On 30 March, as a little Easter present, we have released version 1.13 of the Visual Advanced Production Scheduler (VAPS), the only available finite capacity scheduler that fully integrates with the manufacturing module of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central. At the same time, we have released version 1.18 of the Visual Production Scheduler (VPS) and of the Visual Jobs Scheduler (VJS). This time, though of course we have improved and streamlined the other two extensions, our focus was almost exclusively on the VAPS and we have succeeded in making a really big throw.
So, the VPS and the VJS will be mentioned only briefly and, because otherwise the blog would be really long, I will follow the structure of the webinar about the new releases and will cover two really huge new features in detail in two separate blog posts.
#1 Integration with shop floor data
This is one of the huge new features I mentioned above and it is so huge that we dedicated a separate webinar "How to run a 'live schedule' - integrating your schedule with shop floor data" to it that we will run in May - invitations will get out soon.
Customers need and want to update their schedule based on actual data and if unexpected incidents happen on the shop floor, they want to quickly see the impact on the schedule. This is exactly what the new functionality offers. For an easy and comfortable use, we implemented the following features:
Capability to load recent shop floor data (capacity ledger entries) into simulation
New color mode to highlight deviations between actuals and schedule
Option to (automatically) update the schedule based on actuals
information from capacity ledger entries gets written into the production order routing lines
Work date line changed to work date/time line
New vertical line indicating when the last “update according to actuals” was made
#2 Keep reservations when production order due dates get shifted
Planners do not want reservations between production orders and sales orders to break if there are delays in production. Instead, they want to quickly understand which sales orders run late due to material and/or capacity constraints.
To solve these problems, we worked on implementing an enhanced and improved integration of sales orders and production orders with the following functionalities:
Automatic shift of sales order expected shipment date in case production orders have to get shifted
Reservation between production orders and sales orders being kept although production order due date > original sales order expected shipment date
Comprehensive report to see which sales orders have been shifted due to production order shifts
This functionality has to be enabled in the newly created "Sales Order Handling" area of the VAPS setup:
Want to know more about this huge functionality and see it in practise? Then register for webinar "Cutting the Gordian Knot: reservation entries, backward scheduling, and finite capacity scheduling" on Wed, 26 April.
#3 Comfortably define variations in capacity
Up to now, you had to add or remove work time for each work/machine center one by one via the contextmenu. Since this could be very time-consuming we thought about improving this process and came up with a much more comfortable and time-saving way – without making a simulation “invalid”. For this, you can now
- add/remove work time for multiple machine/work centers in one interaction
- add/remove work time for entire shifts by work shift codes for one or multiple machine/work centers
Both options can be found under the new "Actions" menu entry "Capacity Management", (where you can now also find the "Capacity Aggregation" dialog):
In the picture below, I have added downtimes by date/time for two machine centers:
And this is how the result looks like:
In the "Edit" dialog, you can change all your up/downtimes:
#4 Resolve conflicts due to overloads or link constraints
It goes without saying that planners want - and need - to work with a schedule free from obvious conflicts such as sequence conflicts and overloads. On the other hand, due to the complex structure of Business Central data, production simulations, and updating the simulations with changed Business Central data, these conflicts cannot be fully avoided.
Wanting to solve this problem, we set to work and now offer the new function "Recalculate current schedule":
This new function ensures that
the schedule will be literally "cleaned up" so that there will be no more sequence conflicts and overloads
no operation will be pushed to the left - the earliest start date for each operation is the start date as of the current simulation
The function can be very helpful after
updating the schedule with shopfloor data
changing the work/machine center capacity settings
#5 Show sales order number on production order line
With this new function we further expanded the integration of production orders and sales orders, making the connection shown already on the according production order line card. What is more, you can also directly open the sales order from here:
This function has to be activated in the newly implemented "Sales Order Handling" area of the VAPS setup.
#6 Interactively change duration (= runtime) of any operation
Sometimes, planners can foresee that certain operations will take longer than originally planned and, of course, it would be helpful for them if they could change the runtime interactively in the VAPS without having to open the corresponding BC dialog, update the simulation and then replan the operation back from Standby. Up to now, this was only possible for started operations. With the new version, we have cleaned-up and restructured the contextmenu a bit so that the former item "Change Started Operation" was renamed to "Change Duration" and "Move Pinned/Started Operation" has replaced "Change Pinned Operation".
#7 Exclude items from the EMAD calculation
You can now easily and quickly block certain lots from the EMAD calculation. This could become necessary, e.g., if you have items the material of which is on site, but need further quality inspection. Then you could block them from the EMAD calculation and we would treat them as not available. You can activate this option in the VAPS settings:
#8 New bar coloring options (also implemented for the VPS)
We comprehensively extended the ways you can color bars while at the same time ensure that the label texts will always be visible. The new options can be found in the "Appearance" setting of the VAPS setup dialog:
The options in detail:
Graded (default): nonworking times are displayed in a lighter shade of the main color; in case there are assignments during non-working periods they are drawn in the main color
Solid: draws a continous block in the main color
Only Allocated Times: nonworking times appear with white background
#9 Navigate within one routing
This new function allows you to easily and quickly navigate in your plan, especially if you have long routings with lots of operations. It can be found in the "Navigation" entry of the contextmenu.
#1 Performance improvements
The performance was once again improved, especially concerning calendar entry handling.
#2 New bar coloring options
This feature was implemented just as with the VAPS, please see description there.
#3 New field “Expected Capacity Need” on production order routing line level
The value of this field now matches the value of the BC field “Expected Capacity Need”.
#1 Performance improvements
#2 Output of decimal values
It is possible now to round the decimal places which are displayed in the tooltip, on the bars, and in the table.
And now enjoy the new features! As always, the complete release information can be found in the according release notes.
- Register for an upcoming webinar or watch a recorded one.
- Browse our knowledge base.
- Listen to our podcast - the stop shop for "all things" Business Central manufacturing Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central.
- If you’re interested in learning more on how the VAPS can support your scheduling make sure to book a free demo asap.