Resource Groups / Resources - Looking for advice


I was wondering if anyone out there has a scenario where they are utilizing people as a resource and machines as a resource? It seems to me to set this up correctly, I would need a resource group for the machines and one for the people. The machines resource group would specify a specific resource (machine) for the work to be done on and the people resource group would not specify a specific resource to allow Epicor to schedule across all resources. Is this the correct way to do this or is there a better way? Previously, I only had to deal with people as the resource as our machines could all handle the same work.

Thanks in advance,

This is a fairly complicated situation that you are describing, I am envisioning that you have more equipment than manpower.

A lot of ERP programs do not handle multiple constraints well, so I encourage heavy testing to make sure that the system is doing what you want.

What you need are resource groups which have machine resources in them, and a general labor resource group that has the sum total of all the available operators in it as resources.

Then, you have to have a way to specify multiple resource groups on an operation, and ensure that the system constrains properly. (The multiple resource group callout is something that I am not sure Epicor 10 supports, but I have seen other software (Syteline 9) that does.

Good luck, this is a complex task, but with the right construction (and working software), it can be accomplished.

Hi Gil,
Thanks for the response. In some cases we have more equipment, in others we have more people. Either way, the users want to specify the machines as a resource but I also need to account for the people I have available to run those machines. I will test this multiple resource groups on an operation path and see where it leads me.

I’ll say this much, and then you proceed as you see fit. Multiple resource constraint per operation is a very complicated scheduling task, so much so that in my experience it’s hardly ever done. As a starting place, I would have EITHER the machine resources OR the labor resources set up as infinite. Let the system constrain on one resource type, and manage the other via alternate methods.

Once you are happy with the results of that, then I would attempt constraining on both types of resources.

Again, I am not sure that Epicor 10 allows multiple resources to be specified on an operation. If it does, I’m not sure how the scheduler handles it.

@Brandon - we should talk. I’m wading through the decision tree right now on how to make this exact same situation work better for us.

We have 5 work centers, each work center is set up as a resource group for the machines and a resource group for the people/operators. Our MOM has a machine + operator codependency established for each operation so the scheduler must have a machine AND an operator available in order to start the operation.

Our current problem is three fold - how much capacity do we really have when there are more machines than operators in a work center, how do I schedule operators when 25% of them are ‘flexing’ to other work centers as needed for demand, and how do I get the scheduler to continue an operation over a shift boundary (people come and go during the day but machines are forever :slight_smile: ) when our operations cannot stop once they are started.

I’d be interested to have a conversation with you and share notes.

@MikeGross just stated very eloquently the problem I’ve always had when trying to set people up as Resources… unlike a machine that does one thing, the goal has always been to cross-train people to be able to do multiple things. The only decision Epicor is capable of making in these cases is “first come first served”… the first job to be scheduled that needs that employee gets them. The two or three times planners have wanted to start using it that way, they’ve played around for a few weeks and then abandoned the effort.

That said, I do know that there ARE installations using is successfully… I’ve just never been at one.

@MikeGross - Feel free to reach out. I am just starting down this path and hope to be testing in the next week or two to see what challenges arise from doing this. I had the opportunity to ask this question of Robert Brown at Epicor and he suggests what it sounds like you have done.

In regards to your capacity problems, I ended up leaving the resource group / resource setup static at my old company (we only had people as resources there) For flexibility, we had an access database (I am sure there are other tools to do this as well) that allowed us to adjust people per resource group on a weekly basis and update our graphs with Epicor loads and our updated capacity. It doesn’t help with finite scheduling in Epicor, but allowed us to make better decisions when a job would bounce due to capacity constraints. Robert also agreed that Epicor is too rigid in setup to allow for ‘flexing’ of resources. We only updated our resources when a more permanent change was made.

phone: 1-262-369-1125

Thanks @Brandon, I’ll be in touch.

Robert Brown gave me the same advice, but we’ve got some new production team leaders in place and they want to revisit it again, so I’m starting down the path (again) as well. It just seems to be a month between questions and checking results!

I’ve also contemplated an updatable BAQ for adjusting the labor pool (and capacity) but they are looking at it from the ‘where do we need people’ instead of ‘this is how many I have’ in order to make those planning decisions about which jobs get pushed if we don’t have the labor resources, so I’m not sure how to proceed with that one.

Maybe in a week or so, we should get together on teams and compare notes…