IFS launches Advanced Planning Board giving customers high level of control over manufacturing resources

IFS has announced the first live customer, Vlkl- a German ski manufacturer, and the general availability of its Advanced Planning Board (APB) a powerful new dashboard tool to give customers a high level of visibility and control over resource allocation in their manufacturing operations.

The APB offers planners a graphical representation of shop floor operations, helping them schedule multiple shop orders in parallel, predict the knock-on effect of disturbance in the supply chain and accurately plan to ensure the business meets critical delivery dates.

As the manufacturing industries tackle fierce competition, it has never been so important to allocate finite resources and materials effectively in order to streamline the supply chain, optimise output and control costs. The planning process in manufacturing is notoriously complex with materials and resources assigned to multiple orders in different work centers often without a clear view of how changes in order scheduling impact the viability of other orders and overall business performance.

Using APB with IFS Applications, customers will be able to accurately forecast materials, staff and machinery required across multiple orders thereby streamlining processes and handling of critical bottle necks. The new planning dashboard uses icons to represent various parts and creates a graphical representation of operations and resource availability. Using a drag-and-drop feature it empowers planners to schedule and shift resources as necessary optimising the use of machinery and ensuring disturbances in the supply chain do not impact their ability to deliver on time.

The APB tool recognises that resource availability is variable and will often change at short-notice. As such, APB allows users to simulate the impact of multiple situations and disturbances ranging from the breakdown of core machinery to reduced staff capacity and component availability. This allows responsible planners to create contingency plans for what if scenarios and adapt quickly to changing market and customer needs.

Having identified a need for further software that helped optimise the use of expensive tools and machinery, German ski manufacturer Vlkl, has been working closely with IFS during the research, development and testing stages of APB. Vlkl had onsite support from IFS during the implementation of APB, and now it has been fully installed, the company can plan its production line for the entire year ahead. All incoming orders are now coordinated with the sales and purchasing departments to enable simultaneous planning and rescheduling, to make sure the end product is always delivered on time.

Franz Ederer, production planning manager at Vlkl said: Every business is under pressure to improve productivity and make the best possible use of the resources available. In order to make accurate decisions on our capacity to deliver on existing orders as well as to take on new business contracts, we needed a single view of our planning processes to effectively manage resource allocation. The APB solution has given our project managers greater visibility into project status and helps them plan for disruptions meaning they can realign and adapt their strategy quickly and maximize productivity.

IFS AB President and CEO Alastair Sorbie said: The saying goes, If you fail to plan youre planning to fail but accurately planning in the current market is extremely difficult. Manufacturers are under immense pressure to optimise productivity and meet delivery deadlines irrespective of changes in project specification or customer requirement. IFS is pleased to introduce the Advanced Planning Board, an application interface designed in collaboration with our customers to help them achieve the cost and operational efficiency gains necessary to thrive in the recession and beyond.

Sorbie adds: Vlkls involvement throughout the research, development and testing stages has been invaluable in helping us develop a tool that will drastically improve productivity and cost efficiency for all our manufacturing and process industry customers.

IFS developed the APB tool directly in response to its customers need for more accurate material and resource control. Available in the Service Pack 4 release of IFS Application 7.5, APB requires limited training and users will benefit from ongoing support from IFS consultants and the openIFS[1] portal.

About Vlkl
Vlkl Sports is a sporting goods manufacturer with a manufacturing and R&D site in Straubing. The products, on which many international top athletes rely, are available in over 50 countries worldwide. The Bavarian company with long tradition started with ski manufacturing in Straubing in 1923. Today, Vlkl Straubing is part of the Marker Vlkl Group with headquarters in Baar/Zug (Switzerland).Worldwide about 800 employees are working for the company.

About IFS
IFS is a public company (OMX STO: IFS) founded in 1983 that develops, supplies, and implements IFS Applications, a fully-integrated, component-based extended ERP suite built on SOA technology. The company has more than 2,000 customers in more than 50 countries and focuses on seven main industries: aerospace & defence, utilities & telecom, manufacturing, process industries, automotive, retail & wholesale distribution, and construction contracting & service management. IFS has 2,700 employees and net revenue in 2008 was SKr 2.5 billion.


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