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Return on Investment

Better on-time, in-full, delivery performance is almost a given from advanced planning and scheduling software, able to quickly and dynamically schedule and re-schedule production orders to take into account not only real-world capacity limits, but unexpected events that pop up and bite us.

For many, however, APS has also yielded benefits spreading far beyond. In fact, although APS projects have traditionally been started to solve planning problems, the results can be so great that APS is ultimately viewed as pivotal both to the business and its supply chain.   APS software can be critical to staving off competition. As lower cost economies have an increasing impact, companies have to look strategically at how they can provide extra value. 

One way might be to make smaller batches at shorter time intervals with fewer inventories, but to do that you need to see plans in more detail, more frequently, and assess the impact of different decisions. That’s where APS type tools can help.  It works by building a schedule into the future – and that can be for today’s shift, this year’s production forecast, or anything in between – that takes into account the fact that all manner of resources are not infinite, as we might like, but constrained. Thus raw material availability, the number, type and capabilities of machines on the shop-floor, the time available and even the available personnel and their skill sets can all be factored into the equation to produce a realistic and credible plan.

By being able to respond to ‘what-if’ questions, APS provides a crystal ball to look into the future for different scenarios based on what’s happening in the factory today.  It provides a valuable tool for coping with the unexpected and also for short-term variability. And that’s whether it’s a manufacturing process that produces a range of different qualities, perhaps due to raw material variations, that might need to be allocated to different customers, or coping with the unpredictability of fresh ingredient availability.

Preactor has been recognized by independent experts as having the hottest technology available for generating optimized schedules. In-memory data ensures that multiple schedules can be generated in very short time scales to provide the planner with the information required to make the right decisions in a fluid production environment.


Having the right level of detail in the model is critical to providing the right solution for each company.  Too much detail and the planner cannot easily understand the problems and recognize the solution. Too little detail may result in impractical plans and unreliable output.  Because Preactor has been in the market for more than 20 years, thousands of users have been able to provide valuable feedback in terms of what is required for their application and what they need to see. 

The expertise and experience of these users has resulted in the most complete solution available on the market.


Preactor has a variety of ways to display information that needs to be a mouse click away or on multiple screens.  Color coding, message boxes, dialog boxes and alerts can be personalized to the planner to meet specific needs.  As the actual start and finish times update the schedule, the planner can repair the schedule without generating a new one and see the impact and opportunities for fine tuning.

Preactor has been developed with the user in mind.  It is simple to use but under the bonnet there are powerful tools to help the planner manipulate the schedule and manage the facility to meet business objectives.  It is a decision support tool rather than a decision making tool.  It supports the planner to make better decisions.  Drag and drop interaction with the Gantt chart allows the planner to manipulate the schedule and try alternative strategies such as changes in order priority or adding planned maintenance to key resources.


The planner’s job is not an easy one.  Urgent orders arrive, delays to the delivery of raw materials, scrap and rework and resource breakdown can have a devastating impact on efficiency and promise dates.  In a demand driven company where customer service must be maintained, costs reduced and resource utilization maximized, ERP systems, spreadsheets and wallboards are not enough.  Preactor provides tools to analyze the problems as well as testing alternative scenarios to overcome them. 

Case studies and references are available in almost every manufacturing sector as well as services and logistics applications.  Some of the measurable benefits include:-

  • 15-20% Improvement in productivity – get more from what you already have. 
  • 40-50% Reduction in raw materials inventory – synchronize purchasing with an achievable schedule.
  • 40-50% Reduction in make-span time – reduce WIP that slows down production flow.
  • 50-90% Improvement in customer service – increase on-time deliveries.
These benefits can provide a return in investment (ROI) measured in weeks or just a few months.