Finding software can be overwhelming. Software Advice has helped dozens of companies choose the right capacity planning software to efficiently schedule manufacturing production jobs.

Showing 1-20 of 253 products

Fishbowl Manufacturing

Fishbowl is a business automation and inventory management platform for small to midsize companies. It integrates with QuickBooks accounting and offers inventory control, material requirements planning (MRP) and job shop floor control/manufacturing... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 101 recommendations

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NetSuite

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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Recent recommendations: 98 recommendations

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JobBOSS

JobBOSS Shop Management Solutions, an ECi Software Solutions company, is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution built for small and midsize manufacturers in North America. It allows key office and production staff to manage... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 25 recommendations

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Intellect eQMS

Intellect eQMS is a configurable cloud-based enterprise quality management solution that helps organizations across various industries to manage the quality and compliance of critical business procedures. Features include document... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 22 recommendations

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Infor VISUAL ERP

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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Recent recommendations: 20 recommendations

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IQMS ERP Software

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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Recent recommendations: 19 recommendations

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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

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Recent recommendations: 17 recommendations

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Prodsmart

Prodsmart is a cloud-based real-time production tracking and management solution designed for businesses in the manufacturing and fabrication industries. Features include shop floor real-time data collection, production analysis,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 17 recommendations

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MasterControl Quality Management System (QMS)

MasterControl Quality Excellence (a QMS Software Solution) is an integrated quality management system that eliminates the need to paper-based quality processes. It helps life-science companies adhere more efficiently to the ever-changing... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 13 recommendations

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Henning Visual EstiTrack ERP

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 manufacturing... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 13 recommendations

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ECi M1

ECi M1 is a subscription-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, available on-premise or via the cloud, that automates financials, inventory, production, sales/quoting and production planning. The solution is suitable for... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 10 recommendations

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Mar-Kov CMS

Mar-Kov CMS (Chemical Management System) is a cloud-based process manufacturing solution for process, batch, and formulation based manufacturers. The solution can also be installed on-premise to automate daily routine processes of... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 10 recommendations

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VISIBILITY ERP

Visibility ERP is a fully integrated and modern ERP solution designed to meet the unique needs of manufacturers of complex products (including To-Order, ETO, CTO, MTO, Project Based, Discrete and Hybrid). It provides manufacturers... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 9 recommendations

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MasterTools ERP

Online Computing designs and develops a proprietary ERP software called MasterTools. MasterTools combines all aspects of production planning, project management, shop floor control, inventory control, e-commerce, and financial analysis... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 9 recommendations

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Made2Manage ERP

Aptean Made2Manage ERP is designed for manufacturers in job shops and dynamic “to-order” and mixed-mode environments. It's suitable for SMB manufacturers in industries like industrial equipment, electronics and fabricated metal,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 8 recommendations

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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 Dynamics... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 7 recommendations

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EVO~ERP

EVO~ERP is an enterprise resource management (ERP) solution that helps small and mid-size businesses to manage inventory, accounting, warehouses and manufacturing. The solution supports multiple languages, currencies, exchange rates... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 7 recommendations

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COSS ERP

COSS ERP is a cloud-based integrated manufacturing and enterprise resource planning solution that caters to businesses of all sizes across various industries such as aerospace and defense, automotive, machine building, metal fabrication,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 7 recommendations

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Epicor Manufacturing

Epicor ERP is an integrated enterprise resource planning that is delivered either on-premise, hosted, or as a cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS) offering. It caters to small, midsize and large enterprises in aerospace, automotive,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 6 recommendations

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Realtrac

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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Recent recommendations: 6 recommendations

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Buyers guide


Last Updated: April 2, 2020

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.