Advanced Planning And Scheduling

What is Advanced Planning and Scheduling?

advanced planning and scheduling

Advanced planning and scheduling (APS) refers to a production process that combines production planning and detailed scheduling to create feasible plans and schedules.  This supply chain optimization process is run in an advanced planning and scheduling system.

This process is executed with the help of advanced planning and scheduling software.  The goal is to increase customer satisfaction, reduce production costs, and improve overall production efficiency by:

  • adhering to order due dates
  • reducing changeovers
  • reducing downtime
  • improving resource utilization
  • reducing planning and scheduling team overtime
  • reducing reliance on tribal knowledge

Rather than having to rely on manual calculation and estimation, businesses that deploy an APS solution will find that they have a much better understanding of the capability of their shop floor.

As forecasting is one of its primary functions, APS is deployed at the beginning of the manufacturing phase. This solution provides accurate predictions based on available resources and production capacity. It provides the data that is used to power enterprise resource planning (ERP), manufacturing execution systems (MES), material requirements planning (MRP) systems, enabling short-term strategizing and long-term planning with a high degree of accuracy.

APS goes beyond initial forecasting, however. It continues to be effective even once production is underway, helping businesses to stay on top of operational demand and any changes in the market. These businesses can then make required changes from a position of confidence, drawing upon the data and insight that drives modern business and production.

In short, an APS solution is a critical part of any manufacturing operation's data-driven strategies.

What Does Advanced Planning and Scheduling Do?

The solution is intended to offer a vantage point from which management teams can oversee the operations and capabilities of their facility. The solution can work with orders that have already been received, or it can model predicted orders to plan and schedule production in the long term.

APS solutions then calculate the available empirical and predicted data to provide reliable values based on what needs to be produced, how much of it needs to be produced, when these products need to be produced, and where these products need to be delivered. The solution is able to handle such formulae with relative ease, while human personnel would struggle to provide the same level of accuracy and insight through manual calculations.

Management teams may decide to deploy APS solutions on a standalone basis or as an integrated component of their broader digital infrastructure. The best APS solution will integrate fully with manufacturing execution systems (MES) or other pieces of software to achieve seamless functionality and interoperability.

What Is the Difference Between Production Planning and Scheduling?

An advanced planning and scheduling solution is designed to be as comprehensive as possible, providing enterprise users with the production planning and scheduling capabilities they need to achieve optimal facility capacity. But what exactly is production planning, and how is this different from scheduling? Both of these processes work towards similar ends but are different in crucial aspects.

Advanced planning focuses on a medium- to long-term view. Businesses use this process to organize their production capabilities and capacities and to make sure resource levels are sufficient to meet upcoming demand. Any potential constraints and sticking points are identified ahead of time, and management teams can use this planning forecast data to take the actions required to avoid these.

While the planning phase achieves a long-term forecast, scheduling is about building a strategy for project execution in the short term. Each component of the manufacturing process — from human resources to work stations and material requirements — is factored into the capacity planning and capability assessment.

If we are to define these terms with simple definitions, planning is concerned with the what, when, and where of manufacturing, as well as the quantity. Scheduling, on the other hand, is all about defining exactly how the plan is to be executed.

Benefits of Advanced Planning and Scheduling

Why is Advanced Planning and Scheduling so important for businesses? What benefits does an APS solution provide to a manufacturing facility like yours? Let's examine some of the key advantages:

  • Reliable lead times and achievable manufacturing targets
  • Capabilities that are in line with demand — no surplus stock and no missed sales opportunities
  • Streamlined manufacturing phases, freeing up resources for new jobs more quickly
  • Cost-effective manufacturing from start to finish
  • Increased machinery and equipment lifecycle, thanks to better resource planning
  • Data-driven insight into future capacity and growth potential
  • Flexible inventory control and management, keeping your business ready for action while reducing wastage and revenue loss
  • Agile changes to manufacturing processes as and when required
  • Improved relationships right across the supply chain
  • A comprehensive solution that achieves planning and scheduling functions via a single platform

Difference Between Production Scheduling Software and APS Software

There are a number of different software options available to you as you seek to optimize the production at your manufacturing facility. Two of the most common digital solutions available to manufacturers are production scheduling software and APS software. So, which of these options is best for your shop floor and your operations?

In essence, these solutions provide much the same functionality to businesses. While they may be marketed under different terms, the advantages they offer are likely to be somewhat similar. The key thing you need to be aware of when deciding whether to choose a production scheduling system or an APS platform is this: how much of a comprehensive solution do you need?

If you are after both production scheduling and planning functionality, make sure the solution you choose can provide this. In many cases, a production scheduling software solution may only handle the scheduling side of things. An Advanced Planning and Scheduling software option is likely to deliver more advanced functionality, providing powerful data-driven forecasts and offering increased flexibility in terms of data management and export, for example, than a standard production scheduling solution.

Reach Out to Optessa and Discover More About Advanced Planning and Scheduling for Your Business

The Optessa team is committed to crafting enterprise-quality software solutions that help our clients achieve what they need from each and every manufacturing project. This means creating APS solutions that integrate with businesses' existing digital infrastructure — from ERP solutions to customer relationship management (CRM) platforms.

Reach out to our team today to discover more about what this solution means for your business.

Production Planning and Scheduling

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