Find the best Advanced Planning & Scheduling (APS) software

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NetSuite

With an integrated system that includes ERP, financials, commerce, inventory management, HR, PSA, supply chain management, CRM and more – NetSuite enables fast-growing businesses across all industries to work more effectively by a...Read more about NetSuite

4.2 (1535 reviews)

70 recommendations

Global Shop Solutions

Global Shop Solutions offers ERP software to serve clients across manufacturing industries of all sizes. The multi-modular application is comprised of independent modules for customer relationship management, inventory management,...Read more about Global Shop Solutions

4.1 (70 reviews)

27 recommendations

DELMIAworks

DELMIAworks (formerly IQMS) 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, and elec...Read more about DELMIAworks

4.1 (288 reviews)

18 recommendations

Visual EstiTrack

Henning Software has helped small to midsize manufacturers and job shops for 30 years. Visual EstiTrack ERP has complete material requirements planning, product lifecycle, supply chain, customer relationship, human resource and ma...Read more about Visual EstiTrack

4.8 (11 reviews)

16 recommendations

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Rootstock Manufacturing ERP

Rootstock Software is a global provider of manufacturing cloud ERP on the next-generation Salesforce Platform. It is purpose-built for mid-size discrete manufacturers, with powerful MRP, who are looking to digitally transform on a...Read more about Rootstock Manufacturing ERP

4.6 (11 reviews)

14 recommendations

BatchMaster ERP

BatchMaster Software offers process manufacturing software solutions for the food, chemical, nutraceutical and pharmaceutical industries. Users can run the manufacturing application with QuickBooks, Sage 100&300, Microsoft Dynamic...Read more about BatchMaster ERP

4.7 (6 reviews)

4 recommendations

Acumatica Cloud ERP

Acumatica Cloud ERP provides the best business management solution for transforming your company to thrive in the new digital economy. Through leading-edge technology, best-in-class business functionality, and customer-friendly ...Read more about Acumatica Cloud ERP

4.3 (125 reviews)

3 recommendations

OptiProERP with Sap Business One

OptiProERP with SAP Business One is a complete ERP solution for small and midsize manufacturers and distributors. SAP Business One is an ERP platform designed for small and midsize companies with over 70,000 customers. OptiProERP ...Read more about OptiProERP with Sap Business One

1.0 (1 reviews)

3 recommendations

Cetec ERP

Cetec ERP is a manufacturing enterprise resource planning software built for small and medium sized businesses. Cetec ERP's cloud-based software is designed to help these companies efficiently manage all aspects of their manufactu...Read more about Cetec ERP

4.5 (43 reviews)

2 recommendations

MRPeasy

MRPeasy is a versatile cloud-based ERP system for small and scaling companies (perfect for up to 200 employees). The software offers a complete ERP solution with robust production planning and inventory management functionalities ...Read more about MRPeasy

4.5 (103 reviews)

1 recommendations

QAD Adaptive ERP

QAD Adaptive ERP is a cloud-based solution for manufacturing businesses in the food and beverage, automotive, consumer products, industrial, life sciences, and high tech industries. It combines ERP, supply chain, finance, and cust...Read more about QAD Adaptive ERP

3.7 (19 reviews)

1 recommendations

Prometheus Platform

Prometheus Group is a leading global provider of Enterprise Asset Management solutions that work within ERPs, such as SAP, Oracle, and IBM Maximo, spanning the work management cycle from planning and scheduling to shutdowns and tu...Read more about Prometheus Platform

4.4 (11 reviews)

1 recommendations

Fulcrum

Fulcrum is a cloud-based platform serving small/mid-sized manufacturers and job shops looking for a software platform that truly understands them and their unique, complicated processes. Humans weren’t meant to transcribe data fro...Read more about Fulcrum

4.8 (5 reviews)

1 recommendations

JobBOSS²

JobBOSS² helps job shops, make-to-order manufacturers, and contract manufacturers improve profitability and manage their supply chain. By integrating people, processes, and technology, our quote-to-cash solution reduces bottleneck...Read more about JobBOSS²

SYSPRO

About SYSPRO SYSPRO is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution that is industry-built and provides last-mile capabilities for manufacturing and distribution businesses. SYSPRO provides the solutions, processes, and tools to...Read more about SYSPRO

Fusion Operations

Fusion Operations by Autodesk is the SMB manufacturer’s gateway to digitization. It’s a complete, modular solution that gets any production environment ready for the future of manufacturing. Fusion Operations empowers SMBs with ...Read more about Fusion Operations

Aptean Industrial Manufacturing ERP Made2Manage Edition

Aptean Discrete Manufacturing ERP is the ideal solution for discrete manufacturers seeking to streamline operations, ensure compliance and drive growth. Designed for users who need straightforward, integrated software, this ERP sy...Read more about Aptean Industrial Manufacturing ERP Made2Manage Edition

SyteLine

SyteLine is an enterprise resource planning software created specifically for engineer-to-order, make-to-order, make-to-stock, and mixed-mode manufacturers. Customers in both discrete and process manufacturing can benefit from thi...Read more about SyteLine

CyberPlan

CyberPlan is the software that has enabled manufacturing companies to create optimized production plans for more than 30 years. It does this by anticipating unforeseen events, visualizing the causes of problems and simulating alte...Read more about CyberPlan

abas ERP

Abas ERP is a solution geared towards small to midsize manufacturers and distributors. Abas has three main application offerings on the market today: Abas ERP, Abas Distribution and Abas eB, a line of e-business solutions that can...Read more about abas ERP

Buyers Guide

Last Updated: March 16, 2023

As manufacturing operations grow, complex demands often outpace standard manufacturing resource planning (MRP) tools. Production managers can address these growing pains using advanced planning and scheduling (APS) software. These best-of-breed platforms improve production efficiency using mathematical modeling based on more variables than basic MRP software.

Choosing a software solution can feel daunting when there are so many similar MRPs, APSs, and enterprise resource planning (ERP) options to choose from. This guide will explain what makes APSs unique and how to select the right solution for your business.

Here's what we'll cover:

What is advanced planning and scheduling software?

APS software collects complex production data and uses mathematical modeling to suggest production strategies that improve efficiency and profitability. These systems give production managers predictions and data visualizations to inform their decisions. APS software offers enough flexibility to manage multiple production streams in a single platform.

Common features of advanced planning and scheduling software

While advanced planning and scheduling tools often target different markets or user niches, most platforms offer some version of the following features:

Capacity planning

Organize production capacity based on changing manufacturing demands. Prioritize manufacturing runs based on profitability, urgency, raw material availability, and other factors.

Production scheduling

Assign jobs to specific machinery based on factors such as available capacity and current workload. Avoid scheduling conflicts and wasted downtime using a simple drag-and-drop interface.

Material requirements planning

Control manufacturing inventory and scheduling to meet production goals.

Quality management

Improve production processes by collecting data to identify manufacturing challenges such as bottlenecks, delays, and inefficiencies.>

Key performance indicators (KPIs)

Establish and track performance indicators to evaluate progress and results. Use these metrics to plan future capacity and consider capital investments in new infrastructure.

Gantt charts

Create appealing visualizations to illustrate and coordinate project benchmarks and dependencies.

Order management

Organize, track, and execute complex make-to-order (MTO) and assemble-to-order (ATO) production runs.

What type of buyer are you?

Finding the right production software solution begins with knowing what kind of buyer you are. Here's a breakdown of APS buyers versus MRP and ERP buyers so you can figure out which group you're a part of, and the type of software you need:

Manufacturing resource planning software buyers: MRP buyers manage production using scheduling models that compare each run against constant total capacity, rather than the variable available capacity remaining after considering other tasks on the same equipment. MRPs use simple formulas to predict completion times. Order fulfillment is a linear process that does not incorporate lead time into planning. MRP buyers treat all orders as equal without prioritizing profitability. MRP software tends to be a good fit for manufacturers that perform large production runs with little product variability.

Advanced planning and scheduling software buyers: APS buyers manage production based on actual available capacity, which can change at any time. APSs use complex mathematical models to simulate alternative production scenarios, which helps managers choose the best schedule. APSs also factor in order lead time into fulfillment processes. APS buyers prioritize the most profitable jobs and production scenarios. APS software tends to be a good fit for manufacturers that make or assemble products to order, manage many parts, have unusually complicated tasks, or schedule product lines that compete for resources.>

Enterprise resource planning software buyers: ERP buyers are able to take advantage of all that APSs have to offer, in addition to a few key features for large organizations. ERPs offer seamless data integration to merge many functions into a single platform. ERPs have more tools for business functions such as estimation, work-in-progress management, and accounting. ERP buyers can use the software's estimates to export project management budgets with invoice matching and cost allocation.

Benefits

Advanced planning and scheduling software improves production in several ways:

Prioritize equipment use. APS software lets you schedule production and assembly events around equipment that is more expensive to operate. This strategy ensures that expensive equipment is only used when needed. Users can also prioritize equipment that is cheaper to operate, which saves money. Some systems can even suggest machinery use schedules based on repair cycles and consumables to avoid equipment downtime.

Increase profitability. Comparing production scenarios based on profitability in APS software allows you to focus on production of your most valuable products. Choosing the most profitable production schedule avoids wasteful opportunity costs that come from producing products with narrower margins at the expense of products with better margins.

Identify production bottlenecks. Get a big-picture perspective of your entire production environment to predict possible delays and schedule operations to avoid them.

Key considerations for purchasing advanced planning and scheduling software

APS software allows managers to change or ignore the system's recommendations. However, these modifications often introduce unexpected inefficiencies. Persistent disagreements with APS recommendations may suggest that the system was configured with false assumptions or that your operations manager should receive additional APS software training.

Market trends to understand

Understanding the following trends can help you select advanced planning and scheduling software that will grow with your organization:

  • More and more APSs directly integrate with production floor equipment. Some APS solutions offer integrations that collect real-time data from your equipment. This data can refine production predictions and recommendations, even in the middle of a production run. These integrations also save time and prevent errors by collecting data automatically.

  • Visualizations are becoming more robust. Most APS platforms can produce Gantt charts to display production timelines and illustrate steps that must be completed before other steps can begin (such as assembly). In addition, some platforms now explain production scenarios using a graphical display. This makes it easier for managers to interpret system recommendations at a glance.