting and how long it will take them to complete it if they handle numerous tasks for the same client.

    4. Facilitates Risk Management

    Planning your capacity will also help you become more adept at overcoming challenges. You'll still need to be ready to act swiftly when unforeseen obstacles arise, regardless of how much planning you undertake. You will need to have high-level plans to utilize as a guide in case your supplier unexpectedly goes out of business, or three of your ten drivers get the flu. This will allow you to make wise adjustments immediately.

    5. Eliminates Excess Capacity

    An organization can successfully fulfill future resource requirements by using capacity planning. You can view how much time, effort, and utilization each team member put into completing a task. Making the appropriate decisions about resource management also helps a corporation lower its overall resource costs.

    6. Confirms Availability

    Consider whether you are truly confident that you can complete this job before signing the line segment for that coveted contract. The scope of your new projects should be defined in light of your capacity planning. Then, make sure that your team members are available or that you can bring in more resources for the project. Monitoring employee capacity will also ensure that your team isn't overworked.

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    Capacity Planning Tools

    Finding the best software or tool depends on the priorities you want to set for your team. There are a variety of options available. Some resource management solutions are quite specialized and concentrate only on resource management. 

    • ClickUp 
    • Resource Guru 
    • IQMS ERP Software 
    • Trello 
    • Backlog view in agile management tools 

    Manufacturing Capacity Planning

    Manufacturing capacity planning is a process for determining the maximum production rate achievable at a facility or on a manufacturing line, comparing this rate to client orders and predicted demand, and developing a strategy to maximize actual output. Because it assists manufacturers in considering the actual limits of available production resources when they build production plans and schedules, this method may also be referred to as "finite capacity planning." 


    Capacity planning involves predicting upcoming company demands and ensuring that resources are available to meet those needs. By planning for capacity, you can ensure your company has the resources it needs to meet present and future demands.

    Capacity management includes input from numerous roles within the business and various methodologies, tools, and processes.

    You may develop a capacity plan that will help you satisfy demand now and in the future by engaging in strategic planning and considering variables like production capacity, resource capacity, and imminent requirements. You can refer to KnowledgeHut certified Scrum Product Owner certification course for better understanding.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    1What is the goal of capacity planning?

    Capacity planning management ultimately aims to strike a balance between expenses expended and resources needed, as well as supply and demand. 

    2What are the steps in capacity planning?

    The steps are: 

    • Recognize current capacity. 
    • Speculate on future demand. 
    • Determine potential sources of increased capacity. 
    • Examine your hazards. 
    3What is the capacity planning process?

    It is the process of calculating the production capacity required by a company to satisfy shifting consumer demands for its products. 

    4How is manufacturing capacity planning done?

    It involves figuring out the highest production rate feasible at a facility or on a production line, comparing it to client orders and predicted demand, and then developing a plan to do so. 


    Lindy Quick

    Blog Author

    Lindy Quick, SPCT, is a dynamic Transformation Architect and Senior Business Agility Consultant with a proven track record of success in driving agile transformations. With expertise in multiple agile frameworks, including SAFe, Scrum, and Kanban, Lindy has led impactful transformations across diverse industries such as manufacturing, defense, insurance/financial, and federal government. Lindy's exceptional communication, leadership, and problem-solving skills have earned her a reputation as a trusted advisor. Currently associated with KnowledgeHut and upGrad, Lindy fosters Lean-Agile principles and mindset through coaching, training, and successful execution of transformations. With a passion for effective value delivery, Lindy is a sought-after expert in the field.

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