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Production Scheduling Software

Production scheduling software, (also called manufacturing scheduling software, finite capacity scheduling software, or FCS software) allows manufacturing staff to generate detailed dispatch lists for individual production machines, units of labor and other manufacturing resources. These dispatch lists consider the finite, or limited, capacity constraints of the resources being scheduled.

The production scheduling software helps users answer questions like: What job should we run next? Should I work overtime this weekend? Which job will be late?

Typically, the production scheduling software deals with a time frame close to the present. Usually, it is given released, or soon to be released, shop orders to schedule. These orders may be supplied via an interface to an MRP / ERP system, or entered manually. Often, the production scheduling software has algorithms that seek to minimize cost and maximize delivery. One way costs are minimized is for the scheduling software to group together like work to minimize change overs. Also, good production scheduling software has a Gantt chart interface for manual schedule adjustment.

Advanced Planning and Scheduling Software

Advanced planning and scheduling software (also called APS software and similar to production planning and capacity planning software), is more encompassing than production scheduling software. It considers not just shop floor capacity constraints. In addition, the advanced planning and scheduling software considers inventory and bill of material constraints, inventory stocking and replenishment levels, and order generation policies.

The advanced planning and scheduling software helps users answer questions like: Will we be able to execute this forecast? In which plant should we run this production? When should we promise this customer’s order?

APS software can operate in time frames which are significantly longer than the sum of all procurement and production lead times. It accepts both sales orders and forecast orders and, through a bill of material explosion, creates purchase and manufacturing orders to schedule. Orders are often promised through the software’s capable-to-promise (CTP) capability. CTP, which considers all capacity constraints, is much more accurate than MRP / ERP’s infinite available-to-promise functionality.