APS and ERP: A Perfect Duo

APS and ERP: A Perfect Duo

To stay competitive and meet increasing customer requirements, manufacturers inevitably have to innovate and adapt. The solution is to optimize manufacturing operations and become more agile by getting the right tools. As you will see, such needs can be met by the perfect duo of ERP and APS—Advanced Planning and Scheduling.

Because ERP by itself is no longer enough

As a means to manage processes and centralize information, ERP quickly became a must, and rightly so. But beyond their undeniable benefits ERP systems have certain limitations that can keep you from reaching a higher level of efficiency and productivity.

ERP systems are essential to overall medium – or long-term resource planning, but when you’re preparing an optimal plan for operations, the ERP planning model is often too simplistic. It disregards many key constraints. The result? Inaccurate planning that’s hard to put into practice on the shop floor.

It’s becoming clear that ERP by itself is no longer enough to cope with manufacturers’ current needs.

What APS does that ERP doesn’t

Designs precise and doable optimized production plans

Optimizes operations in real time through advanced algorithms

Takes all the constraints into account simultaneously

Estimates delivery times accurately

Prioritizes on-time delivery at minimum cost

Considers the actual progress on the shop floor

Quickly adjusts schedules to changing circumstances

Provides visibility of production processes

Identifies production constraints and potential problems

Maximizes use of resources

Reduces setup time and downtime

Analyzes complex scenarios

Assesses the impacts of a change or a new production order

Examples of constraints taken into account

  • Inventory levels and planned incoming deliveries of raw materials
  • Skills of employees, and their work schedules
  • Machine speeds, temporary efficiencies
  • Planned maintenance
  • Actual status of machines
  • Real progress of operations
  • Setup time in relation to the sequence of operations
  • Complex routings
  • Alternative resources and preferences
  • Rest time and drying time
  • Overlap between routing operations
  • Grouping of similar operations
  • Imposed start date
  • Frozen planning period

Why APS and ERP form a perfect duo

Whereas ERP brings together information on all the processes and resources of a business, APS provides key functions for analyzing and optimizing at the operational level. Although you can use them independently of each other, they show the full extent of their power when used together.
If a manufacturing company wishes to optimize its operations, it will need real-time analysis and simulations to minimize costs and maximize efficiency. That’s why ERP by itself isn’t enough to reach a higher level of efficiency.
Ready to go to a higher level of efficiency?

Syncrun is a scheduling solution that will perfectly fit with your ERP, your SCM, your MES, or any other management system you have. Its advanced algorithm is a real engine for optimizing your operations and will help boost your productivity.

7 Common Production Problems Syncrun Can Fix

7 Common Production Problems Syncrun Can Fix

Manufacturers face many challenges when they plan production. At that stage, inefficiencies lead to high costs and to problems in meeting customer demand. And that means lower profits.

To maximize a plant’s productivity, it’s essential to use resources optimally and synchronize manufacturing operations in line with the plant’s specific constraints. Unfortunately for planners, neither Excel spreadsheets nor ERP planning tools are designed to meet those precise needs.

The market does offer solutions to that problem, and an outstanding one is Syncrun. This advanced planning and scheduling package (APS) is equipped with a powerful engine for optimizing operations. Its smart algorithm will solve a multitude of production management problems quickly and efficiently.

Here’s how!

Syncrun can solve 7 common production problems:

  1. Loss of control due to rapid growth
  2. Complexity of the planning and scheduling process
  3. Bottlenecks at certain production stages
  4. Trouble with on-time delivery—production time is too long
  5. Manpower shortages
  6. Trouble with coordination of raw material purchases
  7. Inability to assess different scenarios and measure their impacts


1. Loss of control due to rapid growth

Production often has trouble keeping up when a business starts growing faster. Orders pile up, production capacity is exceeded, and production times grow longer. Each new order becomes harder to manage, and stress increases on work teams.


Production capacity

To solve production capacity problems, you have to use your resources more efficiently. Syncrun’s advanced scheduling engine will optimize use of your equipment and manpower in a flash. It will synchronize your operations to free up more production capacity and provide an optimal schedule both cost-wise and time-wise.


Keeping track and keeping control

By planning and scheduling production with Syncrun, you can respond to changes while keeping production under control.

Syncrun has the advantage of anticipating potential problems at the planning stage. It also keeps all of your ongoing production in line with the actual situation on the shop floor and with unforeseen events of all sorts. Using it helps you keep track of things and make informed decisions.


2. Complexity of the planning and scheduling process

Planners have to deal with a multitude of tasks and constraints that complicate efforts to draw up an optimal and workable production plan.

Figuring things out by hand has its limits. Just think: to schedule several production orders, you have to sort through billions of possible sequences.

Fortunately, Syncrun’s advanced algorithm can analyze all the combinations of scenarios while taking all the constraints into accountenant—in just a few seconds! No more racking your brain over Excel spreadsheets. Syncrun is a simple, effective tool for multi-constraint optimization.


3. Bottlenecks at certain production stages

Bottlenecks affect how well your operations will proceed. Managing them is a recurring challenge for businesses. It may be hard, in advance, to find the best way to avoid or eliminate them while making sure the problem isn’t shoved elsewhere.

Syncrun will optimize your production schedule with a view to mminimizing the time you lose waiting for a machine to become available and then getting it ready. So less time is wasted, more production capacity is freed up, and production flow is improved.

Furthermore, Syncrun can show you how the production line is progressing and identify at a glance any bottlenecks that threaten on-time delivery. You can then analyze different scenarios and change your plan accordingly.


4. Trouble with on-time delivery—production time is too long

Just-in-time delivery has become key for businesses that wish to stay competitive in the market and satisfy increasingly demanding customers.

Different factors may cause problems:

  • Miscellaneous, customized products that slow down production
  • Promises of fast delivery that are difficult to keep
  • Equipment failure
  • Resource shortages
  • Etc.

That’s why Syncrun optimizes operations in line with delivery times and different constraints. The reality on the shop floor is taken into consideration, and you can easily adjust your plan for unforeseen events such as rush orders or equipment failures. With Syncrun, you can base your decisions on a reliable plan and feel confident when promising delivery dates!


5. Manpower shortages

When you don’t have enough workers, you will have trouble delivering the goods on time and may even lose orders to competitors. So you should use available human resources to their full potential.

Syncrun optimizes use of your workers not only in terms of their availabilities but also in terms of their skills. Tasks are assigned to the most qualified people.

And that’s not all. Syncrun optimizes the way your workers are used on the shop floor to avoid downtime and minimize the impact of bottlenecks. By planning with Syncrun you can better identify your manpower needs.


6. Trouble with coordination of raw material purchases

What’s the impact of a rush order on all of your production? Will hiring an employee help you deliver on time? Will adding a new machine improve productivity? It’s often difficult if not impossible to assess the real impact of a decision or an unforeseen event.

Using data from your systems, Syncrun will generate a detailed production plan for all of your resources. The plan is adjusted to reflect movements of inventory as well as aavailability of raw materials and semi-finished products. It also takes anticipated deliveries of raw materials into consideration and forecasts your purchasing needs in relation to accurate scheduling of your operations.


7. Inability to assess different scenarios and measure their impacts

What’s the impact of a rush order on all of your production? Will hiring an employee help you deliver on time? Will adding a new machine improve productivity? It’s often difficult if not impossible to assess the real impact of a decision or an unforeseen event.

Syncrun enables you to measure the effects of a hypothetical order on all of your production through a simulation. You can vary resource availability, change efficiencies, or simulate an equipment failure. Syncrun will then show you the impact on production costs and delivery times.

In conclusion

When you optimize your planning and scheduling, you get huge advantages that meet your current needs:


  • Optimal use of your equipment and higher production capacity
  • Lower inventory costs and maintenance of minimum inventory levels
  • Lower labor costs
  • Just-in-time delivery
  • Better capability to meet demand.
Ready to discover the potential gains Syncrun can generate for your business?

Arima has been helping businesses optimize productivity for over 25 years. Contact one of our experts in production scheduling and optimization to talk over your needs and learn more about Syncrun!

Operations Scheduling is Key to Success

Operations Scheduling is Key to Success

Operations scheduling is attracting more and more attention from managers of small and medium-sized manufacturers, who see a huge unexploited potential for efficiency gains. But what exactly is scheduling? What is its impact on a company and its profit margin?

Scheduling and Its Goals

All manufacturers have to schedule their production, whatever their size, products, production system, or management philosophy. The aim is to coordinate the resources of production and to synchronize the operations so as to meet the demand for company products at the lowest possible cost.

The scheduling process is far from trivial. It has to find the best compromise between two contradictory goals: maximizing customer satisfaction while minimizing production costs. For example, you could shorten delivery time by increasing inventory—but at what cost? Or you could reduce the size of the production batches and thus increase the frequency of deliveries—but what would be the impact on factory preparation times?

So scheduling has to consider all of the factors that affect production cost and customer satisfaction. But that’s not all! To be efficient, scheduling also has to factor in the manufacturing constraints, like availability of materials, product routings, machine efficiencies, resource flexibility, skills of operating personnel, and working hours.

A Key Role

Concretely, scheduling generates a detailed work plan for each resource involved in production. This schedule has:

  • the sequence of tasks;
  • the scheduled time for each task;
  • the estimated length of time;
  • the manufactured product;
  • the required resources, materials, and equipment.

The schedule also specifies the time for preparation and for disassembly due to transitions between batches or products. Finally, it identifies the periods when resources are inactive because the constraints are in effect.

The production schedule is reviewed (or re-optimized) in real time or at regular intervals to reflect any new unexpected situation. The review should quickly propose a new scenario when, for example, a piece of equipment breaks down, a customer changes an order at the last minute, or a raw material is late arriving.

Scheduling will bring together the company’s different departments and players around an operational game plan. The Purchasing Department will refer to it to ensure availability of supplies over the short term and to plan warehouse receiving over the long term. The Storekeeper will use it to prepare supplies for the work stations. Human Resources will consult it for personnel management. The Sales Department will use it to provide customers with realistic delivery times. The Finance Department will have a means to forecast performance and cash flow. Finally, operating and supervisory personnel will carry out the operations by following it closely.

Direct Impacts of Scheduling

A well-planned production schedule will work smoothly, predictably, logically, and efficiently. Without adequate scheduling, a company exposes itself to the dangers of lack of coordination: underutilized resources, accumulation of inventory, loss of material, and late deliveries.

In sum, scheduling is key to a manufacturer’s financial health. It shows how far the company can go in meeting customer requirements, in foreseeing and reducing manufacturing lead times, in using resources properly, in responding quickly to the unforeseen, in cutting production costs and, ultimately, in setting itself apart from the competition.

Would you like to try your hand at scheduling with an easy-to-start tool? Click here for a free trial of Syncrun, our web-based production scheduling solution