As an APS system, ePP/DS enables extensive planning that takes many criteria into account. It is distinguished from simpler planning software products by the following features:

  • Planning across the entire supply chain (also called multi-level planning), which can include all the supply chain factors as planning components: from purchasing to delivery
  • Combination of the following elements:
  • Ensuring material availability throughout the supply chain
  • Planning against restrictions (especially against limited available production resources)
  • Planning against rules that guarantee high-quality planning beyond complying with restrictions (e.g. low set-up times, short storage times, use of the most efficient resources)

As an APS system, ePP/DS covers all planning horizons, from a very short-term horizon (the next few days) to a long-term horizon (several months). To achieve this, especially in the long-term, an APS tool can also perform simulations: Based on hypothetical assumptions (e.g., order development of the most important customers, expansion of the machine facilities, hiring of additional employees, relocation of production to other locations), production plans are created and compared.

ePP/DS is the ideal APS tool for detailed scheduling as well as for some scenarios of rough-cut planning. In both scenarios, cross-plant processes can be mapped.

ePP/DS plays an essential role in ITeanova's portfolio.

On this page, the essential features of ePP/DS will be explained. This will include an emphasis on how we advise and support these pillars of the ePP/DS solution and work with the client to achieve the ideal use of the comprehensive ePP/DS tool.

Subject Areas of ePP/DS as an APS Tool:

Benefits of an APS Tool Image

Most important ePP/DS functionalities

Requirement coverage/Material availability of ePP/DS

The basis of any SCM planning are the procurement elements that cover requirements.

These are:

  • Orders for in-house production.
  • Order elements for procurement from suppliers or other plants.

In ePP/DS, there are efficient automated procedures for creating these elements or having them adapted to the current planning and demand situation. A planning run is used for this purpose. The planning run is primarily used to carry out procurement planning for ePP/DS products, i.e., to create procurement proposals to cover unmet product requirements. For this purpose, special heuristics are available for procurement planning.

Depending on the planning task to be solved, the production planning run uses:

  • An optimization (PPO) for requirement coverage and creation of procurement elements (for more complex scenarios where lot-size creation also depends on the availability of restrictive resources).
  • One or more demand coverage heuristics for the creation of receipt/procurement elements (for simpler scenarios).

In addition, further heuristics for detailed scheduling (DS) or also PP/DS optimization can be called up in the planning run.

In contrast to MRP Live, the production planning run offers the advantage that several processing steps with different heuristics or functions can be executed one after the other in order to have more complex planning tasks carried out, e.g., first a procurement planning for products with uncovered product requirements with a product heuristic and then a sequence optimization on the affected bottleneck resources.

For multilevel planning, it should be noted that a determination of low-level code (either upstream or defined as the first step in the production planning run) must be carried out first - in contrast to MRP Live, an automatic determination does not take place. Another disadvantage of the production planning run compared to MRP Live is that the production planning run only considers ePP/DS-relevant materials and therefore a separate MRP run may have to be scheduled for non-PP/DS-relevant materials.

Heuristics for procurement planning are essential for both MRP Live (here especially the product heuristics) and the production planning run.

ITeanova supports the customer in selecting the right procedures for demand coverage and order generation by intensively analysing the scenarios and requirements with the customer and eliciting the necessary complexity of the solutions (heuristics or optimizers).

Likewise, ITeanova accompanies the setting of the parameters in customizing and trains the use of the respective ePP/DS functions.

Planning with restrictions

The special feature of an APS system such as ePP/DS is not only, to cover requirements on time with procurement elements, but also to ensure that capacity limits or restrictions are not violated in the timing and details of production and procurement (where, in what quantity, with which resources, when).

The aim is to plan order processes finitely, i.e. coordinated with the available capacity, and precisely in terms of resources (e.g. machines, assembly stations, people and personnel pools) within a horizon that fits the customer scenario. The following criteria play a decisive role here:

  • Determination of the target dates by which the order must be completed.
  • Availability of components at the right place in order to be able to start production on time.
  • Determining the free time slots on resources.
  • Determining the ideal resources in terms of cost, efficiency, and availability.
  • Reduction/adjustment of buffer, transport and wait times.
  • Consideration of order priorities (e.g., top-priority orders).
  • Optimal set-up sequences.
  • Availability of tools.
  • Handling of machine maintenance and downtimes.

An important aspect, and a criterion for success, is to analyze with the customer which degree of automation is optimal for planning with restrictions. The decisive factor here is how precisely the customer can and, of course, wants to store his rules for detailed scheduling in the system (is it worth the effort to do this?).

ITeanova supports all these questions from the analysis to the modelling in the system to the final implementation and introduction.

Transparency/Cockpit functionality

The ePP/DS offers a range of interactive planning tools that can be used to display basically all the necessary information for production planning and detailed scheduling. The combination of graphical and tabular planning tools provides a good overview of the planning situation to identify critical situations and deal with them (manually or automatically). On the one hand, the planning tools can be used to generate procurement proposals to cover product requirements (for in-house production and external procurement), and on the other hand, resource allocation and order deadlines can be planned and optimized in detail. In the process, resource/capacity availability as well as component availability can be considered.

Features ePP/DS:

  • Adaptable selection via variants, access possible via resources as well as via materials/orders
  • Various views (perspective on the production plan)
  • Combination of tabular (grids, trees) and graphical elements
  • Aggregated data and detailed data in different views
  • Drill down from aggregated data
  • Jumps in environment transactions/functions
  • PP/DS heuristics can be called up in simulation mode with storage option

ITeanova supports the selection of the right planning tools for each planning problem and the corresponding customizing to adjust the layout and design. We give users an ideal environment for assessing the planning situation and manually planning or intervening in an already existing production plan.

Interactive planning

The above-mentioned planning tools are the basis for manually changing the planning situation. It may be that only minor details are changed as a result of previously carried out automated planning, which has already provided a good production plan as a basis. Alternatively, with the help of the ePP/DS planning cockpits, most of the planning can be created by the decisions of the planner (largely manual planning).

In doing so, the ePP/DS tools allow many convenient functions for manual planning such as:

  • Change of lot sizes for production and procurement orders
  • Creating and deleting production and procurement quantities
  • Manual change of capacities for e.g., machines and persons
  • Manual sequencing of orders
  • Shifting operations to alternative resources
  • Manual fixing of procurement elements
  • Reassigning and fixing pegging relationships: which procurement element covers which demand
  • Changes to sources of supply both in production (how and on which resources and with which parts is production carried out) and in supplier selection in procurement

ITeanova supports the question of which planning steps make sense manually in an interactive planning and how these can be carried out in a user-friendly way. In doing so, the settings in customizing are carried out together with the customer and the selection of the planning tools that best support the respective interactive planning steps is accompanied.

Automatic planning/optimization

In the supply chain and especially in production itself, there are many factors that need to be considered for realistic and high-quality planning. If you look into a factory hall where production and assembly take place, you get an impression of how many machines, places, workers, foremen, tools and transport equipment are there, all of which can have a decisive influence on the production process.

The ePP/DS makes it possible to take many of these factors into account already in the planning stage and offers a wealth of functions to create a realistic production plan.

The larger the amount of data and the more complex the scenario, the more difficult it is to keep an eye on all parameters and constellations during manual planning. Therefore, it is advisable to use the automatic functionalities of ePP/DS to have the production plan created as efficiently as possible.

For example, final assembly could be complex with many influencing factors, which reacts sensitively to incorrect use of resources and an awkward sequence, but the production of parts before that could be quite simple.

In principle, there are two possibilities for automated planning in ePP/DS, which can also be combined in any way:

  • that follow a certain linear path to create a planning solution (heuristics for demand coverage and order generation; heuristics for finite scheduling, resource utilization, and sequencing)
  • Advantage: solution can be well understood and understood
  • Optimizations (optimization for demand coverage, optimal lot-size creation and order generation; optimization for finite scheduling according to flexible criteria or a flexible point system)
    • Advantage: If many influencing factors play a role, only optimization can deliver meaningful and effective solutions

The optimizer plays a special role here. While heuristics and detailed scheduling strategies are limited to a linear determination of the planning solution per run, the optimizer creates several solutions in one run and tries to improve them based on the defined parameters and weightings. This way, the production plan is optimized as much as possible, and the planner can focus on the most important cases and change them manually if necessary.

ITeanova supports the customer in analysing which influencing factors should be included in the automated planning, how they can be modelled in ePP/DS and which planning procedures make the most sense for which products and production units.


Beyond operational planning - which leads to real production, procurement, and delivery - there is often the requirement to simulate. Behind this are usually the following concrete customer requests:

  • Simulation of what-if scenarios to be prepared for changes (which have a certain probability) even before activation. These could be the following changes: Demand situation changes, capacities and processes of procurement and production change, targets such as service level and resource load change.
  • Comparison of different solution variants: The aim is to present these solutions in detail, to make them comparable with each other and to facilitate the decision for the best variant.

ePP/DS supports these scenarios in an ideal way. The basis in ePP/DS is always a planning version. The planning version contains the master and transaction data. A distinction is made between an active planning version and several possible inactive planning versions. As a rule, the master and transaction data of the active planning version (i.e., the live data) are copied into the inactive planning versions, where they can be changed without affecting the active planning version. Since inactive planning versions are self-sufficient, planning results cannot be copied back to the active version. The corresponding changes to the master and transaction data must be repeated.

Within a planning version, so-called simulation versions can be created. Simulation versions play a role especially in capacity planning/detailed scheduling.

When one enters an interactive planning tool (detailed scheduling table, resource planning table, product planning table), the system automatically creates a simulation version. Within this, the planner can carry out his planning; the result of the planning is simulative as long as it is not transferred to the active planning version.

In the event that the planner does not want to transfer his result directly into the active planning version, it is possible to save the simulation version. This is temporarily parked and can be displayed, edited or transferred directly to the active planning version if required. Several simulation versions can also be created and compared with each other, e.g. via the plan monitor. In doing so, the data flow from the planning version to the simulation version is open, i.e. changes in the active planning version are immediately transferred to the respective simulation versions so that there is no major discrepancy between the live system and the simulation version. This also ensures that the live data is not overwritten in an undesirable way when the simulation version is restored to the active planning version.

ITeanova supports customers in creating and implementing such what-if scenarios (which simulations make business sense) and solution variants. Care is taken to ensure that the principles of automated planning and manual intervention or (manual) human decision making are ideally combined.

Additional points that speak for ePP/DS

  • Better Demand Management: ePP/DS is integrated with forecasting tools such as IBP or APO-DP (SAP products for tactical and strategic planning) and ensures that companies can better coordinate demand and production plans to avoid part shortages and delivery bottlenecks on the one hand and overproduction on the other. As a result, capital is used in an ideal way.
  • Faster Response to Changes: ePP/DS can react quickly to changes in the demand situation, breakdowns of machines and personnel and breaks in the supply chain. This agility lets customers respond better to the market situation.
  • Better and Quicker Decision-Making: The ePP/DS and its associated software solutions provide real-time analytics and reporting capabilities. Managers have access to the latest data at any time and can make the right decision faster to avoid problems.
  • Reducing Costs: Through more efficient demand planning and consideration of the restrictions and optimization criteria, the customer can save enormous costs.
  • Scalability: Using live cache technology and extensive configurability, ePP/DS can be used for large comprehensive companies with complex supply chains.
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