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"ProcessPro® Premier is proud to be the leading ERP software for the
process manufacturing industry. ProcessPro® Premier seamlessly integrates all aspects of your
plant operation, from beginning order entry through manufacturing, packaging, shipping and accounting."
Source: ProcessPro software
Process versus Discrete ERP Systems
Process and discrete ERP
is also known as :
Process ERP Systems
Discrete ERP Systems
Manufacturing Software Process Discrete
Definition Process Manufacturing
Manufacturing Process Needs
Process Software System
Process Bill of Material
Discrete Software Package
Demonstrations Discrete Software Packages
Discrete Bill of Material Lists Products
ERP Qualification and Systems Selection
Batch Process Manufacturing
Discrete vs Process Manufacturing
Enterprise Resource Planning Systems
ERP Manufacturing Process Software
ERP Systems for Manufacturing
Lean Manufacturing Process
Lean Manufacturing Processes
Lean Process Manufacturing
Manufacturing Business Software
Manufacturing Control Process
Manufacturing ERP System
Manufacturing Inventory Control Software
Manufacturing Optimization Process
8 Questions to Ask When Searching for Software
Sorting out the differences between the two main types of manufacturing software can be
mind boggling for companies when searching for an ERP system. Companies can mistakenly
purchase the wrong ERP system causing headache and a significant loss of revenue. Avoid
the pitfalls of making the wrong decision by using this checklist to help you determine
the software that best fits your manufacturing process.
As a manufacturing company grows, so do its challenges...
As a manufacturing company grows from small scale production to a full-sized
manufacturing operation, management challenges grow along with it. Many businesses
start out using simple accounting systems and spreadsheets, but soon need a more
advanced management tool that allows for automation and integration of the many
different business and manufacturing processes. The challenge for corporations as
they begin looking at software options is in understanding the differences between
the two main types of manufacturing software: process and discrete.
Companies that have limited information, especially small ones, start looking for
software under the most basic parameters: usually budget. Because smaller companies
don't have the capital that larger companies do, they often eliminate more expensive
software systems without understanding the potential consequences. Discrete manufacturing
software systems are often less expensive than process systems, and it's common for
manufacturing companies to make the mistake of buying a discrete software package when
it is most likely unable to address their unique business challenges.
Another challenge in understanding software system differences is that discrete and
process manufacturing systems look similar in several respects. They both have a general
ledger, accounts payable, accounts receivable, bank reconciliation, sales orders, purchase
orders, and distribution features. They also commonly have an inventory system and bills of
material; they are, however, very different.
Further compounding the problem, demonstrations of discrete software packages may at times present
only portions of the software functionality, leading the viewer to believe that the system has all
the needed operation capabilities. For example, the demonstration may only show how the system can
use raw materials and create finished goods, and leave out the multiple levels of creating a finished
good that are often needed for process manufacturing. Demonstrations of a discrete package often leave
out information pertaining to laboratory research and development, quality assurance, or compliance
reporting because discrete software typically isn't capable of those functions. Demonstrations may
show how products can be created in "gallons" or "liters" but fail to demonstrate any type of measurement conversions.
Discrete manufacturing varies from Process Manufacturing. In discrete manufacturing,
the manufacturing floor works off orders to build something. Examples include
toys, medical equipment, computers and cars. The resulting products are easily
identifiable. In process manufacturing, the products are undifferentiated, for example
oil, natural gas and salt.
To succeed, the software system must meet specific operational requirements.
One of two things happen after a manufacturer buys the wrong software package:
the company either has to change its manufacturing process to fit the software or
it has to pay for extensive modifications to make the software work - or sometimes
both! Either way, the manufacturer gets the short end of the deal, and it's usually very costly.
Avoiding this pitfall starts with obtaining the right information and selection
criteria. The American Production and Inventory Control Society (APICS) defines
discrete manufacturing as "The production of distinct items such as automobiles,
appliances, or computers." Discrete packages may not manufacture food well and may
not accommodate recipes and/or formulas properly. Extended utilities in the system may
not work well to distinguish measurements in a formula versus measurements in eaches.
Process manufacturing, on the other hand, is defined as "Production that adds value by
mixing, separating, forming, and/or performing chemical reactions. It may be done in either
batch or continuous mode." Some examples of products that are derived from a process mode
of manufacturing include food, beverages, paints, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and dietary supplements.
Process manufacturing is the branch of manufacturing that is
associated with formulas and manufacturing recipes, and can be contrasted with
discrete manufacturing, which is concerned with bills of material and routing.
The simplest and easiest way to grasp the definition of process
manufacturing is to recognize that, once an output is produced by this
process, it cannot be distilled back to its basic components. In other
words, "once you put it together, you cannot take it apart". A can of soda
cannot be returned to its basic components such as carbonated water, citric
acid, potassium benzoate, aspartame, and other ingredients. Juice cannot be put back
into an orange. A car or computer, on the other hand, can be disassembled and its components,
to a large extent, returned to stock. Process manufacturing is common in the food, beverage,
chemical, pharmaceutical, consumer packaged goods, and biotechnology industries.
That should make things a little more clear, but there are a
few more questions you can ask to make absolute certain that
you are buying the right software system. Answer the following
eight "either-or/yes-no" questions to help you determine
which type of software best fits your manufacturing
1. Am I assembling a bike or a mixing a batch of soup?
Well, maybe not literally, but it is important to understand
the difference between these two concepts. If you are
making an item that is put together in pieces, such as a bike,
you can use discrete software. A bike is an assembled item,
made in "eaches"; it could be taken apart and all the pieces
can be put back into the bin they came from. On the other
hand, if you are making a can of soup or something "gooey"
made through a process, you will need process manufacturing
software. Materials that go through a chemical change,
such as cooking, mixing, blending, encapsulating, or tableting
will result in a new product that resembles nothing of the
original materials that went into it. In other words, it cannot
be taken apart and put back on the shelf.
2. Do I need serial numbers or lot numbers?
Manufacturers building the bike or other discrete
items may need serial numbers on their parts and products.
Manufacturers of food, beverage, cosmetic, or dietary
supplement products, on the other hand, need lot numbers.
Lot numbers are critical for lot traceability should a product
recall become necessary. Serial numbers are allocated
through a discrete software system, and lot numbers through
a process software system.
3. Can I reduce batch sizes without halting production?
Think about what would happen if you're producing
a bike and you suddenly run out of bike chains. Production
stops. You can't have a bike without a chain. On the other
hand, if you are making soup and you run low on potatoes,
you can reduce the size of your batch, or if you run out of
potatoes completely, you can switch to another type of soup
production that uses similar ingredients. Process manufacturing
software allows manufacturers to manipulate their
batch sizes based on material inventory, which discrete systems
typically cannot do.
4. Am I counting individual units, or are my units measureable
by weight and volume?
Upon reaching completion of a product, the next step
in the process is to proceed on to packaging. The label on
the packaging indicates what is inside the package. In a discrete
manufacturing system, there will be one final product in
the end that goes into a package. Using our bike as an example,
the label would indicate that there is one bike in the box.
Conversely, labeling for a processed product will include a
list of ingredients for weight percentage. Soup, for example,
will not just be labeled soup, but will have all the ingredients
listed in order by volume. Or, in the case of a manufactured
chemical product such as paint, Material Safety Data Sheets
also require percent calculations. Such calculations are
figured automatically with a process manufacturing software
5. Does my bill of material need to display formulas and
recipes, or products listed in eaches?
A discrete bill of material lists products or parts needed
to complete construction in eaches. If you are making one
bike you will need exactly 1 chain, 2 tires, and 2 foot pedals.
A process bill of material (also called formulas), however, is
quite complex. There are often multiple levels in one BOM
based on what types of materials and/or products go into a
final product. Manufacturing BOM's also need to be editable
based on material availability, quality control, scheduling
availability, and type of packaging. This BOM complexity
is only available through a process manufacturing software
6. Do I need unit of measure conversions?
If not, a discrete system may be adequate. Measurement
conversions are needed regularly in the process manufacturing
industry. Companies purchase raw materials and
products in one unit, stock in a different unit, and formulate
production in yet another unit. Conversions are sometimes
needed based on batch size; and conversions between standard
measurement and metric may also be needed. A discrete
software system does not have the flexibility needed to
convert materials to match the required quantity. A process
system performs these types of conversions automatically.
7. Do I need a system that will track research and development?
In most cases, discrete manufacturers will not be
tracking any type of research and development. On the
contrary, the formulas of a process manufacturer are core to
the company function. One soup product may have had 100
different recipes before the final product was complete. A
process software system tracks all of the different formulas
and formula revisions, plus it allows formulators to make
changes and analyze the outcomes. Lastly, because formulas
are the vital piece of a manufacturing company, they need
protection. A complete software system will provide security
through various user defined security settings.
8. Do I need quality control and quarantine capabilities?
Again, if not, a discrete system will likely be adequate.
Typically in a process manufacturing scenario, some
type of quality control testing is done on raw materials in
processed items and unfinished goods. Materials often enter
the system in a quarantine status and are not released until
they pass the required quality control tests. Tracking each
material can be quite complicated. This type of quarantine
management is automatically controlled through a process
manufacturing software system. Consistency is also key to
product success. The quality control of this type of system
also contributes to batch consistency and producing the same
final product each time the process is run. Additionally, a
process system allows QC results to be brought into the system
and allows users quick access to QC and lot information.
Evaluate Your Results
How did you answer each question? More importantly,
how did your list of potential ERP software options
change? Eliminating software packages early in your selection
process that are not designed for your business will enable
a more efficient and successful ERP selection. Choosing
and investing in the appropriate software will provide the
right tools to address your business challenges, save significant
costs in software modifications, and provide a much
better return on your investment.
-- Tim Sands, Business Development Lead,
About the Author
Tim's experience includes nearly 20 years in the sales and consulting field.
His business development experience in the process manufacturing industry includes
ERP qualification and systems selection. Tim's involvement in the process manufacturing
industry includes several associations including Natural Products Association, Organic
Trade Association, Private Label Manufacturers Association and more. Currently, Tim manages
the Business Development Department for ProcessPro, developers of ProcessPro® Premier ERP
software. Tim's primary focus is working with manufacturers in the process manufacturing
industry and specifically manufacturers with GMP and FDA requirements.
About ProcessPro® Premier
ProcessPro® Premier is proud to be the leading ERP software for the
highly-regulated process industry. Excelling in the small to mid-sized market,
ProcessPro® Premier provides an affordable solution to those who must adhere to
strict QC and government regulations including FDA, cGMP, 21CFR Part11, Bioterrorism,
HAACP, and more. ProcessPro® Premier seamlessly integrates all aspects of plant operations,
from beginning order entry through manufacturing, packaging, shipping, and accounting.
This fully-integrated, real-time solution rises above other industry software in production
capabilities, financial integration, user interface, system functionality, flexibility and more.
ProcessPro® Premier is available with full source code and can be customized to fit your organization's
unique business needs. For more information, visit www.ProcessProERP.com.
Many accounting systems with MRP or ERP modules as options do not have the true functionality
needed for process manufacturing. ProcessPro® Premier is one of the truly vertical packages
available for process manufacturing for any of the process markets: food/beverage, pharmaceutical/nutraceutical,
chemical/inks/coatings, and cosmetics/personal care.
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Process manufacturing. (2010, January 14). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 17:30, January 19, 2010, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Process_manufacturing&oldid=337813962
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