To stay competitive in the rapidly advancing manufacturing industry, you have to plan far ahead of your competitors. As we know from the pandemic, no one can predict the future. But with Industry 4.0 manufacturing tools, you can get pretty darn close.
In this article, we’ll discuss how to get ahead of the curve by using advanced planning and scheduling (APS) software, and how it integrates with your ERP system.
What Is Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS) Software?
Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS) software, also known as advanced manufacturing software, is a tool used in manufacturing to optimize the production process. An APS solution can be an independent system or a module within a larger enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. APS modules are designed to help organizations plan and schedule production faster and more efficiently by integrating with other data sources to take into account known constraints and goals.
In short, APS systems automate data collection and analysis to help your team make wiser data-driven decisions during production.
Difference Between APS and ERP Solutions
Advanced planning and scheduling systems can be independent systems or they can integrate with ERP systems.
- APS systems focus solely on optimizing the production process via scheduling and planning.
- ERP systems are holistic central systems that collect and distribute information as needed among any and all departments, from production to human resources to finance.
A small business might opt to skip a robust ERP system and use an independent APS system in an attempt to save costs.
However, medium and large businesses choose an ERP system that integrates with APS modules because the exchange of information among modules can save an incredible amount of resources and increase worker safety. Additionally, larger organizations reap the benefits of being able to completely customize and configure their ERP system and its modules.
5 Advanced Planning and Scheduling Benefits
Advanced planning and scheduling software has many cost-saving benefits. Let’s get into them:
1. More Detailed Scheduling
APS software goes above and beyond basic scheduling and planning. You can configure APS software to consider factors like planned maintenance, employee availability, and set-up times. It can then use this information to schedule production jobs on your machines appropriately, reducing the risk of human error and saving costs on unplanned downtime.
2. Planning for Capacity and Constraints
No customer wants to hear an excuse about bottlenecks and constraints. APS software lets you plan better and further into the future to avoid having any uncomfortable discussions.
APS systems can do this better than humans as they can take into account multiple constraints at the same time. They can consider inventory and material availability, production and delivery deadlines, labor skills, and machine capacity, among other constraints.
In other words, APS systems help to align production schedules with the relevant resources like materials, labor, and machines.
3. Demand Forecasting and Resource Allocation
APS systems help cut costs when it comes to planning for demand and allocating resources. Demand forecasting tools within your APS module use historical data and market trends to predict future demand. This helps your business stay prepared with the appropriate amount of materials to meet demand and reduce costly waste.
4. Analysis of Hypothetical Changes
Arguably one of the most impressive features of APS modules is their ability to answer the question, “What if?”
Before making any big changes to production, inventory, or material acquisition, you can input the hypothetical changes into your APS software and see what will happen if the changes are implemented.
Furthermore, you can make these changes in real time, as APS systems are highly adaptable.
5. Better Lead Times
The overall optimization of production schedules reduced lead times by default. Customers are more likely to get their products delivered on time and to their specifications.
When integrated with your ERP system, you can also be sure that product quality is top-notch. That’s because your IIoT devices can monitor anomalies and communicate with the APS system. Therefore, you can bank on higher-quality, faster, and more efficient production processes.
Get Started with Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS) Solutions Today
If you’ve been looking for a solution to your planning and scheduling woes, we’ve got you covered. Ask our experts about APS solutions today.