Advanced Planning & Scheduling (APS) software

APS software collects complex production data and uses mathematical modeling to suggest production strategies that improve efficiency and profitability. These systems give production managers predictions and data visualizations to inform their decisions. APS software offers enough flexibility to manage multiple production streams in a single platform.

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abas ERP

Abas ERP is a solution geared towards small to midsize manufacturers and distributors. Abas has three main application offerings on the market today: Abas ERP, Abas Distribution and Abas eB, a line of e-business solutions that can...Read more about abas ERP

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Jobscope is a cloud-based manufacturing solution that helps aerospace, electronics, industrial machinery, metals, automotive and high technology companies in enterprise resource planning (ERP) functions. Key modules of the solutio...Read more about JOBSCOPE

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BatchMaster ERP

BatchMaster Software offers process manufacturing software solutions for the food, chemical, nutraceutical and pharmaceutical industries. Users can run the manufacturing application with QuickBooks, Sage 100&300, Microsoft Dynamic...Read more about BatchMaster ERP

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Dynamics 365 Business Central

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is a cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) software solution designed for midsize organizations to streamline business operations and accelerate cash flow. This SaaS solution offers...Read more about Dynamics 365 Business Central

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SCP 4.0

Jada vendor management inventory and demand planning system is suitable for businesses looking to manage inventory holding costs and track service levels. SCP is offered as a best of breed application that is ideal for both midsiz...Read more about SCP 4.0

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E-Z-MRP is a manufacturing software solution for make-to-stock, make-to-order and batch process manufacturers. The system is used by a variety of manufacturers including automotive, aerospace, metals, electronics, industrial machi...Read more about E-Z-MRP

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Aptean Industrial Manufacturing ERP Made2Manage Edition

Aptean Industrial Manufacturing is designed for manufacturers in job shops and dynamic "to-order" and mixed-mode environments. It's suitable for SMB manufacturers in industries like industrial equipment, electronics and fabricated...Read more about Aptean Industrial Manufacturing ERP Made2Manage Edition

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With an integrated system that includes ERP, financials, commerce, inventory management, HR, PSA, supply chain management, CRM and more – NetSuite enables fast-growing businesses across all industries to work more effectively by a...Read more about NetSuite

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ECI M1 is a subscription-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, available on-premise or via the cloud, that automates financials, inventory, production, sales/quoting and production planning. The solution is suitable for...Read more about M1 ERP

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PBS Accounting

PBS Accounting is robust professional level accounting software that fits a wide range of businesses and grows with your company. The CashPoint version acts as back end accounting for NCR Counterpoint. Flexible, up to the minute r...Read more about PBS Accounting

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About SYSPRO SYSPRO is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution that is industry-built and provides last-mile capabilities for manufacturing and distribution businesses. SYSPRO provides the solutions, processes, and tools to...Read more about SYSPRO

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Aptean Process Manufacturing ERP ProcessPro Edition

Aptean Process Manufacturing ERP ProcessPro Edition is a complete Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution for small to mid-sized batch process manufacturers to manage their business operations through manufacturing, sales, inv...Read more about Aptean Process Manufacturing ERP ProcessPro Edition

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ECI Shoptech brings together industry-leading solutions E2 SHOP and JobBOSS to create the next evolution in job shop business management: JobBOSS². Designed specifically for job shops and make-to-order manufacturers, JobBOSS² is a...Read more about JobBOSS²

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DELMIAworks (formerly IQMS) ERP is developed specifically for SMB and large discrete and batch process manufacturers in the aerospace, medical device, automotive, food and beverage, consumer products, plastics, packaging, and elec...Read more about DELMIAworks

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Visibility ERP

Visibility ERP is a fully integrated and modern ERP solution designed to meet the unique needs of manufacturers of complex products (including To-Order, ETO, CTO, MTO, Project Based, Discrete and Hybrid). It provides manufacturers...Read more about Visibility ERP

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Plex Smart Manufacturing Platform

Plex gives manufacturers the ability to connect, automate, track and analyze every aspect of their business -- from the plant floor to the top floor -- to drive business transformation. Built in the cloud, the Plex Smart Manufactu...Read more about Plex Smart Manufacturing Platform

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Visual EstiTrack

Henning Software has helped small to midsize manufacturers and job shops for 30 years. Visual EstiTrack ERP has complete material requirements planning, product lifecycle, supply chain, customer relationship, human resource and ma...Read more about Visual EstiTrack

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MIE Trak Pro

One word sums up MIE Trak Pro: flexibility. You may be using tired old spreadsheets or an ERP system that can't scale with your manufacturing company. When your organization grows, MIE Trak Pro adapts to your needs, striking a bal...Read more about MIE Trak Pro

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Aptean Food & Beverage ERP JustFood Edition

Aptean offers enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution to food and beverage manufacturers and distributors. The solution is designed to address the challenges of organizations in the food and beverage industry, with a suite of ...Read more about Aptean Food & Beverage ERP JustFood Edition

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S2K Enterprise for Food

VAI’s is an independent software developer and the author of S2K Enterprise, an award winning cloud-based ERP solution utilized by customers operating across the distribution, manufacturing, specialty retail, and service sectors, ...Read more about S2K Enterprise for Food

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Buyers Guide

Last Updated: November 23, 2022

As manufacturing operations grow, complex demands often outpace standard manufacturing resource planning (MRP) tools. Production managers can address these growing pains using advanced planning and scheduling (APS) software. These best-of-breed platforms improve production efficiency using mathematical modeling based on more variables than basic MRP software.

Choosing a software solution can feel daunting when there are so many similar MRPs, APSs, and enterprise resource planning (ERP) options to choose from. This guide will explain what makes APSs unique and how to select the right solution for your business.

Here's what we'll cover:

What is advanced planning and scheduling software?

APS software collects complex production data and uses mathematical modeling to suggest production strategies that improve efficiency and profitability. These systems give production managers predictions and data visualizations to inform their decisions. APS software offers enough flexibility to manage multiple production streams in a single platform.


Common features of advanced planning and scheduling software

While advanced planning and scheduling tools often target different markets or user niches, most platforms offer some version of the following features:

Capacity planning

Organize production capacity based on changing manufacturing demands. Prioritize manufacturing runs based on profitability, urgency, raw material availability, and other factors.

Production scheduling

Assign jobs to specific machinery based on factors such as available capacity and current workload. Avoid scheduling conflicts and wasted downtime using a simple drag-and-drop interface.

Material requirements planning

Control manufacturing inventory and scheduling to meet production goals.

Quality management

Improve production processes by collecting data to identify manufacturing challenges such as bottlenecks, delays, and inefficiencies.>

Key performance indicators (KPIs)

Establish and track performance indicators to evaluate progress and results. Use these metrics to plan future capacity and consider capital investments in new infrastructure.

Gantt charts

Create appealing visualizations to illustrate and coordinate project benchmarks and dependencies.

Order management

Organize, track, and execute complex make-to-order (MTO) and assemble-to-order (ATO) production runs.

What type of buyer are you?

Finding the right production software solution begins with knowing what kind of buyer you are. Here's a breakdown of APS buyers versus MRP and ERP buyers so you can figure out which group you're a part of, and the type of software you need:

Manufacturing resource planning software buyers: MRP buyers manage production using scheduling models that compare each run against constant total capacity, rather than the variable available capacity remaining after considering other tasks on the same equipment. MRPs use simple formulas to predict completion times. Order fulfillment is a linear process that does not incorporate lead time into planning. MRP buyers treat all orders as equal without prioritizing profitability. MRP software tends to be a good fit for manufacturers that perform large production runs with little product variability.

Advanced planning and scheduling software buyers: APS buyers manage production based on actual available capacity, which can change at any time. APSs use complex mathematical models to simulate alternative production scenarios, which helps managers choose the best schedule. APSs also factor in order lead time into fulfillment processes. APS buyers prioritize the most profitable jobs and production scenarios. APS software tends to be a good fit for manufacturers that make or assemble products to order, manage many parts, have unusually complicated tasks, or schedule product lines that compete for resources.>

Enterprise resource planning software buyers: ERP buyers are able to take advantage of all that APSs have to offer, in addition to a few key features for large organizations. ERPs offer seamless data integration to merge many functions into a single platform. ERPs have more tools for business functions such as estimation, work-in-progress management, and accounting. ERP buyers can use the software's estimates to export project management budgets with invoice matching and cost allocation.


Advanced planning and scheduling software improves production in several ways:

Prioritize equipment use. APS software lets you schedule production and assembly events around equipment that is more expensive to operate. This strategy ensures that expensive equipment is only used when needed. Users can also prioritize equipment that is cheaper to operate, which saves money. Some systems can even suggest machinery use schedules based on repair cycles and consumables to avoid equipment downtime.

Increase profitability. Comparing production scenarios based on profitability in APS software allows you to focus on production of your most valuable products. Choosing the most profitable production schedule avoids wasteful opportunity costs that come from producing products with narrower margins at the expense of products with better margins.

Identify production bottlenecks. Get a big-picture perspective of your entire production environment to predict possible delays and schedule operations to avoid them.

Key considerations for purchasing advanced planning and scheduling software

APS software allows managers to change or ignore the system's recommendations. However, these modifications often introduce unexpected inefficiencies. Persistent disagreements with APS recommendations may suggest that the system was configured with false assumptions or that your operations manager should receive additional APS software training.

Market trends to understand

Understanding the following trends can help you select advanced planning and scheduling software that will grow with your organization:

  • More and more APSs directly integrate with production floor equipment. Some APS solutions offer integrations that collect real-time data from your equipment. This data can refine production predictions and recommendations, even in the middle of a production run. These integrations also save time and prevent errors by collecting data automatically.
  • Visualizations are becoming more robust. Most APS platforms can produce Gantt charts to display production timelines and illustrate steps that must be completed before other steps can begin (such as assembly). In addition, some platforms now explain production scenarios using a graphical display. This makes it easier for managers to interpret system recommendations at a glance.