Make To Order – how to get a fast, accurate promise date for your customer.

It’s a common problem …. you are a manufacturer taking in sales orders from customers. The order may have 5 different products with the same or different required dates.

Even better (worse!) your products are complex and there are many levels of Bill Of Materials (BoM) to look through to work out which items you need to make or buy in order to satisfy this new customer demand.

With some ERP systems you may have to manually check all supply and demand, perhaps for dozens of part numbers.

The customer wants an answer quickly “when can we expect delivery?”.

So you don’t want to keep them waiting. But you don’t want to give a quick answer that is not accurate. Either way you could lose this and / or future business.

The answer is to have a production scheduling system that can read your ERP system to fetch BoM and process routes and effectively run an MRP calculation down all levels, suggesting new Works Orders (WO) or Purchase Orders (PO) along the way. If it finds spare stock on hand or due in at any level then that quantity is reserved and no new requirements suggested.

The PO suggestions then tell you the earliest date that each WO could start, based on the supplier purchasing lead time.

The WO can then be “forward scheduled” into the existing factory plan to find the earliest finish date for each line on the sales order or quotation.

An Opcenter (Preactor) APS system has the ability to do all of the above in a much shorter time than it will take you to trawl through the ERP data manually.

And the answer will be more accurate because it will be based on your existing achievable factory plan. Customer delivery performance will improve, as will your reputation at the customer!

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