PlanetTogether’s passion and knowledge in the area of production scheduling trace back to two Cornell University Professors, Dr. William Maxwell and Dr. Richard Conway. Maxwell and Conway began their life-long research on production scheduling in 1958 and, with the support of Cornell, the Office of Naval Research, The National Science Foundation, The General Electric Company and the RAND Corporation, published the industry-leading book Theory of Scheduling (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theory_of_Scheduling). The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) lists the book as a landmark in the timeline of Operations Research. According to Cornell Professor, Dr. Robert Bland, “It placed on a formal foundation the study of the entire area of production scheduling.”
PlanetTogether founder, Jim Cerra, first learned of the dire need that manufacturers have for better scheduling tools while studying under Maxwell and Conway to obtain a bachelor of science and master’s degree in Cornell’s Operations Research and Industrial Engineering program. Maxwell and Conway went on to found a production scheduling software company, C-Way Systems, Inc. in Ithaca, New York and Jim was one of their first hires. For the next nine years Jim worked directly under Maxwell and Conway as a planning and scheduling consultant at C-WAY, implementing systems in companies of all sizes and sectors, optimizing performance of companies from Pratt & Whitney jet engine manufacturing to Procter & Gamble consumer goods.
Working side-by-side with Maxwell and Conway over these years, Jim developed a shared passion for solving scheduling problems. This lead to his lead role at California-based Epicor Software as the Advanced Planning & Scheduling Product Manager after Epicor acquired C-Way. It was at Epicor that Jim and PlanetTogether co-founder, Larry Hargis, first joined forces. Larry was recruited by Epicor after he served during the Gulf War in the U.S. Air Force in the transportation squadron. Larry’s adept skills in specialized computer programming landed him as chief developer of Epicor’s APS system. Ultimately Jim and Larry left Epicor to found PlanetTogether, a next generation APS platform that would surpass any before it in flexibilty and ease-of-use.
PlanetTogether was founded in 2004 and is based in San Diego California, a hub of leading-edge technology and research. The new PlanetTogether system, written from the ground-up in Microsoft’s flagship .Net platform encompasses the research and knowledge from Jim’s Cornell, C-Way and Epicor experience and adds tools for managing production bottlenecks according to Eliyahu M. Goldratt’s best-selling book The Goal. Jim and Larry also saw the need, in company after company, to improve communications between departments, plants, and planners—thus leading to PlanetTogether’s unique memory-resident, multi-plant, multi-planner architecture (and, in case you’re wondering where our name came from… now you know!).
From 2004 to present, PlanetTogether has been implemented successfully in almost every manufacturing sector ranging from food & beverage, to chemical, medical device, industrial, automotive and aerospace. This important flexibility supports PlanetTogether’s vision of a scheduling system that can make the all the world’s manufacturers more productive, no matter what they make or how challenging their scheduling problems are.