Choosing the best ERP solution for manufacturing is simple once you sort through the features and benefits of the offering and have assessed what your company requires. Your choice will be based on your manufacturing specialty, and which ERP software solution is agile enough to handle your company’s needs. At the very start of the selection process, though, you have to determine whether you need a solution for “discrete” or “process” manufacturing. These are the two primary modes of manufacturing.
Discrete manufacturing refers to the production of identical products, each made from individual parts. Examples would be mobile phones, automobiles or wind turbines. Process manufacturing, in contrast, is about taking raw materials, or ingredients, and processing them into a finished product. Examples include pharmaceuticals, food and plastics.
Discrete manufacturing involves making distinct items, usually through a series of assembly steps. An important term here is “Bills of Materials” (BOMs), which refers to assembling defined components along a “routing.” Discrete manufacturing typically involves solid inputs, such as metal stampings, batteries and so forth.
Whether done by hand or through automated steps, discrete manufacturing usually means assembling, boring holes, cutting, bending, drilling, molding, welding and more. Some of this work may be done in a machining center. Companies that engage in discrete manufacturing generally manage in terms of limited, discrete units of measure (UOMs), e.g., feet, pounds or “each.” Product packaging is simple.
The challenges that arise in discrete manufacturing include issues like product configuration, engineering change orders and estimating. Acumatica Manufacturing ERP software helps with these tasks. The solution also enables the discrete manufacturer to stay on top of procurement that aligns with the BOM and production schedule—as well as sales order management, labor time, financial accounting and more.
Process manufacturing is accomplished by mixing ingredients according to specific formulas. Process manufacturing works off of a “recipe,” resulting in a final product that cannot be taken apart. One is not able to take ingredients out of the finished goods after they are produced, at least not without great effort. Try separating the corn syrup from a can of soda, for example.
Unlike discrete manufacturing, which is usually a process of forming and attaching plastics and metals, process manufacturing is about blending liquids, powders or gases. The processes might include mixing, cooking, hydrating or infusing. UOMs are more complex, with intricate packaging requirements, e.g., carefully made, sealed containers versus cardboard boxes.
Process manufacturing also tends to have more compliance needs. For example, a chemical mixing process may be subject to EPA or FDE regulations. Plant safety may be more of an issue, too, in a process manufacturing environment.
Manufacturing ERP software supports process manufacturing by enabling manufacturers to track raw materials by lot and serial number. The software can also provide final product tracking information, with expiration dates and other product-specific criteria for sales and inventory controls. Acumatica is further able to measure production yields and losses, which are essential for staying on target for profitability in process manufacturing.
Get the Full ERP Guide To Learn How Acumatica Supports Both Discrete and Process Manufacturing
This manufacturing ERP guide is designed to help you understand the market, narrow down your options, and make the best long-term choice for your company based on industry requirements, manufacturing methodology, and other considerations. Download it now to accelerate your research.
In this guide, you’ll find out:
- Which standard features to look for in any ERP system.
- The difference between discrete ERP and process ERP—and which is the better option for your business.
- How to find an ERP that matches your manufacturing methodology.
- Which industry-specific features can boost your efficiency.
- How Acumatica Manufacturing Edition delivers on the promise of cloud ERP for businesses like yours.
Download this guide and start walking through your options so that you can make a better selection in less time
We have worked with many manufacturers in determining the best ERP to fit with their distinct manufacturing processes. To learn more, watch our Acumatica manufacturing demo or contact us for an informative dialogue.