We did a project this year that is on my list of all-time favorites. The client is a photographer who sells his prints in stores around the country and wanted to use GP Manufacturing to produce the custom ordered prints.
There are a limited, set number of copies which will be created of each print, and any individual copy of the print can be done in several different sizes. So, for example, you can buy serial number 123 in a 24” x 24”. Along with the print the customer also selects from several other options, such as the frame type and matting.
GP could support the print and serial numbering, with an Item Number like BLUE_FLOWER and auto-generated serial numbers. But to use GP Manufacturing out-of-the-box they would need an Item Number for each possible size (i.e. BLUE_FLOWER_24X24, BLUE_FLOWER_36X36, etc), and then a BOM for each, and then this would create a problem of ensuring a single serial-numbering sequence across the group. Additionally, this approach would create an enormous number of BOMs.
Another feature of this process is that the Bill of Materials (BOM) is essentially the same for every print—it doesn’t matter if you order the BLUE_FLOWER or the RED_SEA, all of the same frame and matting options are available. With GP Manufacturing you would need a very large number of BOMs, where in practice there was only one (a 24x24 print, any print, is handled the same regardless of what it is a picture of).
What the client needed was a Bill of Materials that could support a matrix of Item-Size, where for each component in the BOM (i.e. Oak Frame) it could record the linear feet of frame material needed for that size of print. Additionally, they needed a Sales Configurator that used the Matrix BOM to guide the salesperson and customer through the available options at each size, and calculated the price. There were some other requirements, such as the ability to make some components unavailable at some sizes, and printing certain selections from the configuration on the sales invoice.
The result was a custom “Matrix BOM”. Components are added to the Matrix BOM in groups (such as Frame Materials), and for each Print Size the quantity of frame material is recorded. The Matrix BOM is a “record” in GP all by itself, and it is linked to one or more Made Items (i.e. BLUE_FLOWER and RED_SEA).
In Sales Transaction Entry, the Configurator pops-up when the RED_SEA print is selected. The salesperson selects from available sizes, and the list of available options for that size displays. When the Configuration is complete and accepted by the customer, it is released to manufacturing, which creates a Manufacturing Order, Picklist and Routing.
One last cool feature is a custom Production Management window that supports a Kan-Ban type of process. Since the process is largely the same for each print (print it, cut it, matting, framing, etc), if you have a bunch of MOs they will all go through Work Center 1, then 2, then 3, etc. When you select a Work Center on the Production Management window, the window shows you only Manufacturing Orders that have reached that stage of production. Once the step is complete it moves downstream and pops into the next Work Center’s Queue.
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