Introducing our production scheduling API and developer platform

    Martin Karlowitsch
    September 2, 2020
    Read the ultimate guide to job shop scheduling >>

    When we launched just plan it a few years ago, we were a simple cloud-based visual production scheduling software for SMB manufacturers. But as we talked to production planners, operation managers and company owners using our product day after day, week after week, month after month, and incorporated their feedback into the product, just plan it began to evolve.

    Today, what started out as a visual production scheduler has become a the world’s first cloud-based production planning, management and scheduling platform for high-mix low-volume manufacturers. And we're thrilled to announce that with the launch of our developer platform, now everyone can build on top of just plan it.

    As of today, just plan it is an open platform with a production scheduling API.

    We’re opening our doors and rolling out new tools for developers to build amazing apps and integrations for our customers. These will be the solutions that power the next wave of production planning, production scheduling, and production management.

    And while the platform, and the API are brand new, the decision was one we made in the early days of the product: We’ve always wanted just plan it to be an open platform. 

    That's because we're focused on changing the way high-mix, low-volume shops are run, managed, and provide their businesses and services to their clients. (If you want to look at that bigger picture, please have a look at our ultimate guide to visual job shop scheduling). We know that this change won't happen overnight— and the we can't do it alone.

    So we wanted to build a platform that anyone could build on top of, and that allows production scheduling data to flow in and out (versus having all the data locked up in our system).

    For the first time ever, developers will be able to build apps and integrations based on scheduling data and based on execution data in real-time — not just on past incidents like exported data, information received via email, or data provided on the phone.production scheduling API - just plan itThis is the first platform built on the real-time production scheduling and manufacturing execution data (and here is the technical pendant to this blog post written by my colleague Jan).

    At just plan it, customers always come first. And we strongly believe that opening up our platform will give our customers even more opportunities to succeed. 

    Removing boundaries, removing friction = enabling efficiency.

    You know that we are in Europe. Precisely, we are in Germany and the city we live in is in a unique geographical spot as it has borders to two other countries: Belgium and the Netherlands.

    Since 1985 (Schengen Agreement), people in Europe can travel friction-less. There are no border controls and we can just drive to Belgium and Netherlands, e.g. to buy local beer there ;-)

    During the Corona virus lock-down, borders in Europe literally got closed and people were only allowed to cross them for certain reasons (for example if they work in the respectively other country). This resulted in long queues and heavy traffic jams on both sides of the borders.

    How a production scheduling API can remove boundaries

    My kids - both born in the current century - never experienced this in Europe before. When they saw it the first time, they said: "These border controls are like thieves. They steal people's time. This makes no sense and is not efficient."

    This is exactly why we launch the production scheduling API with the developer platform. We want to remove boundaries, we no longer want to lock data, but we want to unleash new efficiency potentials. 

    Continue reading to see what you can build on the just plan it platform.

    What can you build on the just plan it platform?

    Here are some ideas how you can build on the just plan it platform and use the new production scheduling API to improve your shop's operations.

    1) ERP integrations

    production scheduling API 2 - just plan itMany of you work with an ERP system. Some of them are state-of-the-art, some of them are homegrown, and some of them are rather legacy. However, one thing is obvious: independent of what kind of manufacturing ERP system you use, it most likely is the backbone of your business.

    The common case is that you manage for jobs (production orders, work orders) with your ERP system. Typically, you also manage items and inventories with the ERP. However, many manufacturing ERP systems fall short when it comes to proper production scheduling — especially if you are a high-mix, low-volume manufacturer.

    In the past, you could export data from your ERP into Excel and import into just plan it. Or we had to build a custom interface to your ERP.

    These days are past.

    With our new production scheduling API, you can directly push new production orders from your ERP to just plan it. just plan it then schedules the new job and returns an "expected production finish date" back to your ERP. In real-time.

    2) Reporting & analytics

    We get it: the way we measure performance isn’t always going to line up with the way your team measures performance. Now, with the just plan it platform, you can build reporting and analytics that don’t come out of the box with just plan it.

    More specifically, you can get data around your jobs, production orders, expected delivery dates, machine utilization, plan vs. actual, efficiencies, and much much, and track only those metrics that matter to your business — within the analytics software that you prefer.

    3) Custom data views

    • Want to provide your machine operators with customized work order lists on a website that they can access? Build it with the just plan it platform.
    • Have a portal for your customers in which they see the orders that they placed with you? Want to update this portal with delivery time data directly from just plan it? Build it with the just plan it platform.
    • Have operations that you outsource? Want to enable your supplier to see his workload from you? Want to automatically notify them when the schedule changes? Build it with the just plan it platform.

    These are just a few ideas we have. I am pretty confident that you have more (and better ideas).

    4) Information workflows

    Here is the last category of ideas that we had. We call it information workflows. This means: create a workflow that triggers an information to get from just plan it into your preferred communication app that you use.

    Just one example: Imagine you work with the Execute Mode. Your machine operators work with the Operator Client, in which they can add an operator note to a task. With the just plan it API you could actually build a workflow that this note shows up as message in your Microsoft Teams channel (or in your Slack channel).

    If I would be you, I would try this first ;-)

    So, what will you build?

    For the first 10 customers or partners that build on top of just plan it, our marketing team will be your marketing team. We’ll help you communicate your new integration and your success, throwing the full power of the just plan it marketing team behind it. ⚡

    We can’t wait to see what everyone builds on top of just plan it. So to all you production planners, and operations managers and shop owners out there, tell your developers that the just plan it platform is officially open.

    We’d love to hear your ideas and get building — right now. Seriously, let’s go! 

    PS: Watch the recording of the API release webinar we held on 9 September 2020 or check out the the developer resources for your production scheduling API.

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