User Interface: Change Calendar – Resource Gantt Chart

From the previous article, if manual adjustment does not address the delay in the order, maybe there is not enough time for the operation to assign. We can try to increase the working time and see if this eliminates the delay.

In this sample, we will change Nov 5, a Saturday as a working day. Left-click on Nov 5 while holding down the shift key.


Right-click the cell which is highlighted and then choose Day shift.


You will see that the shift of Nov 5 has changed to a Day Shift.


Run the reschedule button and you will see that operations will be assigned on Nov 5.


You can look at the message window and confirm that there is no more message about the delay. This means that the delay was eliminated.


To learn more about Asprova specific to this sample demonstration, you may visit Asprova’s e-Learning videos at (see 23. User Interface). You may also refer to the online help for more details on Calendar settings.



In this sample, auto-replenishment is explained in which insufficient items for production orders and purchase orders are automatically replenished. This way, there is no need to create additional production orders for an item.

To set up auto-replenishment, switch auto-replenish flag in the Item Table to “Yes” and set Production lot size MIN and Production lot size MAX to 1000 pcs. This will be the basis of the system how much to automatically order.


When the setup is complete, run the reschedule button to see the production order being replenished automatically. In the Resource Gantt chart, you will see that the production order of item A has been replenished automatically with a quantity of 1000 as specified in the lot size. Coming from the multi-process setup, item A can be produced with Cut, Press and Inspection processes and is supplied to order 2 and order 1. Note also that this feature will send notification as soon as materials are needed to be purchased.


Monitoring the quantity and availability of every material is only one of many ways Asprova can help you manage inventory and orders. To learn more about Asprova specific to this sample demonstration, you may visit Asprova’s e-Learning videos at (see 22. How to make a prototype).


Sales, Production and Purchase Scheduling

This article explains how a user can run scheduling from sales orders to purchase orders, using automated replenishment production.

In this sample, the factory produces bolts “AX”. The final product “AX” is made from items “A” and “X”. Product “A” can be produced by supplying the raw material “M1” to the “Cut” process, then passes through “Press” and “Inspection” operations. To finally make the product “AX”, product “A” has to go through “Assembly” and “Inspection” operations with product “X”. These processes can be viewed in the Graphical Master display.

On the other hand, confirming details can be done in the Spreadsheet display. This is where order, production, setup, time constraints (e.g. waiting time) and auto-replenishment details are registered. Auto-replenishment is a function that automatically registers replenishment orders to prevent shortage of a raw material. This is setup in the item table – set the auto-replenishment flag of the item to “Yes (one-to-one production)” for manufacturing orders to be set into a one-to-one scheme with the sales orders. This is also where the production lot size is set. Production lot size is the minimum or maximum amount of stocks that can be produced or ordered. Obtain method can be set as either “Prefer to produce” if items will be produced or “Prefer to purchase” if items will be purchased.

Example of “Prefer to produce”:

5000 items of “A” have to be made at once so its production lot size Min/Max should be set to 5000 and obtain method as “Prefer to produce”. The 5000-items manufacturing order will be automatically registered when “A” is about to run out.

Example of “Prefer to purchase”:

The raw material “M1” is a purchase item with a lot size from 1 to 100. Therefore Purchase lot size Min is set to 1 and the Purchase lot size Max is set to 100. A purchase order will be automatically registered when “M1” is about to run out.

As soon as all these setup are registered, you can now run the re-schedule button and see orders being replenished automatically. The result is displayed at the Resource Gantt chart.


To learn more about Asprova specific to this sample demonstration, you may visit Asprova’s e-Learning videos at (see 21. Try out sample data).


Network Modules

There are two modules that can connect Asprova schedule: Network License Server (NLS) and Data Server (DS).

Network Modules

The Network License Server handles the management of Asprova licenses – this network licensing system will allow PCs to connect to a licensed server and obtain a license via that network. With this, sharing of licenses across factories become possible. With NLS, you can start the scheduler modules (APS, MS, MS Light, MRP) from each PC.

Data Server, on the other hand, is the one that shares the scheduling data wherein users can check in/out and operate the same project file from multiple computers. For example, you can use Asprova APS for mid-term planning and open this project file in Asprova MS to create a short-term plan.

In Asprova, the schedule information is managed by a binary file. The database can be used to update differential data. This data from BOM or MES and the new scheduling data can be merged into DS and have the other PCs updated at the same time. As a result, the newest data can be easily shared across the PCs. These network modules can share the scheduling data and manage the licenses by the departments called “sites”. For example, when making schedules for each product group and maintaining multiple scheduling data, licenses and scheduling data can be managed through NLS and DS. It is also possible to restrict the number of licenses of the site or share the data within the site. Asprova NLS and DS can be used separately depending on your purpose.

For more details, please refer to Asprova’s online help. You can also request to download the free trial version of Asprova.

Taiichi Ohno


Taiichi Ohno was regarded as “ruthless” in his will to drive out waste from the Toyota production system. One day Ohno stepped into one of the large warehouses at Toyota Gosei and told the staff of managers around him, “Get rid of this warehouse and in one year I will come back and look! I want to see this warehouse made into a machine shop and I want to see everyone trained as machinists.” And not surprisingly, one year later that building became a machine shop and everyone had been retrained. This story resembles what kind of person he was.

Born in Dalian, Eastern China, Taiichi Ohno joined the Toyota Automatic Loom Works between the World Wars. Later he switched to work as a Production Engineer for the Toyota Motor Manufacturing towards the end of the Second World War, at a time when its productivity was way below that of the America’s mighty Detroit industry. After the World War II, Eiji Toyoda gave Ohno the crucial task to increase productivity and efficiency and get the struggling Toyota Motor company back on track.

In 1953, Ohno visited the USA to study Ford’s Production Method, but he was much more inspired by the American supermarkets. He noticed how customers would take from shelves only what they needed at that time, and how those stocks were quickly and precisely replenished. On his return to Japan, Ohno developed the same idea into the Toyota Production System known as the “Kanban”. In TPS, each production process sets out its wares for the next process to choose from just as a supermarket does. Thus production is “pulled” by the demand down the line rather than, as in previous assembly line systems, being “pushed” by the production rate higher up the line. Ohno had the same insights applied to a well-run warehouse, with ‘goods-in’ closely matching ‘goods-out’, and no space for long-term storage.

To improve process flow, Ohno decided that instead of putting the machines of one process together and to carry parts back and forth between processes, he would lay out the plant according to the operation flow. He then assigned one worker to more than one machine which gave birth to the theory of ‘One operator, many processes’. This system increased production efficiency 2-3 times than the mass production required.

Asprova’s Sales Order Scheduling feature synchronizes sales order from customers to manufacturing orders generated based on forecast which avoids overproduction, supporting the principle established by Ohno which cut back wastefulness and inefficiencies. Also our Auto-Replenishment Production feature can automatically generate production orders to replenish inventory when “pulled” by the demand to keep the inventory from falling below the safety stock level



Photo credits: © Toyota Motor Corporation

How to Successfully Implement a Production Scheduling Software

Flickr ©Scott

Flickr ©Scott

Every software implementation needs thorough preparation and planning to ensure success. Over the past years, Asprova has had its fair share of success and failures in the implementation of its Production Scheduling software. Based on actual experiences from our customers, here are important points to take note to be able to successfully implement a Production Scheduling software:

Set clear and in between ideal and realistic goals. To define these goals, understand first why your company needs a Production Scheduling software. Create a project plan that clearly articulates business requirements. Analyze the requirements and ensure to set goals in between realistic and ideal – be able to separate wish lists from the attainable ones. Lastly, goals have to be set with great focus on the company’s bottom line – PROFIT. For example:

1. Be able to answer quickly and accurately → Aiming at the increase of customer satisfaction and sales

2. Reduce inventory → Aiming at cutting costs

3. Shorten production lead time → Aiming at improving agility to respond to customer needs as well as cutting costs

• Build a prototype. Before implementation, it is recommended that a prototype be built first to be able to completely examine the functions of the system. This will help you decide whether the functions of the system will work for you or not.

• Keep additional software development to an absolute minimum. Too much customization may derail your implementation due to time constraints, possible bugs and uncontrollable costs. Take the opportunity to evaluate your processes first. Then, try to solve using the standard functions of the system.Taking into consideration all these important factors will help your company in successfully implementing a Production Scheduling software and in achieving your end goal of hitting profit plans.

Are you planning to implement a Production Scheduler in your factory? If so, we strongly recommend that you download the free trial version of Asprova and watch our e-Learning videos.



Photo credits: Flickr ©Scott

Lean Production

Flickr © Nicole Yeary

Flickr © Nicole Yeary

The idea of lean production was first analyzed in depth by John Krafcik when he and others were working on a motor vehicle program in the late 1980s. The idea was later popularized in The Machine that Changed the World (1990) by Womack, Jones and Roos.

Lean Production is ‘Lean’ because “it uses less of everything compared with mass production: half the human effort in the factory, half the factory space, half the investment in tools, half the engineering hours to develop a new product in half the time. Also, it requires far less than half of the needed inventory on site. The expected results are fewer defects, while producing a greater and ever growing variety of products.”

Lean thinking can be applied to manufacturing firms as well as service organizations and can be applied across all areas of business. It is a three-pronged approach that incorporates a belief in quality, waste elimination and employee involvement supported by a structured management system. James P Womack introduced five key principles that underpin the lean philosophy:

Specify what creates value as seen from the customer’s perspectiveThis implies a need for close relations with the customer to ensure that his perception of value is embodied in what the supplier is offering. It is not safe to assume that the customer has the same perception of value as the supplier.

Identify all steps across the value The key term is value stream. In a traditional supply chain, there will be many activities and processes that do not add value. In a lean chain, the aim is to eradicate these, leaving just a stream of value adding activities. The task of Asprova’s Synchronized Finite Capacity Scheduling feature is to determine this value chain on the basis of available capacity of resources, it eliminates all actions that are of no significance.

Perform those actions that create the value flow Once the value adding activities are identified, consider how to link them so as to deliver the total value to the end customer.

Only make what is pulled by the customer just in time This is a distinguishing feature of lean and agile philosophies. The traditional model of manufacturing often leads to production in advance of customer requirements (whether it refers to internal or external customers). Lean and agile production avoids this function.

Strive for perfection by continually removing successive layers of wasteThis refers to avoidance of waste. Lean production utilizes and further develops the concept of ‘seven wastes’ pioneered by Taiichi Ohno.

Asprova’s planning and scheduling features are conducive for establishing lean production in the manufacturing firms. It synchronizes sales and operation functions and shortens lead time which removes waste in the form of avoiding overproduction and reducing inventory levels.





Source: Womack, Jones and Roos, The Machine that Changed the World, Published in 1990
Photo credits: Flickr © Nicole Yeary

Why is Production Scheduling Necessary?

Flickr © David Goehring

Flickr © David Goehring

Production scheduling is an important tool in helping the company provide accurate, real-time schedules, decision support and available-to-promise date and quantities. It is a manufacturing planning tool that is used to represent what the company plans to produce expressed in specific configurations, quantities and dates. It takes into account the forecast, the production plan, and other important considerations such as backlog, availability of material, availability of capacity, and management policies and goals. Some of the scheduling techniques available are:

  • Finite and Infinite Capacity Scheduling – Finite Capacity scheduling is a detailed scheduling strategy that considers resource load capacity versus Infinite Capacity that doesn’t. For example, if there is an order of 1,000 pieces on August 30, through finite capacity planning, the system will schedule this based on available capacity and will adjust production start dates as necessary, whereas infinite capacity planning will schedule all the orders at the same time assuming that sufficient capacity is available.
  • Backward and Forward Scheduling  – This is a technique used for calculating production start and due dates. Backward schedule is computed starting with the due date and working backwards to determine the required start date based on the set lead time. Forward schedule is computed starting on the first possible date the product is available and schedules the remaining activities from that point. For example, an order is released with a due date of Sep 30. Assuming a total of 20 days lead time from setup, to production, to delivery, through backward scheduling, the order will start processing on Sep 10. On the other hand, through forward scheduling, the system looks for the first possible date the product can start processing, for example, it is available for processing on Aug 25, the product will be ready as early as Sep 15.
  • Just-In-Time Scheduling  – “A philosophy of manufacturing based on planned elimination of all waste and continuous improvement of productivity.” It is designed to have the product available just-in-time by having the required inventory only as needed and shortening lead times through reduction of setup or queue time.

Now, imagine all of these techniques being done manually or through Excel, coupled with sudden changes in the production line – increase in order quantity, change in due date, machine breakdown etc. It is going to be very difficult for the employee to keep up. Asprova Production Scheduling is designed to assist the scheduler in arriving at a realistic production plan through a series of adjustment and simulation process in the system.

Asprova APS can help evaluate and revise plan based on available inventory and capacity constraints. It uses Heuristic rules to perform optimization and simulation that will allow a company to quickly respond to sudden changes. It will also help in maintaining desired level of customer service, making best use of resources, keeping inventories at desired level resulting to production efficiency and reduced costs.

For a detailed example on how Asprova APS works, you may visit our official e-Learning website HERE.



Source: APICS Dictionary, 12th Edition


How to Address the Top Problems in the Manufacturing Industry

flickr ©Carmella Fernando

A customer orders 100,000 pieces of apparel. Manufacturer promises to deliver 2 months from the date of order. Due to challenges in the line, the request was not delivered on-time. The customer lost a week’s worth of profit and so does the manufacturer.

One of the most common problems in the manufacturing industry is the lack of ability to quickly calculate and provide an accurate Available-To-Promise (ATP) quantity and delivery dates. ATP is the ability to project quantity and commit delivery dates based on availability of resources. It is essential for a manufacturing company to know its available resources first before committing quantities and dates to the customer.

A manufacturer needs to know how much inventory it has to be able to commit on ordered quantity. It is critical that the company has an accurate record of inventory as any shortages may lead to delay in due dates.

When a customer places an order, the manufacturing company checks available inventory plus incoming supply and projects when to deliver the order. This information is vital as this is what the customer holds the manufacturing company accountable for. A few delays on the promised date can affect the company’s credibility and may lead to customer disappointment.

These problems are inevitable—some within the company’s control, while others are caused by external and uncontrollable factors. Any changes in orders due to material shortages, machine breakdown, and labor absenteeism can impact order availability. The key in addressing these problems is to plan within these limits also known as constrained production scheduling. Planning with all constraints considered guides the company in giving a more realistic production schedule.

One major way to deal with this is through Asprova, Japan’s No.1 production scheduling software which has been around for more than 20 years and is deployed in almost 2,000 factories worldwide. The system helps manufacturers achieve a bird’s eye view of their detailed production schedule wherein any changes can be easily taken into account. The system will aid the company in planning the right schedule at the right resource, at the right quantity and at the right time, thus driving business growth and increasing customer satisfaction.

To experience Asprova first-hand, you can download the trial version by clicking the button below:


Classifications in Manufacturing Industries Part I

Silk factory


Assembly type

This is one of the most commonly used classifications. It pertains to factories where parts are assembled to make a product. This is also known as “discrete type”.

Process type

This is also one of the most commonly used classifications. It is where the product is produced from the material through a chemical change. Process type is also known as “non-discrete type”.


Mass production of scant kind of products

From a factory’s point of view, this classification is efficient. This is mainly because it is easier to mass produce than to create different products.

Small volume production of diversified products

Recent trends show that mass production of scant products is slowly dropping away. This is why small volume production of varied products came to be. This is developed to meet the different needs of consumers.


Make-To-Order (MTO)

As discussed in the previous paragraph, consumer needs vary. So, in order to satisfy the growing needs of the populace, MTO was conceived. MTO is generally a business production strategy that allows customers to buy products that are customized to meet their specifications.

Make-To-Stock (MTS)

This is the traditional production strategy. It relies on demand forecasts that determine how much stock should be produced.