Customized Scheduling Report Journey

It is great to see progress in a relatively short amount of time.  When I joined Profit Point in 2014, one of our key customers was scheduling their plants with AspenTech SCM, which is one of the most customizable scheduling tools, As we typically do, we complemented that flexibility with some of our own expertise; we developed  a way to let the scheduling and management teams know how good the schedules were in his business by building Schedule Metrics.  We used Oracle Database and Excel to create the dashboard. Schedule Metrics was just the beginning of our customized scheduling report journey.

When I presented the Schedule Metrics data and the results that we found to that Supply Chain Optimization leader and his team we got a question about capturing how many changes were made to a schedule.  We had a meeting to understand what that Supply Chain leader wanted us to attempt to do.  We heard the requirements and, at the time, we thought that putting a monitoring type system on the scheduling tool to track every change within a multi-week scheduling board would slow the system down to an unacceptable level.  In addition to not knowing why the changes were being made we all agreed not to pursue it.

Two years later, we did a global road show of the Schedule Metrics and asked if there were any other metrics that the Regional Supply Chain leads wanted.  Once again, a Schedule Stability report request came up from the Asia Pacific (APAC) lead.  We met the APAC Supply Chain lead and heard the parameters of his request.  This time it was more narrowly focused to what is supposed to be the Frozen Horizon.  For this business, the Frozen Horizon is measured in days.  This time we thought that could be doable and could be a benefit to schedulers since they were tracking the changes manually.  We agreed to do a proof of concept with one site. The code to capture the data and the reason the scheduler was making the change was done in AspenTech SCM.  We exported the data to an Oracle Database and then we used Excel to create the dashboard charts and graphs that can be refreshed with 3 clicks.

The Proof of Concept was a success.  It replaced a manual process of tracking Schedule Stability in the region.  Within a year, the Schedule Stability report was implemented globally for this business and the regional Excel spreadsheets were replaced by Microsoft Power BI.  Another business unit asked us to modify the Schedule Stability report to capture changes in their Frozen Horizon which was an accordion 7 days.  On a certain day of the week, they set their schedule for the next week. Every day that you progress through the week the number of days reduces until you get to the same day of the next week to fix the schedule again.  We were able to customize the code to accommodate their request and roll that version out globally as well.

Along the way, we have shared what we were doing with AspenTech to encourage them to include it in their tool.  Recently I attended a demo with AspenTech on their Insights tool.  For future clients, I could see us building Scheduling Metrics and Schedule Stability dashboards in this new tool.  The integration would be easier.  I am excited to find a client who can benefit from this new tool. 

About Karen Bird

Karen Bird is a Senior Planning Analyst for Profit Point Inc. She has over 25 years of Engineering and Supply Chain Planning experience working in the Specialty Chemicals, Consumer Packaged Goods and Wine Industries.

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