VirtECS Drug Substance brings several additional features to the challenge of finite scheduling.
Advanced Planning & Scheduling (APS) systems can provide tremendous value:
- Use computing power to find better schedules
- Avoid planning errors by automatically enforcing all constraints
- Reduce manual effort for scheduling
- Enable faster response to new information (for example, demand changes or process upsets)
- Provide a repository for process data at the level required for finite scheduling (ERP systems are often NOT sufficient for this)
- Provide a tool for communication between planners and operators within the context of the schedule
There are some potential hurdles that must be cleared in order to enable the value described above:
- The tool must be able to find good schedules quickly at the required level of detail. Commercial scale scheduling involves a staggering number of decisions. Too much compromise in detail or optimization in order to facilitate speed prevents capture of the potential value
- The tool must accommodate user overrides, and further, support them by minimizing the manual effort. A model cannot ever capture all of the immediate information available to planners with enough context to make every desired decision. Recognizing this, the tool must allow the user to intercede when necessary, but streamline as much as possible the user interaction.
Through the flexible modeling schema for biologics, VirtECS permits the process activities to be modeled at the level of detail suitable for communication of the schedule for execution.
VirtECS Drug Substance can update the schedule based on current activity status. The scheduling logic automatically replans the timing of any affected activities. This includes responding to unplanned equipment downtime.
Ad hoc activities that are not part of a specific batch or product recipe (for example, maintenance or engineering activities) may be imported or added manually. VirtECS will automatically adjust the schedule as required.
Users may manually override the schedule using intuitive controls to alter timing, sequence of solutions preps, upstream train selection, or other preferences that are not easily represented in data tables. In each case, VirtECS automatically recomputes the schedule so that any affected activities are rescheduled. This allows the user to override the schedule in the simplest way possible without the burden of making every subsequent adjustment manually.
A frozen window may be specified to prevent VirtECS from re-optimizing activities within the desired time horizon.