Demand Solutions is an Advanced Planning & Scheduling (APS) solution that integrates with your ERP system, enabling you to optimize your production schedule based on efficiency goals, profit objectives, customer service and other key business drivers. For companies that require APS capabilities, the impact can be significant in terms of increased efficiency, improved customer service levels and increased visibility across departments.
Disconnected Planning Process
Production scheduling can be very time consuming and difficult to manage when the process is not tightly integrated with the material planning & production system, resulting in a “disconnect” among various departments and objectives. The more resources you have to manage, the more complex and overwhelming the planning & scheduling process becomes. Often times the process involves meetings with sales, purchasing and production in an attempt to keep the disparate systems “in sync”. The production schedule is maintained in a spreadsheet or Access database, apart from the material planning & purchasing system and/or shop floor system.
Even when the scheduling process is fully integrated, traditional “drag & drop” scheduling systems do not consider material as a constraint, resulting in scheduling operations or jobs unrealistically before the component part or raw material is available. Customer and engineering
change order can be difficult and time-consuming to manage as well.
When it comes time to execute the production plan, all of the inefficiencies and “disconnects” manifest on the shop floor. While one machine is a bottleneck, another machine with the same capabilities stands idle, or instead of grouping jobs to minimize set-up time, excessive time is spent changing over repeatedly.
Even if the schedule starts out where materials are available when needed, throughput is efficient, and customer orders will be shipped on time, disruptions occur that require the planner’s attention. What happens if a machine goes down, you have a “rush” order, or you simply do not have the capacity to get two orders out at the same time? Managing the disruptions can be more time consuming than creating the original plan. Analysing the impact of your scheduling
decisions can be even more challenging.
The more waste that is introduced through the planning system, the higher your production costs are, which results in less profit. In most manufacturing companies, planning & scheduling is critical to the successful execution of the production process. The more resources you have to manage and the more jobs you have to schedule, the more complex the environment becomes. At times, the objectives may appear to be conflicting; how do you maximize profit, minimize set-up time and meet delivery dates? Successful execution requires purchasing, production, shipping, customer service and management to be “on the same page”.
The planning process needs to be connected so that capacity loads are efficiently and effectively managed; detailed, actionable schedules are communicated to production; and material requirements are communicated to purchasing based on realistic schedules.
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