The Importance of What-If Scenarios in Production Planning

3/5/21 12:00 AM

The main production objective for manufacturers is being able to deliver products of quality when customers need them, for the lowest cost possible. To meet these objectives, manufacturers must be able to create production schedules that are efficient and optimized.

To this day, many manufacturers are using traditional techniques such as spreadsheets and Excel to schedule their production. In addition, the production planning process is often disconnected from the production scheduling process, leading to issues down the line if materials or resource capacity is not available for production.

what-if scenarios can help you meet your production goals

This is where an Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS) System like PlanetTogether APS comes in handy. With its concurrent planning and scheduling functionalities, you can be sure that you will have everything you need to start production and meet your promise dates. One of the most exciting features of our production planning software is a tool that allows you to predict how certain events will affect productivity and on-time delivery at your facility.

Unlike time-consuming scheduling using spreadsheets, PlanetTogether APS automatically creates your production schedule in seconds. Its manual drag-and-drop functionality keeps the scheduling power in the scheduler’s hand and provides the agility needed to maintain a competitive advantage in the market.

"What-If" Scenarios in PlanetTogether

One of the most beneficial tools offered by PlanetTogether is its “What-If” scenario tool. “What-If” scenario creation is extremely beneficial for manufacturers as it allows you to run simulations based on demand forecasts and constraint modeling. This allows you to generate various iterations of the production schedule so that you can compare them and select the most advantageous one that can help you meet your production goals. 

“What-If” scenarios allow planners and managers to adequately analyze and visualize potential production schedules and any disruptive events that may hinder production from continuing. They can also be used to compare multiple versions of the same production schedule to find the best solution to jobs being completed late.

What-if scenario can help reduce late jobs

The job in red is late because it is being constrained by material coming from Production Line 1. Using “What-If” scenarios, you can easily see the effects of adding one hour of overtime. This allows the job to be completed on time.

adding capacity to reduce late jobs

With this feature, you have the opportunity to test out various scenarios to find the one that meets your needs. Instead of adding some overtime hours, you could have chosen to split the late job among all eligible resources. In this scenario, we are assuming that production lines 2 and 3 can complete the job. Splitting the job uses the unused capacity found on Production Line 3 and allows the job to complete on time without requiring overtime.

splitting jobs so that they finish on time

All of this can be done without disrupting the current production schedule to avoid any confusion or disruptions on the shop floor. When a suitable scenario has been found, it can then be converted into the “Live” scenario. In the following section, we will explore additional areas in which “What-If” scenarios can be used to facilitate the lives of everyone in the manufacturing organization.

Why "What-If" Scenarios are a Must

What-If Scenarios can accurately predict how hypothetical situations can impact production and the movement of materials throughout the supply chain. While many believe it can only be important to particular areas, it actually adds value to every major area across the value chain including the following:

  • Production Scheduling - As seen above, the main benefit of using “What-If” scenarios is to create multiple iterations that use the same production data to find the most efficient and optimized schedule for your business operations. The feature can also be used to quickly respond to unexpected disruptions to help you meet your promised shipment dates.
  • Demand Planning - "What-If" Scenarios are beneficial in both short-term and long-term demand planning for manufacturing operations. Scenario planning in a “What-If” environment can be a good way to prepare for unknown situations. The features enable planners to visualize and locate strategies for any disruptions within the production process, ultimately locating cost-effective methods to conduct this process as well.
  • Inventory - Planners can choose whether or not to increase inventory based on this feature. “What-If” Scenarios provide a planner with a visual representation of what steps should be taken in order to ensure that production is flowing with ease. When coupled with the Inventory Plan feature, users can ensure that that inventory is not building up in excess or that there is not enough to fulfill customer orders.
  • Decision-Making - With “What-If” scenarios, you can make informed decisions. The feature allows you to see the impact of installing new equipment, adding or subtracting employees, or even changing your maintenance routine. These types of decisions can take time to figure out and be costly if not implemented properly. With PlanetTogether, you can see the effects on the schedule in a matter of minutes and you’ll have the peace of mind that those decisions are based on data, not guesswork.

PlanetTogether’s Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS) system provides a powerful “What-If” scenario feature. With PlanetTogether APS, you will be able to generate hypothetical schedules to identify the most advantageous schedule in terms of efficiency, waste elimination, and bottleneck remediation within the operation. This production planning feature is a valuable tool that will help your facility to make order quoting, purchasing, maintenance, personnel investment, and other scheduling-related decisions quickly.


Advanced Planning and Scheduling Software

Advanced Planning and Scheduling Softwares have become a must for modern-day manufacturing operations as customer demand for increased product assortment, fast delivery, and downward cost pressures become prevalent. These systems help planners save time while providing greater agility in updating ever-changing priorities, production schedules, and inventory plans. APS Systems can be quickly integrated with an ERP/MRP software to fill the gaps where these systems lack planning and scheduling flexibility, accuracy, and efficiency.

With PlanetTogether APS, you can:

  • Create optimized schedules balancing production efficiency and delivery performance
  • Maximize output on bottleneck resources to increase revenue
  • Synchronize supply with demand to reduce inventories
  • Provide company-wide visibility to capacity
  • Enable scenario data-driven decision making

The implementation of an Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS) Software will take your manufacturing operations to the next level of production efficiency by taking advantage of the operational data you already possess in your ERP system. APS is a step in the right direction of efficiency and lean manufacturing production enhancement. Try out a free trial or demo!

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