Fashion is designed for companies that primarily produce MTO. For fashion, M3 PWB is a production planning tool for apparel, footwear, home textiles, and accessories companies. Planning is supported in multi-facility and single-facility production environments. Critical materials are handled at the facility level. For example, inside one facility, any supply can cover any demand, irrespective of the warehouse to which the supply or demand is connected inside the facility. On the medium and long horizon where M3 PWB is used to make decisions, materials can be moved between warehouses. Because facilities can be located in different countries, moving materials between facilities may often be undesirable or not possible.

These decisions are the four most important decisions in production planning:
  • Move production in time, for example, preproduction or postpone production.
  • Change capacity
  • Split orders, for example, large order might have long lead-time and splitting orders is one method to reduce lead-time.
  • Move orders
    • Move to other work centers inside same facility
    • Move to another facility
    • Move to or from subcontractors
M3 PWB is part of M3 Production Planning solution, which covers the extended ERP system. The Production Planning solution has four key elements:
  • Supply Chain Orders. A generation of a chain of linked orders to meet demand.
  • Macro Orders. An aggregation of orders for planning purposes.
  • Planning Workbench. A desktop decision support application for planners.
  • Action Log. A closed loop system for managing and implementing decisions.

This diagram shows the M3 Product Planning solution.

M3 Product Planning Solution

Supply Chain Orders

Supply Chain Orders (SCO) is linked order chains through the supply chain. This element was designed to improve the way an organization plans and manages order chains by pegging orders. Supply Chain Orders can apply from a complex multi-facility manufacturing supply chain to a single site label-to-order operation.

These element are improved with Supply Chain Orders:
  • Global visibility is improved. At any point in the supply chain, the planner can determine which end-item order or supply are linked to the supply chain.
  • Automation is improved by handling upstream and downstream changes to quantities and dates, including tolerance handling based on user-defined rules.
  • Decisions that affect the full supply chain are enabled.

Macro Orders

Macro Orders are an aggregation of orders on M3 BE for planning purposes. The aggregation is based on user-defined criteria.

Macro Orders dramatically reduce the number of orders for planning and significantly improve simulation performance during planning, and the time for loading data into a memory-resident simulation environment.

Macro Orders cover the full supply chain and transform a supply chain with multiple-level BOMs into one Macro Order that only contains the critical operations and material.

Planning Workbench

M3 PWB contains two Workbenches, the Capacity Workbench and the Material Workbench, from where the planner can make all the decisions. The Workbenches enable the user to select, aggregate, and structure data to give all the necessary information to make these decisions. The planner can also simulate the consequences of the decisions.

The Capacity Workbench is used to display capacity and loading across work centers, facilities, and other relevant dimensions. Make-To-Order (MTO) companies primarily use the Capacity Workbench to make all their decisions.

The Material Workbench is used to display the stock levels, the coverage periods and other material information. Coverage periods are important for Make-To-Stock companies and use both workbenches.

Action Log

Decisions that are made in M3 PWB are implemented in M3 BE through the Action Log. Decisions are stored in the Action Log in the order they are made in M3 PWB. Then, from the Action Log, decisions are automatically or manually implemented in M3 BE.

The Action Log is used for managing and implementing the decisions that are made in Planning Workbench. Unlike spreadsheets and many other planning applications, the planning decisions are logged and a status is maintained against them.

  • Line Supervisors can see the decisions on which they must take action, such as increasing the capacity on a sewing line by 50% for a two-week period.
  • The loop between planning and execution is closed so that the status of implementing decisions is taken into consideration in the next planning cycle.

Production Planning solution

The Production Planning solution is designed as a planning tool for decision taking. In M3 BE, orders are structured (SCO) and aggregated as Macro Orders. The planner has the correct information to make all the planning decisions.

In M3 PWB, the planner can then select, structure, and aggregate these data to give all the necessary information to make decisions. The planner can then simulate the consequences of these decisions. When all decisions are made, then the decisions are stored in the Action Log and implemented in M3 BE.

Fashion Planning concept

An important element in implementing M3 BE and M3 PWB is to identify a planning concept, which defines how the company is run and the different planning levels and how the different planning levels interact.

This diagram shows an example of a planning concept for a fashion manufacturing company:

Planning levels

The company in the scenario has three facilities. M3 PWB is used for planning in each facility. Scheduling is done using M3 SWB. Each facility is divided into two M3 SWB scheduling areas. A global planner uses M3 PWB. This scenario is used as reference point during the design and development of the solution.

On the short horizon, M3 SWB is used to perform detail scheduling at the work center type 6 level. One or several M3 SWB installations can exist in each facility. In the scenario, the scheduling horizon is 4-6 weeks.

On the medium horizon, M3 PWB is used at the facility level to perform planning at the work center type 1 level or included at the work center level. In this scenario, the planning horizon is 3-4 months. The factory planning plan focuses on capacity and material for each facility. Almost all the load is CO macro orders, where decisions that are taken in M3 PWB can be implemented directly in M3 BE. The detailed M3 SWB plan is respected by M3 PWB. M3 BE is updated differently by M3 SWB and M3 PWB. For example, with M3 SWB, all orders are updated at the work center type 6 level and updates with M3 PWB through decisions and actions are performed at the work center type 1 level.

On the long horizon, that is, global planning, all the facilities are planned together at the work center type 1 level or included at the work center level. In this scenario, the planning horizon can be up to 1-2 years into the future. Global planning provides a full overview of the entire company. The load can consist of both CO macro orders and forecast macro orders. Global planning has many purposes. Inside the same horizon that the factory planning is performed, the global planning primarily validates that the factories plans are correct and that the different factory plans are aligned. For example, this validation allows avoiding overload, overtime, and subcontracting in one facility and freeing capacity in another facility. If required, the global planner can decide to move the load, that is, macro orders, between facilities and notify the affected facilities. On the longer horizon, global planning levels production between facilities. Because decisions such as increasing capacity, building new facilities, and using subcontracting are based on the information that is available in M3 PWB, global planning also interacts with top management.

On the long horizon, often CO macro orders and forecast macro orders coexist. The quality of the forecast determines the quality of planning on the long horizon. We recommend you to forecast on Planning Entity (PE) or at another high level. The reason is that forecasting at a higher level provides more stable forecast quantities and enables a better overview for the planner. When generating macro orders based on forecast, the appropriate time buckets must be used.

Orders that are based on forecast in status 10 are recreated by the MRP. Therefore you cannot implement decisions in M3 BE on forecast macro orders. If forecast macro orders keep their macro order number, then the decisions "Move operation", "Set forced resource", and "Split order" can be kept locally in M3 PWB.

To view capacity and load situation, you can display the remaining capacity and the accumulated remaining capacity. Even if you move forecast macro orders, then these orders will eventually be replaced by CO macro orders and at that time any decision on the forecast macro orders will be lost.