Selecting the right software is crucial if you are serious about solving your scheduling problems.

Because selecting the best scheduling solution for your business can be deceivingly difficult we (LSE/LSI) have taken the time to share some of the important lessons we have learned over the years in the hope that it might make it easier for you.

The consequences of a failed APS implementation can have a long lasting negative impact on a manufacturer’s ability to compete in today’s fast changing world. On the other hand we have found that manufacturers who successfully implement the right APS system are able to react quicker and smarter to change. The benefits of better scheduling are almost unlimited including improved customer service, reduced inventories and reduced manual effort and confusion.

14 years ago LSI looked at all the APS systems on the market and decided that they would invest their future with Preactor (now Opcenter APS) since it was clearly built on better technology. They took this decision very seriously since they realized that this decision would not only impact their success but the success of every one of their customers. When we (LSE) were established in 2010, we started working in the spirit of this same idea.

Despite all our success with Opcenter APS (Preactor) we (LSE/LSI) still take the time to evaluate new APS solutions every year. We are always looking for something that might be better so that you don’t have to.

It is absolutely true that there are many APS systems that demo beautifully but when exposed to real world issues most of them quickly crumble leaving their customers confused and demoralized with no path to recoup the time and money they spent trying to make it work.

It is not always easy for others to understand what makes Opcenter APS work when other systems don’t but Opcenter's approach is fundamentally different. Most of the systems being offered today are based on algorithmic sequencing (optimization) techniques whereas Opcenter APS is primarily based on heuristics (rules). This may sound insignificant but having the ability to build your tribal knowledge into your scheduling solution is what allows you to take what has worked for you and just automate it.

Another dose of reality is that our experiences have conclusively proved that it is almost impossible to identify all your scheduling requirements before you start your APS project. APS solutions built on algorithmic sequencing can be severely limiting and may not be able to replicate your needs. This means that even if your changes are possible (and they often aren’t) the developer is the only one who can make them. You are then at the mercy of the developer. Since Opcenter APS is built with heuristics (rules), there is no need to involve the developer as you have complete control of the way the system behaves.

Today Opcenter APS is being used by manufacturers who have ERP systems such as SAP, Oracle, PeopleSoft, MS Dynamics, Syspro, Epicor and Sage which means that none of these developers have been able to create a scheduling system that produces the results that Opcenter APS delivers. Given the resources at the disposal of these companies, this is a powerful validation of Opcenter's unique technology.

Opcenter's strong position as the world’s most successful APS solution recently attracted the attention of Siemens who wanted to fill a gap in their world class factory automation product offering. In June of 2013 Siemens successfully struck a deal to acquire Preactor, renamed it in Opcenter APS and they have made a major commitment to invest heavily to keep Opcenter APS as the world’s leading APS solution. It really is that simple.