Manufacturers have plenty of software options, but process manufacturing companies are often shortchanged, and usually without ever knowing it.
Why? Because most
If you’re a process manufacturer, you’re not interested in the same features as your discrete manufacturing counterparts. Process manufacturers deal with formulas and recipes rather than a Bill of Material; they handle raw material by weight or volume instead of units.
These are fundamental differences in the manufacturing process and to run a business efficiently and effectively, your software solutions must be tailored to how you operate.
Moreover, many process manufacturers also employ discrete manufacturing in part of their operation, so they end up using general manufacturing business software rather than dedicated process manufacturing software.
What’s The ‘Wrong’ Software In Process Manufacturing?
Manufacturing ERP software addresses discrete manufacturing by default. You’ll find this to be true of Microsoft Dynamics products and other leading manufacturing ERP platforms.
However, verticalized process manufacturing software tends to not have the powerful accounting and inventory management features that Dynamics is known for, so a specific vertical software for formula-based manufacturing might fall short of your overall needs.
This leads to two groups: those using inadequate verticalized process manufacturing software, and process manufacturers using Dynamics’ out-of-the-box discrete manufacturing functionality when they really need a better solution.
Neither situation is ideal.
What Should Process Manufacturers Look For in Process Manufacturing Software?
If you’re a process manufacturer using software meant for discrete manufacturing, your business is any or all of the following:
- Less efficient
- Slower at overall production
- Relying on ineffective processes
Microsoft Dynamics users that have a process manufacturing component to their business should consider implementing a third-party Dynamics add-on that turns your ERP into solid process manufacturing software.
For example, a process-manufacturing component such as
As a process manufacturer, you can also integrate
Dynamics in unison with an integrated process manufacturing software solution is the ideal way to gain the most visibility and efficiency in your process manufacturing business.
Signs Your Process Manufacturing Business Is Using The Wrong Software
1) You recognize your technology shortcomings, but do nothing.
This typically happens due to cost. The fact is that while the cost of adding a third-party tool to Dynamics might seem high, it’s probably lower than you anticipate. In general, for every three individual Dynamics general users on your team, you’ll need one process manufacturing specific user. A process manufacturing add-on for relevant team members should only cost a fraction of your overall Dynamics investment.
2) You’re doing too much in Word.
Word is a great program, but if you’re wasting time typing up reports that could be generated automatically, you should reconsider your process. Material Safety Data Sheets, Certificates of Analysis and other collateral that process manufacturers are required to produce can be generated automatically with the right software.
3) You’re working around your own system.
Process manufacturers should be able to track and adjust product formulas from within their own system. If you find yourself resorting to spreadsheets and other tools outside of your manufacturing software, it’s a sign that you’re using the wrong software.
4) You manage product formulas as Bills of Material.
While product formulas and Bills of Material serve the same purpose, they are not identical or interchangeable processes. Because a process manufacturer has to adjust the weight or volume of certain ingredients to complete an order (rather than just having enough raw components on hand to build the required number of discrete products), the path to the end product is never consistent. If your ERP system doesn’t support formulas, how can you ensure that your product consistently meets quality and safety standards?
Don’t let complacency, a fear of change or worries over cost stop you from exploring opportunities to make your process manufacturing operation more efficient and effective.
Admiral Consulting Group provides free, no-obligation software consultations for the manufacturing industry. Whether you’re already using Dynamics and want to know more about add-on options, or you’ve outgrown your current manufacturing software and are looking for the best solution, we’re here to help you navigate into uncharted technology territory. Schedule your free consultation today!
by Admiral Consulting Group