In today’s competitive industry, manufacturing companies are realizing the need to enhance their business’s efficiency, overall factory utilization, and labor productivity. And this has necessitated the use of advanced planning and scheduling (APS) software, which can be utilized stand alone or alongside other management systems to further boost a company’s efficiency rate.
Perhaps the benefits and ease of use of this software are one of the reasons why it’s been used across different industries. These include manufacturing, distribution, mining, retail, better management of resources, labor, materials, and inventory.
And considering how beneficial it can be to your business operations, it’s essential to choose one that would bring you optimal value. And so, here are some key features of the APS software to look for.
- Powerful Processing Chips
One essential feature to be integrated into any APS software is a powerful processing chip. It might be a common fact that the more powerful your processing chips are, the faster your computer can run and the more resources you can utilize.
It is necessary because the software should be able to handle vast amounts of data with ease, such as planning and production scheduling, and generate reports in seconds. Ideally, this is what APS software with powerful processing chips does, helping reduce the complexity of manufacturing plants in day-to-day operations.
The use of APS software with powerful processing chips is emphasized to allow you to do more calculations you can perform at once. Due to this, you can create substantial formulas to create more information from your data. It may come in handy when doing complex calculations in real-time. As a result, you can schedule better jobs with better lead times and have less downtime on your equipment.
- Advanced Modeling Capabilities
Another feature you need to look for in advanced planning and scheduling software is high-tech modelling capabilities that could allow quick and accurate information processing. The different ways APS technology does this include linear programming, mixed-integer programming, constraint programming, or simulation models. As a result, this can allow the processing of vast amounts of data quickly while still being accurate enough to produce reliable results.
The advanced modelling capabilities are necessary because the APS software needs to provide accurate data on the productivity and availability of resources such as machines, labor, workstations, and raw materials. With such data, the APS enables you to have an easier time coming up with the best manufacturing plan for your company.
In addition, the APS software also needs to perform what-if analyses. It means that the APS should be able to simulate various situations based on different factors so that you can use these simulations to foresee any upcoming problems and plan in advance to avoid them. And for this software to do its job effectively, whether it’s creating a forecast or optimizing production schedules, it needs excellent modelling capacity to process lots of information quickly.
- Fast Runtime
Speed is another crucial element to consider when searching for advanced planning and scheduling software. You want a tool that could help you make the most out of your time and not waste it by taking hours to run. After all, you want excellent modern software solutions that allow you to generate an accurate schedule or plan within minutes or seconds, depending on the complexity of the task at hand.
As such, it is essential to invest in APS software that is designed to run fast. Due to its powerful algorithm, it may allow real-time optimization of your production line. In addition, it can provide you with more time to focus on other tasks to increase efficiency throughout your organization.
With an APS Software that offers you an efficient and reliable runtime, you may be able to generate a precise schedule or plan in minutes or seconds in certain instances. It could be a good and welcome feature because some of these planning and scheduling programs are known to take many hours or even days to provide an output.
- True Optimization Algorithms
Another key feature of APS is true optimization algorithms. True optimization means that the software will use real-time data to make calculations and find the best possible solution for each problem. The results can be more accurate than if you were trying to do it by hand.
In addition, true optimization algorithms could help you in the planning process. These algorithms can allow you to compare different schedules or plans with each other and decide which is best for your business. This way, you can easily choose a schedule that will work best for you.
With that said, any optimization algorithm can only be as good as its ability to model the scenario accurately. It must be able to choose the correct data, analyze it correctly, give a clear picture of what needs to be done, and finally, execute it properly.
- Ease Of Use
Another critical feature of advanced planning and scheduling software is its ease of use. This type of software should enable you to easily and conveniently build a model, even without the help of a team of highly skilled specialists.
Good advanced planning and scheduling software must also provide a user-friendly interface so that the users will be able to find their way around without much fuss. After all, if your employees can’t use the system efficiently, they may not be able to maximize its benefits.
With easy-to-use APS software, you can minimize frequent workshops or seminars training your employees on the ins and outs of the software. This, as a result, can enable you to save time and resources, which you would have otherwise spent training your staff, and instead, use it to grow your business.
The Bottom Line
Choosing the right advanced planning and scheduling software is critical for any business. This is because, with the right APS software, you’re more equipped to succeed in the complex and dynamic manufacturing environment easily.
And to help you determine which software would be ideal for your company, this detailed guide has outlined the key features to look for in APS software.