Heuristics - linking material availability with capacity aspects


The "PPC" production planning cockpit, which is completely integrated in SAP, works in capacity planning with pragmatic and easily adaptable heuristics that reconcile restrictions such as material availability and machine capacity.

ITeanova’s heuristics (and heuristics in general) aim to achieve a very good (almost optimal) planning result through a pragmatic planning approach that has been proven in practice. They are largely based on industry-specific approaches to finding solutions (e.g. sequencing based on the colours used in the printing industry). The PPC heuristics functionality can be flexibly configured and adapted to new scenarios. Special customer-specific requirements can be added at strategically important points in coding without modification (user exit).

The decisive factor for an efficient and above all feasible production plan is the simultaneous consideration of the two most important factors:

  • Material availability
    • Raw materials must be available in time for production.
    • Assemblies must be manufactured and processed on time.
    • The customer should receive his ordered products on the agreed date.

  • Capacity planning
    • Machines, personnel and other bottlenecks must not be overloaded, but an appropriate workload must be ensured.
    • Production rules must be observed, e.g. the sequence of operations.

Material availability can be determined in different ways:

The information from material availability are then used as restrictions for capacity planning:

In addition to material availability, there may be other restrictions that must be taken into account for a feasible production plan:

Example of a heuristics that aims to achieve the best possible sequence over several resources:

A point system is used to compare different criteria with adjustable priorities. The most suitable order is placed in the best position. This happens during scheduling and is carried out anew after each order is scheduled.

The following criteria might be taken into account:

  • Delays to the required date
  • Possible gap time on the resource, setup time and resource priority


Multi-level propagation top-down and, in case of error, reversal (bottom-up) using the example of parts for an e-bike.

Example of a heuristics for finding reliable delivery dates, that carries out a multi-level planning - in this case starting from the components upwards to the finished products - taking into account the available machine capacities.

The heuristics for multi-level planning can also consist of several steps, e.g. the downwards planning starting from customer requirements and if problems occur, reversing to upwards planning starting from the components.

In general, the following criteria can be used to assess the quality of a production plan:

The following features of the ITeanova heuristics are particularly noteworthy:

  • Multi-level: illustration of a multi-level production or supply chain
  • Clever and comprehensible mapping of many restrictions that occur in practice
  • Clear presentation of the result
  • Numerous parameters for customer-specific adjustments of the heuristics