Production Scheduling Software
Features, Benefits, Costs, and Tools
In manufacturing IT since 1989, ScienceSoft provides consulting and full-cycle implementation services for production scheduling software that supports lean manufacturing.
Production Scheduling Software: The Gist
Production scheduling software is an essential tool for efficient planning and allocation of resources (e.g., equipment, inventory, human resources) to production processes. It employs AI/ML and IoT technologies to help organizations ensure optimized resources utilization, reduced manufacturing cycle time, and on-time delivery of manufacturing products to customers.
- Users: production managers, sales managers, shop floor workers.
- Go-to integrations: ERP, MES, CRM, accounting software.
- Implementation costs: $50,000–$100,000, depending on the solution complexity.
Key Production Scheduling Software Features
When defining the features for a production scheduling solution, ScienceSoft’s team adjusts them to the specific business needs of a manufacturing organization. Based on our experience in similar projects, we composed a list of the most requested features by our customers.
Production and resources planning
- Visual planning (via calendars, Gantt charts, etc.) of raw materials, workforce, operations, repairs, shipment.
- Production planning based on capacity.
- Workstation capacity planning based on the capacity constraints.
- Planning tasks for equipment according to its run rates.
- Automatically assigning employees to production steps.
- Task creation for employees by production managers.
- Access to individual work schedules from mobile devices for employees.
- Tracking employee shifts.
- Visual scheduling of jobs, projects, and tasks based on resources availability, constraints, etc.
- Real-time automated schedule adjustments based on changes in work orders, inventory, etc. or detected issues (e.g., unplanned downtime).
- Scheduling complex process flows with dependencies (e.g., two operations should start/finish at the same time, one operation should start when another operation is finished).
- Production routings (sequences of operations) and priority scheduling.
- Color coding of jobs to quickly identify their status (e.g., on-time, late, near late).
- Production schedule templates.
- Dynamic rescheduling of work orders, operations, etc. using drag-and-drop capabilities.
- Production resources tracking (e.g., workers, equipment, raw materials, incoming components from suppliers).
- Job status tracking and sequence prioritization.
- Production progress and queue tracking.
- Equipment data tracking (e.g., status, availability, performance, condition).
- Production data tracking (e.g., the number of parts produced, defective parts, reject reasons).
- Manufacturing costs tracking.
Work order management
- Work order planning and creation.
- Work order approval.
- Work order prioritization.
- Work order grouping (e.g., manufacturing, repair).
- Work order tracking.
Alerts and notifications
- Notifications about changes in status of work orders and jobs, availability of workstations and other resources, etc.
- Notifications about production bottlenecks (unexpected delays, late deliveries, low inventory, production defects).
- Alerts about upcoming expiry dates for finished products.
- Customizable role-based reports on production data for operation managers, shop floor workers, etc.
- Pre-built report templates (e.g., equipment breakdown).
- Real-time dashboards with production and equipment-related data.
- Automated reports scheduling.
Production analysis and simulation
- Calculation of production costs.
- Root cause analysis of production-related data (e.g., yield, OEE, inventory level) and production bottlenecks (e.g., production line malfunctioning, low OEE).
- Simulation (what-if analysis) for varying production conditions (e.g., cycle time, load, the number of operators) to define optimal conditions to balance the demand with capacity.
- Calculating optimal production schedules considering constraints (e.g., material availability constraints, operation sequence constraints).
Forecasting and optimization
- Demand and purchase forecasting based on historical analysis.
- Forecasting production delivery time based on current capacity.
- Predictive capacity calculation.
- Forecasting procurement needs.
- Optimization of manufacturing production runs.
- Automated recommendations for areas of improvement in production planning and scheduling.
Important Integrations for Production Scheduling Software
- ERP – to streamline future production planning based on the what-if analysis and forecasts provided by production scheduling software.
- MES – to automatically update the schedules in production scheduling software based on the real-time production data collected by MES, and to provide schedules and routings for production processes governed by MES.
- CRM – to create and send quotations and invoices to customers based on product costs and delivery time calculated in production scheduling software; to track the sales process from quotation to product delivery; to launch production processes based on customer orders.
- Accounting software – to provide cash flow forecasts based on production schedules and planning data from production scheduling software.
Success Factors of Production Scheduling Software
With 34+ years in manufacturing IT, we’ve gathered the key factors that determine the success of production planning software.
Relevance for specific KPIs, constraints, and business rules
Defining a set of target KPIs (e.g., -15% inventory levels, +30% productivity, 1.5x faster product delivery) will help you prioritize crucial features to see if a certain tool would be able to help you achieve those goals. Also, the chosen software should capture all relevant constraints and business rules in order to define the perfect production schedule.
Advanced optimization capabilities
Powered with advanced techs (AI, ML, IoT), production scheduling software would be able not only monitor and schedule but also significantly optimize production processes by analyzing production data. This, in turn, would help ensure higher ROI since optimization brings much higher cost savings and encourages the lean approach to manufacturing.
As your business grows over time, production needs and manufacturing standards also change. Your software should be able to keep up: going for a scalable and customizable solution will help avoid costly software redevelopment in the future.
Smooth integration with business-critical systems
Production scheduling software should smoothly integrate with enterprise systems like ERP, MES, and CRM to ensure interoperability and data consistency across the company’s digital environment, helping achieve efficient business process automation.
How Much Does It Cost to Implement Production Scheduling Software
Implementation costs of production management software vary greatly depending on the number of locations (single-plant or multi-plant enterprises), the number of active production orders/projects, and required integrations. The implementation costs for a basic custom production scheduling solution is $100,000 - $200,000.
Key benefits of production scheduling software
- +20% productivity due to thorough planning of resources (equipment, labor, materials, etc.).
- -50% excess inventory due to synchronizing purchasing with an optimized production schedule.
- -70% downtime due to real-time alerts.
- -90% time spent on forecasting, planning, and ordering due to AI-driven automation.
Off-the-Shelf Production Scheduling Software ScienceSoft Recommends
MaxScheduler is an easy-to-use web solution for assigning jobs to available employees and machines. It offers features such as scheduling via drag-and-drop capabilities, graphical schedules for a more visual feel, and user profiles (e.g., Schedulers, Editors, and Viewers) to set permissions.
Companies in manufacturing, printing, warehousing, logistics.
JobPack is an on-premises scheduling solution that can be easily integrated with other enterprise systems. For example, integration with an ERP enables the tool to import sales orders, work orders, and routings from the ERP to create a real-time graphical scheduler for various machinery (e.g., for milling, turning, grinding). JobPack’s planning board allows users to assess potential impact of production schedule adjustments and test multiple scenarios (‘what-if’ scheduling). The tool also enables viewing available capacity and managing operational constraints to avoid operations overlapping.
Metal cutting and manufacturing companies in aerospace, automotive, and job-shop industries.
PlanetTogether streamlines managing orders, capacity, and inventory. It offers such features as production scheduling, constraint management, capacity planning, order management, alerts, reports, and communication tools. PlanetTogether also provides advanced analytics features (e.g., capacity, productivity, financial analytics), which helps improve decision-making and optimize production processes.
Manufacturing companies with a focus on supply chain management.
When Off-the-Shelf Production Scheduling Software is Not Enough
Developing a fully custom production scheduling solution can be the best option in the following cases:
The off-the-shelf products lack the features that are critical for the customer. In this case, custom development may be more cost-effective than customization of an already existing product.
The customer requires integrations with custom legacy applications (e.g., ERP, MES, CRM).
The customer needs functionality based on AI, ML, IoT, and other advanced technologies to be in production scheduling software.
The customer wants branded UI for a production scheduling software.
Choose Professional Services for Production Scheduling Software Implementation
ScienceSoft’s experienced IT consultants and software engineers are ready to assist manufacturing companies in streamlining their production processes.
ScienceSoft is a global IT consulting and software development company headquartered in McKinney, Texas. We offer consulting, implementation, training, and support services for production scheduling software. We help manufacturers gain full visibility into production processes, avoid scheduling errors, and ensure cost-effective production and on-time deliveries. ScienceSoft’s ISO 9001 and ISO 27001 certificates guarantee high-quality services and complete security of our customers’ data. If you need production scheduling software consulting or implementation, reach out to ScienceSoft’s team.