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Opcenter APS - Advanced Planning and Scheduling

The current trends in manufacturing or production require costs to be reduced through reduced inventories. At the same time, it is necessary to react to shorter lead times in order to meet customer requirements.

This requires optimized manufacturing and production processes by reducing or eliminating value-added activities such as set-up or waiting times. By identifying potential conflicts, measures can be taken to match demand and capacity.

The Opcenter APS product family offers a perfected planning and scheduling solution. It is used by small and medium-sized companies as well as by large corporations to meet their customers' needs and to survive in the increasingly global competition.

Today, Opcenter helps more than 3,500 companies to react to unexpected events and changes. The powerful scheduling mechanism allows maintenance and production plans to be adapted to new circumstances in just a few minutes.

Thanks to the flexible data model and planning logic, Opcenter products can be adapted to all planning and scheduling requirements of companies. It is possible to create individual rules to create production/production sequences. The installation of event-driven communication scripts enables cross-site integration with other systems.

Opcenter Scheduling  - Interactive planning board

 Figure: Opcenter Scheduling – Interactive Planning Board

Planning and Scheduling

Opcenter supports both the so-called "planning" and the so-called "scheduling".  The different terms, which are not always easy to separate in German, can best be compared in the overview below.

Comparison of "Planning" and "Scheduling

 Figure: Comparison of "Planning" and "Scheduling

Rough Planning (Planning)

The rough planning takes into account forecasts and long-term orders to check the feasibility and determine the general direction.

It dynamically defines the target stock level to meet future demand.
Load distribution over several resources taking into account e.g. storage time, shelf life, etc.
Supports key production capacity decisions:

  • Expansion of the workforce
  • Expansion of resource capacities
  • Expansion of the production facilities

The result of rough-cut planning is a master production plan that proposes planned orders for the ERP system to meet the requirements.

Rough Planning

Figure: Rough planning with Opcenter Planning


Detailed Planning (Scheduling)

The detailed planning schedules all work steps to specify sequences and work lists. Primary and secondary constraints can be modelled in detail to achieve the most accurate representation of the real situation. Scheduling can be carried out according to prepared optimization strategies (minimum setup times, high delivery reliability, minimum current stock, ...) or can be configured application-specific. It predicts the effects of changes; for interruptions, failures, rejects, etc. and can take into account the current production efficiency. 

In case of planning conflicts you have an effective decision support for:

  • Overtime
  • Order priorities
  • Batch splitting
  • Postponed delivery time
  • Order commitments (CTP/ATP)

Detailed Planning

Figure: Rough planning with Opcenter Planning


Accurate models deliver feasible plans

As an extension to classical planning in the ERP system, the boundary conditions are modelled in Opcenter to the desired level of detail. This enables the detailed planning department to create plans that are actually feasible, taking all constraints into account. In addition to the main resources, operating resources, staffing levels, qualifications, space requirements, energy consumption, etc. can be modelled as additional conditions.

Finite Feinplanung

Figure: Finite detailed planning


Shift and resource calendar

All resources and constraints can be quantified using calendars. Thus, time dependencies of availability, efficiency, workload, etc. can be maintained or taken over from external sources.


Figure: Calendar processing, e.g. used for shift calendars

Opcenter APS Berechnung

Figure: Calculation and display of requirements and availabilities


Integration into existing system landscapes 

Due to the open, flexible system structure, Opcenter can be used at various levels of the planning process. Easily configurable interfaces enable interaction with company-wide ERP systems, subordinate MES or ODA systems as well as several Opcenter instances. Of course, Opcenter can also be used completely independently.

Opcenter APS Integration1

Opcenter APS Integration2

Figure: Wide range of applications from self-sufficient to integrated

Potential for improvement through Opcenter

By using Opcenter, improvements can be achieved in various areas. The following improvements have been highlighted by Opcenter users from various projects:

Minimized effort for planning, fast results

  • Short planning cycles - what-if simulations become possible
  • Short-term planning/rescheduling of special orders - flexibility, but structured
  • Fast reaction to unplanned events (sick leave, production downtime, delivery delays, ...)
  • Playing through cost optimizations (e.g. saving of one shift, etc.)

Provision of a reliable, feasible, optimized plan

  • Minimization of false call-offs in the material flow - effective logistics
  • Minimization of the stock in circulation - space savin
  • Minimization of throughput time - Lower capital commitment
  • Precise prediction of delivery dates - Increased customer satisfaction
  • Optimal occupancy of the plants - Increase in productivity
  • Optimal placement of service activities - improvement of capacity utilization

Supplies basic data for process optimization

  • Identification of systematic capacity reserves, bottlenecks, etc.
  • Continuous improvement of the planning mode
  • Continuous improvement of master data quality in the ERP system

User-friendly, modern IT tool

  • Reduction of paper and Excel-based interim solutions
  • Flexible use for different planning tasks
  • Short training period