Who are we, and what planning-tools.net project is all about?

We are a bunch of folks with experience in software engineering, manufacturing of ferrous and non-ferrous metals, beer production, manufacturing and distribution of pharmaceuticals, confectionery, and global spare parts services. Our passion is to build simple tools to do the job. We also love Planning. Planning is exciting. Planning is interesting. Planning is important, as it gives framework to your business, and allows you to envision the direction your firm is moving in. It helps you anticipate future events, and provides the means to find the best ways to deal with them.

Through the years, we have come across a large number of planning software packages of different complexity, and prices ranging from thousands to hundreds of thousands, to millions of dollars. We share the impression that modern planning is becoming more and more a matter of tools. However, making the tool reflect all aspects of your Planning Process is a real challenge. In this respect, successful completion of the implementation effort strongly depends on the experience of your consulting company, and its ability to understand and formalize your workflows, to map your data, and to shape the software according to your needs. Implementation, and tuning may take from several months to several years.

Undoubtedly, planning software brings certain benefits like standardization of processes, optimization of stocks, and improved Materials Management, but sometimes it is not easy to evaluate the savings coming directly from the use of the tool. In addition to this, Return on Investment is not measurable in a straightforward way, especially, if your company is not big in size.  Maybe because of this reason, implementation of the latest and greatest planning solutions is not among the top priorities for most of the small to mid-size companies.

Generally speaking, planning is a balancing exercise, and experienced planners know that a reasonable plan can be built in Microsoft Excel® on a basis of standard reports pulled out from an ERP system, or a Data Warehouse.  So, we came to the conclusion that it is worth trying to start a project focused on building a set of simple, flexible, inexpensive, and easy to learn and implement planning tools for small to mid-size companies based on a popular platform like Microsoft Excel®.  Our intention is to make the tools compatible with each other, and gradually to integrate principles, and features normally found in the modern high-end planning solutions.

We decided to start with four Supply Chain planning tools namely rollingPlan, demandPlan, supplyPlan, and warehouseModeller.

rollingPlan is a planning aid for Production Planning. It allows you to build manually and/or automatically Rolling Production Plans in various Time Buckets based on Initial On Hand Balances and Expected Demand, considering Target Stock Levels, Production Capacities, and one additional “Global” parameter (such as Inventory Position, or Warehouse Capacity).

demandPlan is a configurable tool for building complex Multiple Stream Rolling Demand Plans that can be easily exported to rollingPlan, supplyPlan, and warehouseModeller.

supplyPlan is somewhat similar to rollingPlan, but it is designed for planning Material Supplies. It takes into account Lead Times, Minimum Order Quantities, Target Stock Levels, etc.

Unlike the tools mentioned above, warehouseModeller is a simulator. You can use it to create virtual warehouses with multiple areas, and to study their operation in order to find the best ways to organize your stocks, to utilize the capacity of your warehouse, and to optimize the work of your picking personnel.

At present, these four applications are at different stages of development. rollingPlan was the first to come out, it will be followed by demandPlan, and supplyPlan in early 2015. warehouseModeller is halfway done, and most probably it will be released by mid-2015, or earlier.

Our Sales Policy is simple.

Like most of the companies we do not sell software, we license it.  Every tool is delivered as a Microsoft Excel® COM Add-In. Add-Ins can be downloaded, and installed without limitation, but in order to make them usable, you will need to activate either a 15 Days Trial License Key, or One Year License Key.  Trial License Keys are for free. They do not restrict functionality in any way, but expire in 15 days. We strongly recommend you to obtain a Trial Key, at first, and to test whether the tool does what you expect it to do.  There is a bunch of how-to videos accompanying the Add-ins, and you may find fairly quickly whether particular tool’s functionality is what you are looking for. Please, have in mind, that if you decide to purchase a One Year License, and for some reason you are not satisfied with the way your money was spent, we may offer a refund only under exceptional circumstances.  So, think twice before clicking on the “Purchase” button. We accept PayPal payments only. Last but not least, One Year License Keys are renewable at a fraction of the initial cost. All updates are for free if you own a valid License Key.

Site Use Restrictions.

You can access all sections of the planning-tools.net website with no restrictions, except for the Support&Discussion. Access to Support&Discussion is reserved for holders of Trial License Keys, or One Year License Keys.  We would like to make our Q&A a place for professional planning debates. A place where you can share your experience of using the tools. A place where you can criticize or praise various planning solutions.  A place where you can post your ideas for improvement. If we find your ideas interesting, we will do our best to implement them in the next versions of the tools.

Personal Information, advertisements, and installation of additional software.

We do not collect any personal information, or information related to your computer system, network, etc., except for the data needed to complete the login, or payment. You will see no banners or any other form of advertisement while using the tools under Trial Key License. No installation of additional tools, viruses, malware, etc., will be offered or performed during installation of the Add-Ins. If your Virus Protection Software finds a malware, or a virus, or any other undesirable piece of software in any of the files downloaded from the planning-tools.net website, please, let us know.Our files are signed with Thawte logo