SOFTWARE FAQ


How much does the software cost?

The short answer is – variable! We will do our best to provide a price point that fits your budget and provides an ROI on the project that can be returned within three months. We will also guarantee that the project will cost you a fraction of the cost when compared to similar tools on the market.

The base product is fixed and standard for everyone. Typically different business systems and forecasting systems used that should be integrated to the scheduling tools that requires some customization. There usually are custom reports and functions that various businesses will want. We will provide a fixed price for the entire project. Our suggestion is a fixed price for the “Complete” turn-key model. Turn-key means all customer data is inputted; the model is proved successful in generating schedules; integrated to the other systems and the key users are trained on how to use the tool and maintain it. Documented operating instructions are included in the price.

What is the maintenance cost?

There is an annual license fee plus an optional support fee. The license fee is 15% of the initial project cost. This entitles the user to all standard updates and enhancements to the tool during the time that the customer is current paying the licensing fee. The support fee provides a fixed amount of time per month for diagnosing and fixing problems regardless of the cause. The recommended support fee on average is an additional 15% of the initial project cost. This is the most cost effective way to get the support you need as your product mix changes and market dynamics evolve. The support fee also extends to the business system so that it is properly maintained as well for integration to our software.

Why do you need this software?

1) Most business systems are transaction-based, committing to do production and purchasing orders in the short term plus record events in the past. They are not planning & scheduling tools! Our tools help you prepare for future events while there is still time to react.
2) The process of scheduling is time consuming and complex. Standard Excel spreadsheets have helped but still does not improve the process nearly enough. Our software will automate most of the process for you so you can focus on improving key business metrics and not spend all your time fighting fires.
3) Better schedules mean better customer service, more sales, lower inventories, better shelf-life with less spoilage, more efficient manufacturing and lower logistics cost. Bottomline, this is one of the best payback projects you can implement to improve the quality of your business.

What makes our scheduling software different than the competition?

1) It is Excel based. Most individuals and companies are familiar with Excel which greatly reduces the learning curve and provides flexibility, if you want to customize the tool yourself.
2) The tools are designed to provide the best visibility possible so that within seconds you can see your situation and how best to respond to it.
3) The tools are supercharged with VBA (Excel’s background programing language). As many routine tasks have been automated, as possible, so that you can concentrate on finding the best answers and not waste time collecting and formatting information.
4) The tools are extensible. This means that the design of the tools handles a few products or hundreds, so as your business grows, the tool can grow with you.
5) Powerful algorithms are provided but are simple to use. All you need to do is change some parameters and rerun the solver. You will immediately see the impact and find the best solution for your current situation.

Who needs our scheduling software?

All manufacturing companies. But especially small to mid-sized companies! If you make products and/or buy raw materials/components then you share the same fundamental business questions. What to make or buy; when; and how much? Your company’s success depends on getting this right! Small companies can compete against the large ones but you need the same capability as they have – technology to plan and schedule their supply chains. This is your opportunity to get the most cost effective solution available today. Let us prove it to you.

What is Supply Chain Visibility?

Seeing all the information necessary to understand the current inventory levels; committed and uncommitted demand; existing production orders and planned production far enough into the future so that you can anticipate problems so you can prepare for them while there is still time to react.

What is a Supply Chain Model?

It is a mathematical representation of a business question. The model allows you to test various scenarios and ways of responding to a changing marketplace with minimal cost. Typical business questions are: How much inventory do we need at any point in time to meet expected demand? When do the raw materials need to be ordered and how much?

What is Supply Chain Optimization?

Optimization implies the best answer. But what is the best answer? The reality is that companies have to manage multiple objectives simultaneously and some of them conflict.  Our tools help you understand and illustrate the tradeoffs (for others), so the team can gain consensus, balancing goals.

Supply Chain Optimization could imply the most efficient operation of existing assets.  “The objective function”, goal(s) for a business also implies minimum cost, fastest growth, greatest asset utilization, highest customer service levels, minimum inventories. The best answer can be circumstantial and can change over time. You will need a tools to help you adapt, test various scenarios.

What is the difference between a optimal, finite and feasible schedules?

An infinite schedule does not consider constraints and limitations in the supply chain. Traditional MRP mathematics (found in ERP business systems) calculates schedules in an unlimited, constraint-free manner. This is not the real world. A true finite capacity schedule accounts for all constraints that may limit how fast product can be made. Constraints may be equipment run rates or capacity; available raw material inventory; labor availability and block operation of the equipment where multiple products are made on the same equipment. A feasible schedule is one that satisfies all the constraints but there is room for improvement and is therefore not optimal. In the short term a schedule may be finite but in the future, if raw materials are not available on time then the schedule would not be feasible.

The goal of scheduling is to generate optimal schedules that are both feasible and finite. Poor customer service, out of control inventories, a confused irritated staff and missed opportunities for growth are just some of the symptoms that scream for better scheduling. Our tools help you achieve the best schedules while not overly burdening the user with building a complex model that is difficult to maintain. The level of discreteness and complexity is a tradeoff. If you schedule to the most limiting constraint then it will satisfy most constraints. Let us illustrate this for you.

What is the difference between planning and scheduling?

Our definition is – planning is the process to do better in the future by adjusting resources that affects  overall production capacity. Scheduling is doing the best with what you have today, given the existing effective capacity. Resources are constraints to the rate of production. Equipment size and labor are just two such constraints. It takes an extended leadtime to adjust resources, weeks and sometimes months. In the short term you have not choice but to account for those constraining resources when a schedule is developed, if you expect to produce the product by a realistic date. Ignoring them will result in false promises to your customers.

Our tools can be used in slightly different ways to answer both sets of questions. Just keep in mind, only one type of question can be answered at a time.