In this article, we will tell you about the 5 key functions or capabilities that an advanced planning and scheduling tool should have.
To be agile in decision making and process management, we first need flexible, intelligent, and connected planning and scheduling tools. This means that they must be able to adapt to any company case or particularity, change any parameter easily and quickly, and be in constant communication with other business applications and systems.
While many companies have planning and scheduling tools, few have truly advanced tools with the capabilities needed to provide a real competitive advantage.
These tools must have certain functions that allow managers to anticipate events, choose the best strategy among different options, make the right decision and respond quickly to unforeseen events, with full visibility at all times. Let’s look at the basic functions that such a tool should have:
- Real-time monitoring
- Real-time re-planning
Knowing the future in order to be able to anticipate events has always been one of the most desired capabilities for planners. If you know what demand you will have and what will happen throughout the year, you can plan much more efficiently with available resources and identify future needs.
Predictive analytics uses data from the past to predict the future. For example, by analyzing past demand data you will be able to know the estimated demand over a period of time, taking into account seasonality, external factors, and other influencing variables.
Incorporating predictive analytics models into such tools will therefore be the basis for optimal planning and begin to gain a competitive advantage from the company’s data.
Simulation capability is another key function that a planning and scheduling tool should have. Following the example above, a company could compare different future demand scenarios and play with them to see how different KPIs, resource utilization, or needs would change in each scenario.
Having a simulation space allows companies to understand much more clearly how different variables affect results and target KPIs.
Planning and scheduling resources in an optimal way are possibly the most challenging task for this type of solution. A small inefficiency in planning can make the difference between being profitable or not. For example, not scheduling a machine on the shop floor as efficiently as possible can lead to bottlenecks, downtime, or orders not arriving on time.
That is why at the heart of a planning and scheduling tool must be a powerful optimization model, capable of taking into account all variables and constraints and finding the best solution based on the stated business objectives.
A planning and scheduling tool aims to make operations as efficient as possible and generate value, so it should not be a black box.
The ability to monitor and control in real-time makes it possible to know what is happening in the process at all times, monitor KPIs and adjust any variable when necessary. Key aspects if operations are to be managed in an agile and knowledgeable way.
In day-to-day operations, planning and scheduling can change due to incidents, changes in customer orders, or other factors.
To minimize the impact of these changes, a good planning and scheduling tool must be able to instantly show the consequences of day-to-day disruptions and have the ability to automatically re-optimize schedules in real-time, informing managers at all times.
Nowadays there are few tools that have all these necessary functionalities and that can bring so much value to the business.
At decide4AI we develop and implement advanced planning and scheduling tools in which we integrate all these capabilities, helping companies to be more efficient and profitable. We also have technology partners and software providers specialized in supply chain planning and optimization, offering powerful Supply Chain technologies.
If you want to know how we can help you implement these functionalities in your planning tool, please contact us.