Business & Facilities Planning

by : Thomas Cutler

"There are few Enterprise Business and Facilities Planning systems which eliminate shortcomings," according to manufacturing journalist Thomas R. Cutler in the current issue of Cutler suggests, "A sophisticated state-of-the-art linear programming model is required that uses optimization tools to quickly and easily solve extremely complex business problems. The value must provide a solution that represents the best solution for a business based upon the current and projected operating environment."

Rebecca Gill, vice-president with Technology Group International, an Enterprise Business and Facilities Planning provider noted that, "The system integrates diverse input parameters, which describe your current business environment, to derive a single coherent optimum solution to any distribution and/or manufacturing related business problem. The system handles manufacturing constraints such as total labor availability at a facility, manufacturing labor requirements by product, multi-step routings and variable production rates. Distribution constraints include warehouse storage and inbound/outbound handling capacities, as well as carrier availability, capacity, and cost by mode (such as 53' van, 48' van, TOFC, rail, flatbed). Moreover, the system is designed so that it can readily be used in a wide variety of business environments. These include process, discrete, repetitive and make to order manufacturing environments, as well as both single and multi-location distribution environments."

Surrounding this linear optimization process must be a series of extremely user friendly graphical user interface (GUI) application interfaces that make creation, use, solution and interpretation of even the most complex business situation easy and straight forward. Output information must be viewed through generation of a series of reports that include production plans and schedules, facility service areas by product and inventory levels by storage location and type.

A variety of model configurations should be easily selected by the user. These configurations must allow the solution of problems ranging from long range facilities planning and analysis, to short term tactical planning, production scheduling, and carrier assignment. By simply changing a single selection, the user must be given the ability to find answers to questions starting out at a highly aggregated level, and then drill down to solutions at progressively more detailed levels.

The systems interfaces must allow data to be stored in the system at an extremely detailed level for use in daily execution planning of production schedules, labor requirements and restrictions, and carrier selection. Using user defined rules in conjunction with this same detail information, the system must provide the user with the capability of aggregating the information into groupings of data types from individual SKU's being aggregated to form product groupings, for purposes of engaging in long or intermediate range facilities planning and analysis tasks.

The article can be read in its entirety at

About Technology Group International, Ltd.

Founded in 1990 and headquartered in Toledo, Ohio, Technology Group International is a proven technology leader delivering Tier 1 application software functionality at a price performance level that can be readily accepted by organizations of all sizes. Specializing in software systems for small and mid-market manufacturing and distribution companies, TGI's integrated Enterprise Series software suite is a complete business process management solution. The product offering includes Enterprise Resources Planning (ERP), Manufacturing Resource Planning (MRP), Supply Chain Management (SCM), Warehouse Management System (WMS), Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS), Decision Support System (DSS), Business Intelligence, Manufacturing Execution System (MES), and eCommerce. TGI implements, maintains, enhances, and supports its packaged distribution and manufacturing software solutions directly and via its channel partners.