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Production planning: Many variables, great complexity

Manufacturing, or production planning, is interconnected with many different departments and divisions. These interdependencies make the already very complex production planning process even more complicated: Friction and misunderstandings between departments, faltering information flow, competence wrangling, different systems, different goals and different key figures.

In fact, the essential basis of production planning rarely lies in the designated area but is supplied by the sales planner (see Demand Planning).

The primary and secondary requirements must now be derived from the sales planning. The planning horizon that is considered, how much material is involved, whether it is purchased or manufactured and, above all, where such planning occurs in logistics, in production or even in operative purchasing vary from company to company.

What all companies have in common, however, is that a large number of variables need to be considered, put together and scheduled on the timeline. This definitely cannot be solved with a pocket calculator.

As if this web of relationships were not complex enough, there are also unforeseeable events and disruptions that cannot be ignored, e.g. machine breakdowns, illness, delivery bottlenecks from suppliers and changed delivery call-offs from customers etc.

The production planning process

Figure: Illustration of the production planning process
  1. Which products are to be produced in which quantities in the planning period?
  2. How many input goods (preliminary and intermediate products) are needed (in quantity)?
  3. What quantities are produced or procured? (Applies to end products, intermediate products and pre-products)
  4. When will production take place, taking into account personnel and machine capacities?
  5. Determination of the production sequence in relation to workplaces and production systems.
  6. Scheduling of production orders in production.

Facing complexity: with transparency, monitoring and control

To consider all these aspects sensibly and economically, not only is proven expertise required but also first-class tools that ensure transparency, control and management.

Using a powerful ERP system is a fundamental prerequisite. If you have opted for SAPs software, you are definitely in a good position.

The system is highly efficient, guides strategically through the process, connects the supply chain process from start to finish and also ensures a uniform data basis in all areas, in every analysis.

One truth for all!

Complement and refine SAP with a certified production planning solution

But the SAP system has gaps, in particular in the operational area. This is precisely where  ifm’s manufacturing solution for production planning comes into play. The add-on software is natively integrated in the SAP system and has the same look-and-feel. This means the user does not even notice whether he is in the original SAP system or in the ifm application.

This sophisticated software solution (brief: Planning) also ensures significantly more usability by thinking processes ahead in a role-based manner and showing the user the information relevant to the respective process step on the screen at the right time.

Work lists, recommendations for action, traffic light functions, multi-screens, graphical displays, drag-and-drop, simulation and even a modern Fiori interface – the production planning tool offers it all.

Thinking ahead with supply chain excellence

The SAP S/4HANA-based Suite Supply Chain Excellence (SCX) thinks ahead for the respective user. This means that the materials manager does not need to keep an eye on numerous views at the same time, but finds all relevant information bundled in a single screen.

In addition, there is no more annoying transaction hopping, as the materials manager clicks directly from the respective overview into the operative area and can also jump back again without any problems.

Plan capacities accurately

Screenshot: The supply chain solution SCX divides production into planning and information areas.

Planning via drag-and-drop

Screenshot: Tabular planning board for optimal capacity and sequence planning
Screenshot: By way of drag-and-drop, orders that have not yet been inserted can be scheduled in a simulation mode.

Cross-responsibility production processes and capacities

Screenshot: Capacity utilisation can be viewed for the area, area group and department up to the entire plant.
Author Image

Our production materials manager would not want to go back to the old system for any reason in the world, as the planning module of GIB Suite has greatly simplified the planning process for the production lines in the application and has brought numerous benefits.

Massimo Moliterni Supply Chain Manager, Schott Italvetro

We have thought ahead to your questions

First steps on using ifm’s production planning solution

Curious and want to learn more about the planning solution? If so, we would take pleasure in inviting you to a 20-minute webcast for newcomers with our colleague Philipp Schmidkunz, SAP Consultant Production planning.

Author Image

With the help of the planning solution, you can realise finite, SAP-integrated detailed planning on real capacities. Transparent, flexible and taking all specifics into account.

Philipp Schmidkunz SAP Consultant Production Planning, GIB S&D GmbH

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Would you like to learn more about our supply chain optimisation solutions in SAP? Are you looking for a solution that allows you to automatically transfer data from machines or sensors to SAP and start intelligent processes? Complete the form and request your demonstration on-site or online now.

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