Welcome to Advanced-Planning.eu
Many companies have recognized that the currently used MRP II philosophy does not support planning in the sense that the capacities of the resources are adequately considered during the planning process. It is now common sense that ignorance with respect to capacity results in high work-in-process combined with decreasing service levels and long customer waiting times. In addition, in highly integrated supply networks with small “slack” insufficient planning procedures become more evident than in non-integrated logistic networks. Being considered as waste, safety stock and safety time are reduced to a minimum. Generating feasible plans under these conditions is a real challenge for a planning system. This is the point where Advanced Planning Systems (APS) come into play. These are software systems that support the solution of primarily operative planning problems in Supply Chain Management, Logistics and Operations Management with the help of quantitative solution methods (Operations Research methods). The suppliers of APS claim to support the integrated, capacity-focused and optimal planning of operations in complex global supply chains. Unfortunately, this is very often not true.
Advanced Planning Systems are strongly related to the concept of Supply Chain Management that focusses on the system-wide optimization of production and logistics. They extend the capabilities of the widely used Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems which provide only very limited planning support. Traditional planning and scheduling systems (such as MRP, or manufacturing resource planning) apply a successive planning procedure that is easy to understand but that neglects capacities and usually does not produce feasible plans.
For a practical planner it is often not clear, what these APS really do, as the specific type of planning model and the solution algorithm used to solve a practical problem in general are not transparent. This site provides more information about planning problems that are currently supported or should be supported by Advanced Planning Systems. However, the scope of this site is not limited to APS. We discuss many related issues in the problem areas Operations Management and Production Planning which are not considered in Advanced Planning Systems. For example, we discuss factory planning problems (design of flow lines, flexible manufacturing systems) and inventory management problems (when demand or lead times is random) as well as many deterministic planning problems where it is assumed that all data are known. We also discuss lotsizing issues, among others.