Infor CloudSuite Industrial APS Best Practices #9 – Know your load

June 27, 2018

This poor guy didn’t know his load capacity, but you’ve got to give him credit for trying. Especially the second time.

One of the nice things about APS is that when it creates the supply plan, it doesn’t just look at the materials we need, it also looks to see when our resources have capacity. Of course, this means we need to tell APS what the realistic capacity for our work centers is. If we don’t, we’re going to end up like that guy in his mighty three-wheeled pickup.

But it has even more implications than that. In a previous post, I outlined the seven steps of planning with APS. You saw that one of the key steps in that process is watching and reacting to the alerts APS gives us. One of those key alerts has to do with our utilization levels. When we start to get loaded at a work center above 80% during a given time period, we need to consider taking action to make sure we don’t overload the work center. We might schedule overtime to get us out of the danger zone, outsource some of the work, or use a number of other remedies. But if our capacity numbers are wrong, we’ll probably be reacting to junk alerts.

That means it’s important to make sure our work center capacity is modeled realistically in the application. There are three records we need to get right to make sure we have good work center data.

  • Shifts
  • Resources
  • Resource groups

You’ll notice that I didn’t mention the “work center” records. That’s because APS doesn’t use those records in any way. Why that’s so is a long story, and you can learn more about it in the self-directed course on APS, but the key thing to remember is that work center records don’t exist for APS. The work center for APS are the three records above. Here’s what we need to do with each of them.

First, you need to make sure you enter your scheduling shifts into the system. When setting the daily interval length, set it for the total time your resources are actually working during that shift. If you have a nine-hour shift, but an hour of that is lunch and breaks, then set the interval for eight hours. It does you no good to tell APS you have that extra hour for each resource when you don’t.

Please note: you don’t need to get fussy and try to model all of the breaks in the intervals. What we need to tell APS is how many hours your resources actually work during the shift. If the shift’s start time and end time don’t exactly match when you start and end on the shop floor, it doesn’t matter. What you need to get right is the number of hours you’re working during that shift.

Second, you need to make sure you have the right number of resources entered into the system and attached to the right shifts. A resource for APS is anything you want to schedule. You need a resource record for each one of them.

What if you don’t want to schedule individual resources in a cell and instead want to simply schedule the cell? In that case, model the cell as the resource.

Finally, you need to put the right number of resources in the right resource groups. Resource groups are a collection of resources that can perform a given operation. All resources in a group can do that thing.

For example, let’s say part of your process is to create a friction weld. You have three machines that can do it. You’d put all three machines into the friction welding resource group. You don’t care if APS schedules machine A, machine B, or machine C for the work—all of them can do the friction welding that needs to be done.

On the other hand, you would never put the friction welding machines and the operators who run the machines in the same resource group. If you did and told APS you needed two resources, APS might select two machines or two people. You don’t want that. You want a machine and an operator. So the operators would all go into a second resource group. The easy way to remember this is that all of the members of a resource group must be able to stand in as substitutes for each other.

It’s important to get your groups right because your bills of material never link directly to a resource in the application. Look at the Job Operations or Current Operations forms. You’ll see that you tell APS that you need a resource from a specific resource group. But you can’t tell APS which resources to select from that group.

So we’re going to make sure our resource capacity is modeled accurately. When we do, APS can give us data to support us when making critical decisions. Jim Black, former director of consulting at Infor, is back to explain one of the forms used when making decisions about capacity.

“Depicting work center capacity realistically” by Jim Black

If a resource group does not have its capacity realistically depicted, you won’t have valid utilization rate calculations on the Resource Group Load Profile APS form:

You can see AS-500-LRG has three members (#1 above). These members are resources and they were assigned on the resources tab of the Resource Groups form. Consequently, an appropriate number of On-shift Hours (#2 above) is calculated each period. This particular display is aggregating to weeks (#3 above) so, given that each member is assigned to a shift of 40 hours per week, we calculate a capacity of 120 hours for each week (3 X 40 = 120). In period 3 (Week of 5/4/2018), this snapshot shows we have Total Load Hours of 116.43, including released Jobs (Scheduled Hours), PLNs (Planned Hours), and Forecasted Hours. That Load represents 97.03% of capacity for that week.

Because our capacity for this resource group is realistically depicted (and assuming the loads values are valid), the results (both in tabular form and graphical form) are credible and enable sound decision-making.

What’s next?

If you recall, the four commandments for planning with APS were:

  • Keep your data accurate
  • Follow the plan
  • Get ahead of the game
  • Keep it simple

With this post, we have finished discussing the key practices associated keeping our data accurate. In the next post, we’ll move into the key practices for following the plan.

About the author:

John Brown | Education Product Manager, Infor

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  • Industrial Manufacturing
  • SyteLine
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