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Discrete Manufacturing ERP Software

MRP or Manufacturing Resource Planning - Image showing car manufacturing warehouse
Corinne Boyd

By Corinne Boyd Digital Marketing Manager, Updated 17 May 2017

Every step of the manufacturing of distinct, finished products – discrete manufacturing - has challenges associated with control and visibility. This article explains how discrete manufacturing ERP software can improve the processes of manufacturers, and reveals the best solutions for discrete manufacturing.

A crucial part of a discrete manufacturer’s processes is supply chain management, the supervision of materials, information and finances as they move from each section of the supply chain: supplier, manufacturer, wholesaler, retailer and consumer. The main objective of successful SCM is to reduce inventory, which can be costly to hold. In order to do this, a company needs to reduce demand variability, order sizes, manufacturing lot sizes, supplier and manufacturing lead times, and the number of items. Transparency into suppliers’ systems is also essential for discrete manufacturers.

Planning and documenting every step of manufacturing is necessary for jobs to be estimated and tracked, and reports need to be made to track the process plan for every product. Every subassembly needs a list of raw materials and components and the quantities of each, a bill of materials, assigned to it. The workload of each worker and machine has to be managed as well.

Discrete manufactures frequently have to deal with engineering changes, which have an effect on time and cost per unit. One change in the schedule can have an effect on the entire business’s operations, and without an integrated system to take care of this, this can cause an organisation a lot of problems. 

How does ERP Software help discrete manufacturing?

Discrete manufacturers often turn to Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software for a way to automate and sustain all of its processes, both administrative and operational. An integrated solution can solve a lot of problems by having the same system manage the enterprise at once. Discrete manufacturing ERP software can increase the efficiency of supply chain management by integrating order status, supplier inventory, current pricing, order entry and payment.

ERP can use data on each product to generate planning reports, so the development of the process plans can be tracked. ERP software also aids the make/buy process by applying job estimating to sub-assemblies to assess whether components should be made or bought. Some systems can factor in the time to build and buy, as well as the price. As part of the make/buy process, each sub-assembly can also be assigned a bill of materials. This informs make/buy decisions by providing up-to-date market prices for material and labour for each product and production run. The accuracy of bills of materials can be guaranteed from having them made directly from orders.

ERP allows the workload of workers and machines to be adjusted, streamlining your processes. Workloads can be customised in order to suit the strengths and weaknesses of different workers, and to reduce the usage of the most expensive machines and equipment to operate. The software can also track engineering changes and their effect on the company’s production schedule.

Discrete manufacturers often serialise products, which can be managed by ERP software. Serial numbers can be linked to each product. If the products are certified, discrete manufacturing ERP software can deliver compliance reports for the certification authority. It can also make sure the certification’s conditions are imposed.

Some of the Best Discrete Manufacturing ERP Software

Microsoft Dynamics NAV Discrete Manufacturing ERP Software logo

This ERP suite, Microsoft Dynamics NAV, is perfectly suited for mid-sized businesses, and offers specialised functionality for the manufacturing industry, including applications for manufacturing, financial management, project management, human resources management, sales and marketing, service management, supply chain management and business intelligence. One of its key strengths is its high customisability, which can suit a variety of specific markets.

Exact Discrete Manufacturing ERP Software logo

This discrete manufacturing ERP software is popular amongst small to mid-sized job shops. Exact MAX allows for sales quoting, order and job creation, job scheduling, material requirements planning and manufacturing execution. MAX has its own accounting module, but is very convenient for customers using Quickbooks, which just as easily integrates with the software. When considering how complete a manufacturing execution system it is, the pricing is very affordable.

SAP Business One Discrete Manufacturing ERP Software logo

An enterprise-class system that allows clients to integrate their manufacturing functions and ensure visibility through all processes. Its features include material requirements planning, manufacturing execution, financials, product life-cycle management, supply chain management, supplier and asset management, human resources, customer management and business intelligence. Each solution is also available as a stand-alone system. One benefit of SAP Business One is its effortless integration with other SAP products.

Epicor Discrete Manufacturing ERP Software

A fully-integrated system with extensive performance for accounting, inventory control, pre-production materials planning and manufacturing execution. Epicor can be implemented either on premise, hosted, or as cloud-based Software as a Service. They are especially suited to discrete manufacturers by offering additional models for supply chain management, product lifestyle management, business performance management, customer relationship management and quality performance management. There is a choice of deploying it in a single site or across multiple sites. Its focus is on discrete manufacturing, and as a result is more popular amongst discrete than process manufacturers.

E2 Shop System Discrete Manufacturing ERP Software

Conceived with job shops, contract and make-to-order manufacturers in mind, E2 Shop System streamlines estimating to create quotes and complex estimates on various aspects of production, which can immediately be turned into orders. Shipping labels and packing slips can automatically be created. Shipments can then be tracked online. E2 has a materials management module which regulates all parts and components, finding the best prices and keeping the business’s purchase needs balanced with its orders.

Global Shop Solutions Discrete Manufacturing ERP Software

This solution’s selling point is its proprietary feature, the Global Application Builder, which permits a virtually unlimited ability to customise. This means that the software can be suited to a business of any kind, regardless of workflow and requirements. The software tool is built directly into the software, so a user can build whatever application they need if there isn’t a suitable one available. Global Shop Solutions is scalable, so any size of business can be accommodated.

 EnterpriseIQ Discrete Manufacturing ERP Software

This system was designed with discrete and repetitive manufacturers in the aerospace, medical devices, automotive, consumer products, plastics, rubber, metal and packaging industries. One useful feature of EnterpriseIQ is its mobile app, which lets users access the system remotely from a wireless device.

If you’re interested in finding discrete manufacturing ERP software, you still have to overcome the difficulty of considering every factor to find the solution that suits you the best. If you let Software Advisory Service help you, our team of experts can provide you with a shortlist of potential partners who can offer ideal software for your business, no matter what the size, list of requirements or type of business it is. Our service is impartial and completely non-chargeable. Just fill in our form and we’ll get back to you.

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