Simultaneous laboratory planning and production planning


Laboratory managers often express the following wishes for improvements when using the product SAP ERP / QM:

  • Show the future load of the laboratories based on the expected production as currently forecast according to the results of the MRP run.
  • Support the assignment of personnel to the individual inspection lots.
  • Smooth the utilization of personnel and equipment by moving and summarizing inspection lots as well as by changing capacity and / or laboratory relocation.
  • Alarm for defects resulting from the connection between production and laboratory (production plan changes, unfree packaging, ...).
  • Provide a communication platform with production planning to avoid missing checks leading to production delays.

The last wish also coincides with the wishes of the production planners and supply chain managers, who also want a communication platform when using SAP ERP PP and PP-PI. Furthermore, supply chain managers often complain about the "black hole" lab in the logistic chain, which they have to map over standard throughput times, without knowing whether too much or little capacity is available in the lab. This leads to the desire to be able to influence the throughput time of the logistics chain not only in production but also in the laboratory.

Why is there so far little computer support for connecting laboratory and production planning?

Due to the importance of quality assurance, it is often tempting to design laboratories a little larger so that capacity peaks can be absorbed with sufficient capacity. However, planning only becomes interesting when you have to act hard on the capacity supply limits. In this sense, the ROI in such projects is not easy to determine.

Furthermore, in order to obtain an overview and to plan the future expected inspection lot, an Advanced Planning and Scheduling System and the possibility to generate "simulated inspection lots" in cooperation with the MRP are required.

Possible solution

ORSOFT LabScheduling enables the rapid introduction of a solution that can be used to gradually introduce simultaneous laboratory and production planning based on data from SAP ERP / QM or SAP S/4HANA.

To do this, the ORSOFT LabScheduling add-on reads the SAP ERP and SAP S/4HANA objects from the PP, PP-PI and QM modules, which are required for the solution of laboratory and production planning tasks. This includes, in particular, the material master, resources and inspection plans as master data as well as planned orders, purchase requisitions, purchase orders, process orders, inspection lots as transaction data.

These objects are linked in the RAM of a server and stored in auxiliary structures. Based on this you can generate and display lists and planning folders. Particularly interesting are planning folders.

Without further master data maintenance, only by uploading the software ORSOFT LabScheduling you will get an overview of the number and type of the inspection lots and can recognize the capacity requirement by "looking closely". In addition to the presentation of the current situation in the short-term area on the basis of the inspection lots of SAP QM, simulated inspection lots are created in the system. These simulate future inspection lots of the SAP and are thus suitable for considerably expanding the overview area.

User interface for laboratory planning
User interface for laboratory planning

If a more detailed overview is desired, times for individual tests can be noted in the test plan and evaluated accordingly by the software. In the picture you can see a planning booklet in the middle layout window in which the staff utilization is indicated. The first line of this planning book shows the utilization percentages. This is followed by capacity supply, cumulated overload, etc. This planning book can be switched to alternative discretization modes. In particular, one can jump out of cells, in lists (as they are visible in the upper layout area in the image, for example), which show the objects that determine the cell. In these lists you can edit times and personnel assignments.

In planning folders and lists, objects from different laboratories and SAP plants can be merged

The basis for the communication between laboratory and production planners are the SAP ERP objects from PP or PP-PI and QM, which are used in ORSOFT LabScheduling, which can be used by both production planners and laboratory planners and as an add-on to SAP ERP or SAP S/4HANA is configured, merged and linked.

In ORSOFT LabScheduling, you can virtually link the objects from both modules and make them available to the other planner.

The state of the art is that an SCM manager plans the logistical chain assuming fixed laboratory throughput times. He plans regardless of whether laboratories are overloaded or not.

With ORSOFT LabScheduling, it becomes possible for a planner to plan the entire logistical chain for urgent orders.

Would you like further information on ORSOFT LabScheduling or would you like a demonstration of the software? Feel free to request further information on this page.