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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:
“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.
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.
The first step in evaluating production planning software is to determine what kind of buyer you are. Over 90% of software buyers fall into one of these three groups:
While you evaluate production planning and scheduling systems, make sure you consider these market trends:
MRP systems, whether stand-alone or incorporated in an ERP system, offer distinct benefits over less formal systems. These include:
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.
E2 Shop System. Deemed the “Best in Class” shop management system among ERP options, the University of Notre Dame announced in March 2012 its selection of E2 Shop System for their college of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering. The program will be for applied research by the Hessert Laboratory.
Fishbowl Inventory. In May 2012, Red Herring listed Fishbowl in its Top 100 North American Tech Startups for 2012. Being the most requested inventory management solution for Quickbooks and a well-known asset management solution, Alex Vieux, Publisher and CEO of Red Herring explained their selection, “We believe Fishbowl embodies the vision, drive and innovation that define a successful entrepreneurial venture. Fishbowl should be proud of its accomplishment, as the competition was very strong.”
SYSPRO. SYSPRO announced in June 2012 that Supply & Demand Chain Executive’s 100 recognized SYSPRO as a “supply chain solution provider that is leading the way in transforming companies’ supply and demand chains.” Samuel Strapping Systems, a manufacturer of steel and plastic strapping, implemented SYSPRO ERP and reduced inventories by $2 while still meeting customer demand.