Optimisation in SAP production planning


ITeanova's optimisation heuristics was developed on the basis of pragmatic aspects from practical experience and compares planning situations using a point system according to criteria such as setup times, delays or resource utilisation.

When optimising planning, the focus is on sticking to restrictions in the SAP system, such as material availability and finite capacities, while achieving the highest possible quality of a production plan. At ITeanova, this is achieved by using algorithms with a balanced mix of heuristics and optimisation components → achieving optimisation heuristics. As for heuristics, pragmatic aspects were also used for the algorithms and verified using real scenarios.

The special feature of ITeanova's optimisation heuristics is that they harmonise various criteria, that sometimes contradict each other, in an evaluation system (points system).

Frequently used criteria for planning optimisations:

  • Timely delivery to customers
  • Just-in-time production, i.e. no long waiting times in the warehouse
  • Minimum set-up times
  • Favourable sequence due to technical conditions
  • If there are several possible resources: use the most efficient resource
  • Timely scheduling of particularly important orders

The point system used for this purpose is completely configurable and can be adapted to the circumstances and objectives of the customer. The results are easy to follow because all point evaluations are recorded. The optimisation result can be easily reworked using ITeanova’s cockpit functionality.

Customer example: printing industry

Orders with several operations for different processes should be dispatched to several alternative resources: printing - cutting - gluing. The aim is to achieve the best possible sequence for each process. The basis for the point system are setup times, delays to the requirement date, preferably complete capacity utilisation and the priorities of the resources. Different criteria play a role in the determination of points for the setup times, e.g. the number of same colours between predecessor and successor, the same cutting tool and the same dimensions.

The diagram below shows two different planning situations in which each order (or each operation on its resource) receives points for reduced setup time and adherence to the requirement date. This allows you to evaluate and compare these two planning situations.

As shown in the screen-shot below, the evaluation of the optimisation criteria can be changed there and then during the planning session.


Initial situation: orders dispatched to six alternative resources on the requirement date, no alerts due to delays, but high setup times (shown in the graphics in yellow in the bars representing the production duration as well as in the total on the bottom of the screen).

Optimisation run with changed evaluation for the point system: emphasising 100% on reduction of setup times. Result: significantly reduced setup times, but alerts for delays (on the right-hand side).

Optimisation run with changed evaluation/emphasis for the point system: 50 % on reduction of setup times, 30 % on delay, 20 % on stock build-up. Result: compared to the previous planning run, setup times have increased slightly, but only isolated alerts for delays.