This blog post will explore what a work center in production is and how it can benefit your business. Stay tuned!


The work center definition generally refers to a physical location where specific tasks or activities are carried out in business. It is a physical or logical production area used to schedule and route production operations.

Work Center

For example, a workcenter for producing printed materials may have different areas for preparing the paper, cutting type, running press sheets, and so on. It can also help improve efficiency by ensuring that employees have easy access to the tools and equipment they need to do their jobs. By creating well-defined work centers, businesses can improve productivity and optimize resources.

It is usually defined as being either labor or machine-constrained. While it may contain multiple machines or personnel, they are considered identical in processing products assigned to that center.

It may perform multiple operations, but capacity requirements are usually tracked only at the total work center level.

Its definitions can be flexible based on process, reporting capabilities, and organization requirements.

Uses of data in work center

Data here is used for 

  • Scheduling: Formulas entered in the here helps to calculate the duration of an operation.
  • Costing: The formulas entered in the here allows you to calculate the costs of an operation.
  • Capacity planning: Formulas for calculating capacity requirements and availability of capacity are stored in the here.

Work center scheduling

Workcenter scheduling is a technique used in lean manufacturing to optimize resources and improve flow.

It involves creating a schedule for each center in the production process that shows what type of work will be done at each center and when it will be done. This allows the factory to plan production so that the suitable types of work are done at the right time and resources are used efficiently.

Following are the main goals of this scheduling.

  • Decreasing lead time
  • Decreasing set up time
  • Increasing utilization of machine and labor
  • Decreasing work in process inventory
  • Meeting due dates

What is work center in SAP?

It is used in SAP PP for routing operations and production orders. It is blended with SAP modules. They are human resource management(HRM), plant maintenance, and control.

Capacity calculation in SAP

  • Available capacity: Basically, SAP work center capacity indicates machine or labor available hours. Here break hours are not included. For example, a machine is available for production in the production plant from 10 am to 5 pm, and break time is 1hr.

Then the available capacity is = Total available hours – break hours

Available capacity = 7 hrs – 1 hr

Available capacity = 6 hrs

Capacity calculation in SAP work center
  • Required capacity: In the SAP work center, require capacity means the time required to produce a specified quantity of product. To calculate required capacity, SAP considers operation time and capacity formula.

For example, in a factory, the usage of a machine maintains things like labor time, machine time, and set up time. Let us assume the routing time and quantity.

  • Labor time= 60 mins
  • Machine time = 60 mins
  • Machine set up time = 30 mins
  • Base Quantity = 100
  • Production order quantity = 200

Now the capacity calculation for that machine is

Required capacity = machine time X production order quantity / base quantity

Required capacity = 60 mins X 200/100

Required capacity = 60 mins X 2

Required capacity = 120 mins.

Capacity calculation in SAP work center

Work center structure

It contains mainly three levels.

  • Department
  • Planning area
  • Work center

It can be internal or external. An example of a shallow work center is the contractor. In the olden days’ work center consisted of electrical, mechanical, instrumental, etc.

Now, they are replaced by team 1, team 2, team 3, etc.

What is the function of a work center in production?

A workcenter is a place where production takes place. It consists of “equipment, people and material” required to produce goods or provide services. The placement of machinery can affect efficiency, resulting in the difference between an assembly line and the batch production process.

What is the work center in SAP?

It is a logical grouping of activities that share resources or are done in parallel. For example, you might create a work center for processing customer orders and another one for packing the orders. You would then assign the appropriate resources to each work center, such as machines and employees. This would allow you to optimize the use of your resources and improve throughput.
It can be as simple as a single workstation or as complex as an entire factory. In most cases, each will have one or more associated resources (e.g., machines, tools, workers) necessary for performing the work assigned to that center.


The work center is where workers assemble and make products in a production line. Assembling and making a product can be broken down into various stages or tasks that different people perform to create one final good.

For example, A worker may put together an iPhone while another assembles circuit boards for laptops; yet another person might design software that controls how these devices function. Finally, when all the pieces come together, they form a finished product such as an iPad or MacBook Pro (iPad air) ­­- this is what we call “a work center” in manufacturing!

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