Infor CloudSuite Industrial APS Best Practices #12 – Modeling labor resources

September 24, 2018

We’re going to revisit the topic we touched on in post #9 of this series, which touched on the practice of depicting work center capacity. Many of those using APS run into a tricky situation when they try to model their labor resources.

Problem 1: Multiple shifts

Let’s start by examining the following situation for a labor resource group.

  • Two shifts
  • Shift 1 has 2 resources
  • Shift 2 has 2 resources
  • Running infinite APS planning

That might seem normal, but there’s a problem.

When APS allocates a resource, it assumes the resource will perform the work from start to finish. That means when the resource goes off-shift, APS plans for that resource to continue when it comes back on shift. This makes sense for machine resources.

However, when you’re scheduling labor resources and you have multiple shifts, you probably don’t want APS to schedule a job to be worked on only by the labor resource in one shift—you want the resources working subsequent shifts to work on that same job as well.

Let’s say you have an assembly area that runs 16 hours per day with two labor resources as shown below. The first labor resource works shift 1, the second works shift 2.

Let’s say you get some work that will take 16 hours to finish and it’s due at the end of day 1. You would want APS to schedule as shown below.

But APS won’t schedule it that way. It will load the work on Labor 1 and not reassign the work when Labor 1 goes off shift as shown below.

To ensure APS schedules as you desire, you should simply model one labor resource at the assembly area that works both shifts as shown below.

What you need to model is the capacity and availability—not necessarily every resource—and the method shown above achieves that purpose. This allows APS to give you a good plan and the Shop Floor to determine which specific labor resources will work on the job.

Problem 2: Shifts with unequal resources

What if your second shift doesn’t have the same number of labor resources as the first shift? What if it looks like this?

  • Two shifts
  • Shift 1 has 2 resources
  • Shift 2 has 1 resource
  • Running infinite APS planning

Because you don’t have an equal number of resources on each shift, APS can easily load you up like this.

You don’t want that. You would prefer that Labor 2 works on the load on day 1. What’s going on here?

It has to do with how APS allocates resources in resource groups: the system doesn’t select resources randomly from the group, it starts with the first one in sequence and sees if it’s available. If it is, it loads it. If it isn’t, it looks at the next one and so on.

In the example above, APS needed a resource on shift 1 of day 2. Labor 1 was available, and it loaded it up.

Now someone might suggest making Labor 2 the first in the sequence. Then APS would always see something available on shift 1 and shift 2. With the previous load, you’d end up with something like what you see below.

That looks better, but it still might cause confusion. Is there a better way?

They key to both of the situations we’ve discussed is to think of labor resources as available person hours per day rather than as individuals. If we do this for the second scenario, we’d create two labor resources that are available for 1½ shifts as shown below.

This not only solves the problem of resource assignment, but it also solves the problem of resource hand-off if the work extends beyond their shift.

Someone is bound to point out that the Scheduler can do things that APS can’t, like scheduling hand-offs from one labor resource to another at the end of a shift and recognizing different numbers of resources on each shift. That’s true. But even if you decide to use the Scheduler for released jobs, you still need to use APS for planned jobs. And the approach I’ve described abovefor modeling labor resources helps make sure those planned jobs are planned appropriately.

If we want APS to give us a reasonable andachievable plan and then rely on shop floor supervisors and leads to execute it, adjusting it if necessary, we can do very well with the solution above.

What’s next?

Up to this point, we’ve talked about feeding APS good data and following the plan with by practicing launch control. In the next post, we’ll continue with another critical practice of following the plan.

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John Brown | Education Product Manager, Infor

Filed Under
  • Education & Transformation Services
  • Industrial Manufacturing
  • CloudSuite Distribution
  • Distribution SX.e
  • Worldwide
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