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Finite and In nite Scheduling in PP/DS

May 3, 2010 by Shaun Snapp

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1. What This Article Covers

2. Constrained or Unconstrained Detailed Scheduling
3. Constrained?
4. Con guring for Yourself, Not for the Client: How IBM Does Things
5. Misunderstood Constraints on a Previous Project
6. Finite Scheduling Indicator
7. Many Problems
8. References
9. Questions? 

What This Article Covers

PP/DS nite scheduling and the its issues
Resource maintenance
The problem with how many large consulting companies like IBM
approach discussing constraints with the client. 

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Being in constraint denial

Constrained or Unconstrained Detailed Scheduling

It’s important to consider and evaluate the use of the sentence

PP/DS performs nite based scheduling.

The reason it is important to evaluate the comment is for several reasons:

1. PP/DS can be run in either nite or in nite mode for scheduling.

2. The value that are entered in the PPMs or PDSs may be “placeholders.”
3. The constraint values may be incorrect when the project goes live, or may
start as an accurate re ection of factory constraints, and then drift from
their initial accuracy due to an inability of maintaining this master data.


I once had a very strange conversation with a consultant who, in a meeting with
S&OP, proposed that one way or another the plan would be constrained because
the PPMs would have to have values in them for resources in order to
“activate.” When I pointed out that these values were not necessarily accurate,
he agreed for a moment, but then reverted to his initial track of talking about
the constrained plan that would be sent to S&OP.

Con guring for Yourself, Not for the Client: How IBM Does

I have this experience relatively frequently with consultants from the big
consulting rms as they typically like to con gure software regardless of its
bene t to the company as it is a method for enhancing their resume. This
particular consultant worked for IBM, but all the big consulting companies have
moved in this direction. With the increasing focus on technical wizardry for its
own sake, fewer and fewer SAP consultants understand the businesses they are
con guring the system for. It also results in less and less sustainable solutions

for clients. I frequently run into mis-designed solutions that were based upon

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the need for padding billing hours and resume building needs of the consultant
by the major consulting companies with increased frequency. You can read
more about these issues at the link and this link.

Misunderstood Constraints on a Previous Project

On another project I evaluated their PP/DS installation that they thought was
constraining the plan, only to nd that the PPM resources were set to in nite
capacity and that the only constrain was a lot size.

Finite Scheduling Indicator

Resources can be checked for whether they are constraining, or planning in a nite
way by checking the resource master and looking for the nite scheduling indicator.
If this indicator is not set, the resources is not constraining. Furthermore, resources
can be con gured with a “ niteness level,” which means that the resource can be
treated as variably nite depending upon the application (i.e. in nite for PP and
nitely for DS) Additionally, nite or in nite scheduling can be set in the in global
PP/DS settings.

It took over 4 meetings with business representatives who did not believe me,
because they said that what I said could not be true because SAP had explicitly
told them this is what PP/DS did, and that…

…PP/DS does constraint based planning.

My response was that..

PP/DS has the capability to do constraint based planning, but it

must be con gured properly to do so.

SAP was e ectively hiding this fact from the client, but what the business could
not gure out was why their production plan was so unusable. SAP eventually 

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had the analysis into this area buried. The production plan was still ignored by
the factory, but the implementation problems were blamed on the business who
were “clueless” and just did not “get it.” However, all they had to do is check
the SAP documentation, where it clearly states that nite scheduling is only one
way of running PP/DS.

Many Problems

There are many reasons for PP/DS implementations to not meet expectations,
however, one of the most common is companies have a great deal of di culty in
keeping their resources and PPMs up to date with the actual resource capacities
in the factory. There are two aspects of this problem. One is the lack of
investment many companies make in their resource maintainance which is
independent of the software. However, the other issue is how easy the master
data is to maintain in the system, and this di ers greatly depending upon the
application, with resource data in SAP APO being one of the more di cult to
manage comparatively.

The fact is that MDM will not ride to the rescue on maintaining PPMs and
resources, and that the method that SAP has provided to maintenance of this
master data is a signi cant burden on the company to manage. This is why I
recommend that companies not get too excited after they take a module live,
because the real proof of the maintainability of the systems is several months
after go-live.


SCM 250 PP/DS Training Manual


Did this article make sense? Was it surprising to you, or have you had the same
experiences? If you have any expertise in this area, comment below, and we will


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