Manufacturing software offers a wide variety of functions that can affect businesses in different industries in different ways. For example, there are entire systems dedicated solely to process manufacturing. Process manufacturing software benefits are widespread but depend on the specific features included in a software tool. Factors such as the vendor you go with, functionality included in the program and your preparation before deployment will impact the degree of success that you get out of these systems. So, what are the benefits you could see in your business with the successful introduction of process manufacturing software? Let’s find out.
What Is Process Manufacturing?
Process manufacturing is a method of creating products using recipes or formulas. The raw components that make up an item often can’t be detached or removed from the final product after production. For example, the creation of products such as soft drinks, refined oil and cough syrup would be considered process manufacturing. Chemical processes are a common feature of process manufacturing.
Process manufacturing is different from discrete manufacturing. Discrete manufacturing uses raw materials to create a final product, but the produced item can be broken down. For example, you can remove the screws located on the back of a TV remote. Though these products are both created through manufacturing workflows, the specific needs of process and discrete manufacturers are slightly different and therefore warrant different solutions.
Process manufacturing software benefits process manufacturers through the inclusion of features that optimize for a reduction in spoilage, precise adherence to recipes and input of expiration dates. Because companies that are located in sectors such as food and beverage and pharmaceuticals are heavily regulated by different governments, process manufacturing systems are often built with legal compliance in mind. Additionally, if your company is a national business, global regulation compliance may be included as well.
What Are Some Process Manufacturing Software Benefits?
Process manufacturing software centralizes your daily business processes into a master database capable of synchronizing key elements related not only to the shop floor, but also to finances, customer relationship management (CRM), warehouse management, distribution management and human capital management (HCM). The integration of these critical functions can boost productivity and increase revenue.
So, how exactly can the combination of these tools positively impact your business? Here are some of the main benefits that your company could get from process manufacturing ERP software:
1. Prevent unnecessary supply losses by staying ahead of inventory.
A process manufacturing system can determine what materials to purchase and when to buy them based on factors such as current inventory levels, historical demand and forecasted demand. This helps ensure that you have the ingredients required for item production onhand when you need them and that they are of optimal quality. You can easily track all of your raw materials from start to finish, along with entering and keeping track of any mandated expiration dates associated with any of your products.
By making sure that you’re not ordering too many or too few materials, you can improve profitability. Tracking and maintaining a database of expiration dates can also help reduce spoilage in the form of products that you can no longer legally or ethically sell.
2. Reduce theft or large variances and losses during production.
Do you know exactly how much product you should be able to make from your supplies? With process manufacturing ERP software, you can calculate just how much merchandise each batch has historically yielded during production and how much it should be able to produce when operations are at the highest level of functionality. This transparency helps you identify better production goals for your team, isolate the factors that result in losses and detect sudden disappearances of stock that require further investigation.
3. Effortlessly meet all of your compliance regulations with lot management.
Lot management capabilities can make every aspect of the production cycle fully traceable. Therefore, you can instantly generate reports and schedules that will allow your business to pass inspection without the fear of failing to comply with legal regulations.
4. Adjust your order capacity faster.
A process manufacturing solution can assist in the calculation of the amount of material and labor required to meet the needs of a fluctuating number of clients. Automation ability allows you to pinpoint precisely how big your next batch must be to fulfill your current orders without waste. It can also calculate when you will be able to take on more orders and reach your actual maximum production capacity.
5. Keep your trade secrets safe during reporting.
It can seem dicey at first to input your ingredient lists or recipes into a software solution, especially if your product is trademarked. Fortunately, both on-premise and cloud-based process manufacturing vendors can encrypt your data for better security. They can also help you encode your unique ingredients within documents such as your bill of materials.
6. Turn out your products faster.
Customers have higher expectations from vendors due to the steady increase in industry competition that is occurring now. Using process manufacturing software can help to reduce order fulfillment timelines and to build a more significant customer base. This is achieved through the tracking of the amount of time spent on each production step. When you’re aware of the most time-consuming processes, you can more aptly plan ahead for increases in demand so that your company’s delivery times don’t slow down when it gets hectic.
7. Prepare for unexpected supply shortages and changing demand by planning substitutions.
Sometimes you won’t have all of the required materials needed to produce an order on time. When this occurs, process manufacturing ERP software can allow you to create built-in backup plans for the creation of substitutes. This includes the quantity of other materials or ingredients you could use to create a product when you don’t have the amount of necessary materials available on-hand.
You can also take your business one step further by customizing orders for people with specific allergies or important preferences. With this software, you can compare the cost per batch of each customized order and analyze the product ingredients in greater depth, which is hugely beneficial when you need to make quick decisions about changing vendors or reaching out to new suppliers. It can also ensure that it is financially beneficial to produce customized products.
What Are Some Key Features of Process Manufacturing ERP Software?
The benefits outlined above are made possible through key features that are included in process manufacturing software. Before you make a software selection, you should create a list of features that would be most helpful to your business and ask potential vendors whether or not they include this functionality in their programs. Here are some of the tools that you might wish to have in your software solution:
The production management module allows you to manage the shop floor. It is often integrated with computer-aided design (CAD) and product lifecycle management (PLM) solutions to help deliver real-time data regarding the product lifecycle. This integration may also assist in communicating and making unified product changes along the supply chain.
Production management can also provide visibility of how labor and time are being allocated. This helps to ensure efficiency and consistency. Cost estimation, creation of competitive quotes, capacity planning and scheduling are other vital functions associated with production management features.
Financial tools are some of the most commonly sought-after features of process manufacturing ERP software. These features often contain essential accounting functions such as accounts payable, accounts receivable and a balance sheet. However, manufacturing accounting tools might also offer more catered features such as budgeting and forecasting based on actual company data. Other functions can include billing, invoicing, sales tax calculation, project-based accounting and analytical accounting.
Supply Chain Management
Supply chain management features can help you determine which suppliers are the best value for your business needs. Additionally, this tool can help with the inspection of finished goods, the forecasting of demand and the automation of the quote process. Some manufacturing software vendors might also provide request for proposal (RFP) support.
Additional features include a web-based platform where customers can configure unique products online, the management of raw material bids, and a program where you can access inventory details such as requests for quotation (RFQ) and purchase orders (PO).
Transportation and Logistics
Internet of things (IoT) connectivity is a new technology that especially benefits transportation and logistics processes. A transportation and logistics tool might be able to connect a fleet of vehicles to manufacturing software through IoT. This will allow you to track the movement of items through GPS. In addition to location tracking, transportation modules can also map out the best routes, monitor mileage and forecast inventory levels.
Management of fixed assets is a vital process for many businesses, not just those in the manufacturing sector. This tool can track factors such as energy cost and fluctuation in value. It may also maintain service records and other documents related to the acquisition or ownership of a fixed asset. Tax information related to your fixed assets is another significant component of this module.
Project management modules help you allocate resources such as time and labor. Some of these tools use Agile methodology to streamline and optimize operations. Other features may include the ability to see how a project has moved throughout the design lifecycle, the ability to see project ownership history and the visualization of project schedules and timelines.
Process manufacturing software benefits companies through the streamlining and automation of operational efforts. It contains a variety of functions such as financial management, distribution management and asset management. These components are essential facets of businesses that, when optimized, can quicken and improve workflows.
With catered process manufacturing ERP software that accounts for the unique needs of the industry such as detailed product recipes and the need for compliance with government regulations, businesses can gain an edge over competitors that are using disparate software systems to keep their heads above water. Centralized data serves to reduce communication errors between departments and facilitate operations.
What do you think are the greatest process manufacturing software benefits? Let us know in the comments below!