5 Questions APS Software Can Help Your Business Answer

The benefits of Advanced Planning and Scheduling software (APS) software can transform a manufacturer’s business and unlock hidden efficiencies

An APS system can be a major step forward when quoting realistic delivery dates to target market customers and keeping those commitments. 

  1. Are we able to quote delivery dates that are competitive? 
  2. Once we commit to a delivery date, are we able to fulfill those commitments to our customers reliably and on-time?
  3. Do our current capabilities allow us to anticipate orders, optimize scheduling, and analyze market trends to predict the best times to make purchases?
  4. Can we ensure finished products spend as little time in storage as possible before being shipped to the customer or the next production facility?
  5. Can we determine which orders are the most profitable? 

Quote Competitive Delivery Dates with APS 

Many manufacturing companies have made huge investments in enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, material requirements planning (MRP) systems, manufacturing execution systems (MES), and demand planning and forecasting software. In many cases, these investments have left them hesitant to make the additional investment in an APS solution.

But they shouldn’t delay for at least two reasons.

  1. They will operate at a significant disadvantage as more of their competitors realize the benefits of APS, particularly that it provides delivery dates to customers with confidence and accuracy. It stops “over-promising and under-delivering” to customers.
  2. “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong”. Today’s manufacturers face increased layers of complexity and variability. APS provides users the ability to generate and execute capacity plans and production schedules, recognizing there will always be disruptions. The major advantage offered by APS software is its ability to show the ripple effect of a contemplated change in the production schedule.

Increase Accuracy in Quoting

For years the focus has been on accurately making delivery date quotations. This need led to the use of “Available-to-Promise” (ATP) logic within the leading ERP/MRP software applications. Available-to-promise makes sure the correct material is available when it needs to be processed to meet a client delivery due date.

Understanding the material constraints is only half the answer. While you definitely need to know that there’s going to be material available, you also need to know that there’s going to be non-material resources available, like machines, personnel, tooling and more. 

In today’s competitive world, speed is critical. Looking at available material in isolation fails to consider all the other factors of meeting the customer’s delivery date. Without moving beyond Available-to-Promise (which assumes infinite capacity on the production side) to Capable-to-Promise (CTP), a truly reliable due date quote is not as likely. 

Capable-to-Promise simply means one can quote a simultaneously tested due date for material and resources (lead times, routings, finite capacities) necessary to meet the delivery date. Without this simultaneous test, it’s like flying blind into the future. 

APS software offers the ability to run simultaneous testing. Simultaneous testing, when implemented and used correctly, is a tremendous competitive advantage, especially for manufacturers who might only use Excel or other limited software solutions.

Embrace Solutions Across Departments

Once an APS solution has been implemented and optimized, you can begin to evaluate multiple approaches to addressing the potential disruption of a new order or changed order, all simultaneously. 

The ability to run and evaluate  multiple “what if” scenarios brings shared information and decision-making power to everyone from operations and manufacturing managers to the customer service team. Understanding the potential impact of any disruption allows the manufacturing managers to apply solutions to problems before they become critical. 

This proactive approach allows you to continually meet your delivery commitments. Over time, customer satisfaction and trust increases. Once clients are happy, you want to ensure you can deliver reliably on the dates you quote–the first time and every time, thereby erecting insurmountable barriers for your competitors who are committed to stealing your hard-won customers. 

Improve OTD and Gain Competitive Advantage 

Continually meeting due dates is the first step in meeting the primary goal of most companies: to attract, retain and grow customers profitably. With APS, acquiring new customers isn’t as difficult because many of your competitors are not able to quote a responsive due date that they can actually meet. 

Additionally, the inability of your competitors to accurately gauge disruptions, becomes a selling opportunity for manufacturers who’ve invested in an APS solution. If competitors are quoting four to six week lead times, and you can quote a three week lead time, you’re probably going to capture that business, possibly at a premium price. The larger opportunity provided greater reliability, efficiency, and profitability, is market dominance.

Maximize Your APS Investment

Using the APS system effectively means the total team is focused on developing accurate data. Driving the best possible return from your APS investment can only be done by breaking down old company silos to build improved processes and shared information.

APS software not only provides you with the ability to quote a reliable delivery date, you can also manage the mix of products you’re committing to your customers. This way you are actually getting the greatest return on your capital investments. 

It’s at this intersection of continuous improvement and technology where On-Time Edge brings a lot of value to manufacturers. Our goal: help companies continually challenge themselves by:

  • adopting a continuous improvement mindset
  • looking for new market opportunities
  • developing ways to capitalize on systems to fulfill orders and make more profit.

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