Increasing Profitability with Advanced Planning and Scheduling

Planning sits at the heart of most organizations, directly impacting operational costs, revenues, and customer service levels. Every day, numerous decisions are made on how to strategically, tactically, and operationally utilize scarce resources. However, the traditional planning tools that support planners are often inadequate.

What is Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS)?

Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS) helps maximize workforce, resources, technology, and enterprise data to increase service levels and reduce operational costs. By enabling better decision-making at strategic, tactical, and operational levels, it assists in achieving operational excellence.

Businesses need to have the right employees in the right place at the right time. They must strike the right balance between operational efficiency and employee and customer satisfaction. If you want to optimize staff utilization, increase revenue, enhance staff and customer satisfaction, shorten planning times, accelerate planning cycles, and improve management, APS can assist you in these areas.

Increasing Profitability with APS

Most traditional production planning and control systems implemented in companies since the second half of the twentieth century are based on infinite capacity planning logic. Infinite capacity planning produces plans that are impractical to implement in real life because they ignore the capacity constraints of production. However, APS systems address an important need for companies by performing finite capacity planning (considering various capacity constraints existing in production processes).

By using APS systems, companies can achieve improvements in delivery times, reductions in contract penalties and emergency shipping costs, reductions in raw material and finished product stocks, shorter production times, better fulfillment of customer demands, improvements in manufacturing resource productivity and overall factory efficiency, and rationalization in the procurement of outsourcing services.

APS attempts to ensure the best possible synchronization of customer orders with material and capacity through a type of computerized optimization supported by one or more intuitive algorithms. Subsequently, it can connect to systems such as ERP or MES for the execution of the production schedule in the field and for self-updating based on occurring events.

APS systems can be independent systems or part of ERP packages (“enterprise solutions”), especially in large enterprises. Data interfaces are necessary to automatically retrieve input data and send results to other systems. While many APS systems focus deeply on a certain part of the supply chain, some may cover all aspects from end to end, either in a detailed or holistic manner. They generally support planning activities in the following areas: Supply chain planning, Demand management and sales forecasting, Factory planning and scheduling, Inventory planning, Transportation planning, Strategic planning.

Professional Advanced Planning and Scheduling systems provide visibility for multiple simultaneous variables and constraints (e.g., materials, resources, demands) and enhance efficiency by creating optimized plans for multiple criteria (e.g., profitability, service, inventory level). At this point, an increase in production efficiency translates into an increase in profitability.

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