What is Process Manufacturing?

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For someone like me who at one point was unfamiliar with the manufacturing industry, it may be confusing to understand that there is more than one branch of manufacturing that produces different types of products. One in particular is process manufacturing.  Process manufacturing is the production of goods in bulk that undergo techniques of being blended rather than being assembled (otherwise known as discrete manufacturing).  Some of the primary industries that would be considered process manufacturing include chemical, food, beverage, paint, cosmetics, and pharmaceutical.  Formulas and manufacturing recipes are involved with this particular branch of manufacturing, whereas discrete manufacturing would be concerned with bills of materials, routing and can be disassembled to return to its original parts.  An easier way to better understand the process is the key that once something is produced by this process, it cannot be returned back to its original element.  A prime example would be not being able to unscramble a scrambled egg.

Just like when preparing a meal from a recipe, there are certain measurements (such as tablespoon, cup, or fluid ounces) for your ingredients along with steps to undergo (such as baking or sautéing) to successfully have a finished dish.  The same concept exists for process manufacturing.  Formulas in manufacturing specifically state the ingredients and amounts that are necessary for the successful completion of a product.  With both instances, the recipes must be followed and measurements must correspond otherwise there will not be a successful conclusion.   In other words if a cake recipe calls for your cake to bake at 300º for 45 minutes and to speed up the process you choose to bake at 450º for 30 minutes, the outcome will be an overcooked cake!  The same goes for process manufacturing, if the measurements and recipe are not followed, the customer will not be satisfied with an unfinished product or the deadline not being met.

In process manufacturing, there is not only a recipe or formula for the preparation of the product, but also for the packaging of the product specific to customer orders.    This portion of the formula or recipe contains steps for filling the product to meet a finished goods order, such as 16 oz bottle with a cap and label.   The label could be branded to the customers’ private branding.   Although in process manufacturing, the products are usually created in bulk, the manufacturer may not deliver the product to the customer in the same way.  This bulk is usually kept in a tank or tote as an intermediate and then a fill ticket can be generated from the demand of a sales order.  The fill ticket is like a recipe or formula or even a bill of material to tell the picker how to package and ship the finished good.  If anything were to change in this process, there are ways to keep track of the recipes and formulas for future (long term) efficiency and effectiveness.   With process manufacturing, an important component to consider and keep in mind is that the formulas used must be organized, controlled and input in the computer.  A prominent question for the manufacturer to ask would be is the inventory being controlled as it should be?  Do I know how much raw material or finished goods I lost in processing or filling?  Inventory control and costing is a key component for process manufacturers to truly understand profitability by finished good.

Needing to see the physical properties, inventory costs, labor costs, containerization, quality of the raw materials and finished goods is critical to product development process all the way through to the final production management.  Process manufacturers should also maintain the aim to meet the requirements for customer satisfaction.  All these things would be factors of an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system which would consolidate all business operations into a uniform and enterprise-wide system environment.  In other words, with ERP, a manufacturer can successfully in one system control and manage the customer relationship management , manufacturing, supply chain management, financials, project management, human resources, data services and access control.  A cost effective way to implement the ERP software would be to hire outside consultants (solution suppliers) who are professionally and adequately trained to implement these systems which are at times considered to be too complex for someone to handle in-house such as the developer on site.  Let’s say there may be a question on the implementation or the ERP system or software in general that someone without the proper credentials within the company couldn’t answer; having a solution provider to rely on would prevent any potential unanswered questions or concerns to cause future problems.  Another option would be to implement your ERP in phases.  A good consulting firm with experience in your industry can advise you on the best options and priorities for your company.

I have listed a few of our product lines that are tried and true for the process manufacturer that use the Microsoft Dynamics GP Financials and Supply Chain.

Here at Custom Information Services, we are a Microsoft Dynamics GP reseller in North Texas and have specialized in selling and implementing network services, manufacturing and accounting software to mid-sized companies for over 20 years.

For more information on process manufacturing and the solutions available for ERP, contact Brittany Meeks with Custom Information Services at (817) 640-0016 x 124 or email at bmeeks@customis.com.

by Custom Information Services

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