A Brief Introduction to Capacity Planning

Learn more about capacity planning, how it benefits you, and how to effectively perform it with a digital solution.

people having a capacity planning meeting

What is Capacity Planning?

Capacity planning is the process of estimating and determining if the available resources are adequate to meet specific needs and demands. It involves an assessment of materials on hand, materials to acquire, and the process involved to utilize them to get their desired results.

Importance and Benefits

Capacity planning is an important part of many different business and project processes. As it involves assessing available resources to meet project requirements, it helps set expectations, deadlines, production scheduling plans, and goals, both for the business owner or project owner and their customers. It also helps in analyzing if a certain project or business plan is feasible or not, and if a specific team or organization has the means or capacity to carry it out within a set timeframe.

It is important to note that resource planning and capacity planning work together but are not the same. Resource planning deals more with managing resources and how to allocate them, while capacity planning involves resource planning along with determining if schedules, manpower, and workloads align to meet your goals.

Some other benefits capacity planning can bring include:

  • Managing resources more efficiently for goals
  • Tracking and managing time spent and to be spent
  • Creating and improving teams and their teamwork dynamics
  • Assessing and managing workload for individuals and teams
  • Avoiding burnout and overwork
  • Setting realistic goals and timelines

How to Perform It

There are different ways to do capacity planning, depending on your needs and industry. The most common strategies can be grouped into the following:

  • Lag strategy, which entails having the right amount of resources to fulfill demand as it is.
  • Lead strategy, which entails having enough resources to fulfill demand estimates, not just the actual demand.
  • Match strategy, which combines both lag and lead strategies by monitoring the actual demand, their estimated demand, and the changes in the market to adjust accordingly.

Most Common Uses

Capacity planning can be used for both long-term and short-term projects. It is often utilized for the following:

Product Capacity Planning

A major use for capacity planning is for ensuring your business or project has the right amount of resources to fulfill client demand and other goals. Managing your raw materials or supplies is an important part of product capacity planning, as well as monitoring client demands and changes in supplies.

Workforce Capacity Planning

This type of capacity planning is about making sure you have an adequate number of workers to meet your goals and demands. This is also about having enough working hours to complete their job well without compromising the work-life balance for your employees.

Tool Capacity Planning

Lastly, this type of capacity planning ensures your business or project has the necessary tools to complete your goal or your client’s demands. Some tools and assets that need to be considered include machinery, raw connector materials, and anything else to make sure your products or services are delivered on time.

Kevin Gausch
Article by
Kevin Gausch
Kevin has a Lean and Six Sigma Black Belt from Villanova University and Certified Manager of Quality and Organizational Excellence through ASQ with a focus on the construction industry. Kevin has 13 years of Quality and Project Management experience in the utility contractor space, including; electric transmission, distribution and substation, gas distribution and pipeline, and telecommunications, both inside and outside plant. 16 years of construction experience overall.