Implementing an APS tool is quite hard. All too often it’s underestimated. If you’re thinking along the lines of “It can’t be that hard - we install the software, we load our data, and we’re up and running”, you’re quite far from reality.
1) It’s the process, dude.
Implementing APS requires changes in the planning process. The way your planners work and communicate within the organization will significantly be different with an APS tool in place. (And if it’s not, you’re probably not doing it right.)
It requires a clearly defined project with the full support of your management team to successfully bring forward the required changes to the organization and processes.
2) It’s the data
APS tools are sensitive to data input. As the saying goes: “garbage in, garbage out”. They require a degree of data completeness, consistency, and correctness that is beyond what is commonly found in your ERP systems or Excel spreadsheets.
An APS implementation requires carefully implemented data interfaces with ERP, MES, or other applications in your IT landscape. Data cleansing and data maintenance also make up a significant part of the implementation project.
3) It’s the learning curveAPS tools implement planning principles and practices that may not be familiar within your organization. You’ll need to learn more than just using a software tool. Educating people is an important part of the implementation. Many organizations will need external help in some form or another to get successfully trained.
4) It’s the people
Implementing APS combines business knowledge from the planning team and the technical knowledge from the IT team. A good collaboration between both profiles is crucial for the speed and quality of your project.
5) It’s the projectImplementing APS is a project. All best practices for enterprise projects are also applicable to APS implementations: defining a clear scope, clear timelines, clear project management, avoiding scope creep, good project communication, clear incremental changes rather than a big bang approach, etc.
Underestimating the impact and effort of the above quickly results in a poor ROI of your APS tool, and can even result in AI (aka Abandoned Implementation).
When done right, APS software provides a clear competitive advantage and a quick ROI. It catapults your planning process to a completely new level with very clear and tangible benefits for the business.
Johan De Taeye
Johan is an engineer at heart. He worked 10 years for i2 (now jda), then another 10 years optimizing supply chain management for his clients. He founded frePPLe in 2011.