Planning and Scheduling


Performance-driven companies have mastered the art of predicting and responding quickly to changes in customer demand with minimal business interruption. Whether you are a global, multisite enterprise or a single site manufacturer or distributor, precise and flexible planning and scheduling is imperative to efficient and profitable operation. Epicor offers a comprehensive solution for forecasting, material requirements planning (MRP), scheduling, and advanced planning and scheduling to meet the needs of today’s agile businesses. For companies with complex processes that require project management and resource management capabilities, Epicor Planning and Scheduling offers a comprehensive solution that is baked into the fiber of the product for unparalleled operational visibility.


Project Management

Epicor Project Management is a comprehensive solution for project managers who plan and execute simple or complex projects that can require intricate multi-level phases as well as strict costing. Embedded within the robust capabilities of Epicor, Project Management utilizes the detailed estimation, planning, scheduling, costing, and supply chain logistics of Epicor for complete control and analysis (including cross analysis) of any project.

Supporting the needs of industries with large capital projects, Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) capabilities offer multi-level phases within a project. Fully embedded within Epicor, Project Management offers the robust Epicor scheduling engine for complete visibility and management of the project schedule. Additionally, the ability to accumulate and roll up costs for a WBS Phase to the main project, as well as support budgets, estimated completion values, calculated, estimated and actual costs accumulated at the WBS Phase level or at the project level. For complete visibility of costs and cross analysis, all of the costs are rolled up through the project structure. Added analysis offers cross project analysis of key elements such as a material class or labor type.

Bi-directional integration with Microsoft Office Project gives project managers an additional tool to use to easily manipulate the schedule and simplify the planning of any project.

Large capital projects require detailed definition that supports the cost structure and planned schedule for the project. Project Management supports multi-level phases within a project to offer project managers the ability to visualize complex projects and roll up costs at appropriate levels; project, parent phase, or child phase.

Define all project components as part of a logical, cohesive plan. A project can be generated at the quote, sales order, or after the contract has been signed with the customer.

Dynamically calculate quoted costs and current estimated costs based on the work breakdown structure as well as manually entered budgets and estimated completion values.

Assign specific inventory to a project through the projects unique inventory location.

Epicor supports a bi-directional integration with Microsoft Office Project. Create new or import and update Epicor project phases and tasks from within Microsoft Office Project then upload them in Epicor. Tracking unique data or descriptions within your project, Project Management lets you upload them too. Optionally use template projects and project phases for faster project planning.

Identify groups to automatically receive e-mail alerts when important project transactions occur (e.g., when a particular project milestone is completed) in addition to identifying critical project personnel.

Calculate project start and due dates by project, by phase, by jobs within a phase or by job assembly, all the way down to individual job operations. A task bar on the scheduling screen displays the job operation’s current percent complete. Labor reported against the job operation incrementally increases the percent complete total and decreases the remaining total hours. Projects can be scheduled using either the Scheduling system or Microsoft Project.

Supporting strict standards in production process definition, Epicor Business Process Management (BPM) gives project managers a tool to define and automate their unique business processes for project definition, approvals, and production standards, through to delivery and finance.

Generate progress and milestone billing, so you can invoice your customer and optionally defer the revenue and cost of sale, recognizing them at various stages in the project. Invoices can be generated based on a fixed date, fixed amount, userdefined stage of project completion, or user-defined cost-to-date.

With predefined project cost analytics, plus user-defined analysis codes, consolidate and extract any project cost metric—including complete rollup of all cost transactions related to the project or project phase (e.g., job materials, job operations, quote estimates, and sales order information).

Begin cost analysis with the quote. Quoting allows project analysis of potential projects in the design stage, before the project even begins. The project tracker displays real-time costs for all associated transactions, at the project or phase within the project. For tighter in process management of project costs, project managers can compare to manually entered budgets, maintain cost to complete metrics, and review system generated cost to complete metrics.

Easily perform revenue analysis for progress or milestone billing. Epicor Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) streamlines the process with user-defined buckets for revenue analysis (e.g., quoted revenue, current revenue, quoted margin, and current margin).

Use the Revenue Recognition Workbench to automate revenue recognition and process the various milestones and contractually defined billing points on a project. You can generate journals for revenue recognition based on the costs produced from the Project Analysis during the life of the project. The journals can be reversed once the project is completed.

Supporting the needs of many industries, Project Management offers robust data analysis and cost rollups as well as project analysis “snapshots“ for progress comparatives against historical.

Modify a project at any time, offering ultimate flexibility to the project manager. User-defined workflows and check off/approval requirements are standard. Throughout its lifetime, all aspects of the project are entirely transparent.

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Forecasting and Master Production Scheduling

Forecasting and Master Production Scheduling (MPS) in Epicor are designed to assist manufacturers and distributors with both day-to-day control and long range planning and decision making. Forecasting and MPS support your business strategies, as well as those businesses that operate multiple, mixed-mode strategies simultaneously. Forecasts can be generated from multiple historical sources (e.g., sales, invoice, and inventory usage history).

Manually enter forecasts for companies, plants, customers, dates, and parts. Users can cut-and-paste from other applications into the forecast system.

Export historical information to third-party applications for the calculation of forecasts.

Import forecasts from other applications or customers. Import options allow forecasts to be broken down by part, customer, plant, date, and company. This import can be additive, update the existing forecast, or a complete clear and re-load.

Epicor EPM offers a number of forecasting methods: Focus: A simulation technique where forecasts from the past are simulated, using several simple or statistical algorithms, and then compared to what really happened in the past. Six different strategies are available:
• Past periods this year • Moving averages
• Past periods last year • Straight line
• Growth over last year • Exponential smoothing
Statistical: A method which uses mathematical algorithms to fit curves to the historical time series. Three different strategies are available in the strategies dialog box when you choose statistical:
• Moving averages • Exponential
• Straight line

Bucket forecasts in any way: daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, etc.

Forecast any number of variables (e.g., revenue) rather than just forecasting product units. Forecasting allows any number of tiers to be forecast and analyzed (e.g., forecasting product units by company, state, city, and customer).

Dynamically accept forecasts from other companies within the enterprise. This allows companies to give visibility to the supply company of future demand without needing to raise a firm inter-company order.

Manually enter or cut-and-paste MPS from other applications.

Automatically generate the MPS for forecasting.

Make and alter MPS decisions based on constraints. Both forecasting and MPS can independently drive future demand.

Advanced Planning and Scheduling

Available as an extension to Scheduling, Epicor Advanced Planning and Scheduling incorporates the strength of the Scheduling engine and enhances it with advanced functionality such as multiple constraint scheduling, a wide range of scheduling methods, visual drag-and-drop scheduling, capability and dependent capability-based scheduling, real-time capable-to-promise functionality, and advanced material planning functionality.

Easily manage customer expectation with real-time capable-topromise functionality in Order Management. Enabled with APS, Epicor capable-to-promise uses the scheduling engine to determine accurate promise dates and offers order processing single click confirmation or order cancellation based on the projected due date.

Easily manipulate the schedule with drag-and-drop manipulation and drill-down techniques for multi-level assemblies and operation details. A main control center for scheduling resources graphically displays schedules for a group of resources in one screen. Dynamically change the timeline of the view to see minute operations and analyze the impact of long running operations instantly. Add memos to a schedule on the Multi-Resource Scheduling Board about any aspect of a current schedule.

Set up every operation with multiple constraints or resources (e.g., machines, tools, skilled labor, raw materials, or available sub-assemblies).

Define resources within a specific resource group with individual characteristics to improve scheduling accuracy.

Define a capability or skill level that can be tied to multiple resources rather than a resource group or individual resource in the planning process. The APS engine then determines, based on the available resources, which individual resource to schedule for the operation.

Link dependent capabilities that the scheduling engine schedules along with the primary capability when operations require dependent skills to perform the operation.

Define each resource with either finite or infinite capacity. When a piece of the schedule is moved, the resource is rescheduled according to its type.

Use a unique scheduling algorithm designed to minimize work in process by scheduling a job to ship as early as possible. APS then back schedules to start working on the job as late as possible.

Schedule by volume and quantity using dimensional planning that is not time constrained.

Schedule cells based on production throughput rates rather than time.

Consider material availability as a scheduling constraint. Integrated directly with Inventory and Purchasing, the APS system knows when material is due and schedules accordingly.

Increase throughput by considering material and component availability as a constraint. Advanced material planning, an integral feature of APS, facilitates intelligent stocking and procurement of material requirements. The schedule function recognizes materials earmarked as constraints, gives the master scheduler material availability, and considers supplier calendars for a more realistic schedule.

See the immediate impact of proposed changes on other orders to make informed decisions about desired changes.

Automatically take into account resource utilization and resource group efficiency for more accurate load calculation.

Generate a schedule based on rules assigned to individual resources.

Concurrently consider priority, slack time, and setup time when determining load balance.

Schedule an entire job or assembly within a single work cell.

Create unlimited what-if scenarios to view the effect of changes on your shop floor.

Ensure that interdependent plant schedules are coordinated.

Material Requirements Planning

Built for the needs of the single site as well as extended enterprise, MRP offers cross plant and cross company planning. Enhanced to offer plant source as well as product group sourcing of materials and assemblies, MRP automatically and visually extends the enterprise to efficiently manage supply and demand.

Enter general part forecasts or specific customer/part forecasts. MRP consumes the forecast with actual orders as they are received. View lower-level component requirements with long lead-times before the end part is released.

Manually enter forecasts for companies, plants, customers, dates, and parts as well as cut-and-paste from other applications into the forecast system.

Historical information can be exported out to third-party applications for the calculation of forecast.

Import forecasts from other applications or customers. Import options allow forecasts to be broken down by part, customer, plant, date, and company. This import can be additive, update the existing forecast, or a complete clear and re-load.

Enter production forecasts for specific end parts using the MPS function. Perform an iterative process of entering a planned schedule, viewing the effect on your resources, then modifying the plan until you have achieved an optimal schedule.

Run MRP with either net change or full MRP regeneration options. The MRP generation process balances the demand of customer orders and forecasts with the supply of jobs. As orders and forecasts change, MRP automatically adjusts corresponding jobs so you are in balance. MRP even reschedules your plant for you.

See what changes were made by MRP in the log file.

Create purchase order suggestions for inventory and purchased parts that are needed to complete production. Use lead times and vendor price breaks to determine when the part should be ordered and at what price.

Explore how the MRP engine calculates both job suggestions and purchase suggestions. The guide examines, in detail, the primary components that make up the MRP engine, the base calculations that run the engine, and the modifiers used to refine the suggestion results.

Take into consideration variables such as the batch size, production calendar for a resource, the run rate of the resource utilized and the availability of material flagged as constrained in production schedules.

Account for production prep, kit, and receipt time. Use this toderive appropriate lead-time for producing the product inaddition to cycle-times required to produce the product.

Review the planning horizon of a part or resource, then plan to, but not beyond the horizon, preventing premature planning.

Run MRP for all plants or for individual plants within a company. Changed schedule dates roll down to all sub-components —even those being manufactured in another plant.

Analyze all the supply and demand in your system, then peg each supply against demand, prioritized by due date. Because supply is calculated for every inventory item from all possible sources—regardless of whether demand exists—you are alerted to items that may be overstocked or obsolete.

Define a unique source per part or plant—whether its default sourcing is purchased, produced, or transferred. What is produced in one location may be purchase— or transferred in—from another.

View running balances with the available-to-promise function. Enter a quantity, and the system will find the earliest date that quantity will be available. Enter a date, and see how many parts are available on that day. MPS, forecast, order, and planned receipt quantities are visible to help you in your production planning tasks.

Maximize your planning accuracy with multiple types of inventory planning, including minimum/maximum/multiple, days of supply and run out.

To optimize MRP performance, a Short Horizon Days of Supply field is included within the Part Maintenance program on the Plant Detail sheet. This field defines a material value that will be used when MRP determines that the needed materials falls within the Short Horizon. Here’s how this is calculated:
• If that day is <= Schedule Start Date + Short Horizon Days, then the Short Horizon Days of Supply value will be used for the materials.
• If the date is > Schedule Start Date + Short Horizon Days then the Standard Days of Supply value will be used.

The Part Maintenance program includes the Short Horizon Planning functionality. The Part-Plant sheet contains the following fields: Horizon Days, Min Lot Size, and Max Lot Size.

MRP checks the revision level and verifies approvals before pulling in a standard BOM and routing. For parts that do not have a current approved revision, a job suggestion is created in the new/change order queue to help ensure requirements are not lost.

Scheduling and Resource Management

Multiple resource views and online scheduling tools such as the change impact informer offer the master scheduler and manager the ability to visually locate overload problems and slack conditions, then perform cost and throughput analysis on schedule changes before they are firmly committed. The scheduling engines uses several factors that affect production quantity, setup time, production time, capacity, priority, and so on to calculate how long it will take each job to complete. It then displays the schedule through the Job Scheduling Board, the Resource Scheduling Board, and the Multi-Resource Scheduling Board.

Easily manipulate the schedule with drag-and-drop and drill down techniques for multi-level assemblies and operation details. A main control center for scheduling resources graphically displays schedule by job, resource, resource group, or entire plant. Dynamically change the timeline of the view to see short-run operations and analyze the impact of long running operations instantly.

View indicators, such as late status and material availability, to proactively alert the master scheduler to potential problems in the schedule. Optionally customize colors to denote actual, what-if, or delinquent load by job or operation.

Schedule and reschedule with flexible, finite real-time schedule capabilities for a single job and plant-wide global finite capacity. Features include job locking for key operations or jobs, user-defined priority, and capacity load leveling by resource and resource group.

You can define a Start Time for this scheduling process. This feature lets you run Global Scheduling during the current date, as you can indicate from what specific point in time the global finite scheduling process will begin. Previously this function only allowed you to begin Global Scheduling on the next day.

Drag-and-drop scheduled load hours forward or backward to alleviate the overload and effectively reschedule when faced with overload conditions at critical resources or resource groups.

The Job Scheduling Board, Resource Scheduling Board, and Multi-Resource Scheduling Board all have an Operation Complete Quantity field on their Detail sheets. This field displays the number of parts that are so far complete on the current operation.

Both the Job Scheduling Board and Resource Scheduling Board display the Operation Complete Time value after you move an operation. This shows you the amount of time that is left to complete the operation.

Display each date and resource/resource group, where scheduled hours exceed capacity based on what-if or actual job schedules. Access resource, resource-group, and job scheduling information to review the causes of an overload and make schedule changes as needed.

Manage complex assemblies by matching the schedule to actual production output. From branch- and component-level rescheduling to final assembly, Epicor ensures that all components are on time and that nothing slips through the cracks. Visually explode high-level components to view lower level component schedules.

Schedule jobs in a what-if mode, with the ability to analyze potential bottlenecks before finalizing the actual schedule.

Use setup groups to streamline your setup processes. Dynamically assign grouping based on the criteria you define.

When you schedule by capability, the Scheduling Engine selects resources by the Priority value defined for each capability. You can assign a zero value to a capability’s priority. Any resource that is defined by this zero priority will not be selected by the Scheduling Engine. It will, however, be available to use as a resource on the Start Activity or Labor Entry windows.

View the potential changes for cost and throughput to the schedule after creating what-if scenarios.

Use a secondary resource constraint (e.g., a tool or employee) in finite capacity scheduling in addition to the primary resource.

Optionally allow the system to perform a forward schedule based on a start date of today when performing a backward schedule if a current date is encountered.

Define an unlimited number of resources within a resource group. Resource groups can be used in the planning process with the actual resource assigned automatically based on availability of individual resources. Resources may have unique calendars, and values for hourly/daily capacity, queue-and move-time.

Prevent the schedule from making adjustments too far into the future—potentially impacting material purchases and resource allocations—with finite load horizons (i.e., time fences or cutoff dates) for finitely scheduling load on the resource.

Develop a schedule for each individual resource deployed in the schedule.

Optionally automate the system’s response to parts that are planned to be early or late by a threshold number of days.

Keep an eye on the future with Rough Cut Scheduling. Rough Cut Scheduling is deployed to offer visibility of future production without taxing system resources.

Use the Save Resource Load program to add load to jobs that have been scheduled using Rough Cut Scheduling. This scheduling method lets you infinitely or finitely schedule jobs without placing any load against your resources.

Account for periodic processes with scheduling blocks. Scheduling blocks offer definition of periodic setup needs such as tool changes or other processes.

The Global Scheduling process is divided into three components. You must run these components in the following order to globally schedule your jobs:
• Calculate Global Scheduling Order: This program is a setup process you must run before the Global Scheduling process. Each time this process is run, it will schedule any job that is a candidate for the Global Scheduling process. This process determines if each job will be early or late. This Early Days or Late Days value is then compared against the Priority code value on the job to determine a job priority sequence. The Global Scheduling process will then schedule these jobs in using this generated job priority sequence.
• Adjust Global Scheduling Order: This is an optional component you can run. Launch this program to review the job priority sequence that was generated through the Calculate Global Scheduling Order process. You can use this program to manually change the sequence through which these jobs will be scheduled during Global Scheduling.
• Global Scheduling: Run this process to schedule the jobs. All the jobs selected by the Calculate Global Scheduling. Order process will be placed within the schedule, either on the actual schedule or on a What-If schedule. The jobs will be scheduled in order using either the sequence generated by the Calculate Global Scheduling Order process or the modified sequence you changed within the Adjust Global Scheduling Order program.

Both the Multi-Resource Scheduling Board and the Job Scheduling Board indicate which materials are constrained. On both scheduling boards, the Related Materials grid now contains additional columns that display this information. One column indicates whether or not the material is constrained. The other columns define the purchase order, job, and lead time linked to the constrained material.

Explores how the scheduling engine calculates the schedules for your jobs. The guide examines, in detail, the primary components that make up the scheduling engine, the base calculations that run the engine, and the modifiers that can be used to refine the scheduling results.

Multisite Management

Best-in-class enterprises are outpacing their competitors today with new initiatives to drive out redundancies and improve lead times. Maximizing the use of your internal supply chain can be a key differentiator. Not only are manufacturers and distributors looking for new tools to oversee multi-plant operations, they are also looking to maximize the use of existing resources. Alternative production methods management helps optimize the production processes for specific parts in each plant, based on the resources available. Another optimization tool includes the transfer of material or semi finished components to another plant for completion.