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Capacity Planning 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
 
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
 
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
 
TrueERP logo
 
True ERP is an operations management suite available in both cloud-based and on-premise formats which caters to SMB enterprises like wholesalers, construction firms and retailers, along with others. True ERP contains several different... Read More
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True ERP is an operations management suite available in both cloud-based and on-premise formats which caters to SMB enterprises like wholesalers, construction firms and retailers, along with others. True ERP contains several different... Read More

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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
 
JobBOSS logo
 
JobBOSS 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 deliveries.... Read More
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JobBOSS 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 deliveries.... 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
 
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
 
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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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
 
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
 
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
 
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
 
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

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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
 
E2 Manufacturing System logo
 
E2 Manufacturing System by Shoptech Corporation brings all business operations into a single solution, from estimating to scheduling, purchasing, shipping and even customer management and accounting, with its easy-to-use solution.  E2... Read More
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E2 Manufacturing System by Shoptech Corporation brings all business operations into a single solution, from estimating to scheduling, purchasing, shipping and even customer management and accounting, with its easy-to-use solution.  E2... Read More
 
Epicor Manufacturing logo
 
Epicor ERP is a fully integrated ERP solution with extensive functionality for accounting, inventory control, pre-production materials planning, and manufacturing execution (MES). The system is delivered either on-premise, hosted,... Read More
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Epicor ERP is a fully integrated ERP solution with extensive functionality for accounting, inventory control, pre-production materials planning, and manufacturing execution (MES). The system is delivered either on-premise, hosted,... Read More
 
Realtrac logo
 
Realtrac is an on-premise job management solution designed for job shop manufacturers and modular machine shops. It helps small and midsize manufacturers to schedule workflows, manage shop operations, track inventories, manage purchases... Read More
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Realtrac is an on-premise job management solution designed for job shop manufacturers and modular machine shops. It helps small and midsize manufacturers to schedule workflows, manage shop operations, track inventories, manage purchases... Read More
 
MasterControl Quality Management System (QMS) logo
 
MasterControl QMS is an integrated quality management system that can be installed on-premise or accessed through the web. It is suited for businesses of any size and a multitude of industries including agriculture, lumber, industrial... Read More
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MasterControl QMS is an integrated quality management system that can be installed on-premise or accessed through the web. It is suited for businesses of any size and a multitude of industries including agriculture, lumber, industrial... Read More

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Buyer's Guide

by Lisa Hedges,
Content Analyst
Last Updated: September 26, 2017


A wide variety of businesses must grapple with capacity management. Leaders can't simply drop a massive workload on employees and expect to meet a deadline without considering dozens of factors.

In manufacturing production, labor hours, raw materials, tools and equipment, storage and other resources must be carefully assessed before work even begins. All of these moving parts make up capacity—a critical element for production efficiency.

Software can assist companies in applying the complex algorithms to disparate aspects of production operations to meet demand seamlessly. This buyer's guide is designed to help you learn more about the capabilities of capacity planning systems.

We'll cover:

What Is Capacity Planning and Management Software?
Common Functionality of Capacity Planning and Management Software
What Type of Buyer Are You?
Benefits of Capacity Planning and Management Software

What Is Capacity Planning and Management Software?

In the most basic terms, capacity planning systems help companies compare production loads with available capacity within a specific time frame. The process of planning for capacity helps avoid bottlenecks in production, which can impact the entire supply chain.

With data about required materials, equipment availability and man hours and costs, the software is able to spread out production needs across available machine capacity in order to meet demand, on time.

Capacity planning in Infor Visual ERP

Capacity planning in Infor Visual ERP

There are some important terms related to capacity planning:

  • Infinite vs. finite capacity planning. These are the foundational concepts of capacity planning—infinite capacity assumes no limits on resources needed to produce enough units to meet demand. However, finite capacity factors in the constraints involved in real-world production situations.

    For example, planners may know that a particular machine on a production line is only available for a maximum of, say, 10 hours during a normal shift. This is one kind of limitation that impacts capacity planning.

    Thus, capacity planning software helps by scheduling around real-time constraints and other conditions that can impact production, instead of simply planning based on a baseline capacity level.
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  • Production load leveling. Demand isn't always constant for manufacturers. In the case of fluctuating demand, it's necessary to maintain a smooth production workflow, which may include shifting capacity to "level" production across a few days instead of packing it all into one, or by expanding capacity by adding extra shifts or utilizing external capacity to meet demand (by using another manufacturing plant, for example).

Common Functionality of Capacity Planning and Management Software

These systems only have a few individual components, but each one provides useful insights about how to arrange your available capacity to meet production goals. These features often include:

Calendar production view As orders come in, the system can place work into a schedule, and planners can view and edit schedules by dragging and dropping items on a calendar-style workflow chart.

Users can also set priority levels for work orders and assign the total capacity available each day.
Finite capacity management As mentioned above, this functionality allows the system to factor in other planned work schedules, inventory, man hours, material levels and other factors to optimize production plans.
Real-time capacity planning Users can make on-the-fly changes to work order schedules or priorities if problems occur during production, instead of resetting the entire plan.
Scenario testing and modeling Capacity planning tools can help users test unfavorable supply chain scenarios by entering various values to optimize contingency plans.
Reporting As a system is used over time, it collects loads of valuable data. Reporting tools can arrange and visualize that data so managers can identify trends in production and address issues.

What Type of Buyer Are You?

Any software purchase comes with several considerations and questions to ask. Identifying the type of buyer you are helps answer many of those. Below are some of the most common buyer types:

ERP suite buyer. Enterprise resource planning systems (ERPs) are complex platforms to assist manufacturers (and a wide variety of other types of businesses) by integrating data from all departments to gain a holistic view of operations. This software takes into account the many seemingly unrelated factors that can impact production schedules.

Many modern ERP systems offer capacity planning functionality, and use the wealth of collected data to predict potential issues in production that could impact capacity decisions.

MES buyer. Similarly, stand-alone manufacturing execution systems (MESs) typically offer a capacity planning component. Where an ERP gathers and analyzes information about an entire organization, an MES is hyper specific to that company's manufacturing process—maintaining production assets, dispatching production plans and improving quality of the finished product.

Since this type of software is so particular to the manufacturing type, it's often purchased by itself to integrate with an existing ERP. If you're buying an MES, you likely have the capacity planning functionality you need.

Make-to-order manufacturer. These types of companies begin production only after receiving a work order, so capacity planning is more crucial for these organizations than for those that continuously produce units.

In these situations, manufacturers have a short window to plan for capacity, but software can assist with leveling the load and factoring in other available resources necessary to meet production deadlines.

Benefits of Capacity Planning and Management Software

We've talked about the key benefit of automating the complex issue of capacity planning, but the software also offers some complementary benefits:

  • Optimize the use of assets. Especially for manufacturing plants with a variety of asset types, or different versions of the same type of asset, a capacity planning system can help prioritize jobs. This can lower production costs by shifting jobs to equipment that is less expensive to operate depending on the type and time frame of manufacturing.
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  • Spot production bottlenecks. During capacity planning, the software can help identify specific assets or processes causing slowdowns or inefficiencies. The system's recommendations for prioritizing or spreading out work may reveal these bottlenecks.
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  • Boost the useful life of assets. Because capacity planning helps level the workload, the tasks aren't placed solely on one or two machines, so assets and equipment are likely to operate a good condition for longer.

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