General question of "Finite capacity"


I have a general question in Finite capacity at work center.

In reality, I believe, machines/humans should always be finite capacity.

For example,

Humans can work 24 hours per day (maximum if they don’t sleep)

Machines can run 24 hours per day (maximum)

If that is correct, so why AX (or ERP) allow us to define infinite capacity?

And, if all work centers are infinite capacity, how does AX calculate scheduling (for project or production)?


Microsoft define finite as for bottleneck onlys.

Infinite is a common strategy in manufacturing, otherwise the delivery date would never be hit. This is nothing to do with software per se, it is how a production plan defines its scheduling. In infinite the business gets the ability to juggle and flex in a moving environment. Only environments which are static demand or constant machines would use finite, but only then in a borrleneck situation. Environments with changing requirements and deadlines would use infinite and would be replanned.

Whilst there maybe an absolute limit and therefore a finite capacity - this is not necessarily the way a business plans.


Thanks for your reply.

So in scheduling, what is the different if a work center is infinite capacity or not?

If it is infinite the capcity of the work centre can be overloaded, so you can look at the work centre inquiries and see red crosses. This will mean the plan will go back from the required date giving all items are in stock based solely on the routing times and let you manage by exception capacity issues.

With finite capacity the system will look for availability of capacity, this can lead to large gaps, so you can start operation 10 today and finish it today at 14.00 but operation 20 cannot start for three weeks because another works order has the resource, so operation 20 gets scheduled to start in three weeks time. Basically you cannot overbook time in the work centre, which pushes the delivery date out and out.

The finite approach also means you are constantly juggling orders in AX based upon which is “really” needed first, whether it is stock or customer AX will plan as each comes in and then businesses spend hours juggling the plan.

Basically create a work centre that has an hours capacity a day - then load a works order that needs this resource for 10 hours. Then load another order and look at the scheduling (assume finite scheduling). Then set the work centre to infinite and replan both orders and see what happens.

Hello Adam,

Thanks for your detail explanation.

So when the capcity of work centre is enough, then Finite and infinite capicity give me the same result.

But when the capcity of work centre cannot fullfill the demand, then

Finite capacity - results in delaying the finish date.

Infinite capacity - keep the original finish date, but overload the workcenter and give red cross.

Is my understanding correct?

Yes that is correct.

I was wondering if I found the red cross on the work center, what I should do next then? Make the work center to be ‘finite’ as well?

I would not, this is an indication the work centre/group has insufficient capcity, so analyse the requirements, the data and where you need to reschedule and let someone know something will be late.