Q: What are the important points in making a successful installation of the Advanced Planning and Scheduling System?

A: At the beginning of this book I showed a number of successful case studies of introduction of the system. However we do have examples in the past in which installation did not succeed or in which problems occurred during the installation. If we refer to those examples and put them together with important points in a successful installation of the Advanced Planning and Scheduling System we get a table like this one.


Examples of unsuccessful installation

Points for success


Targets set too high

The aim was for an ideal production schedule and they worked to set restrictive conditions on all production. However for all of the hard work it took time before actual operation and that meant long delays on the installation schedule. The purpose of installing an Advanced Planning and Scheduling System is to increase company profits. Getting caught up in insignificant details is a lot of hard work with all pain and no gain.

Set target somewhere between the realistic and the ideal

It's easy to set up the ideal. However setting up an ideal image as the target won't work in most cases. Set the target somewhere between the reality and the ideal. If you make additions or changes during the project to a goal already set that will become a source of confusion for the installation project. Set a firm goal in the beginning and don't change it with the project in process. If you have a lot of complex BOM settings that will stop BOM maintenance. In many instances the results of calculations by the Advanced Planning and Scheduling System will be unreliable and no longer useful and that's why it's important to simplify BOM settings.


Decision to install without creating a prototype

The company recognizes the need for an Advanced Planning and Scheduling System and immediately decides to install it. After purchase they build a prototype. That results in a large amount of requests and they investigate solutions. That results in great confusion in the original installation schedule and budget.

Examine thoroughly prior to concluding the contract

Build a prototype before formally deciding to install an Advanced Planning and Scheduling System. After the prototype is complete get all the persons involved together for study and demonstration of that prototype. That clears up all problems and clarifies whether the standard functions of the Advanced Planning and Scheduling System can work.


Too much customization development

The company developed plug-ins to customize its new production scheduling logic to make it fit the company's production process and schedule. An excellent engineer was in charge of development at the customer company and he got the system operating without a hitch. The initial system was one that fit the company perfectly. However their products and production processes changed every day. They also had a tendency to transfer their best people too much. After this engineer was transferred there was no one to supervise the programs with their complex production scheduling logic. When they eventually asked for changes it was too late to make them and the Advanced Planning and Scheduling System became unusable.

Keep customization development to an absolute minimum

Do as little developing of customized features as possible. The order in which solutions are sought is as follows.

1.   Solve using the standard functions of the Advanced Planning and Scheduling System
2.  Solve in operation
3.  Create external programs and find solutions (including external system interfaces)
4.  Develop customization with plug-in


Slow production scheduler processing

We had a request to provide a demonstration of the Asprova production scheduler. However this company had asked a systems integrator (SI) to develop a scheduler that fit exactly with its plant and the scheduler had just started operation. We asked why they wanted Asprova and were told that when the just-developed production scheduler was fed real data it processing time increased to more than five hours. They came to the decision that the scheduler was useless because they were unable to rapidly respond to deliveries by delivery date. This company gave up on the production scheduler they had paid so much to develop for their plant alone and installed Asprova.

Know what the reschedule process time is in real data

We get a good understanding during prototype creation of the reschedule (doing the schedule over again) process time in parameter programming and data volume of actual operating time. If the programming is complex then processing will take more time than we anticipated.


Start up by yourself to hold costs down

One company bought the Advanced Planning and Scheduling System package  and to hold costs down started it up themselves. However even though they had some knowledge of IT and production control this was the first experience they had ever had starting up the Advanced Planning and Scheduling System and they could not get it into full-scale operation.

Get as much consultation on installation as possible

If you have no experience installing an Advanced Planning and Scheduling System take the expense of using the available consultation service. Consulting from a highly qualified consultant will maximize the cost-effectiveness of installing an Advanced Planning and Scheduling System.


Don't follow the site

The Advanced Planning and Scheduling System is designed so that when it starts up it can also output work orders. However some workers will not follow those work orders and we can't say that the equipment is being used properly.

The new control system must be made complete throughout the plant site

When the Advanced Planning and Scheduling System is installed it must be accompanied by thorough work reform. They way in which manufacturing orders are issued and the methods of acquiring manufacturing performance will change. Many of the those who are used to the conventional work customs will cling hard to those. All personnel must understand and implement the new mode. Before starting operational tests hold meetings to explain the new method of operation and its significance. The president and plant superintendent must issue work commands so that the work reforms are closely followed. When the employees in charge change through transfers or other reasons the new people in charge must be taught about the Advanced Planning and Scheduling System so that there is no obstruction of its operation and that it continues normally.


Project system and personnel inadequate

One person was appointed to be in charge of BOM maintenance servicing and outfitting. However because this employee also had daily duties in production control after several months BOM maintenance servicing and outfitting could not be completed. The project system ultimately had to be revised.

Build a project system

The project team for such a project must have at least three persons: one who will the standard project leader one more who will be in charge of production control and a third who will be the system manager. We have seen instances where the project is not used at the plant site even though the company went to a great deal of trouble to plan it. This is not a difficult project if the president or the plant superintendent becomes the project manager and all of those involved provide their cooperation. Rather if those roles are fulfilled it is quite simple.

Related articles : 

Visualizing the BOM (Bill of Materials)

Steps in Installing the Advanced Planning and Scheduling System

Procedures for Preparing Prototypes

Automatic Prototype Preparation Service--Mr. Proto

Customizing the Advanced Planning and Scheduling System

Implementation with Just Parameter Settings is Fundamental

A Powerful Weapon for Customization--Expressions

Adding Properties

Adding Properties (Virtual Properties) for Displaying the Results of Calculations

Parametric BOM

External System Interfaces

Developing Add-On Programs

Developing Plug-Ins