IPO: Manufacturer software scheduling system

A 1% increase in production can equate to a 10% increase in profits. A software system that meets rapid scheduling and production demands would have enormous benefits for the manufacturing industry.

IPO is a software application that improves the production process to meet customer demand and delivery deadlines. The IPO system uses powerful, but inexpensive computers to plan production schedules for people, materials and machines.  By using a suite of optimisation and scheduling tools, combined with a practical understanding of the problems faced, a system has been developed which allows companies to define business specific constraints and generate schedules tailored to their exact needs. In addition, the system can develop alternative strategies to meet a rapid change in requirements. For example, it is possible to generate new schedules which can prioritise a large, recent order and evaluate its effect on current orders. Alternatively, production could be optimised to use excess stock and avoid waste. The ability to evaluate 'what if' scenarios gives businesses a competitive advantage.

The IPO software was developed during the ENTICE-Technology Transfer Node project, a major EC supported effort to help smaller companies take-up HPC technology in business applications. It can be run on a variety of platforms, including desktop PCs using Windows.  IPO was adopted by a number of Scottish companies including Altamira Colour Ltd, Almond Engineering, Calman Technology and Arran Aromatics.