Managing Advanced Planning and Scheduling Software Risks (Part 1)


You are planning to purchase production scheduling, production planning or Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS) software.  You’ve done your homework, and done a justification.  The software should more than pay for itself.  However, you know that there is risk in any software implementation.  How do you identify the risks and how to manage them?  This post seeks to help.  It lists below some of the more common risks and suggests mitigation strategies:

1. Unclear Goals

As discussed in What Problem are We Trying to Solve?, everything about your Advanced Planning and Scheduling Software project flows from your goals.  Your goals will drive how your scheduling model is built, how you interact with your production scheduling software vendor or vendors, and what software you decide to purchase.   If your goals are not clearly agreed upon, stated, and communicated, you will chase your tail.

2. Lack of features

You’ll need robust production scheduling / production planning software to help you reach your goals. How can you be sure the software you are evaluating can help?  We advocate working with your vendors to build a sample scheduling model.  This model should be targeted at your goals, reflect your manufacturing environment, and include samples of your data.  Read more about the software demo at How Do I Know if A Production Scheduling Solution Can Solve My Problems?

3. Poor vendor relationship

Work together with prospective advanced planning and scheduling software vendors prior to the sale to know what they will be like to work with after the sale.  The best forum for this work is the sample scheduling model discussed above.  After going through the process of building this model, you will learn much about your vendor.  You can learn more about picking a vendor and checking vendor references in How Should You Pick a Production Scheduling Vendor? and  How Should You Use Production Scheduling Vendor References?

4. Bad or Incomplete data

In order to generate good schedules, Advanced Planning and Scheduling software can require more detailed and accurate data than your organization has.  To some extent, poor or incomplete data in will equal poor schedules out.  To mitigate this risk, work with your vendor to develop a data plan before you purchase.  It can also be helpful to select software that allows you to generate reasonable schedules with minimal data, and allows you to refine those schedules over time as you collect more detailed data.  You can read more at How Can I Satisfy the Data Needs of Production Planning and Scheduling Software?

In the next post, look for more risks associated with implementing production scheduling and production planning software, and learn about how to manage those risks.