Alternate Paths

Key Concepts

In PlanetTogether, Alternate Paths specify the precedence relationships between operations, thus indicating the path that is followed through the shop to produce a product. The path or routing is generally created in the order that the operations were created. However, if there are multiple ways to produce the product or the order needs to be changed, users can make the appropriate changes in the Alternate Paths tab of the Job dialog. For example, if Operation 1 is usually followed by Operation 2, but you want the option to perform Operation 2 before Operation 1, you can add an Alternate Path to specify this preference.

Setting Up Alternate Paths

To set up an Alternate Path, open up the Job dialog and go to the Alternate Paths tab. From there, click the "New Alternate Path" button, which will add a new Path row. To add operations to the path, click the "Link Operation or Successor." The order in which the operations are added will determine the alternate routing for the job. 

Note: Alternate Paths will define a different order for the operations, and they can have a smaller or larger number of operations than the default path. 


When an Alternate Path is defined, a yellow circle will appear next to the Alternate Path's first operation's eligible resource. Moving any job's operation to a resource with a yellow circle while holding the "Alt" key will reschedule the job using the alternate path.

Alternate Paths can also be used if you want the option to use different resources. For example, you can have four people working on an operation or eight people and go twice as fast. In this case, each alternate path will have a different operation, and one will have more resource requirements and a shorter cycle time. 

Automatic Alternate Path Selection

During an Optimize or Expedite, this feature allows PlanetTogether to select which Alternate Path it will use to schedule a manufacturing order. In cases where there are multiple methods of producing an item, you can use the Automatic Alternate Path selection to select which method to use. To use this feature, a "Default" Path must be defined, and other less desired paths must be allowed to be selected as the Need Date of the manufacturing order approaches. 

Enabling Automatic Selection of Alternate Paths

To enable the automatic selection of Alternate Paths for optimizing and expedite:

  1. Enable the "Auto Select Alternate Paths" option under Settings | System Options | Scheduling.
  2. Configure the following fields in the Alternate Path tab of the Job dialog:

    1. Auto Use: This specifies whether the Path can be automatically selected during an optimize or expedite. The possible values are:
      1. If Current: The path is not automatically released. It is only released if it is already on the Current Path (i.e., manually selected).
      2. Regular Release: The path is released at the manufacturing order's Release Date, DBR Release Date, or JIT Release Date, depending on the optimized options set for the release rules. 
      3. Release Offset From Default Paths Latest Release: The path is released based on the Auto Use Release Offset TimeSpan as described below:
    2. Auto Use Release Offset Time Span: This time span defines when the path becomes eligible for automatic selection. The Alternate Path will only be usable after the default path's Release Date + AutoUseReleaseOffsetTimeSpan. For example, if a manufacturing order has 2 Alternate Paths and the default path's Release Date is 01/01, the second path is set up for Auto Path Selection with AutoUseReleaseOffsetTimeSpan = 1 day. Thus, the second Path could potentially be used on or after 01/02. The path that ends up being selected will depend on the optimization rules and resource availability. Note: This value is not used to determine the release date of the default path. 

Note: To manually change a manufacturing order's alternate path, you can hold the Atl key while moving the operation to another path. 

The following conditions will cause the Manufacturing Order to be scheduled on its Current Path Only during optimize and expedite:

  • Any activity progress is reported
  • Finished activities
  • Started activities
  • the manufacturing order's LockedToCurrentPath flag is set
  • Any blocks are Resource Locked
  • Any activities are Anchored
  • The manufacturing order is scheduled to start before the optimized start time.

Note: When using the expedite function, there are two exceptions to the list above:

  • Resource Locks will not prevent the manufacturing order from being scheduled on different alternate paths.
  • An Anchor won't restrict a manufacturing order to the current path if the Anchor After Expedite Setting is turned on.

Incompatible Features with Alternate Paths Automatic Selection:

  • Jobs.CanSpanPlants
  • MO.CanSpanPlants
  • MultiPlant Scenarios
  • MO.LockedPlant
  • Batching Manufacturing Orders
  • Successor and Predecessor Manufacturing Orders