Is it really only three months ago that we released version 1.2 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? Time flies and here's already the next new version! We have been really busy and are now able to offer you a whole lot of new and powerful features.
So sit back and see what version 1.3 has to offer.
#1 Better integration with MRP/planning worksheet
With this major new functionality we wanted to overcome the constant battle between planning and scheduling. To put it really very briefly and simply, we wanted to solve the problem that, basically, up to now, the VAPS and the planning worksheet have only been living side to side and not together. With the new release we have gained a close cooperation and interweaving between the finite capacity scheduling (VAPS) and the planning worksheet (MRP).
The VAPS is responsible for the shorter-term finite capacity scheduling, whereas MRP and the planning worksheet are responsible for the mid-term demand planning. The new VAPS/MRP integration establishes clear rules as to which production orders belong into the VAPS area of responsibility and hence have to be untouched by the planning worksheet.
We determine this by two parameters:
- Timeframe (we introduce a "frozen period" as a period in which production orders will not get changed by MRP)
- Production order status
The below chart summarizes these areas of responsibility:
Here is how we implemented this concept in the VAPS:
- The VAPS Setup dialog was enhanced by a corresponding area:
Here, you can
- enable/disable the MRP/VAPS integration
- Define a frozen period relative to the workdate, meaning the period in which the VAPS is responsible and production orders remain untouched by the planning worksheet.
Select the according options from the enhanced context menu which fits your situation to allow deviations from standard rules concerning the VAPS/MRP integration:
- Check in the enhanced planning worksheet which production orders are scheduled by VAPS.
- When action messages are carried out, a warning message is given that this might change production orders that are scheduled by the VAPS.
- The new color scheme "MRP" view helps you to quickly differentiate production orders that belong to the VAPS area of responsibility from those that belong to the MRP area of responsibility.
Having switched on the MRP View, you'll see the orders for which the VAPS is responsible in orange, the ones for which MRP is responsible in blue. .
The darker red shows that for this production order you have set an exception to the standard rule by context menu as described above
As you might have guessed by now, this is a very complex topic and I must admit, that, regarding the theoretical background of the integration of MRP and VAPS, I have only scratched the surface. If you are interested in more detailed information, watch the webinar What's new in the VAPS and/or watch out for the blog we'll post on this topic within the next few weeks.
#2 Change production order status by context menu
Since the tight integration of MRP and VAPS brings even more importance to released production orders, we thought about making changing the production order status easier for you. A new context menu item lets you change the production order status directly from within the VAPS.
#3 New Sales Order View
The newly added Sales Order View (read only) shows those sales orders that have production orders against it and when those production order (lines) are scheduled. A visual alert is given if the production order finish date is past the sales order requested delivery date.
#4 Compare simulations
With the new version of the VAPS we introduced a (first) set of KPIs so that you can compare different simulations and decide which suits you best. For this, we added the new functionality "Compare Simulations" to the simulations page:
The "Simulations KPI" page shows the following KPIs per simulation:
- Number of production orders
- Number of operations on standby
- Number of late production orders
- Total delay (hours)
- Total setup time
- Total buffer time (time between end of production order and required due date)
- Number of production orders without required due date
On the "Simulations KPI" page you can
- refresh the KPIs: if you have added a new simulation, the KPIs of this simulation remain empty until you have refreshed them
- call the "KPI Setup" dialog, where you can exclude/include outdated simulations from/in your comparison
- call another dialog where you can administrate your KPIs (delete, hide, change order)
#5 Automatic initial population of the required due date field
As a side effect of introducing KPIs, the VAPS custom field “required due date” which we added to the production order header gets automatically populated when a new production order is created. The required due data could be described as a user controlled field denoting the date when the product really should be finished.
# 6 Search functionality
In both views, a search functionality was added:
- In the Capacity View, users can search for production orders using data from the production order routing line table.
- In the Sales Order View, users can search for sales orders using data from the sales order header table.
- The respective view then automatically scrolls to the first search result which gets highlighted as well.
#7 Usability enhancements of the alternate routing set page
The "Alternate Routing Sets" page got enhanced by the “where used” functionality so that users can see in which routing the respective alternate routing set is used. A new list page was added that lists all existing alternate routing sets.
#8 Enhancements regarding customizable tooltip and bar label
For both views, the bar label can now be customized while at the same time the functionality of customizing the tooltip was extended so that for both items there are now (nearly) identical dialogs which allow you to make settings for providing really individual and meaningful information.
The "format strings", available for the bar label, even allow for the multi-line display texts or the separation of the individual fields by a couple of special characters.
Let me explain how this works using the example of the bar labels, but - except the usage of the format strings - you can apply all the steps also to customizing the tooltip.
In the picture below, you see the bar label of a production order line in the Sales View, showing
- the production order number
- the number of the production order line
- the quantity
- The new dialogs can be found in the VAPS setup menu by clicking "Configurations" in the "Actions" menu:
- In the "View - select label" dialog, select the item and/or view for which you want to customize the bar label - in our case "Production Order Line":
- The “Edit – Define Configuration” dialog pops up:
- Here you can add, insert, edit, and delete fields as well as change their order. You can select the desired table name and field name from your Dynamics 365 BC data by clicking “…”
Formatting the labels
Separate the field contents in the bar label by a line break, a blank or other separators by selecting the according separator from the “VAPS Format Strings” table.
#9 Changes and improvements made to the Earliest Material Availability Date (EMAD) calculations
We have further streamlined and improved working with EMAD, the details of which and, of course, also the complete release information, can be found in the release notes of the VAPS.
That's it for today, I hope you'll enjoy the new functions and enhancements. If you like to take a deeper dive into the VAPS, have a look at the material below.
- Watch a recorded webinar about the Visual Advanced Production Scheduler.
- Read the free ebook Chasing efficiency with the Visual Advanced Production Scheduler (VAPS) for Dynamics 365 Business Central
- Browse our knowledge base.
- Listen to our podcast - the stop shop for "all things" Business Central manufacturing Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, which, as of October, has started with new episodes.
- If you’re interested in learning more on how the VAPS can support your scheduling make sure to book a free demo asap!