The new frontiers for production planning

It is now evident how digital technologies are about to create great changes in all contexts, including industrial ones, and how in every great period of change there will be winners and losers.

To try to be among the first on the market, it is good to be aware of both the opportunities and the risks, which are much less talked about. There seem to be two opportunities that could involve the future of the industry. The first, well known, is due to the widespread availability of the Internet of Things. On the IoT there are many authoritative opinions for which it is worth considering the second, much less known and discussed, relating to the so-called digital natives, people who have always lived in a digital world and in contact with technologies, from mobile phones, to video games, from computers to the Internet.

These people are increasingly entering companies replacing those for whom digital was at most a second language, often very little known. As the factory goes digital, the previous generation will be replaced, albeit to a lesser extent, by the new digital generation. This substitution and reduction will be the combined effect of the use of the IoT and the use of the information obtained through the IoT by intelligent decision-making systems based on artificial intelligence terminologies.



The area that will be most subject to profound changes will be that of production planning and scheduling, in fact it is one of the areas that today presents the greatest problems, where high current investments are contrasted with numerous missing materials, in the face of long delivery times and uncertain dates. An area dominated by continuous urgencies, where the ERP must be supported by an infinity of Excel sheets and continuously corrected manually by willing operators.

Among the causes of this situation are the mechanisms implemented in ERPs: mechanisms such as Material Requirements Planning that were devised in the 1970s and that have not undergone significant changes in the following 50 years. Few people know that MRP leads to amplifying errors in the data to the point of substantially requiring the control and manual review of each proposal generated by it.

These manual activities are supported by countless spreadsheets or Excel files that promote the creation of “information silos” and are not compatible with an increasingly digital factory run by digital natives. These inconsistencies will become evident and will lead managers to identify and use more advanced solutions that are currently used by less than 1% of companies, the leaders in their sectors.



These new solutions called APS (Advanced Planning System) extend the planning capabilities of the ERP, to which they connect, eliminating Excel.

APS adds finite capacity planning and interactive what-if analytics. In addition, they allow an early and more effective identification of problems thanks to extensive graphical representations, allowing you to evaluate the plan with KPIs before it is implemented. Cybertec is a pioneer in the field of APS and has focused its attention on the continuous improvement of its solution. Today we are able not only to propose a powerful and reliable solution, but also very modern and convenient thanks to the web and cloud technologies on which its latest version is based.

Our suggestion to companies is to consider a balance of investments in IoT with those in APS so that the results of the former are not conditioned or largely frustrated by obsolete planning systems, too manual and dependent on the abilities of individuals.


Learn more about “the 5 risks of planning production with Excel”: Click here for the article



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