How Using Capacity Versions in R/3 Can Help Ease Manufacturing Capacity Constraints

  • by Hilmer Hintz, Platinum SAP SCM Educational Consultant, SAP America
  • July 1, 2004
You have several options for handling capacity overload, a common logistics problem, in R/3. Capacity versions are an effective way to quickly determine the amount and duration of overtime needed to resolve capacity overload. The author demonstrates how to create capacity versions in the work center and use them in the capacity evaluation.

Manufacturing operations often face capacity-constrained situations. It is important to quickly and efficiently determine how to resolve the capacity overload with a minimum amount of both effort and manual data changes in the system.

Your capacity constraint might occur in a make-to-order (MTO) or make-to-stock (MTS) environment or a combination of both that use the same resources. You might have a large number of orders with short duration, which means you have a high volume to deal with but more opportunities for shuffling and leveling. You might be in a situation where you have a smaller number of orders that have long duration times. That means you have a lower volume of order, but it also limits your options for leveling, since the work centers are tied up for longer periods of time. In any of these situations, capacity versions can be a valuable tool to help you analyze and resolve the overload quicker and easier.

If you have capacity-constrained situations that you're not sure how to handle in the system, the options are:

  • Leave the overload in the system but work overtime until the load is resolved. In this case, your system doesn't accurately reflect the work schedule and you are guessing at the amount of overtime required to resolve the overload. This requires a minimum number of manual changes in the system, but the accuracy is less than desired.

  • Change the standard capacity definition of available capacity to reflect working overtime. This requires you to find the amount of overtime by trial and error, and your system does not accurately reflect the actual production schedule. The trial-and-error approach requires too much manual maintenance to be efficient. When the standard definition of capacity is changed, since there are no validity dates, it appears that overtime will occur indefinitely. This makes your schedule and reports inaccurate for future periods when you will not be working overtime.

  • Use intervals of available capacity and guess how much overtime and how often to work overtime to resolve the capacity overload. Here, you have an accurate reflection of the schedule, but the trial-and-error method of determining how long overtime will be worked requires too much maintenance. Since intervals of available capacity have validity dates, the system can reflect working overtime for a short period of time. The available capacity returns to normal after the interval expires. So the system accurately reflects the available capacity and production schedule. The only drawback is the amount of manual trial and error required to find the right interval.

  • Use capacity versions to quickly and efficiently determine how much overtime and for how long overtime is required to resolve the overload. Intervals of available capacity are good, and when used in conjunction with this option, they become a powerful and efficient way to resolve the capacity overload.

Hilmer Hintz

Hilmer Hintz is a platinum SAP SCM educational consultant with over 13 years' experience in production systems of various technologies. For the past seven years, he has focused on SAP production planning and execution systems, including both R/3 and APO. He has been part of the team at SAP for over six years, sharing his knowledge all over North America and abroad. He earned his bachelor's degree from the University of North Dakota and his master's from Drake University.

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