What Is APS (Advanced Planning and Scheduling)? A Key ERP Integration

Posted by Rick Yvanovich

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APS (advanced planning and scheduling) is an advanced manufacturing management system that allocates raw materials and production capacity optimally in order to balance demand and capacity constraints. It represents a revolution compared to traditional planning systems, most notably MRP (manufacturing resource planning), which is also the grandfather of ERP.

As such, APS is well-suited for complex manufacturing environments, including:

  • MTO (made-to-order), ETO (engineer-to-order)
  • Production of highly engineered products that consists of many components
  • Production of multiple products within one factory
  • Frequently changed schedules and requirements

ERP for advanced manufacturers

Managing real-world constraints

While legacy ERP focuses on managing resources, APS focuses on managing constraints. APS can realistically simulate your throughput by taking into account bottlenecks in your supply chain and manufacturing process. The result is much more feasible plans that can be executed.

Read more: Manufacturers adapt to Industry 4.0

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Typical real-world constraints that an effective APS system can handle are:

  • Specialised skills and tools: if there are a limited number of workers whose skills are essential to certain tasks or if there are just a few specialised tools, APS will recognise such limitations when planning production.
  • Availability of raw materials: APS considers what materials are actually available today, not what are promised to be delivered in the future.
  • The overall capacity of manpower and machines: APS seeks to optimise your whole production process rather than separate phases. 
  • Production sequence: an effective APS system should be able to identify the optimal sequence in order to cut down changeover time.

Concurrent planning

In older approaches, multiple steps are performed separately and then pieced together. For instance, material requirements, constraints, and capacity are planned in isolation. And in many cases, constraints planning is omitted altogether. Conversely, APS is capable of combining all these processes into one single source of truth.

Global optimisation & collaboration

An APS system seeks optimised solutions to the entire demand and supply chains rather than to individual processes and sub-processes. It also provides frameworks for collaborating with vendors and customers. When information is exchanged on a planning level across multiple systems, both inside and outside your business, you are one step closer to true global optimisation. 

Read more: How ERP revolutionises manufacturing: problems and solutions

Primary benefits of APS

1. Keeping promises to customers

APS makes realistic plans based on real-world constraints and capacity that can actually be executed. Unprecedented capabilities such as backward and forward scheduling, varying lead times give APS significant advantages over legacy planning and scheduling systems.

2. Faster planning

APS allows manufacturers to plan from a single source of truth across all systems. Advanced APS systems employ powerful mathematical algorithms to make intelligent decisions quickly.

3. Rapid response to changing demand

When you have new orders on top of existing ones, or when the delivery date of a high-priority order is changed, APS can quickly come up with all possible alternatives and choose the most optimal ones.

For advanced manufacturers who need end-to-end integrated processes, APS should be a key “must-have” functionality in their ERP requirements.

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Topics: Enterprise Resource Planning ERP

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 Rick Yvanovich
 /Founder & CEO/

With TRG International Blogs, it is our mission to be your preferred partner providing solutions that work and we will make sure to guide your business to greatness every day.

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