Production scheduling based on material availability information

Posted by Ute Gillet on Mar 14, 2023 8:39:55 AM

The Visual Advanced Production Scheduler (VAPS), comes with functionality for production scheduling based on material availability information. Given the fact that Business Central does not offer material availability information on the production order level, this functionality is a topic of great interest. It does not only often come up during customer demos but people also told us that if they had known about it earlier, they probably would have decided earlier for the VAPS. So, our CEO Martin thought it would be good to share the educational material he initially had created for training purposes in a public webinar that he hosted some weeks ago.

Read this blog to get a written wrap-up of the webinar with links to the respective minute of the presentation. At the bottom of the page, you'll find the link to the recorded webinar on YouTube

After some words of welcome Martin set out by talking in detail about what is meant by the term material availabilty

VAPS function: EMAD (Earliest Material Availability Date) [min 6:35]

Martin stated that while Business Central offers a lot of material availability information, e.g. on the item card, by BOM level, by event, etc., this information somehow seems to be lost when it comes to production order or production order line level. This means that the information about when all the material needed for building a specific item on a specific production order line will be available may be stuck somewhere in Business Central, but is really tedious to get because you have to go to the production order component line, get to the respective item cards, and then pull up the material availability information for all these items.

However, knowing the material's availability date means knowing when to plan a production order and when to start production - this information is of utmost significance for almost every manufacturing company we talk to. To help planners gather this information quickly and comfortably, we equipped the VAPS with the functionality we call "EMAD" (Earliest Material Availability Date).

Webinar EMAD - lost and found



Closing the gap between "lost" and "found" [min 10:36]

In this section, Martin explained that if date information does not exist in a system like Business Central, a development company like NETRONIC has two options - an easy one and a hard one. NETRONIC decided to take the "hard" way as described in the picture below:


Webinar EMAD - close the gap


Next step: where and how to make this information available [min 13:44]

Thinking about this, we came to the decision to put it on the production order line level because in the end, what customers produce is ultimately described on the production order line level, e.g. item number, quantity, etc. With the installation of the VAPS, the EMAD field gets added to the production order line table and when the calculation runs, will be populated with a date.


EMAD webinar - field on pol level

Since the EMAD is determined by all the components needed to make this item, we also added an EMAD column on this level, the field, of course, being added to the according table when the VAPS is installed.

EMAD webinar - field on componentlevel

You will also find an EMAD column on routing line level. This field is populated when you work with routing links, and require certain items at later production steps only.

EMAD webinar - on por level


The EMAD - a calculated field [min 21:21]

As Martin stressed, the EMAD is a calculated field, the peculiarities to watch out for being nicely summarized in the below list:

  • you as a user must trigger the calculation

  • you should always calculate the EMAD before you create a new simulation

    • the EMAD is a static value

    • we write this value into the production order lines and the production order component lines

    • the EMAD does not automatically update (based on changes you make in the production schedule simulation)

  • as cannot be emphasized often enough: the EMAD is a static value which does not get updated automatically (if you want to have it updated automatically, add the EMAD calculation to the job queue)


Theoretical excursion about the EMAD [min 24:09]

In this, admittedly, a bit theory-heavy part Martin outlined how the EMAD calculation is done in the VAPS. He covered the following topics:

  • Basics of the EMAD calculation

  • How we allocate

  • How we calculate the EMAD

  • Different allocation types


EMAD settings and options [min 37:30]

Martin then switched to the live environment and showed how, where, and why to make the needed -  and some optional - settings for the EMAD.

  • Look-ahead window - VAPS settings


  • Use routing links - VAPS settings


  • EMAD demand priority - own setting dialog


  • EMAD as scheduling constraint - VAPS settings

  • Fine-tuning on the item card

Run EMAD from the job queue - codeunit

  • A hidden VAPS “superhero” ->the demand list


Live demo [min 46:17]

In the following live demo part all "dull" theory was vividly put into practice.


Further information

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Topics: Business Central Production Scheduling, Business Central Visual Scheduling Extensions