It is commonly accepted that production control systems should correspond to the context within which they are operating, i.e. the production situation. However, rarely is this context indicated or made explicit; for example, the boundary conditions or the range of validity of a particular production control method. Thus, it is the aim of this paper to analyze how the production context could more sys- tematically be taken into account when determining which production control system to use. Whilst it is acknowledged that contextual issues can be approached in a variety of ways, this is dependent on the perspective being considered (e.g. from a management hierarchy perspective, or a process stage perspective). This investigation looks at context from a process stage perspective and firstly considers the major production control approaches (such as CPM, Line-of-Balance, Last Planner System and Critical Chain) to determine their range of validity. Secondly, we endeavour to identify a typology of production control situations (ideal types), together with a suggestion for production control in each case. Finally, we attempt to deconstruct production control into its constituent elements and evaluate the alternative suggestions at this elemental level in relation to their contextual assumptions. In the paper, all three approaches are discussed and illustrated, based on prior literature and field observations.
Production control, Methods, Typology, Decision functions.