Managing Constraints

Jul 8, 2016 11:00:50 AM


Constraints are present in every plant; even if you have enough capacity on average, there are likely “clumps” of workload that will create temporary bottlenecks. These constraints whether or not anticipated cloud your planner’s ability to create an optimal schedule. PlanetTogether’s finite constraint-based planning provides insight on where and when bottlenecks will occur and enables your planner to create an optimal schedule.

Many wonder to what extent PlanetTogether can handle constraints. Below are our answers.

Is there a limit to how many constraints an operation can have?

No, you can create endless resource and material constraints. Common examples are: machine constraints, labor constraints, tooling constraints and custom rule constraints

Can I set constraints on material in addition to resources? For example, if my preferred plant has enough machines to run the job but is lacking the materials due to a delayed purchase order would PlanetTogether direct the job to another plant that has enough material?

Yes, constraints can be on materials and resources. In multi-plant capacity planning, PlanetTogether schedules jobs chronologically; if your preferred resources can’t schedule the job in time then PlanetTogether can automatically off load the job to the second plant if the first plant. However, if for whatever reason you do not want the job to be switched over to another plant you can specify that and it will be scheduled to run at plant one once all the materials arrive.

In my plant I have two types of ovens, one type has a temperature range of 100-400 degrees and the other type has a temperature range of 100-650 degrees. Most of the time it doesn’t matter which oven I use, but sometimes only the oven with the higher temperature range will suffice. How would your software handle this?

Using our attribute table you can specify any eligibility constraint that limits which jobs can be handled by which resource. By entering the different temperature ranges into the attribute table the system will account for the differences and only assign an operation to the oven with the allowed range of temperatures. For example, a job may specify that it needs to run at 500 degrees. Based on the attribute table the software will see that only the second oven covers that range and only assign the work to that oven. 

If I have an operation that requires two packers at the same time can PlanetTogether plan for this?

Yes, when defining the operation you can make it require multiple resources and designate two of the resources as packers. PlanetTogether will only schedule the operation to run at a time when both packers are available. Our splitting feature can also be applied at a job or operational level. The splitting feature allows the operation to be split into parallel operations instead of one long operation. Another option is to create “labor pools” rather than specific people resources. Each pool has a “number of people”. Then the job’s definition indicates whether it should use all people available or a fixed number and the schedule is planned accordingly. In cases where you have personnel with specific, varied skills then scheduling specific people is usually better. If you have groups of employees with interchangeable skill sets then a “labor pool” may work better.

What if I have a constraint that your software can’t handle?

95% of the time we find that our software can handle your constraint. The other 5%, it can be coded using Microsoft .Net. While the constraint coding can be written by anyone who knows .Net programming languages it is normally written by our team of professionals for the most expedient and reliable result. Some of this custom coding is included in the enterprise plan, free of charge.

Topics: capacity planning, production planning, finite capacity, users, project management, ERP, APS, capacity, bottlenecks, constraint, resource



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