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6 Ways ERP Production Planning Helps Manufacturers

Few areas impact a manufacturer more than efficient production planning, and few tools are better for production planning than an enterprise resource planning solution (ERP). Manufacturers that use an ERP for industrial manufacturing can precisely analyze and juggle the variables that go into efficient production planning, and ERP for industrial product manufacturing is a cornerstone technology for a lean manufacturing methodology.

Production scheduling technology helps manufacturers track delivery dates, match jobs with machine and labor availability, and enable smooth production workflows so there is less waste, shopfloor downtime, and rush jobs.

Manufacturers that embrace a lean manufacturing methodology particularly rely on ERP, because ERP is an end-to-end backend system that enables a complete, real-time picture of a business for the deep analysis and constant adjustment that are central components of a lean manufacturing methodology.


How Production Planning Improves with ERP for Industrial Manufacturing

Let’s look at six of the most important ways that production planning is improved when a manufacturer uses an ERP for industrial manufacturing.

1. Reduces Downtime

Manufacturing downtime is inevitable thanks to unexpected equipment failures, electricity breakdowns, labor shortages, and the occasional lack of raw inputs needed for a production run. A lean manufacturing methodology tries to reduce the frequency of these stoppages, however, and manufacturers do so with the production planning functionality built into ERP for industrial manufacturing.

With ERP production planning functionality, manufacturers can automatically match sales orders with staffing needs, equipment repair schedules, and inventory management so scheduling is optimized to reduce or eliminate production downtime.

2. Prioritizes Jobs According to Need

Not all production runs are created equal. A manufacturer that makes custom parts, for instance, might have ordered both from a medical device manufacturer and a defense contractor. The medical device manufacturer needs its part now, while the defense contractor can wait.

The production planning functionality within ERP enables prioritization flags, so a manufacturer using an ERP for industrial product manufacturing can define the relative priority of a given order for more accurate scheduling that takes into account jobs that can wait and those that cannot.

3. Adjusts Workflows

Even with good scheduling, sometimes production schedules must change. A machine could unexpectedly break down, or a rush order could come in, or a key component in the supply chain could get slowed down due to a shipping delay in the Red Sea. Scheduling adjustments are a fact of life for manufacturers.

With ERP production planning functionality, however, the system can automatically adjust production schedules and alert both management and line workers when there is a need for an adjustment. Instead of manually taking a look at the schedule and making adjustments, ERP can do it for manufacturers automatically and deliver an optimally adjusted schedule in less time.

4. Enables Simulated A/B Testing

Another reason that manufacturers use ERP for industrial product manufacturing is easier production schedule A/B testing.

Constant operational improvements are a key part of a lean manufacturing methodology. Finding the right production plan is hard when done manually, and typically manufacturers will toy around with more efficient schedules through test runs. But with ERP, manufacturers can run simulated A/B test runs instead of actually having to try it out on the shop floor. This of course dramatically improves the speed of production planning optimization.

5. Cuts Down on Waste

When a manufacturer uses an ERP for industrial manufacturing, production planning can more accurately minimize materials waste.

During any manufacturing job, there will be a measure of materials waste from cutting, processing, and other activities that go into making the finished product. With ERP production planning functionality, however, this waste can be tracked precisely as a percentage of overall materials use, and it can be tied to the specific shop floor actions and raw material ordering criteria that create the waste. With this accurate picture of operations, ERP can then help suggest scheduling changes and shop floor adjustments that reduce or eliminate this waste.

6. Identifies the Most Important Details

During manufacturing production planning, some processes can be adjusted easily while others cannot. Optimized production planning requires understanding the key processes during manufacture, and how they all interrelate.

For instance, a beverage manufacturer can adjust the color or flavor of a product during production, but it can’t reverse a fermentation process. The order matters, in this case getting the fermentation right the first time.

With ERP production planning functionality, manufacturers can better manage and identify the key processes during production and make adjustments that ensure the correct order and sequencing at all times for optimal production without reruns. This can be done with manual planning, of course, but ERP is better able to manage the relationships and importance of each step in the overall production process.


Production Planning and a Lean Manufacturing Methodology Start with ERP

All but the smallest manufacturers rely on ERP for industrial manufacturing, and ERP helps with adherence to a lean manufacturing methodology.

It is easy to see why. Production planning benefits greatly from an end-to-end system that accounts for all the operational variables in an organization and can automatically recalculate production schedules and suggest optimal production arrangements based on real-time data.

To learn more about how ERP can help your manufacturing operation, contact one of our experienced ERP consultants at (801) 642-0123 or by writing us at info@nbs-us.com.

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