ABCs of Scheduling in AX 2012

By in AX Training, Dynamics AX, Production, Projects on Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

Scheduling tools are critical for manufacturing and engineering environments.  It provides the ability to minimize production time and costs by identifying resources available and utilizing them in the most efficient manner possible.

The definition of scheduling is ‘To plan or appoint for a certain time or date’.  To take it one step further, production scheduling is ‘The management and allocation of resources, events and processes to create goods and services’.

Dynamics AX provides the tools to ‘schedule’ across both production orders and projects.  In this document, we will explore scheduling in production.  As such, we will begin with an understanding of the underlying setups required, specific to AX 2012 in scheduling resources, events and processes.

Scheduling Parameters

There are parameters, specific to scheduling, that will have an impact on the process.  The following are parameters that affect scheduling:

  1. Production > Setup > Production Parameters:
    • General > Capacity planning:  If checked, when scheduling, capacity will include requirements from planned orders and / or projects.
  2. General > Report as finished:  If ON, any reservations against capacity will be deleted.  The typical setting for this is ON.  When a Report as finished transaction is posted, quantities are completed and therefore, the reserved capacity is no longer required for the quantity completed.

  1. Automatic update > Scheduling method:  Identifies the default scheduling method used:

                i.      Operations scheduling:  Provides a rough cut capacity planned to the day and hours.

ii.      Job scheduling:  Provides scheduling planned to the specific start and end time / day.

  1. Standard update > Scheduling:  Sets finite as the default scheduling method.  Options include:

 

                  i.      Finite capacity:  If ON, scheduling observes capacity limitations

ii.      Finite material:  If ON, futures messages (in master planning) will be used to ensure
materials are available.

iii.      Finite property:  If ON, scheduling observes any property requirements.  Properties are�
assigned to operations resources and 1) allow grouping of similar operation resources
for scheduling at the same time, or 2) schedule operations that have inherited properties
to run in succession on a particular resource.

  1. Status:  Identifies the process allowed based on the production order stage.  For example, if a production order is in a created status, estimation (costing) and scheduling (operations or job) can occur.  However, functionality based on a released, started, reported as finished, or ended production order cannot occur.Based on the following setup, scheduling can occur on every production order status except Created and Ended.  Checking ON / OFF will determine functionality at the various production order stages.

 

 

Resources / Bill of Materials / Routes

Resources can be made up of the following types and are used in conjunction with estimated hours and calendar availability when scheduling a task.

  • Human resources (labor)
  • Tools
  • Machines
  • Vendor
  • Location
  • Equipment

When scheduling resources, they may be grouped with multiple resources in each group for ease in scheduling.  When selecting an event or process to be scheduled, a specific resource can be identified or, if a group is scheduled, the available resource(s) within the group will be scheduled based on availability. The same applies to the other resource types.  If the resource is a specific tool, location, machine, or equipment, these can be scheduled based on their associated calendar and availability.  Vendors can also be a resource when the requirement is based on a subcontract or material provided and can generate and link the associated purchase order driven by the task.

Specific to Dynamics AX 2012, capabilities, certification and skills, specific to a human resource, can also be used in determining the resource required.  A capability can be associated with a resource or group while a skill is associated with a human resource / specific worker / employee.  This enables the linking of the management of human resources to tasks and requirements thereof.  See www.dynamicscare.com/blog/index.php/resources-for-scheduling-in-dynamics-ax-2012-2 for more information on resources in AX 2012.

Availability equates to the capacity available for the resource, regardless of the resource type.  Capacity is dependent on whether finite or infinite capacity is being utilized.  Once applied, capacity utilization can be expressed, usually as a percentage, to analyze the productive capacity of a resource or plant.  Note, if JIT (just in time) or lean manufacturing concepts are used, these concepts can also determine capacity utilization versus infinite or finite planning.

  • Infinite capacity measures potential future capacity where the actual capacity constraints of each individual work station are not taken into account.
  • Finite capacity provides for specific scheduling of resources within a certain time period for the work required to be produced.

With resources / groups identified and the decision (based on resource) of whether finite or infinite capacity is being used, two additional components are required.

  1. The use of indented bill of materialsprovides the mechanism for identifying the materials whether Commercial for the final assembly or one of its sub-assemblies or a sub-assembly required produced / manufactured for assembly into the finished item.  An example of a bill of material is as follows:
    1. PART FA (Final assembly – Production)

i.      PART P1 (Commercial)

ii.      PART P2 (Commercial)

iii.      PART SA1 (Sub-assembly – Production)

2.    PART P3 (Commercial)

3.   PART P4 (Commercial)

In this simple example, FA is the final / finished assembly and required two (2) commercial components (P1 & P2) and one (1) manufactured sub-assembly (SA1) produced from two (2) commercial components (P3 & P4).  When scheduling is run for the production of the finished item (FA), it will start from the bottom / lowest level of the bill of material and work its way to the top.  It makes sense that SA1 is required for assembly w/ P1 & P2, meaning SA1 must be manufactured before the final assembly can be constructed.  The scheduling will determine the date (based on backward or forward scheduling) and drive the purchase of the commercial items required, based on their respective lead times, to meet the requirement.  The scheduled completion date of SA1, and the lead time for FA, will then help in scheduling the date for production date for FA.

  1. The use of routeswill determine the process (recipe), during manufacture, required to produce the item.  These are normally setup and associated with the production item and then transferred (automatically) to the production order.  In the above bill of material example, there are two manufactured items – 1 sub-assembly and 1 finished assembly.�
    • SA1 requires welding and polishing.  These could then be associated with individual operations on the item’s route to determine the sequence of events to occur.  At the same time, a resource can be identified and its capacity reserved for this operation.

i.      Op 10:  Weld > Machine resource required for 4 hours.

ii.      Op 20:  Polishing > Human resource required for 2 hours.

2.   FA requires assembly only and could be defined in its routing as follows:

i.      Op 10:  Assembly > Human resource required for 4 hours.

The result of the route for SA1 indicates 6 hours (not running in parallel) are required.  This route time, plus the lead time of the commercial items, will determine the manufacturing time required for the completion of SA1.

The result of the route for FA indicates 4 hours are required.  The production will be scheduled based on the completion of SA1, the route time required, and lead time of the commercial items.

Once the identification of resources are made, the decision of planning these resources with infinite or finite capacity is determined, material requirements (bill of material) determined, and production processes / steps (routes) are documented, scheduling can proceed based on using either backward or forward scheduling.  The decision of the scheduling method is based on the order but not restricted to one type of scheduling across orders.  Planning for one order may be determined based on a required end date and scheduled backwards from this date while another order may have its end date determined from forward scheduling.  The following provides a clear description of these scheduling methods.

  • Forward scheduling is used for planning tasks from the date resources become available and provides a completion date which can then be assigned to the requirement / order.
  • Backward scheduling is used for planning tasks from the due date or date required to determine the start date, based on available capacity, in order to meet the requirement / order.

Production Scheduling

In production, demand is generated from a sales order, forecast, min/max levels, transfer orders, or other production orders (as in the previous example).  Based on the scheduling method (backwards or forwards):

  • Materials are scheduled based on availability in inventory or lead time to procure.  If the material(s) is in stock, it can be reserved based on the system setup, once the production order is started.  The drawback to reserving is if the item is required on another order but previously reserved, a transaction to ‘unreserve’ the material in inventory would be required to free the inventory up and allow for other consumption.
    • Material can also be associated with a task / route step on a production order which would drive procurement of the item (if required) based on the task and not the start date of the production order.
    • Material can be ‘flushed’ based on the flushing principle associated with the BoM line, product, or as identified in the production parameters.  Options include flushing principle, always, or never.  The flushing principle assigned is based on start, finish, or end.
    • Resources are scheduled based on the sequence in the route, the time required of the resource, and the availability of the resource.  A calendar is associated with a resource which provides the available ‘time’ the resource can be scheduled for.  Note:  Calendar deviations can be applied when a specific resource’s available changes from its standard / default calendar.  Remember, resources can be human / labor or machines, tools, or locations.  Each resource has an associated calendar (which can all be the same if applicable) meaning each resource can have a deviation applied.  If a specific machine or tool becomes offline due to maintenance or a breakdown, the resource’s calendar can be adjusted to eliminate scheduling capacity during the downtime of the resource.  Same applies if a human resource is not available based on the standard calendar, a deviation should be applied to prevent scheduling.The following is an example from AX 2012 of viewing capacity of a resource:

 


 

Scheduling Production Orders:

  1. Production orders > All production orders > Schedule tab

 

      2.   Select the production order (check box on line)

3.   For Operation scheduling:

 

  • Overview / General:
    • Production:  Identifies production order(s) selected.
    • Name:  Product name
    • Scheduling direction:  Specifies direction of scheduling based on Scheduling date.

  • Scheduling date:  Basis for Scheduling direction.
  • Schedule references:  Underlying or overlying productions, to the main production order, will be scheduled.
    • Underlying:  Scheduled backwards
    • Overlying:  Scheduled forward
    • Synchronize references:  Schedule productions related.  Only available if Schedule references is ON.  If job scheduling, can also specify job identification.
    • Finite capacity:  If ON, scheduling will observe capacity limitations.
    • Finite material:  If ON, specifies materials are limited during scheduling.  When planning materials (master planning) futures dates will be considered during the scheduling process.
    • Finite property:  If ON, scheduling will observe property requirements.
    • Keep production unit:  Instructs the resource scheduling engine to use only resources bound to the already selected production unit.�Production units provides a grouping of resources
    • Keep warehouse from resource:  Instructs the resource scheduling engine to use only resources bound to the already selected input warehouse.
    • Cancellation tab – Selection ON will omit the time in the schedule.
      • Queue time
      • Setup
      • Process
      • Overlap
      • Transport (transit)
    • Batch:  Complete for batch processing once criteria is set.
  1. For Job scheduling:

 

  • Same as operation scheduling above with the exception of:
  • Overview / General:
    • Job identification:  Designate if required.
    • Time:  If the scheduling direction of ‘Scheduling date’ is used, time on which scheduling should occur.
    • New resource:  Specify a new resource for the job specified in the job ID field.
    • Primary resource selection:  Use in optimizing scheduling strategy.
      • Priority
      • Duration

 

Production Order Details

Following the scheduling of a production order, the details of the order will be updated.  To view on the specific order, locate the production order and double click to open the details view.  On this view’s General Fast tab, the following can be reviewed based on the current status of the production order:

  • Delivery date
  • Time – only if Job scheduled
  • Scheduling status
  • Date scheduled.

Locking Production Orders for Rescheduling

Select production orders where, based on production planning, rescheduling is not allowed – locking the production orders for rescheduling.

  1. Production control > All production orders > Schedule tab
  2. Select Production order (check box on line ON)
  3. Select Locked for rescheduling
  4. The production order(s) selected will be flagged as locked for rescheduling.

 

  1. To unlock, repeat the above process and check for the ‘locked’ flag OFF.

Scheduling Planned Production Orders

    1. Production orders > Planned production orders
    2. Select the production order (check box on line)

                    3.   Select Process > Reschedule:

4.   Complete the scheduling form as required:

 

             5.   Review the results and adjust as required.

 

Scheduling Production Orders thru Periodic

NOTE:  This uses the same functionality and settings / default values as if performed from the production order list page > Scheduling tab.

  1. Production control > Periodic > Scheduling:  Both scheduling methods follow the same process:  Use Select to set the criteria for the production orders to include in the scheduling process.  Once selected, click OK for the process to occur.�Note:  Default values can be set based on reoccurring criteria to reduce setup times.

 

  1. a.      Operations scheduling

i.      Select

ii.      Default values

 

  • Scheduling direction:  Specifies direction of scheduling based on Scheduling date.

Scheduling date:  Basis for Scheduling direction.

  • Cancellation:  Selection ON will omit the time in the schedule.
    • Queue time
    • Setup
    • Process
    • Overlap
    • Transport (transit)
    • Schedule references:  Underlying or overlying productions, to the main production order, will be scheduled.
      • Underlying:  Scheduled backwards
      • Overlying:  Scheduled forward
      • Synchronize references:  Schedule productions related.  Only available if Schedule references is ON.  If job scheduling, can also specify job identification.
      • Finite capacity:  If ON, scheduling will observe capacity limitations.
      • Finite material:  If ON, specifies materials are limited during scheduling.  When planning materials (master planning) futures dates will be considered during the scheduling process.
      • Finite property:  If ON, scheduling will observe property requirements.
  1. Job scheduling:

i.      Select

ii.      Default values (Same as Operations list above with the exception of the following additions:

 

  • Keep production unit:  Instructs the resource scheduling engine to use only resources bound to the already selected production unit.�Production units provides a grouping of resources
  • Keep warehouse from resource:  Instructs the resource scheduling engine to use only resources bound to the already selected input warehouse.

 

Reviewing Scheduled Production Orders

  1. Production Control > Production Orders > Productions scheduled:          

 

  1. List pane:  Selected by site or all sites displays scheduled production orders and provides the status.
  2. Details pane:  Provides details based on selected production order in the list pane.
  3. Fact boxes:

i.      Schedule details

ii.      Item details

iii.      Route production order

 

Viewing Scheduling from Gantt View

    • Order View:

    • Resource View:

  • Get latest:  Reloads Gantt chart with updated schedules, if available.
  • Setup > General:  Provides tool to change Gantt view:
    • Load calendar:  Loads calendar based on resource calendar
    • Non work interval:  Display non-working times.
    • Show world view:  Based on selection, includes full view of all orders scheduled.
    • Show all links:  Provides link to order.
    • Show late jobs:  View includes late jobs.
  • Production:�
    • Show job types:  Similar to scheduling settings, includes times in the Gantt view.
      • Queue time before
      • Setup
      • Process
      • Overlap
      • Transport
      • Queue time after
    • Finished jobs:  If ON, include finished jobs
    • Jobs not reserving capacity:  If ON, includes jobs even if no capacity required
  • Planned Production:  Same as Production but based on data to display if planned orders to be included in the Gantt view.
    • Load planned production data:  ON to include in view.
  • Project:
    • Load project data:  ON to include in Gantt view.
  • View:  Adjust based on data / groupings to be included in the Gantt view.

 

  • Colors > General:  Adjust, as required, for ease in visual reading / understanding.

 

  • Production:  Selection options as required for display in the Gantt view.

 

  • Planned production:  Select options as required for display in the Gantt view.

 

  • Project:  If activities used with resources assigned and required for display in the Gantt chart, adjust as required.

 

One Response to “ABCs of Scheduling in AX 2012”

  1. George Burrell says:

    “Delete Capacity Reservations” Production Parameter

    I am seeking clarification of the implications of this parameter. Of course when “Report as
    Finished” status is achieved, you no long need the capacity to make the product – do you?

    However with this ticked, we are finding that after final Pallet is Reported as
    Finished, we can get Scheduled Dates of the Production set to a future date -
    matching the Requirement date on the Production Order itself. (Master Planning style) I am wondering what is going on.

    What are the real implications of “Delete Capacity Reservations” not ticked. I
    was thinking that might leave the scheduled dates well alone.

    Presumably the unticked Option has some real value – it would be nice to see it explained somewhere but I have not found reference so far

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