A new product Preactor 400 GMPS is currently under development and due for release later this year. Preactor 400 GMPS is a solution primarily aimed at companies in the food and FMCG sectors. One of the characteristics of these customers is that they are often making to stock so their primary driver is their forecast of future demand. Unfortunately the forecast demand can vary wildly between periods because of seasonality, promotions, weather, special events, etc.
Classic production control theory would suggest that you simply load your forecast demand into your ERP system to create the Master Production Schedule (MPS) that is then used by your MRP to calculate your production and purchase orders. However the wild variations in the forecast demand can easily result in an unrealistic MPS.
The common solution to this problem is to pre-process the forecast demand through one or more spread sheets before it is loaded into the MPS. The spread sheets are used to calculate how much of and when each product should be made taking into account the desired stock level limits, rough cut capacity, shelf life, etc., and the resulting ‘smoothed’ data is then used to create the MPS.
As with any spread sheet based solution this can work quite well when the data volumes are low, but for companies with large numbers of products that share the same production capacity the spread sheets become difficult to manage.
Preactor 400 GMPS is built on the same foundations as the rest of the Preactor family, so the user interface, database, reporting facilities will all be familiar to existing users. Forecast demand, opening stocks, rough cut capacity and shelf life figures are required to drive the calculation. This data can be added directly or imported using the Preactor API.
Preactor 400 GMPS enables users to carry out long term rough cut capacity or infinite capacity planning as well as finite capacity. It can run the calculations in a bucketed capacity mode in a choice of days, weeks or months or a combination of all three. The MPS calculation explodes the demand values down to the lower level parts in the Bill of Materials, so key sub-components can be taken into account. This can also include bought in items, such as packaging, raw materials etc. Re-order multiples, minimum and maximum order sizes can also be added into the system.
The shelf life of an item is taken into consideration when the MPS is calculated and stock and production that is going to be out of life can be shown.
Parameters can be set against each item code, which allows different calculations to be performed for each item. All items can also be run from a single parameter set.
The MPS can be manipulated through a number of different methods. This can be via an individual stock graph by clicking and dragging a point on the graph or by keying a new value directly into a table. All methods will update all the graphs that are linked to the results.
The capacity required by the MPS result is displayed in a stacked graph. The user can click and drag the values in the chart to reduce the capacity used by a single item in a specified period or drag volume from one day to another. Again all charts will then update accordingly.
A capacity level can be specified e.g. quantity, duration or weight to control the initial amount produced. This then limits the volume created each day to stay within this capacity. Items can be placed into capacity groups allowing only some groups to be constrained.
Scheduled information can be sent back to the planning system and will override the planned volume with a scheduled volume. This will then lock out the specific buckets and volume that have schedule information and previous buckets as well. The user can then re-calculate based on the new results. Result sets can be saved off and re-opened for later use allowing ‘What if’ planning
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