This article is a follow on to the article “Moore’s Law and the Relevance to Manufacturing Operating Systems” and shows how the Supply Chain Framework needs to be reworked to account for the impact of Advanced Production Scheduling solutions on operations management and information flows.

When the Material Requirements Planning(MRP) logic was first codified and made available in systems to companies, it was necessary to develop education and training materials to make it easier for users to understand how the various components of the supply chain related to each other.

From these early efforts arose explanatory frameworks of the modules and interrelationships. An example of one of these frameworks, published by Vollman et all in 1988:

There are many more, similar frameworks that can be viewed by Googling the words “mrp ii framework” and looking at the images made available.

These frameworks are largely based on the different elements of control being exercised over different time periods e.g. long-term plans, medium-term plans and short-term plans, visualized as follows:

From the book “Designing, Selecting, Implementing and Using APS Systems – Vincent C. S. Wiers, A. (Ton) G. de Kok”

The weakness of all forward forecasting and planning is that reality seldom sticks to the plan.

An APS no longer needs to be limited to scheduling a limited horizon as there is seldom any implication if the schedule is extended to cover the time horizon currently managed by the Master Planning process.

If the APS can now schedule actual and forecasted demand across the same time horizon as the MPS, the question to ask is – “what are the implications of doing this?”

  1. Firstly, the two roles, MPS Planner and Scheduler, could be combined into a single role.
  2. We can then think of the impact on the MRP II Framework, which probably need to be revised, for these reasons:
    • As the APS schedules according to the availability of both capacity and materials, it immediately reduces the importance of:
      1. The MPS function – long lead-time materials now only need to be ordered on a fortnightly or monthly basis.
      2. Any functions that separately calculated capacity loading. These can be dropped, as advanced scheduling incapsulates capacity loading / planning.
      3. MRP which never recognised capacity limitations could be dropped.
      4. The link between procurement functions and MRP logic to determine the timing of delivery of purchased components will need to change to Procurement receiving timing information from the APS solution.
      5. The new framework would need to recognize the impact of advanced production scheduling e.g.

A caveat: as always different companies will have different emphasizes and control needs. Some companies may be able to reduce the role of the MPS while others may retain the MPS in a reduced role. Each company will have to decide how best to use available solution capabilities.

Just so long as you don’t keep thinking that it is as it was – it isn’t.