3 Discrete Manufacturing ERP Software Trends for 2015

1. Improved Supply Chain Visibility

Discrete manufacturers don’t necessarily manufacturer one thing at a time, you can’t always count their products on one hand and some are developing complex requirements for supply chain management and integration. As an example, look at a metal former. They have always used mills and lathes to work a piece of metal into the product their customer wanted. But most don’t stop there anymore; they add purchased components from third party manufacturers to the part formed and require fasteners to hold those components. Those fasteners and components are required to meet the customers’ needs.

Formed metal can be very expensive and some of the components might be costly as well. Costly or not, there is no value in having one without the other. Improved ERP supply chain visibility in 2015 will help coordinate, in this example, the forming of the metal with the delivery of the components, avoiding static inventory and ensuring the product can be delivered on time to the customers.

2. ERP & MES Integration Becomes Common Place

Integration of manufacturing execution systems with ERP will continue to develop in 2015. We all know ERP is a great tool for planning production for discrete manufacturers and most discrete manufacturing ERP systems provide the ability to charge time to products or jobs during production. But they all require many transactions. ERP has always been transaction-driven. MES can help increase productivity and provides the audit trails needed. A business such as a medical device maker needs very particular documentation. An automotive parts company will have different needs but in a similar vein. MES can help a discrete manufacturer maximize their competitiveness in 2015.

3. ERP-to-Machine Communication Will Be Essential

Discrete manufacturers use a lot of automated machinery. Many CNC machines can connect to each other and our cloud systems, including our discrete manufacturing ERP allowing remote monitoring of the processes going on inside the machinery. It also allows the data to be fed directly to ERP systems. Instead of capturing process time from an operator logging in and out of a job/operation, the equipment can report exactly the time used for cutting, milling, or whatever the operation calls for. The exact time required for setup or programming is also captured. This data is much more accurate than manually entered metrics and will be essential for discrete manufacturers looking to maintain a competitive edge in 2015.

Because the equipment is communicating directly with the ERP, the actual work time can be predicted in real-time and schedules for downstream operations can be updated in real time. If the operation will be late to the original schedule, the next operation time can be used for another job that will be ready for processing.

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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

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