Production planning and scheduling at an Industry 4.0 level

By MarcoBaptista

Published on behalf of:
Frederico Madrid
CEO at Antal Munnyal
Antal Munnyal is a certified Smart Partner in Mexico dedicated to implementing Planning, Scheduling, and Manufacturing Execution Systems

What is required to achieve the best performance on the delivery of production at an Industry 4.0 level? The machines and equipment of cyber-physical systems are currently able to communicate their monitoring and control in real time. However, there is not much benefit if each resource does not receive the instructions for the tasks to be carried out in a coordinated manner with all other resources on the factory floor.

In order to achieve this synchronization, it is necessary to rely on a planning solution and production schedule that integrates sales, purchasing and inventory transactions. Those transactions usually come from an ERP system or another system that includes policies such as batch sizes, manufacturing priorities, machine preparation, restrictions such as the capacity of resources in machinery, silos, molds, tools, and variables such as work shifts and inventory days. Systems support makes it feasible to generate optimal production plans and align manufacturing with the company objectives.

The level of production in Industry 4.0 also requires flexibility and rapid response in the face of constant and unforeseen changes. Changes are seen on the part of the customer in terms of timing and variety of delivery. Change are also seen on the part of the factory floor with breakdowns and failures, availability of material, tools or personnel.

With the volume of changes happening every day, the manufacturer tends to focus on achieving deliveries, but in the mid to long term that is not enough.  You need to be able to make decisions on production scenarios with upfront calculated KPIs that are aligned with the strategy and company goals.

That´s the reason you may need to consider deploying a production planning and production scheduling software solution like Siemens Opecenter APS (formerly known as Preactor) as part of your Industry 4.0 journey. This system supports creating several different digital plans, comparing them using different KPIs and suggesting the scenario that best suits you each time.  This is a real game changer, and essential in an Industry 4.0 environment.

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at