Production planning is changing in the food sector. Shorter product cycles, increased demand for customisation and shorter lead-times are the norm. Food manufacturers need solutions to enable production of a more complex product mix on a limited number of production lines.

One of the key decisions in production scheduling is the length of product runs. Compared to shelf stable goods, the food industry must cope with additional constraints such as shorter product shelf life and variable demand. Ice cream is a great example. Consumer requirements like allergen contamination mitigation also create additional planning challenges. Changeover, clean down and set-up times can vary depending on the presence of allergens in previous products.

Manual production planning approaches tend to arrive at simple heuristics, such as “minimise the number of changeovers in a period”, to make the supply chain planning process easier. However, this results in unused capacity on the lines and excess inventory.

Production planning using constraint optimisation is a scheduling method that matches production targets, respects operational and technical constraints (e.g. variable clean down and changeover times), and achieves set objectives, such as maximising throughput or minimising cost.

The Replan production planning solution streamlines complex supply chain planning, using AI to rapidly deliver an optimal solution. It can handle the following complex scenarios:

  • Multi-line planning including constraints for product groups on dedicated lines, off-loading excess production to other product lines, etc. 
  • Multi-level (stage) group planning. This is where there are multiple stages in production, e.g., mixing and packaging, which have different resources with different changeover implications.
  • Co-production, i.e., two products that have to be made simultaneously on a production line.

A transformative technology set to redefine supply chain planning, the benefits of the Replan production planning software stretch far beyond complex scenarios. Replan can:

  • Handles complex group planning calculations, while your existing systems deliver core planning functionality.
  • Enables fast scenarios for rapid production planning.
  • Seamlessly works with any planning platform (SAP, o9, Kinaxis, Oracle, Infor),
  • Goes live within weeks as a SAAS solution or as a fully managed service.

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