Infor Releases Advanced Scheduling 5.5

The very first acquisitions by what is today Infor, former SCT Corp.’s process software division in 2002, continue to provide Infor with most competitive products that are being enhanced regularly. The vendor recently announced the release of Infor Advanced Scheduling 5.5 to enable production schedule optimization for process and complex manufacturing. The product continues to provide an industry-specific differentiation for process manufacturers such as dairies, breweries, and beverage production to enhance liquid material movements.

Infor Advanced Scheduling 5.5 features components that are designed specifically for process management to redistribute tank inflow and outflow in the event of overlapping batches. This release enhances the user (scheduler) experience with a new “look and feel,” and enhances usability such as inventory simulation to improve the planning experience. By minimizing unnecessary schedule interaction, this release facilitates shorter planning times and allows new planners to learn the application quickly.

Notable New Features

A brand new feature is advanced Cleaning in Place (CIP) management, whereby manufacturers can automatically schedule CIP processes using a specific quantity or time-based rules. More accurate modeling of CIP helps improve schedule quality to avoid potential production interruptions. Tank Flow Redistribution is another new feature that mitigates interruptions, with components that are designed specifically for process management to redistribute tank inflow and outflow in the event of overlapping batches.

The release also adds a distinct Small Batch Sequencing feature providing a workbench for managing production activities considered “too small” for Gantt chart interaction. The workbench provides a “drag & drop” interaction so production of smaller durations can be more easily scheduled in a tabular format. This promotes simpler and faster planning for small-duration production activities. Most supply chain management (SCM) systems do not easily handle these kinds of exceptions.

This release enables manufacturers to calculate nonproductive time and costs based on production attributes via Transition Matrices & Rules. Breaking down nonproductive time into its most basic elements improves accuracy in time calculations and enables more efficient throughput. Changeover issues with non-value-adding costs and time visibility is very important. Thus, this release should help manufacturers optimize scheduling decisions such as resource allocation and sequencing on both cost and duration. This capability should ultimately help reduce the overall cost of production by minimizing high cost nonproduction events.

Real Deal

In summary, Infor Advanced Scheduling 5.5 appears to be a solid release that should put Infor further in the lead. In food and beverage, there is no really strong competition for the product. In chemicals, oil & gas, and other process industries, there is much more competition, such as AspenTech, SAP APO, Oracle Value Chain Solutions (VCS), WAM Systems (now part of Triple Point Technology), etc. Still, Infor is at least as competitive, except that AspenTech has specialized refinery simulation capability that allows settings of equipment to maximize throughput. The capability to change settings on this particular tower for these materials to products is unique to AspenTech. If settings are constant, Infor Advanced Scheduling does a very good job.
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