3 New Year's Resolutions for Your Discrete Manufacturing ERP Project

Everyone wants to lose weight and get fit with the new year. Your ERP will help your business move toward lean manufacturing so this is a natural resolution. Lean is all about eliminating waste and ERP is your servant. You might set up jobs for your production today. Consider switching ERP to a pull system and use kanbans to replenish inventory or satisfy customer demands. Often this can be done easily by changing a couple of configuration switches.

1) Get ‘Business Fit’ using your ERP

Too much inventory is another issue that moving towards a lean process using your ERP can resolve. Sometimes you create inventory just by the way your manufacturing ERP is set up. Do you use safety stocks for planning? Maybe they are no longer needed. Look at supplier order patterns. Higher-priced components should only be ordered as needed and in exactly the demand quantity. Lower-price items might be better supplied by larger-volume orders with fewer purchase orders. Think about no orders at all and consider supplier-managed inventory.

2) Better Manufacturing Decision Making with your ERP

Maybe a better resolution is to manage your shop floor better. Your ERP has a manufacturing execution system built in. Workers log on to jobs and operations through the MES. Are your workers cherry picking the next job to work on? Be honest, we all do this. Set up your MES to calculate the optimum job and operation to start next. This might be calculated by the hours and minutes remaining for the job as a ratio to the hours and minutes until the delivery of the job. You could seed the calculation based on preferred customers if necessary. Obviously an operation cannot start until the previous operation is complete and the job is moved to this work center. So calculate the optimum job based only on those jobs already delivered. Get even more sophisticated by looking at the remaining time on previous operations. Maybe the optimum job will be ready to work on in only a few minutes and waiting for it is the optimum action.

3) Improve your Quality Process using your ERP

Another possible resolution is to look carefully at your quality processes and make it even better. Are you inspecting in quality? Many of us still do that. Manufacturing ERP today can use many built-in quality features. At the start of an operation, begin with a quality check. Was the previous operation correct? Define a metric or two that documents completion and quality on the previous operation. Record those measurements in your ERP. Then complete the work required at the current operation. Finally record metrics to document the current operation is complete and up to quality standards. Operators do these steps themselves within the MES and a separate quality person’s input might not be needed.

There you have it - three New Year’s resolutions to take advantage of your ERP and make money for your business.

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Rick Carlton

About the author…

Rick Carlton dba PRRACEwire, has worked as a tech journalist, writer, researcher, editor and publisher for many years. In addition to his editorial work, Rick has also served as a C-Level executive/consultant for a wide-range of private and public sector U.S. and International companies.

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Rick Carlton