Constraint-Based Scheduling

The purpose of constraint-based scheduling is to create an optimal production schedule by stating constraints over the production parameters such as hourly throughput, inventory, storage and transportation capacity.  A limited number of resources such as machines have to process a set of activities in a limited amount of time respecting all the constraints.

Outdated Plans and Disparate Spreadsheets

Creating efficient production schedules while managing inventory and customer service levels is a major challenge. The production planner has to make daily decisions on the size and timing of production runs for different products. He or she need to consider factors such as stock coverage, resource utilization, and delivery performance.

In order to synchronize volatile supply and demand constraints throughout the supply chain, a planner needs to consider the cause and effect relationships between millions of data points in the blink of an eye. ERP systems can provide some of the data, but they can’t respond quick enough to changing demand patterns, address dynamic lead-times, minimize overtime, optimize plant utilization, manage materials deliveries, and streamline or balance production lines. Therefore, planners often have to live with a number of disparate spreadsheets, whiteboards, and hand-crafted tools containing only a glimpse of the scheduling problem to be solved. The resulting plans are incomplete and static making it impossible to effectively deal with supply chain disruptions and demand volatility.

Supply Chain Benefits

A company’s supply chain can make or break the business. Constraint-based scheduling gives powerful support for better resource utilization and simultaneously balancing customer requirements with cost — while also respecting complex manufacturing constraints.

Increase in Operating Margin

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Inventory reduction

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Efficiency improvment

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On time delivery

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Concurrent Planner Solution

The Concurrent Planner increases product availability, minimizes inventory, and improves on time delivery. It is a lightweight, yet comprehensive solution connected to the company’s information systems. The Concurrent Planner provides users a modern web-based solution.

The Concurrent Planner maintains consistency between sales plan and production plan at all time and plans production in real-time – even for the whole business year – taking into account the various constraints concurrently.

Prioritized, real-time re-planning

Companies strive to profitably align supply with demand. When orders come in, you should be able to make delivery quotes with confidence. This requires to reliably promise availability and meet aggressive commitments in real-time. All customers are not created equal. Now you have a powerful solution to ensure that your most important customers receive the special treatment they deserve.

The Concurrent Planner allocates orders to forecasts based on your priorities – whether that means emphasizing certain customers, channels or geographic regions. When orders are processed, they are allocated to planned demand, such as the forecasts, reservations, and sales quotas that served as input for planning. This order allocation is performed according to strict rules, based on business-specific requirements, for instance, to give high-margin customers higher priority. Priority numbers are assigned to orders and then automatically shift urgency based on rank. This ensures the next-most pressing order is always moving to the top of the production queue.

The Concurrent Planner creates an achievable production plan with constrained production scheduling that improves customer service and reduces production costs. The Concurrent Planner gives you early visibility into whether or not demand plans can support, for example, key material and capacity constraints on the supply side, like long lead times or single-sourced components. It identifies mismatches between supply and demand—even those that are months away—and helps you adjust your purchasing plans and manufacturing capacities accordingly.

Optimized production schedules

A growing number of manufacturers are experiencing a shift in order types, volumes and requirements from customers. Customers increasingly demand a larger product mix and lower volume of individual products delivered more frequently. Consequently, manufacturers are facing massive changes in the way they must operate their plants, maintain margin, and generate a profit. In this business environment, the production operation needs to be much more agile to accommodate rapidly changing production demands, including real-time production rescheduling and efficient hot jobs handling.

The shift to a larger product portfolio introduces an array of new complexities, including more daily changeovers, a greater variety of materials and varying setup strategies for production runs. In this volatile production environment, the Concurrent Planner enables accurate, always-on production scheduling to ensure on-time delivery at lowest cost of production. It efficiently accommodates changing requirements such as hot jobs or unanticipated orders by re-optimizing production schedules on the fly to fully maximize manufacturing output and customer service levels. The Concurrent Planner integrates production information into one system connected by a single database which allows production parameters to be automatically checked and verified, while user control is still maintained. Once the sales plans and orders have been automatically imported, the system selects which orders and quantities to optimize and schedule, based on specified parameters such as target production windows (a day, a week, etc.).

Maximize cost-effective throughput

To stay competitive, companies need to cut the total cost of the supply chain in order to reduce their inventory and capital footprint. A well-run organization makes it possible to function effectively with virtually no inventory. When inventory is maintained in a distribution hub or plant, there are a number of potential dangers. Components or finished goods might be stolen, damaged, or misplaced, and in some cases, parts may sustain damage simply with the passage of time. Furthermore, inventory requires a great deal of space.

The Concurrent Planner avoids overproduction by using planning methods such as prioritized production groups and adaptive, demand-based safety levels for products that more accurately estimate sales and adjust the production rate accordingly. Ideally the company produces an item just as a customer purchases it. Such planning requires a rapid updating of sales figures and an agile production schedule. The Concurrent Planner produces the highest possible throughput with the lowest possible inventory, while ensuring high quality and delivery performance. It optimizes against all resource-specific constraints such as cleaning and set-up times.