Frequently Asked Questions: Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS)

Before purchasing an Advanced Planning and Scheduling solution, it is likely you have some questions. We have compiled a typical list below and if it is not covered, please call or email us and one of our LSI Advanced Planning and Scheduling consultants will be happy to answer your questions.

Why do we need Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS) software if we already have an ERP system?

The simple answer is that most ERP systems plan using backward scheduling and infinite capacity. This means that it doesn’t matter how overloaded your plant is, your ERP system will create a plan that says you can deliver everything on-time although you may be overloaded. For more information on this we recommend Mike Liddell’s “Little Blue Book on Scheduling”.


Why should we use finite scheduling? Is it better than Infinite/Rough Cut?

Rough Cut in the ERP world typically refers to planning and is seldom used in the real world. For more information on finite scheduling refer to the answer above.


Will your APS software be fully compatible with my ERP system?

Yes Preactor works with most ERP systems including SAP, Oracle, JDE, Syspro, Axapta, Sage and many others. 98% of the integration involves data such as routings, work orders and BOMs feeding into Preactor.

Will it reap benefits for my particular industry?

Yes in fact early adopters of Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS) systems like Preactor will have a significant advantage in that they have the ability to react to change faster and smarter than their competitors. Speed wins.

What measurable results should I expect?

Selecting the right APS solution and the right implementation partner will typically produce massive benefits in terms of increasing customer satisfaction (on-time deliveries), reducing confusion (eliminating expediting) and providing a platform that will allow you to grow your business without adding resources to your planning and scheduling department.

There are several Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS) software packages available, why should I choose yours?

This depends on how complex your scheduling needs are and in the 14 years we have been working with Preactor we have found that almost every manufacturer has unique requirements even if they don’t realize it. Because you cannot change the way you manufacture based on your software, the software must be able to model your real world constraints. The secret is to find a tool that is flexible and the brutal reality is that most scheduling tools definitely do not meet this standard even though they demo really well.

Is it a plug and play solution so that I can implement it myself?

If someone tells you that their APS software is plug and play then they are lying to you.

What skill sets are needed to use Preactor?

This is actually a very important question since the success of any APS system will depend heavily on the person using it. LSI will help you identify and train and right individual and we will provide you with on-going feedback on their performance. Most of the time your existing scheduler will do well but this may not always be true.

Do you offer training and what is your Pre & Post-Sales support?

Ideally LSI will become your planning and scheduling strategic partner in that we will be around to help you design and implement your solution, provide training, provide on-going support and work with you to continuously improve the way you plan and schedule. In addition LSI will be there to give you guidance as your business grows and your scheduling needs change.

How much does it cost?

The software pricing and the implementation depends on your needs. Typically LSI will do a Two Day Assessment that allows them to get a better understanding of your needs and your existing systems before presenting you with options that can fit your budget. LSI charges for the assessment but refunds this expense against the cost of implementation.

We are very busy and so want to know how much time it takes to implement your APS solution.

Depending on the size and complexity of you business it can take between 6 weeks and 6 months to implement an APS solution. How do you measure the success of an APS solution? This depends upon your objectives but it is critically important to use at least two or three predetermined measurements.

Is my company too small to benefit from an Advanced Planning & Scheduling solution?

This is unlikely but it is possible.

When evaluating between different APS software solutions, what comparisons should I make?

Because it is extremely easy to make an APS demo look stunning, you need to be sure that the company that is implementing your APS solution has a track record and that they can point to other companies with similar requirements who will act as a reference. There are a large number of companies selling APS solutions who have little or no real experience. How does the software work, is it online or stored on our servers? Preactor is currently a client server application although it will become a web based solution in the near future.

Do we get updates?

Every year you pay annual maintenance support to Preactor which means you always have access to the latest updates. Typically Preactor releases a new version with additional functionality once a year.

I can see the potential benefits for our company, what should I do now?

We thoroughly recommend that you do Two Day Assessment to get a more accurate idea of what your costs and benefits will be.

 

ERP, Finite scheduling, Rough Cut, Preactor,APS

 

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