Process manufacturing can be defined as the production of goods that require a recipe or formula of ingredients. When the finished product is made, it cannot be taken apart to get back to the original raw materials. The types of products that fall into the process manufacturing niche include food and beverages, chemicals and paint, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, adhesives and sealants, pulp and paper, and life sciences.
More specifically, manufacturers that fall within the Process Manufacturing niche have the following unique characteristics:
- Recipe or formula based manufacturing; specify what ingredients, how much, and when they are introduced to the manufacturing process. Requires all parts in required quantities to make final product.
- Involves mixing, separating, forming.
- Raw materials price and quality are variable; may impact final product.
- Flexible manufacturing based on type, quality, and quantity of raw materials available.
- Production can result in multiple products with products, by-products and co-products.
- Industries are highly regulated with potential health and safety tracking requirements.
Organizations that are part of the process manufacturing industry have a unique set of requirements that must be considered in the evaluation of ERP solutions. As you review process manufacturing ERP software solutions make sure you focus on your key differentiators. Some process manufacturing key differentiators include:
- Optimize formulations or recipe based management; formulas, ingredients, quantities.
- Product constraints; cook times, tank capacities, packaging line speeds, formulations.
- Optimize raw material purchases based on variability and seasonality.
- Multiple units of measure that are flexible and convertible; specify conversion rules.
- Track changes in product characteristics as they move through the plant.
- Determine optimum mix of co and by-products based on production capability, storage capacity, shelf life, demand, and profit.
- Tracking of co and by products.
- Manage volume based capacity – tanks, silos, pipeline – to maximize production.
- Yield optimization.
- Regulate and monitor temperature.
- Cleaning and sanitizing processes.
- Specific regulatory requirements (FDA, etc.).
- Forward and backward lot traceability.
- Shelf life management.
- Packaging recipe that includes containers, labels, corrugated, shrink-wrap, etc.
Modern process manufacturing software solutions offer the following key benefits:
- Optimize supply, use, yields of raw materials.
- Manage and optimize operations, production processes, product quality, and costs.
- Data collection on the shop floor for asset optimization; software integrated to optimize manufacturing operations.
- Trace product failures or issues before product goes out the door to avoid recalls; and react quickly if one does occur.
- Connectivity to suppliers and customers.
- Inventory management; accuracy and reduce inventory levels.
- Manufacturing schedule compliance.
- Reliable compliance; respond to governmental standards for traceability, handling, tracking, recall of goods.
Although in some cases discrete manufacturing focused ERP software can work in a process environment, in most cases the requirements of the process industry demand process manufacturing specific ERP solutions.
For answers to specific questions regarding your software evaluation project, feel free to email or call us at (425) 216-4030.