Clear to Build (CTB): A Supply Chain Planning Technique

Each year manufacturing supply chains grow more complex as manufacturers further specialize to reduce costs and improve capabilities. However, this specialization requires managing complex supply chains to produce an end product.

Leading manufacturers are now looking to dedicated supply chain planning solutions, such as the Clear to Build tool discussed here, to better manage their supply chain with modern software.

The Growth of Modern Supply Chains

Modern manufacturers are highly specialized and are not vertically integrated. So, to create an end-product, they outsource the manufacturing of any components outside of their specialization.

But, with modern products requiring hundreds or thousands of components, end-product manufacturers need to manage an extremely complex supply chain.

This model of manufacturing, combined with globalization, led to Supply Chain Management becoming a critical business function and a field of specialization of its own. The supply chain manager, also referred to as the global supply manager (GSM), is responsible for managing an entire organization’s supply chain.

They make sure all necessary components are delivered and available when needed to meet the production schedule of finished goods. This involves ensuring components arrive on time, with the correct amount, and meet all quality control standards.

What is Clear to Build Supply Chain Planning?

Clear to Build(CTB) is a technique used by supply chain managers and production planners to track the availability of outsourced components and raw materials. It aims to ensure a seamless and uninterrupted production flow.

As the term ‘Clear to Build’ suggests, the main goal of this activity is to ensure that all components are available when needed and clear for production builds at any point in time.

To accurately track the availability of components and their status, a CTB organizes and tracks data from various sources such as:

  • Bill of Material (BOM): This is the list of parts and their quantities required to build the final product
  • Inventory: Shows the current inventory of parts
  • Part Deliveries: Schedule and quantities of upcoming part deliveries
  • Production Forecast: Daily, weekly, or monthly production target quantities for the finished good
  • Orders and Lead Times: Shows the parts that are on order and standard lead times for delivery

Once the data points mentioned above are collected, the supply chain manager can proceed to conduct a Clear to Build analysis. With just the use of a spreadsheet, its possible to run a simplified version of Clear to Build analysis. For additional details, more accurate predictions, and adaptability, a detailed Clear to Build analysis can be conducted using dedicated tools.

So, what is a simple Clear to Build analysis, what is a detailed Clear to Build analysis, and how do you know which analysis your organization needs?

Simple Clear to Build Analysis

A simple Clear to Build analysis can be done with a basic table on a spreadsheet. An example of a simple Clear to Build analysis is shown below:

Diagram 1: A simple Clear To Build shows, at a high level, if the on-hand component inventory and ordered quantities would meet the production build demand

In this example, the supply chain manager can quickly see what products are needed, which ones are on order, and when they can expect additional stock.

This type of simplified analysis is sufficient for smaller production runs where you can expect all the parts to be delivered in full prior to the production start. It also involves manual data crunching. These two factors prevent it from being a scalable solution.

For larger and more continuous production runs with staggered/partial part deliveries, a simple CTB would not be adequate. This scenario calls for a more detailed CTB.

Detailed Clear to Build Analysis

Unlike the high-level view shown above, a detailed CTB analysis accounts for weekly production variability and staggered part deliveries. This enables supply chain managers to plan part shipments at a more granular level. With the right tool, a detailed CTB analysis can even adapt to the dynamic nature of modern supply chains.

Detailed Clear to Build (CTB) analysis provides much more granular information
Diagram 2: Detailed Clear To Build gives you a weekly view of part availability and upcoming deliveries against a production build schedule

Detailed Clear to Build analyses heavily rely on software solutions to manage data points, extract insights, predict potential scenarios, and integrate into other enterprise software.

What to Look for in a Modern Clear to Build Solution

Modern Clear to Build solutions, such as Kaizoft CTB, go beyond a simple spreadsheet by leveraging modern data analysis tools and cloud based software platforms. These tools integrate into existing systems to track shipment data, warehouse data, manufacturing schedules, and much more. This helps reduce the need for manual data entry while providing more accurate and up-to-date data.

Bonus: View Kaizoft’s CTB platform demo to get a glimpse of a modern solution

An Industry-leading Clear to Build solution empower supply chain leaders in an organization with features that can:

  • Provide granular visibility to part shortages.
  • Provide actionable insights for supply chain managers to mitigate risks.
  • Allow scenario planning to plan based on different production forecasts and delivery schedules.
  • Deliver warnings and notifications on schedule slips, shortages, and order due dates.
  • Eliminate the dependency on manual data analysis with spreadsheets.
  • Integrate with existing ERP/MRP systems.

To help manufacturers better leverage the capabilities of CTB, Kaizoft has created one of the worlds first dedicated CTB solutions. Kaizoft Clear to Build offers support for end-to-end supply planning to provide control and visibility into your supply chain operations. Expand your supply chain capabilities today with Kaizoft Clear to Build and be better prepared for the dynamic nature of modern supply chain planning.

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