We can change the settings of the scheduling parameters in regard to rescheduling. You can easily get results you want by simply adjusting settings such as assignment direction, resource evaluation to decide which resource to be assigned.

This article will focus on basic functions such as Assignment direction, Resource evaluation, and Dispatching rule.

The Dispatching rule defines which operations to be assigned first. Click on the icon below to show Order priority.


The Order priority is set as Descending and the Order due date is set as Ascending at the Default scheduling parameter property.


By dispatching with descending order priority, the operations with higher priority will be assigned first.



This time let’s consider Order due date to deal with Order due date as the priority.


This time, the order “1” with an early due date was assigned to start first.


However, one of the operations was assigned on the right side.


This is because the Assignment direction was set as “According to order” and only one order was assigned backwards.


Let’s change the Assignment direction to Forward. You will notice that the order will be assigned left-justified.



The start order is the same as Dispatching rule.


Next, let’s switch it to Backward to minimize the inventory.


With this kind of direction, it is just common sense to set the Order due date to Descending order in the Dispatching rule. Make sure to change this setup.


Run the re-schedule button and you will see operations are now assigned right justified – assigned according to the due dates in order to minimize inventory.


On the other hand, we can pile up operations by setting the Assignment type as infinite capacity.



To be able to control which equipment and workers to assign the operations, set the weighting at the Resource evaluation parameter.

Since we want to place the highest importance on production performance, set a higher value (e.g. 10000) for Weight – production time minimization.


Run again the reschedule button and the operations have been assigned to minimize the production time in consideration of the waiting time and load.


To learn more about Asprova specific to this sample demonstration, you may visit Asprova’s e-Learning videos at (see 24. Scheduling Logic).



Designing the Supply Chain

Supply chain design is the practice of creating living models to represent the existing structure and policies of the end-to-end supply chain, optimizing to identify a better future state supply chain and continuously running what-if scenarios to test new strategies and react to changing market conditions. When a company’s supply chain capabilities are directly aligned with its enterprise strategy, the results tend to be superior performance and a strong market position.

Manufacturing giant Toyota uses extremely sophisticated inventory and product life-cycle management capabilities to move products through its channels in half the time maintaining excellent quality. This is a major factor in Toyota’s consistent ability to outpace its rivals in profit margins. Would Toyota’s supply chain model work for your company? Probably not. Every successful company should have an operational design and management style tailored to its own purpose and strategy. Here is a proven process to design a supply chain network that best meets your business objectives.

Clearly Define your Strategy-The most critical step of the network analysis and design process is to identify your primary strategy. If it’s too limited then you will fail to consider and prioritize all the market requirements and factors on which participants compete (features, price, delivery, etc). Strategies also cannot be platitudes, promising all things to all people. Corporate strategy needs to define how you are going to be different and better than your competitors, and it needs to set specific, measurable goals. Then it should be communicated to the organization thoroughly and repeatedly.

Use High Quality Design Data Today’s technology can help you make better decisions as there are many vendors offering supply chain network optimization tools. Alternatively, you can cost efficiently configure your own. Make sure the software you select fully addresses the decisions you need to make and can represent your unique business and logistics network. Typical model components include capacity limitations, customer service requirements, lead times by mode, operating capabilities and the cost of different options.

Structure Supply Chain to Optimize the Strategic Goals- Connect the dots between your strategic goals and how those get delivered by the company. Supply chains that are optimized for cost efficiency will look different than supply chains that are optimized for flexibility and responsiveness. Ask the question, “Which supply chain activity is perfect for my core competence and competitive differentiation?” This step is especially critical in making in-house/outsource decisions. So prioritize your supply chain objectives and accordingly build your supply chain network, choose your supplier base and business terms, devise inventory and planning policy that support your enterprise strategy.

Get Advice during Design Process- Many other businesses in your networking circles, supplier community or common technology users may be excellent resources for supply chain design experience and advice. Ask supply chain modeling software vendors about the design community they support and how you can get involved with other users. Many will be happy to act as a sounding board for your ideas and share the lessons they learned along the way.

Implement and Refine- The supply chain network analysis and design process is not static. Successful ideas are implemented and cost savings are realized. And then things change: a large new customer is added at a new location, more production capacity is added, demand takes a nosedive, or raw material prices swing dramatically. Thus, like all good planning processes, the supply chain network analysis and design process must be on going. This process should be revisited regularly (annually/quarterly) and/or when big things happen within the business.

Asprova provides useful lessons for future modeling and improves the overall effectiveness of network planning. Our advanced planning and scheduling solutions give supply chain designers a collaborative platform to expand the value of supply chain modeling throughout the organization.


Photo credits: Flickr © ILO in Asia and the Pacific

Improving Supply Chain Performance

asprovaGetting a 360-degree view of their supply chain is critical for manufacturers and distributors in today’s business world. Those that have unparalleled insight, visibility to their supply chain and understand how their company actually functions (versus how they expect it to) can find ways to optimize vendor relationships, focus on tactics that will increase supply chain efficiency and be able to monitor the myriad of factors that impact supply chain performance. By managing and improving environmental, social and economic performance throughout supply chains, the very best companies can conserve resources, optimize processes, uncover product innovations and save costs. Any manufacturing company that wants to enhance their performance must pay attention to the following key strategies:

Improve Demand Forecasting- Constructing a feasible, constrained and profitable demand plan is essential. Without accurate demand forecasting, manufacturers can only be confident in their ability to meet demand if they rely on inefficient stockpiling of inventory: The emphasis is on “just in case” processes, rather than “just in time.” Many companies now recognize that the only way to attack demand volatility is to expect it, and they are adopting the best practice and advanced technical tools to deliver improvements to forecast accuracy, inventory levels and working capital. For the rest, it is becoming increasingly clear that inadequate demand planning can do serious damage to shareholder value and overall profitability.

Create a Modern, End-to-End Supply-Chain OrganizationThe times of managing the supply chain in separate tiers is over. Sophisticated data analysis enables companies to manage supply chains end to end and, in industries such as manufacturing, almost in real time. Appoint a single leader with responsibility for end-to-end performance and for delivering improvement projects across tiers and traditional functions such as marketing, manufacturing, and procurement. Make sure your supply-chain organization combines operational excellence with strong analytical capabilities and data-driven, cross-functional decision making. Ensure your IT function is supporting them with nimble applications and platforms that enable collaboration and analytical decision making.

Join Industry Collaboration- Many companies recognize that complex supply chain challenges cannot be solved by individual efforts and that industry wide collaboration is required. Working in a pre-competitive environment, peer companies that share similar supply chains can set common standards and best practices for sustainability performance and allow suppliers to be evaluated on the same metrics. These collaborations help prevent audit fatigue, training redundancy and mountains of paperwork for suppliers working to meet similar requirements from their customers. Working with your industry peers is a great way to share knowledge about the sustainability performance of your suppliers.

Develop Training and Capacity Building ProgramsThis is an important step in improving sustainability and driving behavioral changes throughout your supply chain. First, formulate a comprehensive plan to increase productivity, reduce costs, and improve customer service and satisfaction levels. Then tie an incentive plan into the supply chain’s core mission, a critical element to building a performance-based approach. Incorporate your workforce into the culture of the supply chain by emphasizing ways in which employees and management may improve their workplace strategies and execution. This constructive training will drive a successful organization and improve supply chain productivity.

Asprova is the manufacturing industry’s leading performance improvement solution suite. Our advanced planning and scheduling functions help organizations achieve sustainable cost reductions and improve supply chain performance while remaining focused on quality, productivity and better service levels.



Phot credits: flickr © The U.S. National Archives

Supply Chain Drivers

AsprovaIn today’s dynamic business world, forward-thinking companies emphasize the applicability of supply chain management as a crucial element of overall business strategy. However, companies that desire an effective supply chain management must first have a crystal clear understanding of each driver and how it operates. Each driver has the ability to directly affect the supply chain and enable certain capabilities. Then the next step is to develop an appreciation for the results that can be obtained by mixing different combinations of these drivers. Let’s have a look here at these drivers individually.

Demand Planning- To influence and manage demand more efficiently, companies are now shifting their focus from plant-level production planning to demand-driven focus. In adopting a demand-driven model, it is very critical to decide what a firm is best at selling, making and delivering and align firm’s sales force according to that. Ultimately, this demand-driven approach can improve demand planning and management by creating a more customer-focused mindset. But to best achieve this, agreement among company’s internal stakeholders- sales, marketing, finance, product development etc. – upon a consensus demand plan is imperative.

Location-Decisions are related to which activities should be performed in each facility. Managers must decide whether to centralize activities in fewer locations to gain economies of scale and efficiency, or to decentralize activities in many locations close to customers and suppliers in order for operations to be more responsive. When making location decisions, managers need to consider a range of factors that relate to a given location including the cost of facilities, the cost of labor, skills available in the workforce, infrastructure conditions, taxes and tariffs, and proximity to suppliers and customers. Location decisions tend to be very strategic because they commit large amounts of money to long-term plans.

Inventory-Inventory is spread throughout the supply chain and includes everything from raw material to work in process to finished goods that are held by the manufacturers, distributors, and retailers in a supply chain. Holding large amounts of inventory allows a company or an entire supply chain to be very responsive to fluctuations in customer demand. However, the creation and storage of inventory is a cost and to achieve high levels of efficiency, the cost of inventory should be kept as low as possible. Toyota has worked hard to shorten new product and replenishment lead times. As a result, the company is very responsive and carries low levels of inventory.

Transportation Movement of everything from raw material to finished goods between different facilities in a supply chain. In transportation the trade-off between responsiveness and efficiency is manifested in the choice of transport mode. Fast modes of transport such as airplanes are very responsive but also more costly. Slower modes such as ship and rail are very cost efficient but not as responsive. Since transportation costs can be as much as a third of the operating cost of a supply chain, decisions made here are very important. A mail-order catalog company can use a faster mode of transportation such as FedEx to ship products, thus making its supply chain more responsive, but also less efficient given the high costs associated.

Information- It is potentially the biggest driver of performance in the supply chain because it directly affects each of the other drivers. It is the connection between all of the activities and operations in a supply chain. To the extent that this connection is a strong one, (i.e., the data is accurate, timely, and complete), the companies in a supply chain will each be able to make good decisions for their own operations. This will also tend to maximize the profitability of the supply chain as a whole. Seven-Eleven Japan has used information to increase the responsiveness while also lowering cost.

Asprova is critical to identify, understand and measure how certain business drivers impact the supply chain and the company’s business growth. Our advanced planning and scheduling functions provide systematic, strategic coordination of planning, production, inventory, and information among the participants in a supply chain to achieve the best mix of responsiveness and efficiency for the market being served.


Photo credit: Flickr ©Scott Maxwell

Supply Chain Visibility

farhanThe complexity and unpredictability of requirements make the supply chains most difficult to manage. One proven way to increase the reliability and responsiveness of supply chains is to increase visibility into everyday supply chain functions. Supply Chain Visibility (SCV) is the capability of a supply chain player to have access to or to provide the timely required information/ knowledge about the entities involved in the supply chain from/to relevant supply chain partners for better decision support. The aim is to provide controlled access and transparency to accurate, timely and complete events and data — transactions, content and relevant supply chain information — within and across organizations and services operating supply chains.

The need for visibility is driven by both the desire to improve the supply chain and the need for compliance from the customer and legislative requirement, especially for those who are operating globally. Visibility is often included in the risk management toolkit. By coupling process changes, the improved intelligence from supply chain visibility, and fast decision cycles, organizations hope to out-maneuver interruptions in the flow of material, capital, or information. Here are some tips to help enable end-to-end visibility across your enterprise:

  • Sense and respond are critical processes for supply chain visibility and can only be achieved through a collaborative network that is coupled with advanced analytics.
  • Visibility encompasses not only sensing data, but also how to analyze it and take appropriate action across the extended enterprise.  Use predictive and prescriptive analytics to support your visibility goals.
  • Eliminate silos within your organization to take full advantage of end-to-end visibility. Create an outside-in way of thinking within your organization by focusing on customers and trading partners instead of looking internally.
  • Utilize cloud-based shared process and information layers within your information architecture to sit above physical assets, supply chain, and operational applications.
  • Make it easy for trading partners to connect by eliminating barriers to on-boarding.

Unfortunately achieving visibility is quite difficult, particularly for global supply chains. Many different companies and individuals are involved in a global supply chain, and all are operating under a different set of motivations and constraints.  Although a supply chain feeds a specific customer outcome, each participant is focused on their own self-interest. They all want to maximize their own profit, even at the cost of the rest of the supply chain, a typical capitalistic behavior.

Asprova makes sure that information is available smartly at your disposal and to other firms in your supply chain which improves visibility dramatically. Our advanced planning and scheduling functions has the ability to “see” from one end to the other in the supply chain, providing players a clear view of upstream and downstream inventories, demand and supply conditions, and production and purchasing schedules.


Supply Chain Management

SPMAs Martin Christopher said “The focus of supply chain management is on cooperation and trust and the recognition that properly managed, the whole can be greater than the sum of its parts”. A firm in the supply chain must initiate the attempt to form partnerships and actively manage the chain. To do this effectively, it must show the partners where the improvements will arise and how these will lead to a gain for everyone in the chain. To establish trust among the members of the supply chain, the lead firm must also suggest how communication can be opened up and how every member will be ensured that it is receiving its fair share of profits.

One perfect example of this has been Toyota. For years it has gathered extensive data on customer buying patterns. Then Toyota has used this information internally to manage its own layout and inventory. Now it has shared all of this data with its most trusted suppliers. This approach has allowed its supplier who knows how to take advantage of this data an opportunity to improve its service to Toyota while decreasing its own costs.

Managing a supply chain is more complex and difficult than managing an individual firm. But, the principles of management used to integrate a firm’s own internal functions also apply to managing the entire supply chain. For example, a well-understood phenomenon in the management of a firm is that there is always a bottleneck that constrains sales. This bottleneck may be internal to the firm (a process that cannot produce enough to meet demand) or it may be external to the firm (market demand that is less than the capacity of the firm). This principle applies to the entire supply chain.

While the supply chain is driven by customer demand, it is constrained by its own internal resources. One difference is that these resources may not be owned by the same firm. It is possible for the output of an entire supply chain to be limited because one firm does not have capacity to meet surging demand. It is also possible for every firm in the supply chain to be operating at a low utilization because there is not enough demand in the market for the products from the supply chain. There are bottlenecks inside the supply chain just as there are bottlenecks inside firms.

Firms are using Asprova’s advanced planning and scheduling functions to aid their collaborative communication. Our software develops a set of methods by which supply chain partners could have joint sales forecast and/or production plans in which a revision by one partner would be immediately transmitted to the next partner. Therefore its members are aware of the location of their bottlenecks internally and also in the chain which allows for proper management of the supply chain.

Supply Chain

Photo credit: © Nick Saltmarsh

Photo credit: © Nick Saltmarsh

As Alan Waller says “The supply chain lies no longer with an individual company; we have global networks cutting across countries and organizations. The only way to achieve this is to get players working to a common agenda-the collaboration agenda. We have been taught to compete: nobody has taught us to work together. The need and awareness is there but still nobody is taught how to do it.” It would seem a possibility that supply chain development may falter because of the prevalent way of management thinking. Therefore there is a real challenge to learn anew and, in so doing, to change. Learning and changing are indelibly connected; you cannot have one without the other.

Many companies start into SCM, by working only with the closest suppliers and customers. They should however, first ensure, that all of their internal operations and activities are ‘integrated, coordinated and controlled’. Nevertheless the full benefits of SCM will only come when there is an examination of all costs/service levels together with all the players. This will result in reduced lead times and improved total costs/service for all parties in the network. This means going beyond the first tier of suppliers and looking also at the supplier’s supplier and so on.

The format of inventory is raw material, sub-assemblies or finished goods. This is often held at multiple places in the supply chain and is controlled in theory by many different players who are usually, working independently of each other. This results in too much inventory being held throughout the supply chain. So the format of inventory and where it is held is of common interest to all supply chain players and must be jointly investigated and examined.

The customer is the reason for the business; so continually working to serve the customer better is critical. The customer is the business, after all. But who is the customer? The traditional view is perhaps the one that has placed the order/pays the supplier’s invoice; but by seeing the next person/process/operation in the chain as the customer, this means that there are many supplier/customer relations in a single supply chain. If all of these single relationships were being viewed as supplier/ customer relationships, then the whole would be very different.

Many researchers have suggested that the key to the seamless supply chain is making available undistorted and up-to-date information at every node within the supply chain. Asprova disseminates quality and reliable information throughout the chain for integrated thinking and effective planning. So clients are increasingly dependent on the benefits brought about by Asprova’s advanced planning and scheduling functions to: improve supply chain agility, reduce cycle time, achieve higher efficiency and deliver products to customers in a timely manner.



Photo credit: © Nick Saltmarsh