Essential ERP Features for Discrete Manufacturers
Every business wants to be the best, right? Manufacturers strive for the fastest processes and the highest quality products to reach the top of their industry. Of course, this logic influences how they shop for ERP software. Some organizations only want the shiniest, most expensive instance, the ERP that has all the latest modules and customized features. However, this approach doesn’t necessarily result in an ERP implementation that supports your business and improves the productivity of your workforce. Companies should always take a business-first approach.
The software-first approach to seeking out an ERP system puts your business at risk of selecting software built with a different industry or sector in mind. For example, some software is better equipped to support process manufacturing rather than discrete manufacturing. Discrete manufacturing is all about assembling products that can be broken down into individual parts such as wires and bolts. Process manufacturing, on the other hand, involves making products like paints and pharmaceuticals that cannot be easily disassembled.
To create these different goods, process and discrete manufacturing must utilize different techniques and therefore require different ERP tools. Keep reading to find out about three of the specific capabilities that your ERP instance must include to enable your discrete manufacturing business to perform at its best.
Bill of Materials
Whereas process manufacturers use formulas and recipes, discrete manufacturers use Bills of Materials (BOMs) to ensure they have the correct raw materials and components to build their end products. A robust ERP system, such as Epicor, will process BOMs to guarantee that everything is in place before starting up production lines.
Epicor’s Material Requirements Planning (MRP) suite communicates the precise materials defined in BOMs to suppliers, giving you all the components you need, when you need them. Epicor Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) also optimizes each step of product development, managing both single-level and multi-level BOMs to provide visibility throughout the assembly line and support detailed routings.
Additionally, Epicor includes a Supplier Quality Management Suite that delivers a real-time, 360-degree view of quality levels and inbound shipment inspections to make sure each BOM defines superior components and raw materials to create an exceptional end product. A discrete manufacturer is nothing without a reliable ERP system that makes sure everything is in place to efficiently run assembly lines.
Planning and Scheduling Functions
Discrete manufacturers rely on BOMs while process manufacturers manage batches and continuous operations using formulas or recipes. This means that each manufacturer requires different planning and scheduling functionality to meet their unique needs. Discrete manufacturers utilize advanced planning, scheduling and tracking functions to assure their supply chain runs smoothly. Their particular scheduling needs require robust ERP technology.
Epicor’s flexible platform enables discrete manufacturers to run complex scheduling functions without drastic customization. Manufacturers can manage production, demand planning, inventory management and more within a user-friendly interface. Users can speed up processes with automated features and meet changing demands by easily modifying schedules at a moment’s notice. Epicor’s forecasting tools take advantage of historical data to make predictions you can count on. Utilizing these predictions, manufacturers can reduce scrap and inventory to increase their profit margins.
Besides improving your business’s productivity, ERP planning features also benefit customers by providing them with accurate shipping and delivery dates. Discrete manufacturers need a comprehensive planning and scheduling module, such as Epicor's, to comply with their specific processes and meet customer demands.
Manufacturing Execution System
Having full visibility into the supply chain and production performance is vital for decision making in manufacturing. A manufacturing execution system (MES) gives users the insights they need to eradicate bottlenecks and improve processes. Epicor Advanced MES provides real-time production monitoring, reporting and analysis to help users quickly detect issues and develop strategies to cut waste and improve quality.
Advanced MES ensures you have all the data you need to understand your manufacturing performance. A plant floor view delivers real-time machine status and job monitoring, so you can make production changes at a moment's notice. Downtime and scrap analysis, overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) and other metrics give users the insight to develop leaner practices and enhance the value of their shop floor assets. To optimize quality management, Advanced MES also includes statistical quality control (SQC), statistical process control (SPC) and automated part qualification and rejection.
Epicor knows that all plant floors are different. The Advanced MES module is designed to connect with any machine, old or new, using machine interface units (MIUs), programmable logic control (PLC), personal computer (PC) interfaces and open connectivity protocol (OPC). The solution will closely monitor each piece of equipment to help you increase efficiency, reduce energy consumption and perform maintenance.
For make-to-order, mixed-mode, make-to-stock, engineer-to-order and configure-to-order discrete manufacturers, Epicor ERP offers robust tools that enhance end-to-end operations. However, discrete manufacturers should work to not only procure an ERP instance that meets their specific needs but also partner with a consulting firm with ample experience executing software projects for their industry.
After 20 years of serving discrete manufacturers, Datix is equipped with the expertise necessary to amplify each discrete manufacturer’s unique processes. In addition, as a certified Epicor Gold Partner, we know how to best leverage ERP and integrated solutions to help your business perform at its best.
This post covers only three of the crucial ERP features that Epicor built for discrete manufacturing. Contact Datix today to learn more about how ERP can optimize your business processes!