3 ERP features which improve production and order management

During your requirements gathering phase for a new manufacturing ERP, it is important to always remember the bread and butter of any manufacturing business; orders and production. In a discrete manufacturing environment, some of these orders will have more than one delivery date for an item, while others may need to be delivered alongside another SKU line item. Discrete manufacturing orders don’t always include long-term, repetitive requirements; product development will provide the production team with technical specifications, drawings, and other requirements, and expect production to deliver what they ask for by the time they need it. Here are three ERP production and order management features which you should consider during your ERP selection.

1. Automated lead times

All orders are placed in the ERP system and these should include due dates. Does your legacy system feedback expected lead times to product development? If the answer is no, you will often find that these due dates are putting incredible amounts of pressure on the production process. If configured correctly, ERP production management modules can check on available materials and shop capacity and use this data to create automated lead times during the product development and prototyping stage.

Production and order management needs to be coordinated with engineering and purchasing to meet demands placed on product turnaround

2. Real-time production rescheduling

Flexibility is important throughout the production process. Things can happen while the order is in backlog or production. Production can only recover if there are workflows in place to compensate for all eventualities. This practice relies on a flexible ERP system which can update production schedules in real-time based on current pressures along the production chain. Is overtime required? Can another order be rescheduled without affecting the original order’s delivery date?

3. Real-time customer communication

If these production delays occur in contract or MTO discrete manufacturers, ERP systems must provide businesses with communication and CRM tools to manage the affected account; this could include a customer portal or automated emails which display order progress (ideally in real-time).

The customers in question are in business to make a profit. They expect on-time delivery on every order, but, at the same time, they know it won't always happen. The key is to build processes which accommodate or mitigate delays to ensure the customer does not feel the effects of any delay too acutely.

Production and order management needs to be coordinated with engineering and purchasing to meet demands placed on product turnaround in modern manufacturing environments. Bills of material and routings should be added to the ERP system quickly so they are ready for the next order, which could arrive at any time. Purchasing sources should be identified and tracked within your system to support future operations. Sometimes the next order never comes through, but when it does, you will discover the value of well managed production database.

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Tom Miller

About the author…

Tom completed implementations of Epicor, SAP, QAD, and Micro MRP. He works as a logistics and supply chain manager and he always looks for processes to improve. He lives near San Francisco Bay in California and can be found on the water in his kayak or on the road riding his motorcycle. Contact Tom at customerteam@erpfocus.com.

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Tom Miller