A process example for test planning

The variety and complexity of modern vehicles cause an enormous amount of tests during the development. To cope with this large number of tests, vehicle manufacturers and suppliers operate more and more test resources of all kinds. At the same time, the demand for a more flexible planning is growing. In this situation, it is difficult for test planners to provide the necessary resources at the right time at the right place in the right state. In particular, the lack of transparency repeatedly leads to annoying, time and cost intensive allocation conflicts.

Together with users from various companies, Peak Solution has developed some efficient procedures for test planning in recent years. Gradually Peak Solution has incorporated these procedures as best practices into the Peak Resource Planner.

An example: In some cases, it has proven to be useful to divide the test planning process in a long-term planning and operational planning.

In the long-term planning, the planner defines individual tests for a super ordinated test project across departments. A single test includes, among others, information about the test object, the test target, the test method (for example, SiL, HiL, bench test or driving test) and the preferred date (for example, “Latest end time” and “Earliest start time”).

After checking for completeness, feasibility and costs, the planner releases the individual tests for the rough planning phase. There, he defines multiple work tasks for a test and brings them – based on functional dependencies – in a chronological order. For example, a test may be composed of the following tasks: setup of the specimen, preparation of the test bench, calibration of measuring instruments, execution of the test and appraisal of the test object. Then, the planner assigns resource types necessary for carrying out a work task. These are for example specific test benches, test vehicles, measuring equipment and staff. With the help of templates for different types of tests, the planner can conduct these steps very efficiently.

Based on the availability of certain types of resources (= capacity requirement – maximum capacity), the planner can see if the capacity required for the desired date of a test is in principle present or not. If the capacity is available, he confirms the test and reserves the required resources capacity. Thereby, the maximum available capacity of the affected types of resources is reduced in this period for further planning. If capacity conflicts arise, the planner must either find an alternative date or commission the test execution externally. Depending on the situation, additional actions are thereby triggered (for example, generation of a workshop order for the setup of the test object).

Once a certain planning horizon is reached, the operational test planning begins. This is usually carried out at workshop or test field level. A prerequisite is the availability of the test object. If it is not yet available, the rough planning possibly must be updated.

In the operational test planning, the tasks of a test are planned on a daily or hourly basis for specific resources (for example, for a particular test bench). The result is the occupancy of resources for a defined period, for example by a test execution. Additional occupancy types such as setup, calibration, conversion, etc. are possible. In addition, off-times for the occupancy of resources must be considered (for example, weekends, holiday periods, etc.).

Feedback from the workshops or test fields ensures that the operational test planning bases on the latest availability information. For example, technical problems on the test bench may lead to delays in the test execution. By that, resources are longer occupied than planned. Accordingly, occupancy conflicts arise that have to be resolved by operational rescheduling. The rescheduling at the operational level may in turn affect the long-term test planning.

In this way, companies can achieve an efficient utilization of test resources and avoid multiple assignments.

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