Find the best Production Scheduling Software

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NetSuite

FrontRunners 2024

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 (1547 reviews)

105 recommendations

Fishbowl

FrontRunners 2024

Fishbowl is the #1 manufacturing and warehouse inventory management software! Its powerful inventory control system gives your small or midsize business the exact tools needed to transform your inventory management and scale your ...Read more about Fishbowl

4.2 (908 reviews)

87 recommendations

QT9 ERP

QT9 ERP is a highly-scalable manufacturing platform for connecting and automating business data from multiple systems into one scalable and intuitive solution. QT9 ERP integrates inventory management, accounting management, sales ...Read more about QT9 ERP

4.9 (14 reviews)

25 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)

20 recommendations

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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

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 pur...Read more about REALTRAC

4.1 (68 reviews)

18 recommendations

Deltek Costpoint

Deltek Costpoint is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) and management solution designed to meet the requirements of midsize and large enterprise businesses. The solution primarily assists government contractors, professional se...Read more about Deltek Costpoint

4.0 (208 reviews)

10 recommendations

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)

8 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)

7 recommendations

SafetyChain

SafetyChain's digital plant management platform gives process manufacturers the flexibility to rapidly address urgent challenges while offering scalability to expand and drive long-term value. • Gain visibility and control of qua...Read more about SafetyChain

4.6 (58 reviews)

5 recommendations

PolyPM

PolyPM was created by Polygon Software, a provider of technology solutions for apparel manufacturers and textile mills since 2001. PolyPM is a 2-in-1 enterprise resource planning (ERP) and product lifecycle management (PLM) solut...Read more about PolyPM

4.6 (37 reviews)

3 recommendations

V5 Traceability

V5 Traceability is a food traceability and inventory control solution that helps businesses of all sizes in the food and beverage, pharmaceuticals, and manufacturing industries. The MES system helps users streamline manufacturin...Read more about V5 Traceability

5.0 (1 reviews)

3 recommendations

Visual Planning

Visual Planning is a hybrid resource management and scheduling platform that helps businesses to manage their assets and day-to-day operations. The solution can be deployed on-premise or hosted in the cloud. Visual Planning o...Read more about Visual Planning

4.6 (42 reviews)

2 recommendations

FactoryLogix MES

FactoryLogix is a manufacturing solution suitable for businesses of all sizes. Key features include manufacturing execution, quality management, product lifecycle management, supply chain management, supplier management, asset man...Read more about FactoryLogix MES

4.8 (15 reviews)

2 recommendations

Wrike

Wrike is a cloud-based project management platform for teams of 20+ that is suitable for both large enterprises and SMBs. It supports remote work for various teams. This solution comes with Gantt charts, calendars, workload view f...Read more about Wrike

4.3 (2646 reviews)

1 recommendations

monday.com

monday.com is an award-winning work and project management platform that helps teams of all sizes plan, prioritize, manage, and execute their work more effectively. The platform offers solutions for a wide range of use-cases such...Read more about monday.com

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

Odoo

FrontRunners 2024

Odoo is the #1 open-source integrated business apps suite. Main apps include Website Builder, eCommerce, CRM, Accounting, Project Management, Warehouse Management, Manufacturing, Human Resources, and Marketing. There is an app for...Read more about Odoo

ERPAG

FrontRunners 2024

ERPAG is a cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution. It is suitable for small and midsize businesses in various industries, including automobile, retail, education, information technology and more. Primary features ...Read more about ERPAG

Connecteam

Connecteam was designed and built as a true all-in-one solution. Easily engage and manage non-desk employees with a true all-in-one mobile app. Connecteam offers a powerful, mobile-first platform that helps improve communication, ...Read more about Connecteam

Buyers Guide

Last Updated: March 16, 2023

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.