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Production Scheduling Software


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NetSuite logo
 
NetSuite Manufacturing Edition offers an integrated inventory, warehouse management, accounting and financial management, order management, customer relationship management (CRM), and e-commerce platform. Offered as a cloud-based solution... Read More
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NetSuite Manufacturing Edition offers an integrated inventory, warehouse management, accounting and financial management, order management, customer relationship management (CRM), and e-commerce platform. Offered as a cloud-based solution... Read More
 
Fishbowl Manufacturing logo
 
Fishbowl Manufacturing is a business automation and inventory management platform for small to mid-sized. It integrates with QuickBooks accounting. Fishbowl offers inventory control, material requirements planning (MRP) and job shop... Read More
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Fishbowl Manufacturing is a business automation and inventory management platform for small to mid-sized. It integrates with QuickBooks accounting. Fishbowl offers inventory control, material requirements planning (MRP) and job shop... Read More
 
ECi M1 logo
 
ECi M1 is a complete on-premise enterprise resource planning (ERP) system that automates financials, inventory, production, sales/quoting, and production planning. The software is designed to meet the requirements of small to midsize... Read More
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ECi M1 is a complete on-premise enterprise resource planning (ERP) system that automates financials, inventory, production, sales/quoting, and production planning. The software is designed to meet the requirements of small to midsize... Read More
 
Infor VISUAL ERP logo
 
Infor VISUAL is an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) System with end-to-end functionality built for manufacturing organizations looking for a complete solution that supports the entire operational lifecycle, from planning to sourcing,... Read More
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Infor VISUAL is an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) System with end-to-end functionality built for manufacturing organizations looking for a complete solution that supports the entire operational lifecycle, from planning to sourcing,... Read More
 
Global Shop Solutions logo
 
Global Shop Solutions offers a One-System ERP software to serve clients across manufacturing industries of all sizes. The multi-modular application comprises of independent modules for customer relationship management, inventory management,... Read More
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Global Shop Solutions offers a One-System ERP software to serve clients across manufacturing industries of all sizes. The multi-modular application comprises of independent modules for customer relationship management, inventory management,... Read More

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E2 Shop System logo
 
E2 by Shoptech Corporation brings all business operations into a single simple solution, from estimating to scheduling, purchasing, shipping and even customer management and accounting, with its easy-to-use solution. Designed specifically... Read More
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E2 by Shoptech Corporation brings all business operations into a single simple solution, from estimating to scheduling, purchasing, shipping and even customer management and accounting, with its easy-to-use solution. Designed specifically... Read More
 
KeyedIn Manufacturing logo
 
KeyedIn Manufacturing is a cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution specifically designed for custom, make-to-order and mixed-mode manufacturers. The solution offers manufacturers a solution that can be customized to... Read More
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KeyedIn Manufacturing is a cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution specifically designed for custom, make-to-order and mixed-mode manufacturers. The solution offers manufacturers a solution that can be customized to... Read More
 
JobBOSS logo
 
JobBOSS by Exact is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) built for small and midsize manufacturers in North America. It allows key office and production staff to manage job information day-to-day to aid customer service and on-time... Read More
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JobBOSS by Exact is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) built for small and midsize manufacturers in North America. It allows key office and production staff to manage job information day-to-day to aid customer service and on-time... Read More
 
IQMS MES Software logo
 
IQMS’ flagship product, EnterpriseIQ ERP, is developed specifically for SMB and large discrete, and batch process manufacturers in the aerospace, medical device, automotive, food and beverage, consumer products, plastics, packaging... Read More
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IQMS’ flagship product, EnterpriseIQ ERP, is developed specifically for SMB and large discrete, and batch process manufacturers in the aerospace, medical device, automotive, food and beverage, consumer products, plastics, packaging... Read More
 
Infor SyteLine ERP logo
 
Infor SyteLine ERP is a mixed-mode application for engineer-to-order, configure-to-order, repetitive and service-based manufacturers. It’s suitable for companies in industries such as aerospace, metal fabrication, plastics and rubber... Read More
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Infor SyteLine ERP is a mixed-mode application for engineer-to-order, configure-to-order, repetitive and service-based manufacturers. It’s suitable for companies in industries such as aerospace, metal fabrication, plastics and rubber... Read More

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SYSPRO logo
 
SYSPRO offers Enterprise Resource Planning software to support the control, integration, and synchronization of the life of the manufacturing process for both short and long production runs. Implementing SYSPRO is made simple with... Read More
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SYSPRO offers Enterprise Resource Planning software to support the control, integration, and synchronization of the life of the manufacturing process for both short and long production runs. Implementing SYSPRO is made simple with... Read More
 
ProfitKey ERP logo
 
With over 30 years of experience in the ERP and Manufacturing markets, ProfitKey International has developed Rapid Response Manufacturing (RRM) to provide a fully integrated ERP and MES solution for small to mid-size manufacturers.... Read More
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With over 30 years of experience in the ERP and Manufacturing markets, ProfitKey International has developed Rapid Response Manufacturing (RRM) to provide a fully integrated ERP and MES solution for small to mid-size manufacturers.... Read More
 
Henning Visual EstiTrack ERP logo
 
Visual EstiTrack ERP is an on-premise solution for small to midsize shops that offers manufacturing execution management, light material requirements planning, product lifecycle management, supply chain management, customer management,... Read More
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Visual EstiTrack ERP is an on-premise solution for small to midsize shops that offers manufacturing execution management, light material requirements planning, product lifecycle management, supply chain management, customer management,... Read More
 
Deskera logo
 
Deskera is an enterprise resource planning software formulated to run manufacturing operations. The system is suitable for companies manufacturing for a variety of industries. Textiles, automotive, distribution, metal processing, pharmaceuticals,... Read More
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Deskera is an enterprise resource planning software formulated to run manufacturing operations. The system is suitable for companies manufacturing for a variety of industries. Textiles, automotive, distribution, metal processing, pharmaceuticals,... Read More
 
Mar-Kov CMS logo
 
Mar-Kov CMS (Chemical Management System) was developed to meet the unique needs of process, batch, and formulation based manufacturers. By automating daily routine processes, companies are able to streamline their operations while... Read More
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Mar-Kov CMS (Chemical Management System) was developed to meet the unique needs of process, batch, and formulation based manufacturers. By automating daily routine processes, companies are able to streamline their operations while... Read More

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EVO~ERP logo
 
EVO~ERP was first introduced to the market in 2004 as a fully integrated, real-world business solution, providing an organizational, financial management, and business intelligence platform from which companies can revolutionize their... Read More
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EVO~ERP was first introduced to the market in 2004 as a fully integrated, real-world business solution, providing an organizational, financial management, and business intelligence platform from which companies can revolutionize their... Read More
 
OptiProERP logo
 
OptiProERP is a cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution for small and midsize discrete manufacturers and distributors. Key features include supply chain management (SCM), purchasing, work orders, scheduling and quality... Read More
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OptiProERP is a cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution for small and midsize discrete manufacturers and distributors. Key features include supply chain management (SCM), purchasing, work orders, scheduling and quality... Read More
 
Priority logo
 
Priority is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution that is suitable for midsize to large businesses in many industry segments, including manufacturing, apparel, electronics, food and beverage, industrial machinery and more. Priority’s... Read More
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Priority is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution that is suitable for midsize to large businesses in many industry segments, including manufacturing, apparel, electronics, food and beverage, industrial machinery and more. Priority’s... Read More
 
MIE Trak PRO logo
 
MIE Trak Pro is an ERP offering that is ideal for manufacturing businesses with modules designed to accommodate most production cycles and optimize the capabilities of repetitive, custom, quick-turn and mixed mode operations. MIE... Read More
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MIE Trak Pro is an ERP offering that is ideal for manufacturing businesses with modules designed to accommodate most production cycles and optimize the capabilities of repetitive, custom, quick-turn and mixed mode operations. MIE... Read More
 
Datacor Chempax logo
 
Chempax by Datacor is an integrated enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) application designed specifically for chemical process manufacturers and distributors. The solution can be scaled to... Read More
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Chempax by Datacor is an integrated enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) application designed specifically for chemical process manufacturers and distributors. The solution can be scaled to... Read More
 

Buyer's Guide

by Lisa Hedges,
Content Analyst
Last Updated: September 21, 2017


When standard manufacturing resource planning (MRP) tools are not powerful enough, production managers turn to more robust and more complicated, production planning and scheduling systems (aka “advanced planning & scheduling”). These best-of-breed planning systems use advanced mathematical models to better simulate the production environment. We wrote this buyer’s guide to help buyers unravel the web of manufacturing planning and scheduling solutions.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

What Is Manufacturing Production Planning and Scheduling Software?
What Type of Buyer Are You?
Common Functionality
Benefits and Potential Issues
Market Trends to Understand

What Is Manufacturing Production Planning and Scheduling Software?

“Theory is closer to practice in theory than in practice” is a truism in complex manufacturing. Manufacturing resource planning software is used by manufacturers to allocate raw materials and plan production. MRP works well for manufacturers that have large runs or few products. However, the planning methodologies used by most MRP applications cannot handle the demands of large numbers of small runs of products, orders that change frequently or large numbers of make-to-order (MTO) or customized products. That’s where manufacturing and planning scheduling software comes in.

Manufacturing scheduling software extends MRP in four important ways.

  • Instead of using total capacity as a baseline for each set of planning calculations, it uses available capacity. The difference is that MRP assumes that no other work is happening, while planning and scheduling systems constrains planning based on jobs that are already scheduled.
  • MRP uses simple formulas to project times to complete. Planning and scheduling solutions use more complex models, often running several different scenarios to create a more realistic simulation.
  • MRP tends to take stepped approach to ordering: materials are ordered, received, and then production begins.  Planning and scheduling programs incorporate order lead time when planning the manufacturing planning process. 
  • MRP does not consider the value of particular jobs. All jobs are treated equally. Manufacturing planning and scheduling systems, on the other hand, factors in the profitability of each of the jobs and prioritizes the most profitable jobs.

Manufacturing schedule software is best suited to operations that specialize in MTO or assemble to order (ATO) operations and in agile facilities. They are also useful for organizations that use a large number of components or have complex tasks. Finally, they are critical for firms that have a limited facility that is shared among different product lines that are competing for resources.

Inventory manager dashboard screenshot in Netsuite

Inventory manager dashboard in Netsuite

What Type of Buyer Are You?

The first step in evaluating production planning software is to determine what kind of buyer you are. Over 90 percent of buyers fall into one of these three groups:

Enterprise resource planning suite buyer. These buyers value the seamless integration of data and processes that comes from having one system for all functions. For example, they would prefer a full-suite system for estimating, work-in-progress management and accounting that can automatically turn an estimate into a budget for project management, and then match invoices to project status and allocate job costs. These buyers favor ERP software vendors like Oracle, SAP, Sage ERP or Microsoft Dynamics.

Departmental buyer. These buyers work in facilities that are shared by product lines from different vendors. They are balancing demands from different product managers and must schedule production and justify the schedule to peers and management.

Small manufacturer. Small organizations often have limited budgets and fewer IT resources to dedicate to software. In many cases, they may be deciding between a new system and a new piece of equipment. These buyers need cost-effective solutions that are easy to implement and use. They are seeking solutions that maximize the profitability of their plant or job shop.

 

Common Functionality

Production planning and scheduling software is highly complex, and different vendors specialize in various areas of niche functionality. The following table, however, shows the core features of this software category:

Finite capacity scheduling Complex algorithms allow you to forecast the completion of jobs based on limitations on resources, instead of scheduling jobs without regard to such constraints.
Gantt charts Gantt charts display resource utilization.
Live capacity planning Instead of determining the production schedule in advance, which can result in bottlenecks, you can adjust the schedule in real time as issues occur.
Visual, drag-and-drop scheduling You can easily get a visual overview of the production scheduling. New work orders can be dragged and dropped into the schedule, which updates the overall production schedule.
Multiple scheduling priorities You can assign different priority levels to individual jobs/orders when setting the production schedule.
“What if” scenario modeling Manufacturing production planning and scheduling software supports forecasting via multiple “what-if” scenarios.

Benefits and Potential Issues

MRP systems, whether stand-alone or incorporated in an ERP system, offer distinct benefits over less formal systems. These include:

Better use of equipment. Manufacturing planning and scheduling systems increase company utilization of equipment. For example, the system can prioritize the use of the most expensive equipment to lower that equipment’s cost per project or can prioritize the less expensive equipment to decrease costs across jobs. 

Increased profitability. The combination of increasing utilization and prioritizing the more profitable jobs leads to increased profitability.

Identifying bottlenecks. Planning and scheduling systems can identify bottlenecks and their associated procedures or equipment, giving managers an opportunity to boost productivity even further by adding machines or updating methodologies.

One of the biggest issues that arrive from using production planning and scheduling systems is the tendency for managers to “tweak” the system’s recommendations. This can lead to suboptimal results. If the planning and scheduling system continually gives information with which the manager disagrees, the assumptions must be re-examined or the manager should receive additional training.

Market Trends to Understand

While you evaluate production planning and scheduling systems, make sure you consider these market trends:

Convergence with MRP. As the power of desktop computing continues to grow, traditional MRP systems are adding advance planning functions to their toolkits. Planning algorithms that were once only found in high-end planning systems are now in more moderately priced MRP or ERP systems.

Direct interface with shop floor equipment. Some planning and scheduling systems can get utilization information from equipment, either directly or through the manufacturing execution system. This provides two advantages, the information is more current and it does not have to be entered by hand.

Increased employee satisfaction. Production planning systems can consider employee preferences when allocating resources to a job, allowing employees to work preferred hours or on preferred jobs.

Planning using data visualization. Traditional MRP systems produce reports and planning schedules. Manufacturing planning and scheduling systems do, too, but they are also beginning to offer other visualization tools, such as graphical comparisons of the results of different models.

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