ILOG Unveils "Next-generation" APS Solution for Production Planning

New Plant PowerOps integrates planning and scheduling, supports interactive what-if analysis

New Plant PowerOps integrates planning and scheduling, supports interactive what-if analysis

Kansas City, MO — October 18, 2005 — Software company ILOG has taken the wraps off an integrated production planning and scheduling solution that it said introduces several innovations to the advanced planning and scheduling (APS) market while allowing customers to leverage their investments in legacy enterprise resource planning (ERP) and supply chain management (SCM) systems.

Innovations that ILOG said it is introducing to the market with its new Plant PowerOps (PPO) solution include detailed models that capture the realities of both discrete and process manufacturing, as well as support for the interactivity and flexibility needed by decision-makers. Production planners, plant managers and front-line schedulers can all create and compare scenarios, perform what-if analysis and define warning messages and alerts using a business rule management interface, the solution provider said.

The "Other 20 Percent

As ILOG sees it, most ERP and SCM scheduling solutions only address about 80 percent of the realities of the manufacturing process and fail to address a host of important considerations including true set-up costs, switch-over procedures, earliness costs, tardiness costs, waste factors and the special requirements of process manufacturing.

ILOG said that Plant PowerOps tackles the remaining 20 percent of required functionality, allowing manufacturers to produce optimal plans and schedules that are realistic, addressing the true resource capabilities, costs and operating constraints experienced by most manufacturers. This heightened control and agility could help some manufacturers realize revenue gains by improving their ability to respond to last minute opportunities, ILOG said.

In addition, the solution provider suggested that manufacturers in process industries will benefit from full support for lot and batch planning, cleaning procedures, tank minimums and maximums, the tracking of reservoir consumption and the scheduling of divergent, convergent and cyclic material flows.

No "Rip and Replace"

Because of the limitations in their ability to fully address detailed scheduling problems, most existing SCM solutions can not offer complete integrated planning and scheduling, which often keeps planning departments and the manufacturing floor out of sync. ILOG said that Plant PowerOps fills the gap by enabling plant and supply chain managers to model their manufacturing and supply chain processes at a granularity that matches their business operations. Plans and schedules are synchronized and use the same information and assumptions since they use the same models.

According to manufacturing research firm AMR Research, organizations can cost-effectively get more out of their existing supply chain technology by installing components into their software infrastructure. AMR compared this to an "aftermarket" where "accessory components can be installed within an existing software infrastructure to increase functionality, much like buying an aftermarket audio or alarm system for your car." ILOG said that PPO "bolts on" to existing ERP and SCM systems so customers don't have to perform a "rip and replace" operation to add new APS capability.

In addition to integrated production planning and scheduling, ILOG PPO offers an interactive planning board based on ILOG's visualization technology that allows plant managers to validate plans and manage exceptions at a glance. The planning board also supports "drag and drop" editing, partial freeze and solve, undo/redo, alerts and other ease of use features.

Elsewhere, the solution provides for what-if analysis and scenario comparison for planning and scheduling that allows users to understand key performance indicators (KPIs) and define scenarios and alerts using ILOG's BRMS technology.

Finally, PPO offers a solution generation window with a graphical display of optimization progress on multiple dimensions of cost, level of service, inventory and so on, as well as pre-defined connectors to SAP and Oracle. Connectors to other systems will be available later, ILOG said.

Additional Articles of Interest

— For an in-depth look at how agribusiness Syngenta is reducing inventory while maintaining customer service levels by building a demand planning process based on a collaborative forecasting solution, see the article " Forecasting Processes from the Ground Up ."

— Demand planners at glove manufacturer Wells Lamont have put their finger on a way to bring new value to the company by leveraging technology that allows them to plan by exception. Read their story in the article " Planning by Exception," in the December 2004/January 2005 issue of Supply & Demand Chain Executive.

— Increased opportunities for customer interaction create new operational challenges for Sales, Marketing and Service — the Demand Chain. Organizations must look beyond technology to the true foundation of creating and managing demand. For more information, read the exclusive "Trends in the Demand Chain."

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