How do we get started?
You think you might need a scheduling system. How can you know for sure, and make the right choice? When you work with us, we will follow a clear and open process so that at any point, the next steps are understood by all. Our roadmap follows a 4-Step Process beginning with our first call.
We work hard to create a solid match between your needs, staff, IT environment and our Galaxy APS solution. As we talk things through, you will be on the right path to 100 percent satisfaction and success, whether you choose to work with PlanetTogether or not.
You will work with a Consultant who prepares a document outlining the scope of work to share with team members for your feedback. We work with you to determine the desired results, line up your resources, and set timeframes. (Can you tell we’re scheduling specialists?) This document evolves after each conversation, and is the roadmap to a good decision for your company.
1. Connect. Let’s discuss the problems you want solved. We’ll develop a thorough profile of your requirements and determine next steps.
2. Discover. Your Consultant does a deeper discovery to clearly understand issues, goals, and production processes and their costs. We can meet with you on-site at your convenience if that is helpful. The more we know, the more effective we are for you and your company. Remember: We’re in the business to create production heroes.
It’s a two-way conversation. Along the way you’ll be asking more questions and learning more about our capabilities too.
3. Demonstrate. With a clear understanding of the issues, and potential project costs and scope, we will have an interactive demonstration with your team. Often, it makes sense to use a sampling of your company data. On the other hand, working through common situations with our demonstration models is frequently just as helpful. Either way, you will see exactly how Galaxy APS will meet or exceed your requirements (online or on-site). At this stage, we often see lots of head nods and smiles.
4. Decide. By following a process like this, you can decide at any time whether to continue or not. Work begins when you give the go-ahead, and the reasons behind the choice are plain to see. We’re confident—benefits of Galaxy APS are simply stellar. Now, you’re ready for implementation.
What are the main benefits of an APS system?
An Advanced Planning and Scheduling System works like the brains of your shop floor, signalling to key points along the production process to respond to your planning and scheduling with accuracy, efficiency, and within existing constraints of inventory, labor, equipment and time.
Specific to Galaxy APS, here’s a brief list of benefits you can expect:
For the Planner/Scheduler
- Turn production scheduling into one-click convenience with drag-and-drop simplicity
- Eliminate spreadsheets or manual input without drastic changes to how you work
- Zoom in for eagle-eye accuracy in daily, weekly, monthly schedules
- Get a 360˚ view of production flow—multi-point, multi-plant
- Collaborate in real time with everyone across the production line
- Master finite capacity constraints and what-if scenarios
For Plant Managers
- Unite multi-plants under one reliable platform for economies of scale
- Respond in real time to changes in people, product and equipment resources
- Remove bottlenecks and cut operational stress in half
- Reduce costs by double digits on labor, inventory and operations
- Meet promised delivery dates
- Manage product launches more efficiently
- Uncover hidden pockets of profitability and contribute to the P & L
Best of all, clients have been known to earn a return on investment in as little as six months.
That’ll put a lasting smile on the GM’s or CFO’s face. Can’t put a price on that.
What ERP systems do you integrate with?
Planet excels in developing ERP connectors for smooth as silk integrations. We work with all the major ERP systems and many lesser known. Pre-integrations are available for the systems listed below. If yours isn’t there, don’t worry, we’ll create a custom connector for you.
- Microsoft Dynamics AX, NAV, GP
- SAP ECC
- SAP Business One (plus Navigator Business One Solutions for ProductionOne and Infor (previously Softbrands) for Fourth Shift
- Sage MAS 500, 200/90, Escape Velocity Systems’ O2
- Factivity MES
- Vicinity Manufacturing
What industries do you work with?
In the past 15 years, we’ve earned our stripes in a wide range of manufacturing industries. Here are a few:
- Aerospace & Defense
- Chemical Products
- Coffee Roasting
- Computer & Electronic Products
- Consumer Products
- Electrical Equipment & Appliances
- Food & Beverage Processing
- Forest Products
- Industrial Equipment
- Maintenance Repair & Overhaul (MRO)
- Medical Equipment
- Plastics & Rubber
- Primary Metals
- Scientific Equipment
- Other Industries
Check out our case studies for detailed results.
What prerequisites should a company meet internally before installing APS?
APS is a “data-intensive” tool requiring the right information to be usable. You’ll need routings and bills-of-material for discrete manufacturers or formulas and run-rates for process-manufacturers. For inventory-constrained scheduling, it’s also important to have a reliable inventory control process with accurate on-hand quantities. Also, if you follow a daily planning cycle, you’ll need to track production completions daily, as well; if weekly, then production updates can be tracked weekly. Of course, the schedule is only as good as the data that goes into it.
How long for implementation?
From the point we gain access to reasonably clean data from you, we can complete a client integration in as little as 90 working days, with an average project rolling out over four months. The inevitable glitches do pop up, but we do everything in our power to keep things running smoothly without surprises.
We’re not sure if we need “finite” scheduling. When is finite better than infinite?
While rough-cut infinite capacity planning is useful for planning labor and capacity levels long-term, most manufacturers find it far more value to use finite constraint-based planning. Unless you plan to schedule a very low volume of production orders (maybe 25) and can manually make drag-and-drop adjustments, finite scheduling will deliver many benefits infinite planning will not. Even if you have enough capacity on average, there are likely “clumps” of workload that will create temporary bottlenecks. Finite scheduling gives you the insight of where and when theses bottlenecks will occur. And you understand the impact of these changes on the order schedule, which enables you to produce detailed, actionable plans that invariably save valuable time on the shop floor and planning department.
How do you measure APS success?
While there are some common measures, it depends on your business: what makes you more competitive; how your costs are distributed; and what are your customer demand requirements. At the outset of an APS implementation, it is essential to identify your critical areas and determine how APS can help. For example, if on-time shipments is a problem, then you’ll want to track due-date performance. If running out of materials in production occurs too often, then track the frequency of these interruptions on the shop floor. If excessive WIP or long-lead times is a problem, then setup metrics for make-spans and queue times. APS addresses the time planners spend to update schedules. By tracking time-spent before and after the implementation, you can also manage and measure APS success.
Who benefits most from an APS tool?
The bigger the problems to solve, the bigger the APS benefits. If you miss delivery dates frequently, stumble over quoting accuracy, miss competitive lead times, run high inventory levels, spend too much time managing schedules, or experience frequent changeovers on key equipment, then APS is a high-value solution.
What’s more, high numbers of SKUs or custom orders, multiple production resources, expensive production equipment, frequent changes in customer orders and engineering change orders, long setup times, job batching requirements, and complex manufacturing flows that defy manual scheduling call for APS. Worse yet, if you face product quality-related problems from schedule mistakes, the right APS is triage and long-term care.
Why do we need an APS tool if we already have an ERP system?
ERP systems are ideal in managing transactions, like order entry or inventory control. ERP evolved from accounting systems to keep track of what has happened versus planning for what is going to happen. As a result, the architecture is optimized for transaction processing rather than large-scale, high-volume data analytics. Consider a typical MRP re-gen can take hours or days while an APS re-gen usually takes a few seconds. This is a critical usability factor because no planner can afford to wait hours, let alone days, after every schedule change.
Better still, the design and development expertise in an APS system is unique and specialized, and hard to come by. Most ERP development projects leave planning as an afterthought and only address it superficially. APS is all about the details. That’s why most “classic” scheduling in ERP systems goes unused; it is too simplistic to affect real improvement. APS solves critical problems and drives productivity.
When I’m evaluating APS systems how should I compare them?
Focus on one goal in your APS evaluation: solving your critical business issues. Begin by identifying problems to solve, then determine if the APS can “model” your constraints and, ultimately,solve your problems. Create a priority list of two elements:
(1) Your APS-related critical business issues, and; (2) Rules and constraints planners need to consider when creating schedules.
Work with your APS vendor to go through these elements in detail. Then, consider technology, architecture, and total cost of ownership. You need current technology and architecture that fits well with other systems and expertise of IT personnel. Data volume can also be a critical factor. Before choosing a system, verify that it can handle your volume of orders; To be usable, a drag-and-drop reschedule in a fully loaded scheduleshould be able to shift other work out of the way and take just a few seconds to process, not minutes. Where cost is concerned, implementation costs can be very high for systems that require extensive programming to build models so be sure these costs are considered along with the cost of the software itself. Finally, be sure that if you need multiple planners to be able to login and make changes concurrently and/or if you need support for multi-plant coordination, verify that your APS supports this – unlike ERP, most APS systems are single-planner, single-plant systems so shop carefully.
How difficult is it for a typical production planner to learn to use an APS tool?
The learning curve probably depends more on the person than on the system. If you choose someone who is comfortable with computers, understands your production constraints, and is a quick-learner it can take just a matter of weeks with very little training to become proficient. On the other hand, if these characteristics are absent it can be a much longer transition.
What industries is Advanced Planning & Scheduling suited for?
We have installed scheduling software in hundreds of factories in many different industries and we’ve created Advanced Planning & Scheduling to be extremely adaptable making it capable of handling most production scheduling problems. Some of the industries that we have experience with include: Food & Beverage, Chemical, Job Shop, medical equipment manufacturing, industrial equipment manufacturing, coffee roasting, high-tech, printing, forges, injection molders, and truck equipment manufacturing/automotive. If you’d like to confirm that our system will work for you please give us a call – we have scheduling experts standing by to speak with you about your specific challenges.
Does Galaxy Advanced Planning & Scheduling allow for manual schedule adjustments?
Absolutely! This is one of Galaxy’s Advanced Planning & Scheduling greatest strengths – the ease with which you can make changes in a graphical drag-and-drop environment. While most scheduling systems allow limited drag-and-drop, Galaxy Advanced Planning & Scheduling takes it one step further with “capacity-constrained” drag-and-drop. This means that when you make changes, Galaxy Advanced Planning & Scheduling adjust the schedule to ensure that capacity is not violated and material constraints are followed. This allows you to make changes quickly and easily and also see the impact of your changes instantly. There are also many other manual and automatic scheduling tools. Give us a call to take a look at what we can offer you.
Why should we choose Galaxy Advanced Planning & Scheduling over other systems?
Galaxy Advanced Planning & Scheduling will do a better job of creating accurate schedules that respect all of your constraints (labor, machines, materials, tools, storage). Galaxy Advanced Planning & Scheduling is easier to use due to its “capacity constrained drag-and-drop”. Galaxy Advanced Planning & Scheduling is based on the flagship Microsoft platform, the .Net Framework, which means it is more familiar to your users (like Microsoft Office), is widely supported, is easier to integrate with, and has a long lifetime ahead of it. Galaxy Advanced Planning & Scheduling is the only true “collaborative” scheduling system that allows multiple planners to be logged on and rescheduling simultaneously so you can work the way you need to as your company grows.
We don’t have any “pegging” information in our ERP system that connects different levels of the bill of material. Will Galaxy Advanced Planning & Scheduling still be able to coordinate production between work orders or will we have to add these links manually?
Galaxy Advanced Planning & Scheduling can examine your bill of material for each work order to determine material requirements and then automatically peg material flows across work orders (any number of levels). So even if you don’t have explicit links Galaxy Advanced Planning & Scheduling will still alert you or reschedule dependent work orders if a supplying work order will be delayed (by drag-and-drop or otherwise). Note that you can also create explicit links between work orders in the event that the intermediate material must be allocated to one or more specific downstream work orders.
Is the system updatable in “real-time” so that our schedule is always accurate?
Yes. Galaxy Advanced Planning & Scheduling updates instantly whenever it receives information such as the completion of an operation or the breakdown of a machine. The update can be pulled from your ERP system or even come from a direct feed from a labor reporting or shop floor tracking system. Galaxy Advanced Planning & Scheduling also has its own screens, called “Shop Views” which are designed to show schedules to shop floor personnel and allow for reporting of production.
Can Galaxy Advanced Planning & Scheduling schedule multiple plants?
Yes. Galaxy Advanced Planning & Scheduling is a “collaborative” scheduling system that can handle any number of Plants and simultaneous Master Schedulers, Viewers, and What-If users. (sold separately). Plants can be scheduled independently or inter-dependently according to your needs.
Will we need a new administrative position to use your software?
No. Most companies find that using Galaxy Advanced Planning & Scheduling actually greatly reduces the amount of time spent managing production. Time that is now spent expediting orders, consolidating information, and updating spreadsheets can be spent on more pro-active tasks since most of the planning process will be automated. A typical user spends anywhere from one to three hours per day reviewing and adjusting the schedule once Galaxy Advanced Planning & Scheduling is in use.
What skill set is needed to use Galaxy Advanced Planning & Scheduling?
It is important that your Galaxy Advanced Planning & Scheduling scheduler(s) are: (1) very familiar with your production operations and what would make a “good” schedule and (2) reasonably comfortable using computers on a daily basis (Someone familiar with Excel will find Galaxy Advanced Planning & Scheduling easy to learn).
How much of our team’s time will be required to setup Galaxy Advanced Planning & Scheduling?
The amount of time your planners or production managers usually spend varies from 40 to 120 hours in total. We realize that your team is very busy running your business so we work remotely over the internet and schedule our time with your personnel based on their priorities and work schedules. An implementation usually takes anywhere from four to twelve weeks in calendar time.
Will we need a new server for Galaxy Advanced Planning & Scheduling?
Usually not. Unless you are scheduling several thousands of orders or your servers are aging, Galaxy Advanced Planning & Scheduling can usually run on your existing hardware.
What size company is Galaxy Advanced Planning & Scheduling best suited for?
Companies that will find Galaxy Advanced Planning & Scheduling to be a good “fit” in terms of functionality and return on investment will typically have substantial manufacturing operations with significant equipment investments or large number of orders that need to be coordinated and delivered on-time. As a general rule, companies that are larger than 10 million to one billion USD in annual revenue will find that there is a system level of Galaxy Advanced Planning & Scheduling that will provide a substantial return on investment.
What are the requirements and costs of integrating APS to our ERP system?
Most APS integrations are “bi-directional”, importing data such as: work orders (with attached routings/BOMS/recipes), sale orders, inventory, purchase orders, work centers, equipment, and sometimes employees, and exporting schedule dates for work orders to facilitate ERP visibility and material planning. One thing we’ve learned is that it’s important that integration tools be very flexible since every company uses both their ERP and APS system differently. The typical time to develop an integration from scratch will vary by the amount of data that needs to be shared. We usually expect to spend anywhere from two to four days creating a new integration.
Ready to launch? Call 800.317.8807 or email Alex.Chiu@planettogether.com