Home / What APS Advanced Planning and Scheduling means

What APS Advanced Planning and Scheduling means

APS Advanced Planning and Scheduling is a key activity for manufacturers, because it allows them to face today's challenges like shrinking lot sizes, growing product complexity, growing process complexity and extensive supply chains.

To understand how important APS Advanced Planning and Scheduling is, one must also consider the many disruptive events that manufacturers are increasingly faced with. The pandemic was one such event, with an unprecedented impact on the global manufacturing ecosystem. These intensified supply chain challenges have prompted proactive companies to implement new holistic supply chain management strategies. Users must be able to support these strategies by leveraging APS Advanced Planning and Scheduling tools with considerably more firepower than spreadsheets and other home-grown systems.

What do you mean by APS Advanced Planning and Scheduling?

APS Advanced Planning and Scheduling software uses algorithms to:

  • analyse and calculate achievable production schedules;
  • taking into account a range of constraints and business rules;
  • allowing the planner to generate and evaluate multiple possible scenarios.

Tools for advanced planning and scheduling improve the synchronisation of manufacturing processes, giving you greater visibility and control to increase utilisation and on-time delivery, while reducing inventory levels and waste.

APS advanced planning and scheduling allows PCB assembly manufacturers to achieve benefits such as:

  • Better forward visibility of production
  • Improved utilisation and efficiency
  • Reduction of inventory and work-in-progress (WIP)
  • Easier impact analysis and change management
  • Better customer service

What are the main components of Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS)?

To list the main components of an APS Advanced Planning and Scheduling system, it is useful to refer to the most advanced of these tools, Opcenter APS. Opcenter APS by Siemens is made up of powerful features that allow you to build a custom solution, including both Advanced Planning and Advanced Scheduling features. We have listed them in the following table.

Advanced Planning

  • BOM Level Planning
  • Interactive Schedule Visualization
  • Make-To-Order Planning

Advanced Scheduling

  • Advanced Constraint Modeling (Professional)
  • Advanced Material Handling
  • Advanced Schedule Optimisation (Professional)
  • Assembly Process Visualisation (Professional)
  • Development Environment (Ultimate)
  • Interactive Schedule Viewing (Ultimate Viewer)
  • Order Based Multi-Constraint Scheduling (Standard)

What’s the difference between planning and scheduling?

APS Advanced Planning and Scheduling software differs from other planning systems. A tool like Opcenter APS includes two different kinds of activities: Planning and Scheduling. They are not the same and are very often misunderstood.

  • Planning is about strategy: what to make, when to make it, how much is required, and where best to make it.
  • Scheduling is about how best to make it, sequencing, abiding by constraints, and managing shop floor.

A Planning system is a s strategic decision tool, even when it is included in an APS Advanced Planning and Scheduling software. It considers forecast and long term orders to decide feasibility and set general direction of production. Dynamically sets target stock levels to meet future demand. Loads balance across multiple resources considering constraints, materials shelf life. Supports major decisions of production capacity, to allow consideration of extending the work force, extending resource capacity or extending the factory.

Planning systems are bucketed (monthly, weekly, daily) and cannot preserve operation sequences within the time bucket.

A Scheduling system is a tactical decision support tool taking into account a range of constraints and business rules, allowing the planner to generate an achievable schedule. It considers detailed production demand to provide production sequence, work to list. Predicts effects of change in production, interruptions, machine breakdown, scrap. Reacts to real time production efficiency. Supports decisions about: Overtime; Order prioritisation; Split production batches; Due Date Negotiation; Order Promising (CTP/ATP).

True scheduling systems are bucketless, preserving sequencing, and capable of generating work-to or dispatch lists. Assigning an operation to a resource is a key function for achieving operational efficiency and optimising performance. Detailed scheduling uses a shorter time horizon and a much more detailed process route than a planning system.

APS Advanced Planning and Scheduling
Differences between Planning and Scheduling

What is APS in supply chain management?

Modern APS advanced planning and scheduling software is designed to support holistic supply chain management strategies. Below are the three primary functions of an APS system that support critical decision-making on production plans.

  1. Modeling complex relationships and interactions of manufacturing environments
    Production environments consist of resources, such as machines, people, materials and operations. Each of these environments introduces constraints to the planning process. For example, machine availability is limited, warehouse space is finite, departments have a maximum work capacity or limited energy consumption and time is a pervasive and constant constraint on operations. An APS system can be used to model all of these factors and understand how they interact with each other; how each operation consumes resources and energy, and how it occupies operators and equipment. The APS system facilitates a step-by-step approach, starting from the basic element (resources, operations and materials) and then building in relevant parameters up to the most complex constraints. The system then enables you to fine-tune your model by iterations of model-and-verify.
  2. Rapidly evaluating different scenarios
    APS systems can run multiple production configurations, allowing you to test changes to specific details or boundary conditions. You can vary individual conditions and analyze the impact on relevant data and key performance indicators (KPIs). These what-if scenarios are useful to evaluate the impact of supply chain disturbances on complex, dynamic interactions within manufacturing facilities. For example what if:

    • Materials are delayed by three days
    • I can get the part from only one of my suppliers
    • I need to expedite a customer order
  3. Facilitating cross-functional collaboration, interaction and breaking down communication silos
    Production planners adopting APS systems can effectively manage inquiries from various departments, such as sales, procurement, maintenance, shop floor and finance, by running what-if scenarios. They can also support the "control tower" of production to proactively drive the supply chain. Modern APS systems can connect to the shop floor, enterprise resource planning (ERP), manufacturing execution systems (MES) and warehouse and logistics to provide planners with up-to-date information and enable them to make reliable predictions. They can also represent multiple facilities or areas simultaneously and allow planners from different areas or plants to collaborate.

Want to stay updated on the world of electronics?

Subscribe to the Cadlog newsletter!

Scroll to Top