What is Discrete Manufacuturing?
Questions about ERP and Industry
Discrete Manufacturing is the production of separate and distinct products. In contrast, Process Manufacturing produces mixed products that cannot be broken back down into raw materials. In Discrete Manufacturing, parts may be assemblies or finished goods like appliances, communication equipment, electronics, vehicles, apparel, medical devices, and household items that can be touched and counted.
Each of these situations would apply to a Discrete Manufacturer:
- You produce and measure in quantities of “Each.”
- You need a Bill of Material (BOM)
- Your process involves assembling, fixing, attaching.
- You do not alter physical properties (like density, volume, and mass)
ERP solutions for Discrete Manufacturing processes are different from those for Process Manufacturing applications due to the above factors. Because the production method for Discrete Manufacturing is so divergent from products made in batches (like paint, medication, cosmetics), you need different features in an ERP to manage the business effectively. The following is an ERP features list that applies to Discrete Manufacturing.
Engineering Change Controls:
As you innovate and respond to customer requests to change, it’s critical to control document flow and make changes to routers and bills of materials everywhere. Many discrete manufacturers choose to become ISO certified and Engineering Change Control features to enhance your ability to comply with requirements.
You must track and report quality on raw material (inventory parts) from vendors, manufactured items, and existing inventory. No matter where you discover a defective part, you need a system that can help identify reasons and respond appropriately to reduce the cost of quality.
Supply & Demand Inventory Control:
It’s essential to monitor the supply of parts and the demand for these same parts and keep them in balance to control inventory costs. For raw materials, your supply comes from vendors, and your demand is driven by work orders that consume those materials. ERP systems should track supply and demand on one screen. They should likewise have an MRP interface to show when the material arrives and when needed so that the timing works out well.
Discrete manufacturing processes depend on inventory availability, labor availability, and the overall hours a manufacturer is open and running. ERP systems for Discrete Manufacturing calculate to determine limiting factors and forecast job completion. Your schedulers need the right tools to see the problems coming up and react to them. They need ERP scheduling to reduce lead times and be on time with deliveries.
If you’re looking for an ERP system for a discrete manufacturing environment, only consider solutions tailored to this kind of process. You’ll need the above list of features, plus more, to be competitive in the global marketplace for discrete goods.