Group of 3D words


 What’s behind these abbreviations?

Whoever deals with Software for Support in production planning will, at least in Germany, be transported back to the late 1990s where the bass sound of the mega hit, MFG, by the famous German band, Die Fantastischen Vier keeps going through your head. One abbreviation after another throughout the whole song – both German  and international ones. It’s no secret that the Germans are fond of using abbreviations. But what lies behind all these abbreviations?

If you want to listen to the instrumental Version of MFG while you read this article,  then go ahead:

MRP ( later also MRP II)

MRP, and later also MRP II, stand for Manufacturing Resource Planning. The software used for this mainly assumes the planning of material requirements – i.e. the question of when  how much of which material is required in order to implement a production plan. However, the production capacities are not included here so that it may be that planning cannot be implemented. MRPII closes this gap and goes one step further. There should be a continuous process from business planning to production planning. (MRP systems today are mostly a component of ERP Systems and are no longer used as independent software components.)

PPS Systems

The abbreviation of the German PPS System stands for Production Planning and Management System. Here, software supports a business when  planning processes in order to guarantee short lead/cycle times and deadline compliance. These systems focus exclusively on the process of production planning and ignore other operating procedures. In other words these are very special systems which are most convenient for supporting production planning – but software can do more: This takes us directly to our next  abbreviation as PPS Systems can be extended by the following ERP Systems.

ERP Systems

ERP means  Enterprise Resource Planning. During this process all the resources that an enterprise has and needs in order to operate (staff, material, capital, etc) is planned as efficiently as possible. All departments are included and the data is actually collected from the entire enterprise. This data is stored centrally so that no redundancies can arise and it is available to all divisions. Alongside planning tasks, ERP Systems also Conduct management and control jobs and are thus far more comprehensive than PPS Systems.

PDA Systems

For production data acquisition all business data is compiled and prepared so that it is available in a computing structure. This includes, among others, order data, human resources data, equipment and storage data. Such data is typically stored directly at the production stations – either automatically or manually. PDA systems are often part of an MES and also supply ERP systems with their data.


MES stands for  Manufacturing Execution System. These systems  represent the connection between ERP and the actual production because, while ERP systems do assist in planning, they  can’t access the actual production. MES enable this intervention in production. In this way, you can react to unforeseen events.

MES communicate in both directions. They obtain data from ERP and pass it on to production, but they receive information (mainly from the PDA system) about what has actually been produced/consumed and communicate important data on production and planning deviations to ERP which are then available for further planning.

APS Systems

APS stands for Advanced Planning & Scheduling. APS systems let you manage and control business-wide processes which go over and beyond the complete supply chain. These systems are mostly deployed in combonation with ERP Systems and therefore use data which is already available. However, planning and simulation is effected by means of mathematical methods (see OR methods) which can achieve qualitatively better results and can react to changes in production processes even at short notice. Our OPTANO production, for example, involves an APS.

OR Methods

OR stands for Operations Research. Here, problems are solved by deploying mathematical optimzation procedures such as heuristics. First of all, an abstract model of a relevant part of reality is created. On this basis, analyses, optimizations and simulations are performed which can achieve the best results by means of applied mathematical methods.  

Interaction of the systems

Die einzelnen Systeme und Softwareprodukte sind relativ wirkungslos, wenn man sich den ganzen (Produktions-)Prozess anschaut. Erst im Zusammenspiel wird die volle Wirksamkeit deutlich und die Produktionsplanung richtig effizient. Die folgende Grafik zeigt, wie ein vollständiges System aussehen kann und wer mit wem kommuniziert.

The individual systems and software products are relatively ineffectiveif you take a look at the whole (production) process. Only when they interact does the complete effectiveness become clear and production planning truly efficient. The following diagram shows what a complete system can look like  and who communicates with whom.

It is clear that  success can be attained only by using  a well-coordinated system. For example, if the data isn’t maintained in ERP very well or it has become obsolete, a good result cannot be obtained, even with the best optimization.

Unfortunately the reality is that  software systems cannot be so precisely limited in their functionality as we have done here in theory. Thus, the functions of various software products tend to overlap. This duplication is sadly not just superfluous,  but also costs a company a lot of money. This is why  updating a system should be given careful consideration. Is it a feasible addition and does it actually support the production planning process?

OPTANO Production can offer you the support you require! Why not give it a try?

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