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The tool that we use for the most of our consulting services is Cowry. It is mainly an APS (Advanced Planning System) and because of its great configurability it can be effectively used to manage a great variety of decisions and processes.



Cowry for planning

The great diffusion of ERP systems in the last 20 years has revealed that often these are not the best solution to supply chain planning because their transactional settings doesn't deal well with the computing load needed to prepare a production plan. For this reason specialized applications have beene developed (often by major ERP vendors) which are base on dedicated algorithms, optimized DBMS, rich user interfaces and advanced connectivity with other systems. These applications are called APS and they are very useful in a great variety of manufacturing environments for:

  • forecasting customer orders starting from historical data and information from the market
  • defining the master production plan for the different company plants
  • computing a production plan both at infinite capacity (to know if more resources are needed and when) and finite capacity (when capacity must be considered fixed, as in the short period)
  • preparing a purchase plan
  • promising a delivery date for customer orders


Cowry for decision making

In every business there are decisions that must be made daily, as releasing production or purchase orders or promising delivery dates, and decisions that you face rarely or una tantum. For example:

  • changing the facilities layout or product routings
  • launching new product lines or phasing-out others
  • adopting new manufacturing technologies with new production rates
  • locating production in other regions

For these decisions and many others Cowry offers a greater support than spreadsheets and ERP systems because of its rich modules' library, programming and customizing ease and high computing performance.

Features

Platforms
  • In-memory, object oriented DBMS, optimized for planning and scheduling algorithms
  • Working on Windows 7/8/10
Modules
  • Integrated, customizable and interactive MPS
  • MRP: bucketless, multi-warehouse, very fast, many modeling options, rich graphical output, interactive
  • Graphical CRP integrated with the MRP engine
  • Finite capacity scheduler with materials' constraints
  • Order policy management
  • Costing
  • Demand management
  • Machine learning
  • Montecarlo simulation
User interface
  • Smart Query, for exploring the database just with the mouse
  • Creation of customized views for database tables, forms and graphical charts
  • Customizable and persistent filters
  • Macro recording
Integration
  • Data exchange interfaces available for main ERP
  • Integration with MS Office
  • ODBC (also by means of the Data Integrator graphical tool)
  • XLS, XLSX, XML, CSV, TXT
  • Web services: XML-RPC, SOAP, etc
  • 0MQ
Customizing
  • Completely programmable with the Python language


Frequently asked questions

we already have an ERP with a production planning module, why should we use an APS?

because of the technologies they use, ERP systems are slow, provide little interaction and make the planning activities inefficient. Moreover it's very difficult to keep the data needed by planning activities up to date on these systems.

we plan with spreadsheets: why should we use an APS?

because spreadsheets don't have algorithms specific for planning and simulation, usually (especially if they are complex) they can be managed only by the person who created them and are not much integrated with the company information system, leading to time losses in data re-entry and check

we have organized our company following the lean production model, so we don't need an APS, or not?

Cowry facilitates the design and test of the kanban system, thanks to it's Montecarlo simulator and support the planning activities of the production phases which operate on a forecast basis

it's necessary to have specific competences to use Cowry?

no, because the user interface is friendly and its high customizing potential makes it suitable to the user activities. It's also true that a power user can achieve unprecedented benefits from Cowry'modules.