Below are some key questions that need to be considered when setting up an interface with APS:
Which data will you need?
Resources are machines, people, equipment, or anything else that is temporarily used to perform production in your shop. (Materials are handled separately and are not considered Resources as they are consumed, rather than being used temporarily.) You can import these or add them manually in APS. If the data is available in your ERP system it is usually better to import them so all data maintenance is in your ERP.
Job defines the work that needs to be done by the shop for either customers or inventory. You will probably want to import Jobs from your ERP system since this data is very dynamic and extensive. However, Jobs can also be entered manually into APS and you can even import your “real” Jobs and manually enter “What-if” Jobs (from scratch or by copying from existing Jobs).
You can define and modify your capacity plans directly in APS or import them. However, since most ERP systems do not have this information in a detailed enough format, this information is usually entered directly in APS.
Where does that data reside?
Determine the tables that contain each of the data types that you decided to import above.
Some data tends to be more difficult to get than others. For example, the data items listed below may either be missing or inaccurate in your ERP system. Therefore it may take some up-front work to prepare the data in your ERP system before you can get a good schedule.
- Operation-specific process times (ie. hours per piece or pieces per hour)
- Operation-specific setup times
- Yield-adjusted Operation required start quantities. It’s usually best to schedule yield-adjusted quantities to reserve enough time.
- Resource Capabilities. These are the link between Operations and Machines. If your system has a field on the Operation such as “Operation Type” then this may be a good field to use for Capability. You will probably have to link the Machines Capabilities to their Machines manually in APS as most ERP systems do not contain this link.
Will you start with “pilot” data?
It is usually advisable to start simple and add complexity and volume incrementally. This makes it easier to see progress as well as identify problems. These are some things you might want to do:
- Start by loading data for only one Plant or one Department.
- Only load one Job first, then a subset of Jobs and then all Jobs. Examine the data at each point to look for problems with the schedule such as durations, sequences, and predecessor-successor constraints.
- Start by only using the fields marked as “Required” in the Interface Setup Wizard. Once everything is working then add optional fields as necessary.
What data fields are required in APS?
APS is capable of importing virtually any amount of data from the ERP, but below is a list of fields that are required or are otherwise crucial to creating a basic model within APS.