Discrete vs Process Manufacturing – Which is the Best Fit for Dynamics GP?

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Can Dynamics GP be used to record and report on manufacturing activities?

Of course it can.

Before we can tell you how to configure it best, though, we need to know if your company has discrete manufacturing requirements or process manufacturing requirements.


What’s the difference between discrete and process manufacturing?  If you already know the answer, or don't care to learn, then please skip ahead to Dynamics GP Starter vs Extended Pack.  For the rest of you:

Discrete manufacturing would be something where all components are fairly fixed.  Making a chair for example.  When I make a chair I need four legs, I need a seat, I need a back and I need the struts that go between all of the legs.  I also have a certain set of tasks that I need to follow every time.  I stand up the legs, attach them to the seat, and attach that to the back of the chair.  The finished chair is put into stock.  I'm consistently using the same amount of wood, plus or minus a certain amount for scrap.  There is a standard set of tasks that I have to do to send the product down the line and each task has a standard amount of time it should take.  That is a very simplified example for discrete manufacturing.


Process manufacturing is anything with that uses a recipe or formula.  Usually, any company that makes food, beverages, or chemical based products would be great fits for a process manufacturing system.  There are other types of industries that fit the mold as well, like fishing or butchery.  Basically, anything that has a core recipe that can be packaged different ways would be well suited for a process manufacturing system.  One of our favourite examples is craft beer.  A craft brewer can brew a batch of bright beer and then package the batch in bottles, cans, or kegs.  The bottles and cans can be further packaged into cases of 6, 12, or 24.


  • Microsoft Dynamics GP, out of the box, is a good fit for discrete manufacturers.  In more complex environments, the Extended Pack can be added for Advanced Manufacturing.
  • Microsoft Dynamics GP with Vicinity Manufacturing is a great system for process manufacturers.
  • For craft brewers, we actually recommend our Brew it Forward solution which includes VicinityBrew, a custom manufacturing system designed for craft brewers’ unique needs.


Dynamics GP Starter vs Extended Pack


The Dynamics GP Starter pack includes “Assembly Bill of Materials” in the inventory module.  With assembly BOM’s, you can create a bill of materials for each manufactured product.  Overheads, scrap, and other costs to be absorbed by the product can be included by using Miscellaneous items in Inventory.


The Extended Pack includes the Advanced Manufacturing module.  With the Extended pack,  you can actually have multiple BOM’s and routings per manufactured product.  Dynamics GP Advanced Manufacturing also manages overheads, scrap, and other absorbed costs as part of the Routing Setup.  The Advanced Manufacturing module also allows for configured BOM’s.  (Where the product is manufactured based on options selected by the customer at time of purchase – like what size of tires you want on your car.)


Neither Assembly BOM’s nor Advanced Manufacturing handles things like yield loss very well, though.  (When a company mixes a recipe or formula there is a certain amount that always sticks to the vat, that is essentially yield loss.)  Neither does either module handle multi-product BOM’s. (Where 1 BOM and Routing produce multiple finished products...like when a pig becomes ham, ribs, and pork chops!)  These are requirements of process manufacturing that are best handled by Vicinity Manufacturing.


Knowing details like this is very important when you are evaluating Dynamics GP for manufacturing.


Discrete Manufacturing with Dynamics GP – not just for traditional manufacturers


We have a Dynamics GP client that does photo packages for schools and sports teams.  People don’t generally think of this as a manufacturing company but their process fits really nicely within the Dynamic GP definition of a discreye manufacturing process.


As I am sure someone in your family has experienced, the photographer goes to the school or sporting facility and takes the pictures.  (That step is more of a job cost and this company is using Dynamics GP Project Accounting to track that element.)  Then they put the digital files onto their network.  They take those digital files, and based on the package being ordered by the customer, it goes through the printing, cutting and packaging process.  All the pictures need to be printed onto the correct piece of paper, the paper and ink are being consumed based on a standard.  They have a cutting process and there is scrap to deal with. The photos are packaged into an envelope with some cardboard for support and at that point it's ready to be picked, packed, and distributed back to the school.  So it really is a custom manufacturing process, and it fits nicely within the Dynamics GP manufacturing module.


Process Manufacturing with Microsoft Dynamics GP and Vicinity


One of our Dynamics GP manufacturing customers blends custom lubricants. They have huge vats of the different chemicals and lubricants that go into each of their blends.  They need to worry about things like specific gravity and if a product will move from one vat to the next to the next as it moves through its mixing cycles.  They need to worry about volume as well as count, so how many liters went into these 25 barrels.  In this customer’s case, 1 product could be processed through the factory via multiple routes depending how much is to be produced and what else is currently being mixed.


Vicinity Scheduler allows production planners to plan the manufacturing of products based on the core formula.  For example, where the same formula is packaged for multiple customers.  Since the routings can include setup and cleanup times, the scheduler also allows the planner to quickly see which blenders and mixers are available everywhere.  Vicinity also handles the conversion from liters of formula to barrels of product really well as part of its packaging process.


Manufacturing with Dynamics GP from Briware


If you are a manufacturing company, either discrete or process, we would like to help you evaluate Microsoft Dynamics GP.  With the work we have done with other manufacturing companies, I know the we can meet your needs and exceed your expectations. Contact us at 844-BRIWARE or rod@briwaresolutions.com.


By Briware Solutions, www.briwaresolutions.com


Follow me on Twitter: @Briware_Rod


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