APS are decision-making tools that work jointly with an enterprise resource planning system (ERP) to generate optimized planning solutions. These tools, such as DELMIA Ortems, were introduced to make sure organizations have the plan that best suits their needs, while taking into account production constraints.
DELMIA Ortems, from software publisher Dassault Systems, is an APS that can plan and model production constraints to cover needs ranging from long-term planning to fine capacity scheduling on the production floor, all while meeting the requirements of the organization.
Should Planning Be Done via ERP or Ortems?
The majority of companies already have an ERP system boasting material requirements planning (MRP) functions to meet planning needs, but these tools are mainly used in an infinite capacity model. It’s in such a context that Ortems really shines and allows for a migration to finite capacity scheduling, with algorithms that take account of the various planning constraints specific to each organization.
However, the role of the APS is not to replace ERPs, but to complete them by implementing decision-making functions. In that sense, APS work jointly with MRP systems to optimize planning, ensure maximum use of resources, and manage the update of work order dates in ERPs.
Finite Capacity Planning
Finite capacity planning is instrumental in an efficient planning process. The main challenge revolves around the fact that a plan can only be viable if all the resources necessary for its achievement are available at the expected time. Ortems is called upon working in finite capacity to meet this need, all while abiding by the actual capacity of multiple, simultaneous constraints such as:
Machine/work center availability
Production and maintenance schedule
Variable adjustment times depending on the sequence
Machine capacity depending on the period
Machine/work center performance
Shifting Bottleneck Management via Ortems
Managing shifting bottlenecks is a major planning problem; it is hard to deal with them using traditional methods and tools (e.g., MRP systems and Excel components). It is as though the planner is forced into a domino effect where moving a production operation only shifts the bottleneck to another point without actually solving the problem.
APS can easily solve these issues. Ortems can generate a plan based on shifting bottlenecks: labor shortage, machine unavailability, limited resources, etc.
Planning via Algorithms
An APS can plan using algorithms that manage the remarkable volumetrics required to position each operation in an optimal way, in a plan spanning several weeks or months.
A planner that needs to deal with thousands of operations has no other choice than to handle only critical situations. However, Ortems runs using algorithms that helps in the planning of each operation individually. These algorithms cover fine scheduling and load leveling needs, and can be adjusted according to each organization’s priorities and realities.
Ortem’s load leveling algorithm can prioritize production operations (e.g., by expected date, customer priority, forecasts, etc.). The goal of the software is to generate a sustainable finite capacity plan for a given time horizon ranging from a few hours to several months.
On the other hand, Ortem’s scheduling algorithm can generate a plan to overcome the production constraints that will have a major impact on performance and profitability (exchange of die time, work in progress inventory, deadline compliance).
Gantt Planning to Review and Adjust the Plan
Albeit difficult to manage without the right tools, planning with a Gantt diagram has always had the advantage of providing simple, intelligible visuals. Ortems can look for the missing visual references in several ERPs, and find the tools required to adjust the plan. Thanks to the following features, the handling of data is made fairly easy for the planner:
Convenient visualization of the cause-effect relationships generated by the moving of operations
Moving of operations on machines using drag-and-drop
Identification of the critical path of an order
Work order indicators with delay and reason for delay
Lack of material indicators
Relationships between work orders
Simulating Planning Scenarios
Unlike traditional ERPs, which perform in single, fixed environments, APS have the significant advantage of simulating various planning scenarios. Planning simulations can help solve various questions such as:
Should we work overtime?
What period works best for the maintenance of a given machine?
Should we close the plant during holiday periods, or operate at reduced capacity? Can we close a department without creating delays?
Solutions such as Ortems help the planner to generate a variety of simulations, and to record them without affecting the data in the ERP system, all while remaining in a separate, parallel environment.
Performance analysis tools can then assess the KPIs of the different scenarios examined, and help in choosing the scenario that best suits the organization’s needs. The plan is only accepted when it is deemed satisfactory by the planner. Ortems then changes the dates in the ERP system.
Eliminate Siloed Planning
The lack of integrated tools in organizations often leads to siloed planning where each department aims to meet local rather than overall performance goals, with the resulting consequences:
Lack of work in a given department
Production lot too large to optimize planning
Delayed deliveries caused by a lack of synchronization between departments or production steps
Unfortunately, optimizing each service individually seldom generates an effective plan since it does not take account of the entire chain and external factors.
Ortems can generate a scheduling to ensure the performance of each department, and the achievement of the organization’s overall goals that are not necessarily visible by production-related resources (inventory levels, service levels, optimization of costly exchanges of die, etc.).
Production floors are dynamic environments with several variables. Collaboration between many stakeholders is often required to establish an effective planning.
In that matter, Ortems allows for a collaborative planning where several users can simultaneously work on the same plan to resolve unexpected issues such as machine failure, decrease in capacity, production delays, etc.
In the end, manufacturing companies are exposed to an increasing number of planning constraints. Rapid adaptation is of the essence when facing the vagaries of supply chains.
Fortunately, Ortems can help you regain control of your planning processes to promote a proactive management of your supply chain.
Contact us if you wish to learn more about this solution!