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Planning & Scheduling/Demand Forecasting Special feature
Best-laid plans …
Manufacturing & Logistics IT spoke with a number of leading
vendors within the Planning & Scheduling and Demand Forecasting &
Planning software sectors about the technology state of the art,
differentiators and plans for 2009 and beyond.
lanning & Scheduling and Demand
P
Forecasting & Planning are now
Mike Novels: Although end users may
well established, widely recognised
be in exactly the same sector in terms
and commonly applied concepts
of what they make and the markets
within the world of manufacturing
they supply, scheduling problems can
and logistics. However, there sometimes vary enormously from one company
remains a level of confusion as to what the
to another.
‘correct’ meanings of the terms are. Some of
the terminology has a tendency to be bundled
together when in reality very different tasks But, in general, are software solutions within
can be at play. Mike Novels, Preactor these areas becoming largely uniform and
International’s CEO, provides his take on commoditised, or are many of them still
what he perceives to be one such common holding their own in terms of functionality
definition-related misnomer: “If we just talk differentiation? Within the planning &
about the acronym APS, for example; we’ve scheduling space, Novels maintains that
heard users say we’ve been told this is there has certainly been a level of
Advanced Planning & Scheduling, which commoditisation, but only to a limited degree.
I agree with; namely generating a detailed “In most applications, you can generate a
schedule based on capacity and materials Gantt chart, you can drag information around
simultaneously. But then you’ll find someone etc., but the underlying generation of the
else who defines APS as an Advanced schedule – the complexity of the process –
Planning System. However, when you’re seek is to serve their customers in the best in order to be able to model that in enough
talking about capacity at fairly highly way they know how, by having the right stock detail to produce a feasible schedule, hasn’t
aggregated levels true detailed scheduling available when called for.” To do this, Ewing been commoditised yet and I don’t think it
doesn’t use buckets of time, it deals with points out that they need to balance their ever will be,” he said. “This is because
sequences and individual resources. Still, demand with their supply. “Easier said than every application is very different. Although
many systems continue to try to schedule done, but why so difficult; no one wants to end users may be in exactly the same sector
in buckets of time, although this loses the
credibility of the schedule.”
Balancing demand with supply

Sales & Operations Planning (support) helps to manage the risk and
increase profitability by enabling the whole enterprise to operate from a
Approaching the question of possible growing
‘one number’ plan. Powerful functionality makes it easy to synchronise
trend for uniformity of functionality from a
the operational plans whilst maintaining alignment with the company’s
demand forecasting & planning perspective,
John Ewing, sales & marketing director, UK
strategic goals.”
and Ireland, Demand Solutions, believes that
– Jason Murphy, Logility.
some vendors have forgotten where forecast
& demand management stops and where hold stock if they don’t have to but, given the in terms of what they make and the markets
inventory management starts – and also ever extending lead-times, unless you can they supply, scheduling problems can vary
what Collaborative Forecasting and Sales & make your demand more predictable or your enormously from one company to another.
Operational planning involve. “Consequently, supply more reliable, buffer or safety stock One company could be making to stock,
their solutions have become a mishmash of management is going to be a daily task. This while another could be making to order – and
different functions thrown together to make relies heavily on the total cooperation of your they may have very different requirements
their products appear more functionally rich,” staff since when all is said and done they are in terms of what they need from their planning
he said. “The reality is that, for most, all they all working with one goal in mind.” & scheduling application.” >>
50
MANUFACTURING
&LOGISTICSIT March 2009
www.logisticsit.com
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