Choosing an ERP solution for your process manufacturing company is quite a daunting challenge. In this blog, we cover the unique requirements of the process manufacturing industry and the features required in an ERP to manage them. But, before we go to the features to look for in your process manufacturing ERP, let’s have a look at what makes process manufacturing unique.
Table of Contents
A Quick Look at What is Process Manufacturing?
Process manufacturers make their products by mixing materials according to a formula or recipe. The products or materials used for process manufacturing must be quantified usually by measurements in volume or weight. One of the basic differences between process manufacturing and discrete manufacturing is that, in-process manufacturing, once anything is generated, it cannot be restored to its basic constituents. Process manufacturing is used by a variety of firms that manufacture large amounts of commodities such as chemicals, glass, food, cement, beverage, pharmaceuticals, etc. There are two types of manufacturing processes within process manufacturing – Continuous and Batch Process Manufacturing
To know more about discrete manufacturing and the ERP for discrete manufacturing industry, read this blog.
Thus, process manufacturing is a more intricate process and as this manufacturing process cannot be undone, process manufacturers must exercise greater caution while developing product recipes and processes.
What role does an ERP software play in process manufacturing?
An ERP software can help to manage the end-to-end business processes involved in process manufacturing from identifying the raw material requirements, tracking down the batch numbers and shelf life to managing the overall quality of the product. Since this manufacturing process is a distinct method and includes specialized operations, an ERP software designed and suited for process manufacturers’ requirements would assist them in achieving quality and compliance standards, streamlined processes, and timely deliverables.
What are the top ten essential features required in a process manufacturing ERP?
ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) is a system that helps not only in centralizing all the business information but also assists in streamlining both front- and back-office processes. When we talk about an ERP, especially for the process manufacturing industry, in addition to all the basic functionalities of an ERP, it should be able to integrate and synchronize all the critical elements linked with production, warehouse management, shop floor, distribution management and CRM (customer relationship management).
A process manufacturing ERP must include features that benefit process manufacturers in minimizing wastage, providing optimized products with strict adherence to formulas or recipes, and having the capability to manage inventory capturing the expiration dates.
To make sure that the ERP solution you have selected provides all the requisite features for process manufacturing organizations, we suggest these ten key features that should be present in your checklist:
1. Supports Different Measurement Units
A process manufacturing ERP must support conversion between multiple units of measure throughout the purchase of materials, production, inventory management, order management, and in shipping processes so that you can purchase items in one unit of measure, maintain stock in another unit of measure, and use another unit of measure to sell the manufactured products. For example, a beverage manufacturer might indicate raw materials in grams for dry materials, or liters for liquid ingredients in the formula, but for purchasing the units could be different, like kilograms for dry etc. Further, for stocking and shipping, they may go for a different unit of measure, 1 L bottles, 500 ml bottles, etc.
2. Ability to Track and Trace Lots
Your ERP should be capable of providing end-to-end traceability, starting from the purchasing of raw materials till the completed product is available. This feature can help manufacturers in addressing probable issues or in product recall activity thereby saving potentially severe repercussions.
3. Cost Tracking
Depending on material properties, ERP software can track the cost of the ingredients and calculate the cost per unit of an item based on raw materials characteristics such as quantity used, waste products, costs associated with the special storage conditions required for sensitive material, etc.
4. Adaptability and Customization to New Formulas/Recipes
Your ERP system must support the creation of new/customized formulas, keep up with manufacturing directives of recipe/formula progress, and facilitate quality control tests.
5. Management of Co-Products and By-Products
Process manufacturing ERPs must have the capabilities of handling co-products and by-products. Co-products are desirable secondary products generated during the manufacturing process simultaneously because of product or process similarities. Whereas, by-products are residual products generated during the manufacturing process, which need to be recycled or disposed of at a cost. ERP for process manufacturers must have the functionality to help them efficiently manage, track, and account for the costs of these different types of outputs from a single production run, taking account of their on-hand quantities, localities, etc.
6. Supply Chain Optimization
One of the critical tasks of process manufacturing ERP software is supply chain optimization. The primary advantage of this feature is to maintain vendor relationships, it ensures the usage of good-quality materials for product generation at a reasonable price. Process manufacturing ERP also guarantees that the production and distribution of items are performed in an efficient and cost-effective manner.
7. Tracking of Shelf Life
In most of the process manufacturing procedures, after a given period, raw materials and products become unusable. Thus, it is extremely important that your ERP systems for Process Manufacturing has a ready-to-use built-in functionality for managing inventory based on expiry dates and generating notifications for materials approaching or past expiration.
8. Agile Production Support
An ERP for process manufacturing that supports agile production capabilities can assist manufacturers in planning ahead of time and adjusting plans as needed to increase efficiency and make the most of their equipment.
9. Safety of Trade Secrets
For trademarked or copyrighted products, inserting your component lists or recipes into a software system might seem risky at first. By taking advantage of ERP software, manufacturers can encrypt data for security reasons and can also encode distinct components in documents like the Bill of Materials.
10. Quality Management and market Compliance
Your process manufacturing ERP should have quality management capabilities to check for product quality. And, with constant updates in government rules and regulatory requirements, process manufacturers must remain in the foreground to avoid the likelihood of compliance issues. Also new and changing rules might be difficult to follow for manufacturers who serve various geographic locations. An ERP software should assist in the facilitation of product modifications as market tastes and laws change over time.
When looking for an ERP solution that fulfills the process manufacturing sector requirements, considering the above features will help you in finding a system that matches your industry requirements.
An industry vertical ERP solution with these features out-of-the-box can make a lot of difference to process manufacturers by assisting in attaining clarity throughout all the business operations, minimizing waste, and developing an efficient manufacturing system. RheinBrücke’s EPICProcess is a template ERP Solution for Process Manufacturing industry based on Epicor ERP for Manufacturers. It is an all-in-one robust software that aids in regulating tough manufacturing standards, demand forecasting, planning, scheduling, distribution of products, and maintaining the quality of recipe-based manufacturing.
Check out this video below to know about RheinBrücke’s Process Manufacturing Software which is the Best ERPfor Process Manufacturing industry.
Contact us to know more about EPICProcess for process manufacturing.