Monday, June 19, 2017

Working ON the system instead of IN the system

As we're optimizing inventories, implement new production scheduling methods or improve our forecasting, we're working in or on a system... a system where individual parts make up a whole and feedback loops and certain dynamics take place. What defines a system? First, they have purpose. An automobile has the purpose to move people. However, its purpose is a property of the system as a whole and not just of a part. An automobile takes people from one place to another. That is its purpose as an automobile as a whole and not just of its wheels.

Also, all parts must be present for a system to carry out its purpose. If you can take pieces away from the system without affecting its functioning then you have a collection of parts, not a system. Take a wrench out of the toolbox (which is not a system but a collection) and you still have not changed the nature of what’s in the box. Likewise add something to a collection and its still a collection. But when you change a system you’ll see a difference (take off those wheels from the automobile and you will see). Thirdly, in a system the arrangement and order matter. The order in which the parts are arranged affects the performance of a system. As an example, in a traffic system there are clear rules defined and the way these rules are set greatly influences the way the system works. And finally, systems attempt to maintain stability through feedback. Through feedback a system can derive information about its position relative to a desired state. The most important feature of feedback is that provides information to the system relative to a desired state. Your body's desired temperature for instance, is regulated by the body's response (sweating, shivering) to a feedback of the actual temperature

When working on or in a system, there are different levels at which we can work on to optimize, improve, create, design or simply fix problems. Below is a list of these levels in order of leverage or effectiveness.

Events are the occurrences we face on a day to day basis. We catch a cold, a fire breaks out or we have a defective part on the assembly line… or there is a missing part that's needed for a production order

Patterns are accumulated memories of events. They can reveal recurring trends like: we’re catching a cold more often when we’re tired… fires break out more frequently in certain neighborhoods… and defects happen more often during shift changes… or missing parts are happening a lot when we use a deterministic replenishment policy without safety buffer

System Structures are the ways in which the parts in a system are organized. These structures actually generate patterns and events that we observe. In our example, fire houses, and therefore fire trucks, are located at points where they can deploy rapidly to specific areas of the city or... the way the shifts are scheduled might not allow an overlap between outgoing and incoming workers and therefore allow for a higher defect rate… or there is a value stream map that identifies de-coupling points, what buffers are located where and what the specific setups are for master records

Mental Models are the beliefs and assumptions we hold about how the world works. We can see these mental models as generators of systemic structures because they provide the blueprints for those structures. When you have defective parts, the shift crews might think they are only responsible for what happens on their shift – what they produce during their shift – not what happens after. This might have led the company to schedule shift changes without overlap. Or, similarly, a planner might think that a part's demand can not be covered with buffer stock but will have to be expedited when the demand occurs. In that case the planner will always use deterministic replenishment policies. It’s the stuff that we learned from the past (use PD - use static safety stock), accumulated experiences, that wants us to hold on to what we think we know about how the world works. Letting go of those beliefs is what makes change sustainable or even possible.

Vision is our picture of what we want from our future. It’s the guiding force that determines the mental models we hold as important as we pursue our goals. Maybe the people on the various shifts on the assembly line hold a vision of competition – of trying to produce better products than the other shift crews. This vision drives the mental model that says each shift is responsible for what they produce. Or the vision stems from a false (and dangerous) ‘lean’ philosophy of “zero inventory”. It would generate the mental model of avoiding buffer stock at all cost and favor deterministic replenishment policies (without considering delays).

It now should become clear that working on a deeper level of a system makes our work, and the associated outcome, far more valuable and effective. Instead of firefighting a stock-out every time it occurs, we may fix the pattern of how we plan that part (change the replenishment policy), go to the systemic structure of our system of materials planning and perform a segmentation so each part gets an appropriate policy (PFEP), or break down the mental model of our perception how the static safety stock works and implement replenishment buffers instead. we might even elevate the optimization efforts to our executives, convincing them that a vision of 'zero inventories' does not only harm the flow but eventually implements many barriers to success and results in total failure.

As you're moving your efforts down the iceberg, you will inadvertently work more on the system rather than in the system. This means that your impact gets bigger too. Who do you think has the most impact on safety and comfort on a flight from New York to Miami? ...the pilot? ...the flight attendant? ...or the engineer? The pilot and flight attendant work in the system and have a limited influence on what's happening. Most all they can do is react to events and fight fires. the engineer, however, works on the system and it is evident how that can make all the difference.

I truly believe that if you want to make sustainable change, you must work on the system. Remember that next time you want to lose weight... or when you want to reduce your inventory levels while at the same time avoiding stock-outs.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Capacity Planning with SAP

Working for more than 20 years with companies from many different industries, I took a stab at writing down my thoughts on how SAP's functionality might help to make more sense out of production scheduling.

Capacity planning, sequencing, leveling and scheduling of orders is a topic that often is neglected and carried out in Excel spreadsheets and third party tools. With this writing I attempted to explain in simple terms some possibilities in the SAP-ERP offering and express my views on the subject and how it is often used (or not) in companies running on SAP.

The book is available on amazon or

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Why do you sacrifice yourself to save the safety stock?

Here is something I never understood: why do so many people plan without the safety stock? and why is the safety stock taken out of the planning situation (at least in the standard configuration in SAP-ERP) I know... everybody claims to use it when its needed but until then you have introduced a kazillion rescheduling messages, new order proposals and canceled purchase orders.

I know the above comic strip (if you can call it that - I apologize for the amateur-ish illustration) is not one hundred percent correct; it is meant to make a point, the point being that in planning we ignore that portion of the inventory that is safety stock - as if it weren't there. In actuality, the safety stock is used at the very time when you need it, but only exactly then. If an increase in demand comes in exactly at the same time you fulfill the demand, then you would use the safety stock and issue it. However, if an increase in demand comes in at any date before the date it is supposed to be fulfilled, one ignores that portion of the inventory that is safety stock and your MRP generates a new order proposal.

In my illustration above the consumption of the water should happen at the same time the demand stands and therefore Jenny would certainly take a sip, however, if Jenny would have applied the same planning principles as in the Acme company, and she would spend a certain amount of days in the Sahara Desert, she'd run into a few problems. Let's say she plans to be there for 5 days and calculates with a bottle per day. Using a reserve of 1 bottle she'd planned for 6 bottles for the trip. Also assume that she can order more bottles (minimum a six pack) from a kiosk in Aoulef, Algeria. But it would take three days until the water arrives.

Now, on the first day in the desert, the trip gets extended by one day because they missed a dune. Ignoring the safety stock, Jenny would place an order for six bottles and end up with 8 bottles on day 4 with 2 to go.

On the other hand, if the trip gets extended (again by one day) on day 4 (from 5 days to 6 days), she'd again place an order but this time the six pack would arrive too late and is not necessary either.

This illustrates the two problems of introducing unnecessary noise (the second situation) and surplus inventory (the first situation) that we will get when the safety stock does not act like a buffer. In fact, you'll end up with an unmanageable amount of exceptions and a lot of dead stock (unused, surplus inventory).

Monday, March 6, 2017

Deterministic planning and safety stock

Last week I visited three manufacturing companies. One from the medical device industry, the other one producing fresh and frozen foods and the third in the business of musical instruments and electronic components. they are of very different size, one being a huge, global manufacturer, present almost everywhere in the world, the other one still in the billion dollar revenue range. the third is a mid-size corporation that is privately owned.

Even though they seem so different, the one thing they all have in common is that they're planning deterministically. I am not sure, but I seriously doubt that they a) are fully aware that they plan the demand only and b) that they comprehend all the unintended consequences of their actions and behavior in supply and demand planning.

First, let's discuss what it means to plan deterministically. My definition is, that you plan for the demand that you know (this could be an actual demand or a forecast that you desperately try to get right) and react to every change that comes along until fulfillment of the actual customer order. That is a heavily noise-laden planning process, especially if you propagate the changes throughout the Bill of Material or to feeder plants and distribution centers in a manufacturing and distribution network. As we all know, the 'bullwhip effect' does its damage on top of it and increases not only variability but also noise throughout the supply chain.

I strongly advice against practices like this and almost always recommend to switch to buffering practices where the supply chain is de-coupled and through use of the three buffers inventory, capacity and time, the process absorbs variability and takes the noise out of the planning procedures. There is an entire methodology behind the design and implementation of a buffering planning process to replace the deterministic process, but any more detail would exhaust the purpose of this post. (I simply want to raise awareness about what's potentially happening in your environment too)

Now most planners would argue that they use safety stocks to buffer variability. But - at least in the case of the three customers I worked with last week - the safety stock that was used was static and did not help at all. If you are using SAP software to run your supply chain and you are using the field safety stock in the MRP2 screen you are doomed by the static behavior of such a static safety stock which does absolutely NOT behave like a buffer.

Assume, as an example, that you are holding a safety stock of 100 pieces and you have a demand of 200 pieces due in 2 months from now. The MRP run will generate a purchase requisition of 200 pieces to add to the 100 pieces in safety stock, so that just before the due date you have 300 pieces in inventory (after delivery of 200 you would still have the safety stock of 100). After you converted the requisition into a PO and sent it to your supplier, the customer increases the order from 200 to 250 pieces. As safety stock (at least in SAP) is taken out of the net requirements calculation, the MRP run will generate a new requisition for 50 additional pieces. This way you'll end up with an inventory of 350 pieces even though you need only 250. The safety stock would have covered the additional demand and that is what it is actually meant to do: to buffer variability... but it didn't and your safety stock ends up in unused dead stock. this situation gets only worse if you have minimu lot sizes that you need to order.

You might say: "there is the possibility to customized the safety stock so a portion of it is used as a buffer". Correct, I say, but who does that? the three companies from last week didn't... why? because they were not aware what actually is happening.

Take a look in your own organization. I can tell you it will be worth your while if you use a coverage profile with a dynamic safety stock instead (make sure the minimum safety target is always set to 1 day). This is what we call "picking up low hanging fruit"

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Systems Thinking for the supply chain

Thinking in Systems is a concept that has beenaround for many years. Names like Jay Forrester, Donella Meadows, John Sterman and Daniel H. Kim are coming to mind when you're thinking in systems.  If you want to know more about this very interesting approach to problem solving in your every day life or the supply chain in particular, google those names or read their books. You'll find a wealth of information and maybe a new obsession to effectively solve problems... not only in your supply chain.

In fact we are dealing with systems all the time, whether you're aware of it or not. Your family is a system, the toaster in your kitchen, a football team or ... Anything that has interaction going on and can be described by interrelated and interdependent components (which by itself might represent yet its own system) is a system. And a system differentiates itself from a collection by these relationships and interactions. A database of parts and product information is a collection but as soon as you start buying these parts to consume them or put them into inventory you are operating within a system.

If we are now starting to think in systems we look not only at the parts in a collection but at its 'whole' and its relationships and dynamics. Traditionally, most of us take an analytic, reductionist view on our problems. We take things apart to investigate sources and outcomes. In systems thinking you put things together, look at behavior over time and, maybe most importantly, consider delays and their effects (which we mostly disregard in the analytical view).

Delays is what confuses us when we try to do the best we can but don't understand what's going on or why it's going on. As perfectly described by the beer game (which teaches students what happens if you have demand variations in a supply chain), if you ignore delays you will end up with inexplicable outcomes that are counter to your intentions. The beer game's major insight is that when customers start purchasing a little more or a little less than before, the delay that occurs between ordering from the supplier until they deliver the goods will then causes wide swings in inventory holdings. You first end up with too much and then too little and then too much again. What is even worse is that if you have an interconnected system of 'consumer - retailer - distributor - manufacturer' over multiple levels, the demand swings are exponentially propagated throughout the chain and looks like a bullwhip as the swings get bigger and bigger towards the manufacturer who ends up with total chaos.

As you probably know this is the Forrester Effect, or otherwise known as the Bullwhip Effect.

An analytical, reductionist approach to solving this problem makes it very hard to see what went wrong. If you look separately at the retailer, distributor, manufacturer you won't see the dynamics between them. What ends up happening is the blame game when, in fact, it is no ones fault that the distributor sits on large inventories at one time and has back orders at other times. The problem lies in the dynamic of the system structure with its delay between orders and deliveries. But this cannot be understood if you look at just one part of the system and forget its interactions with other parts. In many cases one doesn't even look at the distributor as a whole but only at its parts (sales department, purchasing department, materials planning).

When you start thinking in systems you may use tools like causal loop diagrams, stocks and flows and value chain mapping to visualize structures, dynamics and eventually get to the core of the problem. Systems Thinking also provides you with archetypes - templates of repeating structures and behaviors - that you might use in supply chain management. 'Shifting The Burden" is one such archetype. In this type of a situation the problem symptom is not addressed by the long term solution but with a quick fix. The quick fix solves the problem for now but has negative consequences in the long run.

In our example we have part shortages in front of the assembly line. The problem is solved with 'heroic' expediting efforts described by balancing loop B1.

The shortage goes away - for now. In the long term though, the problem is not solved. A sustainable solution would be to improve the effectiveness of materials planning through the use of standard and proven replenishment policies after portfolio segmentation. Because the burden is shifted to expediting, there is an unintended side effect: our heroes feel good and get a pad on the shoulder every time they 'quick fix' the problem. This does not fix the problem at hand but increases the need to expediting further. Additionally, because delivery delays to the customers occur more frequently, the customers compete with each other to grab demanded product not sufficiently available and induce even more crisis on the production lines.

Thinking in systems allows you to see the dynamics resulting from quick fixes,  from not using the effective fix, delays and subconscious actions committed by players who aren't aware that they cause problems. There is a wide variety of archetypes which were developed over the years. If you're in the business of optimizing supply chain dynamics and producing better results it may make sense to dive a little deeper into the world of Systems Thinking.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Planning for the unknown

As I am working with clients on their planning system, we usually roll out planning horizons, planning hierarchies and planning strategies in order to provide a framework for the planners by which they can repeatedly anticipate actual demand and plan for it ahead of time.

However, at a worrisome rate, I find out all too often that such a system does not exist at all. Planners seem to think that because its impossible to figure out exactly what's coming, we better wait until it's happening. Especially when we're in the business of highly customizable products, we tend to hold off on planning capacity, materials and labor requirements until we have a better idea what the customer wants. That is dangerous and downright inefficient. Luckily, we're not in a life or death situation with these orders, so we'll get by without planning. It just costs us a lot of money and time.

But imagine the same thinking would be applied in more serious, life threatening situations. Put yourself on a flight from Newark to LA. You just boarded and settled into your seat when the captain and co-pilot engage with the board engineer and the crew in the middle aisle to discuss weight and balance of the airplane. The discussion might go something like this: 

Flight attendant: "Today we have 80 passengers, which fills the plane to 65% "
Pilot: "How's the weight distributed"
Flight attendant: "most of them are seated forward cabin"
Engineer: "if the weight isn't distributed evenly, we might crash into the forest behind the end of the runway because we can't take off... and if we take off we might have a real disturbing flight behavior by the airplane"
Co-Pilot: "yeah, I had that on a flight into Fort Lauderdale last year and we had to rig the airplane nose up for the entire flight, which burned so much fuel we almost ran out"
Pilot: "That's not good... so let's see how we can distribute the passengers a bit... how about the luggage below?"
Flight attendance: "that's done. I don't know where they put it?"
Pilot: "hey guys, that's really scary but we have to get these customers to their destination, otherwise we get a bad track record for on time delivery. Let's just go and hope for the best"

I don't think you would want to eavesdrop on a conversation like that. And don't worry, this kind of talk never happens on an airplane (I hope) because flight crews are obligated to plan ahead, anticipate what could happen and put policies in place for eventualities.

But why do we only do that when life is on the line? Can't we take financial and competitive situations seriously enough so that it warrants good planning?

I dare you to take a long hard look at your planning and compare it to that of a situation as described above. There is no excuse to not reserve capacity and to not balance the production line, spreading out the work (whether it comes in exactly like you anticipated or not) evenly... to put buffers in place (inventory, capacity and time) by which you quote delivery times... and work with a set of policies that get you to operate at the edge of your possible performance boundaries... no matter what exact situation plays out later.

Be prepared... it pays off whether lives are saved or (only) your customer service is improved.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

implementing #S/4 HANA, #simplelogistics

In a previous blog post I got pretty enthusiastic about Hasso Plattner’s promise of making it easy to switch from ECC 6.0 over to S/4 HANA. Now, eight months later, I am spending Thanksgiving weekend at a client site which is struggling (like I have never seen before) to go live with “simple logistics” and other S/4 HANA applications. All I can help with is to define a process for the generation of a production schedule that they need to have ready before next Monday, when they plan to flip the switch. All the other technical problems I can’t help with as I am not familiar with the new S/4 HANA features (neither are any of the other consultants, I believe, as it’s a bit difficult to get documentation… to say the least). But even the stuff I know from ECC and all previous versions of SAP Logistics… a lot of it isn’t there anymore! It got cut out during SAP’s “simplification” efforts for S/4 HANA. And they “simplified” everything that wasn’t used much (not considering that the reason it might not have been used much was because it wasn’t known.

Ok… so let me understand this: good functionality was taken out in the new, “enhanced” (and more expensive) version of SAP software because it wasn’t used much? Because an MRP type V V was badly documented and very rarely taught to any user, you take it out of the feature list? Because no one was ever able to make good use of fantastic functions like picking from various scheduling levels in the production version (so that you can use different planning objects and different levels of detail in different planning horizons)… simply made unavailable? And because only few people could figure out how to use the grandiose sequencing board to schedule a flow line by takt, you disable that entire feature? How should I now schedule the final assembly line here at my client?

I find it very worrisome that for the first time in my 27 year SAP consulting carrier, I find myself dealing with a newer version that has less functionality than the old. And that is being called “Simplification”?

Oh well… as I am walking around the office, I run into (rather almost trip over) people that have spent the last 4 weeks working day and night… some going up to 4 days and nights on 3 to 4 hours of sleep. That is no “simple” feat at all!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Product Wheel Scheduling with SAP (Process Industry)

Product Wheel scheduling is a concept which allows for standardized, noise-reduced production of fast and slow moving products made to stock and made to order. It came about first as a tool to introduce ‘lean’ principle – which were thought out primarily in the automotive industry – to process manufacturers. Product Wheels find now widespread acceptance in the chemical, pharmaceutical and food processing industry as it allows for the scheduling of large batches and considers the difficulties with switching over from one product batch to another.
There are some specifics to be considered when using the product wheel in the process industries and, with this writing, I’d like to provide you with some ideas on how a product wheel could be configured into SAP.

What is Product Wheel Scheduling?

If your company is a process manufacturer, you most likely mix, blend, cure or otherwise process your products on a production line. One of the characteristics of processed products is that you can't disassemble them. An automobile you can usually 'unscrew' and put the components back in inventory (even though that is not true 100%, it is an approximation to generalize the difference between process and discrete manufacturing).
Also, in process manufacturing you may have by- and co-products; unfinished yield that may be re-introduced into the process. And you often can't predict what exactly comes out of the process. So you have to work with ranges (of specifications) and chemical formulas. All of that is provided with recipes and process orders in PP-PI. As "lean manufacturing" came primarily from the automotive industry, process manufacturers always asked the question if they can reduce waste as well. Why not? You cannot introduce 'one piece flow' but that's not the only lean principle. Why not heijunka level a production program or make every product every interval (EPEI)?
Peter L. King has written a book, “Lean for the Process Industries. Dealing with Complexity”, which beautifully translates all the 'automotive lean principles' to process manufacturing. One of the most interesting ideas is the 'product wheel' is that it represents heijunka for processed products. Products wheels allow you to schedule, capacity level and sequence your production program all at the same time. It is a mixed model scheduling concept which allows you to automatically fill a processing line to it's capacity, in a setup-optimized sequence, ensuring that the smallest possible lot size is processed as many times as possible within a planning cycle.
Within this concept the circle represents the lengths of the planning cycle, each spoke is a batch size (the lengths in time to produce it) of a specific product and the gap in between represents the time it takes to setup, clean or prep the line for the next product. Note that there are spokes for MTO and spokes for MTS. The MTS spokes are planned based on a forecast, whereas the MTO spokes are reserved time / capacity which can be filled by customer requests which are made to order.

A planner will first identify how much time is available during a planning cycle to get around the wheel. If that time span is one week, we simply sequence the total forecasted quantity for all products on that line and for the week around the wheel. If, with that, we get 2/3rds around the wheel, then there is 1/3 available for MTO capacity and setup time. Peter L. King calls that open time PIT – Process Improvement Time.
The Product Wheel is a production scheduling method with its design based on average demand but it is executed to actual demand. The phases to use a Product Wheels are:
1.       Identify the location (line or line segment) on your production floor where the product wheel is to be used for scheduling
2.       Design a standard sequence using all the products which may be produced on the line
3.       Determine the lengths and periodicity of the cycle of the wheel
4.       Schedule or load the product wheel for the next cycle so that it meets planned demand
5.       Execute the schedule for the cycle according to the plan and fulfill incoming orders from inventory
The last point is of special importance as this provides adherence to the core philosophy of product wheel scheduling: produce to inventory according to a set plan in a frozen zone and fulfill actual demand from inventory which was replenished from the previous production cycle
Product Wheel scheduling brings with it transparency and insights that help to continuously optimize the way we produce. A uniform, level production schedule will maximize equipment and labor utilization, and smooth out requirements for raw materials. One of lean manufacturing’s major change in thinking is that we must take variable demand and find a way to distribute it evenly. Product Wheel scheduling does exactly that. It goes away from scheduling customer demand on an instantaneous basis, but rather integrates the variable demand into some longer time frame

 Implementing the Product Wheel with SAP

First  perform a segmentation to classify our products (the ones we manufacture) into four categories:
u  MTS high volume – every cycle - these are your front running items. You are are maintaining an inventory level which provides high availability (high service levels) to your customers
u  MTS low volume - every other cycle - these products are demanded less frequently and find their ray onto the product wheel only every other cycle or even on c, every third or fourth cycle
u  Only when inventory requirement is breached - here we are dealing with products which are demanded only from time to time. However, we cannot afford to wait with production until we have the customer order in place because our customers would no of accept to wait out the replenishment time but rather buyfrom some place else. This is why, for these products, we will keep some inventory and trigger more production based an A breach of a reorder point.
u  MTO - for products with infrequent demand which happen to be valuable, perishable and/or relatively short to replenish, we trigger production only when a customer order is present.
While performing the segmentation you’ll have to consider some determining factors that may be described as follows:
u  Cost of inventory – requires short cycles
u  Cost of change over – requires long cycles
u  Shelf life – requires short cycles
u  Short term product demand variability
u  Minimum practical lot size
Then, before you can use the product wheel for production scheduling you must define some standards. If you hold an annual strategy meeting, this is the best time to set the wheel’s cycle duration, performance boundaries and identify the places where the wheel is used for scheduling.
Once these decisions were made, one can implement the standard steps and sequence by which a planner may design and subsequently run or schedule the product wheel. Some of the steps to implement product wheel scheduling are given below.

1.       Value Stream Map – create an SAP value stream map with all master data, decoupling points and pacemaker / wheel locations
2.       Where on the floor? – decide the locations where you want to run product wheel scheduling
3.       Demand volume and segmentation – perform the segmentation as described above
4.       Sequencing – establish a changeover matrix
5.    Wheel time (cycle) – fastest, most economical, shelf life, demand variability, min lot size
6.    Wheel frequency for each product
7.    Distribute products across cycles - balance cycle to cycle
8.    Visualize wheel cycles – diagrams
9.    Calculate inventory requirements

To define the standard sequence (as suggested under point 9) proceed as follows:
A standard sequence provides a template for the actual sequence. In it we identify all products which could ever run on the line and provide a mechanism by which every actual sequence (with only those products on the schedule which are actually demanded in that cycle) will go by.
To set the standard sequence in SAP we are using the setup matrix with its fields SETUP GROUP CATEGORY and SETUP GROUP KEY. Configuring the settings to the fields in SAP’s customizing will enable us to define each product’s place in the sequence. This is done in the product’s standard routing or recipe. Go to the sequence of operations and from there drill into the details of the operation with your production line. In there you will find the fields  SETUP GROUP CATEGORY and SETUP GROUP KEY. Pick from the list of options those values which place the product you are maintaining into the right place of the sequence as shown below

For the routing displayed above we pick group “C” which places the product on top of the sequence. Next we pick the setup group key.

Value 2 is being picked here which places the product in second place within the third group “C” (which was picked as setup group category) of the sequence
If you keep on assigning setup group category (the group) and setup group key (the sequence within the group) to the routings of the materials you manufacture, you are, in fact, building a standard sequence by which these products fall into place should they be demanded and a planned order is present.
Next I’ll demonstrate how orders can be scheduled using this sequence by way of the Dispatch Sequence in SAP’s scheduling transaction CM25.

Product Wheel Scheduling with CM25

After all settings (changeover matrix, sequence schedule, routing data, material master policy) have been setup, we can now schedule the infinite supply plan, generated by the MRP Run, into a finite supply plan using transaction CM25.
As you can see below, all generated, unscheduled planned orders are visible in the order pool in the bottom window.

What we need to do is to pick the frozen zone period and schedule relevant (within the time period) orders from the pool onto the processing line. This must be done within the available capacity and in the correct sequence.
To determine the correct sequence we must use the dispatch key that uses the changeover matrix we configured in the system. This is done by way of the strategy profile.

You can now select all the relevant planned orders from the pool and push the dispatch button. This will distribute the orders in a given sequence, within the available capacity on the processing line.
The result can be seen here

Product wheel scheduling can run very automated in SAP if you put in some work upfront to set up all the relevant master data.