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APICS Operations Management Body of Knowledge Framework, Third Edition

2.6 Strategic capacity

2.6.1 Learning curve

This is a phenomenon where the labor content of large manufacturing projects, such as aircraft, decline steadily as cumulative production increases. This decline in labor content is predictable and related to a doubling of production. The curve takes the form of an exponential decay curve.

When planning for changes in capacity, it is prudent to plan for ramp-ups or ramp-downs. There are stress points in all organizations at which adjustments to certain levels of magnitude are not immediate and automatic. For example, when adding a new product line, it would be normal for at least a short interval of less-than-peak capacity as workers get used to the new product and pace. This would be equally true of service organizations as they get used to new services. Learning curves are variable and can be minimized through investments in training, education, testing, and practice prior to full implementation.

2.6.2 Timing and sizing considerations

See section 2.1.7.