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Author's profile photo Tobias Berger

TKS #14 – Availability of Resources and Equipment Types

After I introduced the equipment type based planning in my last blog, you might wonder how to define availability for those.

But let’s start at the beginning.

Availability

Availability defines when a resource can be used. The availability is used during scheduling (and VSR optimization) to identify in which timeframes activities can get executed. The availability is limited by non-working times and downtimes. Non-working times identify timeframes which cannot be used for working.

A downtime is a special kind of non-working times, which is meant to define e.g. a maintenance of the resource and for sure can also not be used. By default, a resource is available which is why you will need to define the availability by defining non-working times and downtimes.

Non-working times are usually reoccurring and are therefore derived from two attributes belonging to a resource: the factory calendar (defining full non-working days) and the shift sequence (defining re-occurring shift or respective break patterns for the day. The calendar is a mandatory attribute defining a resource and shift sequences are defined via the via capacity variants (but how to maintain those might be the topic of an own blog).

Downtimes are directly maintained in the resource master data on an own tab and are always defining one downtime at a time.

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Maintenance of the Non-Working Times in the Resource Master Data UI

The best way to display non-availabilities is by using the Gantt chart. Non-working times will display in a light grey as background color and downtimes as dark grey rectangle by default (you can change the color using the color scheme customizing for Gantt chart). Further you can check them via the “capacity” button in the resource transaction on the capacity tab.

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Display of Non-Working Times in the Gantt Chart

How does scheduling handle availability?

Non-working times will usually increase the total duration of your freight orders. The scheduling engines will always enlarge freight orders planned around a non-working time by it’s time. While all activities which are stop-based (prepare, [un-]loading, [un-]coupling, finalized) need to be completely before or after a non-availability, a travel activity can be split around a non-availability.

Capacity Availability Settings

In case of the new equipment type based planning the maintenance for the resource does not exist. So, you cannot define calendar and shift sequences in this transaction for those. Further it is unnatural to define those in the equipment type – as a type is not bound to a dedicated availability.

Therefore, a new sub-profile of the planning profile was created, the so called “Capacity Availability Settings”. This profile is providing you a “first match” rule table for which means of transport, vehicle group, vehicle type or resource which factory calendar and shift sequence is to be used from the system.

Having that you can not only define that a certain equipment type shall use certain factory calendar, but you can also overrule the values coming from the master data. If there is no matching line still the data from master data are used. Per rule, you can say whether it shall only be evaluated for “equipment types”, “resources“ or “both” to have the full flexibility in maintenance.

With that the capacity availability settings are not only important for equipment type based planning but also helps you to easily switch the calendars for your own fleet (modeled by single resources).

As it’s part of the planning profile you can further use different availabilities for the same equipment type or resource depending on the planning scenario. So, you can e.g. use the same 40TO truck equipment type with a different factory calendar in Spain, Germany and Greece.

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Maintain the Availability in the new Capacity Availability Settings

Hope you like the idea of this profile as much as I do.

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