Four ways ERP can help process manufacturers achieve best practice in process control

Carsten Pedersen, Senior Executive at UXC Eclipse explains the
importance for process manufacturers to use technology to achieve efficiency,
best practice and success.

By relying on technology solutions, manufacturers can ensure end-to-end
traceability, effective quality management of materials and end products, and
complete visibility across the manufacturing process and supply chain.

The process that is used to create a product presents manufacturers with
a number of challenges.

For example, products that are consumed and used by the general public
have to comply with strict government regulations, requiring manufacturers to
effectively manage their raw materials, the quality of their product and
traceability throughout the entire manufacturing process.

Manufacturers are additionally under pressure to continuously optimise
capacity, reduce operating costs, satisfy ever-changing customer requirements
and manage supply chain dynamics associated with raw material costs and
time-to-market deliverables.

Four ways ERP can help process
manufacturers achieve best practice in process control

1. Effectively manage
formulation, packaging and pricing

The order network functionality in ERP software provides process
manufacturers with a hierarchically-structured overview that displays the
logistical interconnection of sales orders and the dependent manufacturing and
purchase orders. An important controlling agent for coordination and planning,
this function allows for early detection of possible production variances such
as missing raw materials or insufficient machine capacity, leading to optimised
on-time delivery performance and reduced inventory.

Production simulation can help test the impact of an item’s production
directly from a sales order providing an overview of times, component
quantities and their availability in the inventory without any influence on
current production planning.

During delivery, production and distribution of specific items,
deviations between the expected and the actual amounts can occur. These
deviations are only acceptable within pre-defined delivery tolerances. The
right ERP software provides functionalities that control these over-and
under-deliveries in the purchasing department as well as during production and
sales. A default tolerance can be determined for every item, which will be
automatically adopted during the acquisition of sales and purchase order lines.

2. Improve quality management
throughout your processes

ERP software lets process manufacturers freely allocate a status to each
product that can be re-defined as required. For example, settings can be
included that can prevent delivery to the customer or its use in the production
process, which means that only products that comply will be sent to the
customer. Locked products can also be removed from the demand calculation.

Templates with questions and possible answers can also be integrated
into every stage of the process. These checklists provide the user with simple
documentation of all standardised tests. Upper and lower limits for
measurements values can be managed and compared with test results. Reports
expedite a centralised overview of the results.

3. Track batches from point of
origin to the consumer

ERP software can guarantee continuous lot administration, even if lots
are fused. With a centralised information form it is possible to navigate
through the complete system and, if necessary, create branches leading to
individual documents. This lot traceability offers an overview of the complete
production and delivery line making it easy to comprehend where a certain lot
was delivered, which raw material lots were used during production and to whom
they were delivered.

The display of several trading units of a product in one item or even in
several items is possible with ERP software. Through filling and refilling
orders, new trading units can be automatically generated or passed on to the
respective departments.

ERP software can automatically pass on the lot number of products to
subsequent lots in procedural, bottling or packaging processes. Also, the
cutting and bottling of the finished product is integrated into the lot and
serial number administration and is user-friendly.

4. Gain better control over
production scheduling

ERP software offers extensive and comprehensive functionalities to set
up and configure production structures, recipes, bills of materials (BOMs) and
routings. The production structure can provide a single overview form for the
registration of all necessary materials and procedural steps in accordance with
the method of production BOM. Routing lines no longer need to be connected
individually and can be automatically correlated.

BOM information is among the most important data structures that
production companies have to track and maintain. When a certain item is
produced, the ordering of material or its gathering from the inventory is
ultimately based on the BOMs.

While BOMs generally refer to a discrete final product, recipes are the
basis for the manufacturing of certain quantities of a process product. Recipes
can be stored in the system either in percentage or proportionate terms. Main
recipes with additional parts are recalculated automatically. Recipes can be
entered manually or derived from the production structure. BOMs and recipes may
also be used in combination, as is needed for bottling or packaging processes.

A routing describes the production process relating to the individual
work steps, including respective work and setup times analogous to the BOM. The
necessary raw materials and corresponding quality checks or tools and inserts
can be assigned for every operation through according allocations. Lead and setup
times can be configured within the system independent from the routings. This
includes fixed lead times, for example for mixers and dryers.

Taking into account freely-defined planning parameters, the integrated
sequencer in ERP software can be used to minimise setup times while optimising
use and transparency of production processes.

The core piece of the optimisation of the right ERP software is machine
scheduling that can display complete production lines while also allowing for
observation and planning directly at the machine. Orders can be easily
postponed or moved from one machine to another as a whole or split into
multiple parts. Time, tools and resources are considered automatically in this
process. With one simple function, several similar orders can be combined into
one.

Conclusion

The right ERP software can help administer the complete
path from an idea or customer order to the finished product. Without having to
set up all items, a development department can compare recipes, perform calculations,
record assumptions and create manufacturing orders while accounting for
purchase requirements. All process stages can also be subjected to a cost
analysis to ascertain a new product’s profitability.