How quality ERP technology can improve inventory control operations

 

Inventory control is among the most pressing matters for businesses across all sectors – and for good reason. Both overstocking and understocking can create significant issues that hamstring shop floor operations and drag down the bottom line.

Countless organizations have begun investing in internet of things devices and other advanced technologies in an effort to streamline inventory control processes and reduce the likelihood of stocking mishaps. For instance, an estimated 80 percent of retail companies purchased so-called visibility platforms in 2018 to bolster their stocking strategies, the International Data Corporation found.

While these new tools can certainly make an impact, one long-standing tool that can support inventory management optimization at scale is an enterprise resource planning solution.

The original visibility platform, the ERP system gives enterprises the power to take control of their warehouses and implement inventory management strategies that both lay the groundwork for significant cost savings and facilitate the responsive stocking methodologies needed to keep production moving and customers happy.

Here are some of the ways ERP technology can improve inventory control operations:

Real-time inventory tracking
Inventory monitoring is a major problem for many companies, especially for those that attempt to use antiquated processes to track items spread across multiple sites. This ineffective strategy often leaves organizational stakeholders blind to the actual state of the stockroom.

ERP platforms, on the other hand, allow inventory management teams to track every consequential unit, from shop floor output to the spare parts used for maintenance operations, in real-time, according to IT Toolbox.

In-the-moment stockroom control
Businesses without up-to-the-minute insight into their inventories are often slow to identify and address stocking trends that damage the bottom line. Conversely, those with access to ERP technology can view outbound and inbound shipments as they progress through the supply chain, pinpoint potential inventory control issues and make adjustments to avoid financial repercussions, ERP Focus reported.

With this technology in place, enterprises do not have to wait for quarterly reports to make money-saving inventory adjustments.

Operational improvement monitoring
Many modern companies are pursuing continuous improvement as part of larger lean operational methodologies. This sort of work requires consistent goal-setting, stringent tracking and on-the-ground adherence. Unfortunately, it is all too easy to fall behind on these efforts as they relate to inventory management without a tool for overseeing improvement.

ERP platforms can facilitate such activities, allowing businesses to configure targets and track progress through automated data flows, according to IT Toolbox.

Together, the inventory management advantages that come with ERP implementation are too good to pass up.

Here at Accent Software, we help businesses reap these benefits. As a certified Microsoft Business Solutions partner, we provide vendor-vetted Microsoft Dynamics NAV implementation services, which allow companies across all sectors to adopt quality ERP software designed to bolster inventory operations.

Connect with us today to learn more about our products and services.

How ERP solutions help solve modern inventory challenges

Inventory management is no easy task nowadays. Changing consumer trends and shrinking delivery windows complicate warehouse operations, stretching traditional fulfillment workflows to their limits and, in some cases, catalyzing complete dysfunction. Businesses can avoid both of these costly outcomes by implementing enterprise resource planning solutions. These platforms facilitate optimal operational visibility and give warehouse staff the power to effectively address key inventory challenges that materialize when legacy processes meet the modern marketplace. Here are some of the common inventory management issues ERP platforms can help solve:

Inventory inaccuracy
Today, enterprises must achieve a delicate stocking balance. They need enough product to meet demand but not so much that items take up space for extended periods of time and drain resources. Sadly, many organizations fail in this regard, according to Industry Week. Some of these firms run out of product when demand nears its peak, while others maintain larger-than-required stocks that decrease cash flow. ERP solutions can easily prevent both of these outcomes, lending operations staff the visibility they need to manage stock and create seasonal forecasts for future use.

Ineffective performance measurement
Businesses must emphasize continuous improvement to remain competitive, as consumers are more demanding than ever. Unfortunately, most legacy warehouse management processes do not support the data collection workflows needed to track metrics like customer satisfaction and warehouse efficiency, according to Entrepreneur. Without this information in hand, operational stakeholders cannot see baseline performance measures and develop effective improvement strategies, should they be required. ERP platforms solve this problem, giving organizations the power to collect data of all kinds, from customer feedback to raw order intake and shipping numbers.

ERP platforms can solve key inventory management challenges.ERP platforms can solve key inventory management challenges.

Antiquated backend tools
Established backend systems like Microsoft Excel continue to see widespread use across enterprises in myriad industries – and for good reason. These tools have proven themselves reliable, buttressing critical internal workflows for decades. However, the golden era for these once-reliable legacy assets is coming to a close due to the rise of industrial automation. Spending on cutting-edge automated technology such as robotic production equipment continues to grow, according to the International Data Corporation. At the same time, businesses are streamlining backend processes to match these advanced fixtures, as human-driven administrative and data-entry workflows are no longer viable.

While most companies are not yet in the position to fully embrace automation, they can prepare for the future and bolster efficiency by swapping spreadsheet-generation software for ERP platforms, according to TechTarget. These solutions allow shipping and receiving leaders to automate data collection and entry processes. This makes it easier to transition to fully automated workflows down the line while improving operations in the short term.

Vendor relationship problems
Collaborating effectively with vendors is now more important than ever. Apart from monolithic entities like Amazon, businesses cannot capably run their operations without external assistance. As a result, maintaining good relationships with third-party collaborators is absolutely essential. However, many firms struggle in this area due to the presence of ineffective internal processes or simple incompetence. This creates immense risk, as vendors could simply pull out of existing contracts to focus on more reliable, profitable and sustainable clients. 

ERP solutions can address this issue, providing streamlined communication channels that make it easier to stay in sync with vital business partners, according to IT Toolbox.  

Does your organization need assistance solving some of these common inventory challenges? Connect with Accent Software today. As a Microsoft Business Solutions Partner, we have been providing vendor-vetted Dynamics NAV ERP implementation services for over 15 years. Contact us to schedule a consultation and see what our seasoned implementation specialists can do for your business.

Learning from failure: 3 ERP disasters every adopter should understand

Implementing an enterprise resource planning platform is no easy task. In fact, more than half of all ERP implementation projects fail to meet fundamental objectives, according to research from Gartner published by Deloitte. However, this does not mean prospective adopters should discontinue their efforts to modernize internal workflows via new ERP solutions. These cutting-edge systems have the power to catalyze true transformation across the organization, facilitating accurate, data-backed processes with bottom line-building potential.

That said, firms embarking on the ERP implementation journey should keep that admittedly scary statistic in mind and familiarize themselves with some of its most notable data points. Here are five ERP disasters every adopter should know and understand:

Hewlett-Packard
By June 2004, Hewlett-Packard had successfully centralized and updated 34 of the 35 ERP systems bolstering its global operations, according to the International Data Group. The computing giant was on track to transition the final platform when major issues materialized, disrupting business operations in the Americas Region for six weeks – double the planned disruption period. HP experienced immediate repercussions as order fulfillment times lagged and customers complained. On top of that, third-quarter earnings came in below projected levels, creating further turmoil within the organization. Former CEO Carly Fiorina ultimately removed three members of the management team who oversaw the division responsible for the Q3 dip, which amounted to roughly $400 million. The failed ERP transition, while not directly related to the drop, helped color the situation – another internal misstep with serious fiscal implications.

What went wrong? According to former HP Chief Information Officer Gilles Bouchard, the HP ERP implementation team was to blame. Bouchard said three key issues came to the fore. One, stakeholders within the cross-functional group had trouble collaborating across silos. Secondly, established data integration processes broke down due to ineffective manual input practices on the HP side. Finally, increased demand pressurized the situation and led to unintended operational problems.

In the wake of this episode, Bouchard conducted an internal survey to further explore the ERP implementation failure and search workable solutions that might yield success in future enterprise information technology efforts. The CIO found that more collaborative business processes were required when combining disparate systems into one central platform.

"When you consolidate, by definition, there's a lot more interdependencies," Bouchard told IDG. "When everybody's got their own ERP [system], they can all work within their own silos. Now there's a lot more commonality and a lot more sharing, and a lot of learning in terms of program management."

ERP adopters can find success by evaluating historic implementation failures.ERP adopters can find success by evaluating historic implementation failures.

Lumber Liquidators
In August 2010, Lumber Liquidators completed the final stage of a significant ERP overhaul, IDG reported. This late push bookended a seemingly successful implementation project, as stakeholders put the finishing touches on up-to-date point-of-sale, inventory and warehouse management modules made for the modern marketplace. However, these new systems failed to stoke fiscal gains. In fact, the company saw a 45 percent decrease in net income over Q3. Why? Employee productivity plummeted.

Production teams left at least $12 million in unrealized net sales on the table, as they struggled to adapt to the new workflows that accompanied the recently-implemented ERP. System analysts watching the situation unfold immediately recognized the problem: Lumber Liquidators and its solutions partner SAP had not done enough to engage employees about the new platform, according to the ERP advisement firm Panorama Consulting Solutions. Without proper IT training or guidance, personnel on the ground simply side-stepped the system and returned to older methods, ultimately slowing production.

Unlike HP, Lumber Liquidators was not willing to accept all of the blame and argued that SAP was partially responsible for their Q3 losses. However, the materials supplier never took its complaint to the court of law, a common tactic for ERP adopters that link flagging sales to vendor shortcomings.

Nike
Back in 2000, Nike oversaw an ERP disaster of truly epic proportions, CIO reported. The athletic clothing company partnered with i2 Technologies, which merged with JDA Software in 2009, to design and implement an industry-leading solution that would help automat its backend ordering processes and forecast market demand for some of its key product lines, including the Jordan Brand shoes. Trouble began soon after the live launch, when a software glitch resulted in skewed factory orders. Nike ended up flooding the market with low-performing Air Garnett sneakers, while leaving sellers short thousands of pairs of in-demand Jordan models. The company took considerable losses as a result, incurring $100 million in lost sales and suffering a stock price drop of 20 percent.

"For the people who follow this sort of thing, we became a poster child [for failed implementations]," Roland Wolfram, former vice president of global operations for Nike, told CIO.

Nike placed the blame squarely on i2 Technologies, contending that the company's flawed software was the root cause of the supply chain breakdown. On top of that, the clothes company claimed the software provider could have easily addressed the issues, which resulted in sluggish integration and failed ordering operations. However, those on the outside looking in believed Nike shared some of the responsibility. The i2 Technologies solution accounted for just 10 percent of a $400 million supply chain overhaul that seemed overly ambitious from the start, according to CNET. The company wanted to consolidate a client relationship management system, an ERP and supply chain tools into a single functioning system, CIO reported. This is a tall order for any technology firm, as an innumerable number of variables must line up for things to go off without a hitch.

"Nike lost $100 million due to a botched ERP implementation."

"Doing those things at a small company is hard, but doing it at a global enterprise like Nike ups the extremely high chances of failure," Joshua Greenbaum, an analyst for Enterprise Applications Consulting, told CNET. "When these systems fail, they fail big."

Nike ultimately recovered from this hit, working with other vendors involved in the massive project to clean up misconfigured internal systems and get the project back on track. However, the implementation timeline did expand, growing from two to seven years. The budget grew as well. As the company completed the final stages of the massive initiative back in 2006, project costs had moved past the $500 million mark – an overrun Nike has successfully accounted for in the years since.

These stories constitute a cautionary tale for companies looking to integrate ERP technology into their operations. ERP adoption comes with considerable roadblocks. Those set on navigating these obstacles must carefully chart out their implementation efforts and work with employees across the organization to successfully meld new technology with existing processes. Vendor selection is, of course, another key concern, as adopters must collaborate with proven partners who have the industry knowledge, technical skill and solutions to meet their unique business needs.

Is your company prepared to bolster its digital infrastructure with an advanced ERP solution from a trusted software provider? Connect with Accent Software. As a Microsoft businesses solutions partner, we offer the Dynamics NAV platform, the perfect ERP solution for enterprises of all sizes. Learn more about our offerings today.

Searching for an ERP? Mind these key trends

Organizations on the hunt for new enterprise resource planning software do not conduct this search in a vacuum. As project leaders develop system requirements, source vendors and perform other central tasks, the ERP industry moves forward. Firms currently locked into the adoption process must contend with the many external forces shaping the market and possibly take these developments into account when designing their solutions. Here are some of the most impactful trends affecting the ERP arena:

Choices increase
When on-premises systems dominated during the early 2000s, prospective adopters had limited options. Vendors offered comparable products that more or less included the same base features, with few exceptions. This is no longer the case. The crystallization of cloud-based storage and processing technology has opened myriad new opportunities. Now, software makers boast vast portfolios with many different variations. Companies are responding to this shift by rolling out more complex ERP strategies that mix legacy and cloud components, according to TechTarget. Why?

Many are hesitant to relinquish legacy software and put their complete trust in the cloud. The data certainly supports this conclusion. Panorama Consulting Solutions recently connected with more than 340 adopters and asked them to submit details on their respective implementation journeys. Approximately 72 percent ruled out solely cloud-based solutions due to concerns over data loss, while 12 percent did the same in fear of suffering data breaches. While enterprise technology experts have dispelled the myth that cloud ERPs are more vulnerable than on-premises systems, organizations still balk at the idea of getting rid of their server rooms entirely. Still, many see the benefit of this newer technology and support mixed approaches, maintaining core legacy gear while moving customer relationship management and inventory management solutions into the cloud. Some are even combining the new and the old via specialized integration modules.

SaaS moves to the fore
The Software-as-a-Service model is quickly becoming the go-to arrangement for enterprises juggling multiple backend systems. This methodology offers several key advantages. Most importantly, vendors are in charge of maintaining SaaS setups, meaning adopters no longer have to worry about performing maintenance tasks or implementing updates. Additionally, the monthly billing structure that most often accompanies SaaS platforms facilitates vendor accountability and therefore improves user experience, as software makers must maintain high service quality to retain clients, Enterprise Apps Today reported. Consequently, 26 percent of respondents in the Panorama survey chose to implement such systems, making SaaS ERPs the second most popular choice behind on-premises solutions.

ERP technology continues to change with the shop floor.ERP technology continues to change with the shop floor.

IoT technology matures
The Internet of Things is expected to encompass more than 8.3 billion devices by the end of the year, according to research from Gartner. This represents an increase of 31 percent over figures recorded in 2016. Businesses alone will maintain over 4 billion IoT fixtures before the year is out, indicating the sustained growth of the enterprise IoT technology market. Manufacturers are, of course, leading the way when it comes to adopting these devices, integrating advanced sensors, mobile applications and other innovations into automated workflows meant to facilitate organizational scalability and longevity.

This sea change has had an immense impact on companies using manufacturing ERP software, as most have had to evaluate their existing solutions against new IoT requirements, according to Manufacturing Automation magazine. Vendors are certainly meeting the demand here, quickly rolling out IoT modules to support clients embracing the trend. However, some believe the emergence of IoT technology could change the ERP market entirely, Industry Week reported. How?

For one, the real-time data collection abilities that come with these fixtures could negate the need for forecasting, allowing companies to establish direct data flows between the point-of-sale and the factory. Analysts also expect IoT technology to establish lines of communication between the customers and ERP solutions, as individuals interact with backend systems via web-enabled products. This would give organizations the power to cultivate deeper customer relationships and forgo the manual data entry processes usually require to maintain accurate data. Lastly, the prevalence of IoT devices in the workplace will force prospective adopters to take a look at their data security measures to ensure that employees and consumers are protected against cyberthreats.

Firms looking to integrate advanced ERP technology into their existing operations must take these trends into consideration when forging their path toward adoption. Those that fail to do so may be setting themselves up for future failure, as competitors with forward-looking solutions leave them in the dust.

Is your organization on the hunt for a new ERP system? Connect with Accent Software. As a Microsoft businesses solutions partner, we offer the Dynamics NAV platform, the perfect ERP solution for enterprises of all sizes. Learn more about our offerings today.

Overcoming common inventory management challenges

Inventory management and cash flow go hand in hand. An efficient inventory system ensures that your business is responsive to fluctuations in demand as well as capable of diverting money to separate projects as needed. In other words, it needs to hit a sweet spot between costly oversupply and equally detrimental lack of goods to ship:

  • Excess inventory has long been recognized as a major drain on the bottom line. According to Industrial Supply Magazine, "excess and obsolete inventory" can cost its carrier 25 percent of the original value each year. (So $100,000 worth of items would yield a $25,000 charge from deterioration, storage, etc.) For this reason, many manufacturers have shifted to lean supply chains in which they keep as little inventory as possible (without compromising their abilities to deliver) on hand.
  • At the same time, not having enough inventory is obviously bad for business. A firm that cannot meet customer demand in a timely fashion is destined to lose sales to competitors and to struggle with its public image and reputation. Accurate demand forecasting is essential for building up sufficient inventory, yet even this task is a challenge due to the increasingly abbreviated life cycles of products in sectors such as discrete manufacturing.

So what is the solution to this delicate balancing act in inventory management? Software such as Microsoft Dynamics NAV is a good place to start. To see how inventory management systems can strike the right balance, let's review a few of the most common inventory management challenges they help overcome:

1. Inaccurate inventory records

What if your inventory numbers do not paint an accurate picture of what is actually in your warehouses? This situation is common, with a variety of possible causes, including lack of real-time visibility into what is being bought and sold throughout the day, as well as over-reliance on spreadsheets and other legacy accounting mechanisms.

A platform such as Microsoft Dynamics NAV gives you the ability to track assets by warehouse bins, inventory serial numbers and lot numbers. With the ability to see granular information about your inventory, it is easier to avoid major variances.

Inventory management is challenging without the right tools.Inventory management is challenging without the right tools.

2. Inventory surplus

As we noted earlier, excess inventory requires you to overpay for assets that you are not even using at the moment. It drives up holding costs, eats into profits and puts your entire cash flow at risk. 

The good news is that you can likely recalibrate your inventory levels if you have a solution that offers advanced features such as safety stock levels with alerts, full purchase and sales histories and simultaneous tracking of all costing methods.

3. Reliance on Microsoft Excel

Excel is a staple of the workplace, but it is widely overused for tasks that are far beyond its intended capabilities. Inventory management is one such activity. You do not want to wind up managing a vast set of inventory via manual manipulation of spreadsheet cells. A formula error alone could erase hundreds of hours of work.

For this reason, it is imperative to have modern software that is highly automated and easy to integrate with other systems of records. Microsoft Dynamics NAV is a prime candidate in this regard. Moreover, with the help of a Microsoft Partner Network member such as Accent Software, you can ensure that you have the right tools in place to align inventory management with cash flow. Learn more on our Dynamics NAV page to get started.

What inventory management challenges do manufacturers face?

Organizations are under a lot of pressure to produce goods of consistent quality that live up to the client's requests. However, if a manufacturer is having problems keeping up with inventory numbers, it could lead to shortages and a number of other difficulties. Let's take a look at some of the most prevalent inventory management challenges that manufacturers face:

1. Aligning inventory and demand planning

Manufacturers must be able to predict demand and ensure they have enough materials on hand to suit these needs. It's important for businesses to align their inventory and demand planning and management solutions to have full visibility into the supply and demand within their organizations, TechTarget stated. All systems must be able to speak to each other in order to integrate well and cover all necessary bases. Manufacturers will likely spend a lot of time integrating software into existing systems and configuring them to work with ERP solutions and other essential tools. 

Inventory management systems must integrate well with demand planning.Inventory management systems must integrate well with demand planning.

2. Training users

Old habits die hard and if a new system isn't working as expected, employees may fall back to their tried-and-true methods. This can create a number of errors within the inventory management efforts and must be handled carefully. Toolbox.com contributor Jerri Ledford noted that manufacturers should put a change management team in place to monitor implementations and ensure that users become comfortable with the system to take advantage of it as soon as possible. Users should be trained on new processes and software when the decision is made to use them. This will ensure that workers have the information they require to effectively utilize the system, gaining value from the very beginning.

3. Handling excess or obsolete stock

"When a new software is introduced into existing workflows and operations, it can make systems significantly more complex."

No matter how good your prediction skills are, you'll likely order too many materials or have items that sit on your shelves for an extended period of time. It's important to have visibility into these types of situations and have a plan to either sell it or reduce the stock. Bain & Company noted that leaders should perform root-cause analyses to determine why excesses are occurring, as well as ways to reduce the creation of new excess or obsolete stock and how to sell off stock more effectively. Discounting these products may be an easy way to get them off your shelves.

4. Navigating complex systems

When a new software is introduced into existing workflows and operations, it can make systems significantly more complex. Existing dependencies can put limitations on implementations and even cause things to break. In addition to these complications, a new solution like an ERP system can create issues if there are a ton of bells and whistles within it. Ledford recommended leaving ERP solutions and other new systems as simple as possible to alleviate challenges and make them easier to use. Manufacturers should adopt only the capabilities and features that are necessary to solve problems and improve processes.

Inventory management is a critical part of manufacturing operations, and it's integral to understand the challenges that come along with it. With knowledge of these difficulties, leaders can better adapt their workflows to improve inventory capabilities.

How smart is your inventory management?

In the manufacturing world, inventory is the lifeblood of your business: making it, monitoring and shipping it. If you're not on top of your inventory, then every phase of your business can suffer. 

Wasted resources
Poor demand planning and inventory management can lead to a surplus of products. By producing more units your customers want, you have an issue of what to do with them. First and foremost, producing more than necessary is a waste of resources, so you're already in the red here. Second of all, storing these could cost you more if you have to rent additional warehouse space. 

Insufficient production
Obviously, not producing enough products or materials to meet customer demand is a big problem too, and these are problems that are going to be felt throughout the supply chain. Your distributors are going to be short, and your end users are going to need to wait longer to get what they've ordered. That's not good for your reputation with customers or business partners. 

"If you're not on top of inventory, every phase of business can suffer."

Poor quality
When inventory isn't organized, it can affect the quality of your end products. They may have missing parts or production may have been rushed to meet a surprising demand. Neither of these are good for your brand. 

Slow delivery
Maybe you've produced enough units, but they just can't get to the end users. If your inventory system doesn't give you a comprehensive view of your supply chain, it's going to take some time before you can track down those missing products. 

How can a growing manufacturer organize inventory and forecasting? 

Smart inventory management
ERP inventory management software can tighten up your inventory controls, letting you run a tighter ship. A modern ERP system can provide a wide range of features for your inventory management. Capacity requirement planning lets you anticipate changes to your shop floor setup and adjust accordingly. Production management gives you a full view of the value chain so you can identify any potential problems like bottlenecks. And with real-time reporting, you can anticipate changes as soon as they arise. 

Don't work harder, work smarter with a smart ERP inventory program, and put your inventory to work for you. 

At Accent Software, we work with growing manufacturers to implement Microsoft Dynamics NAV, a robust ERP program that's built for manufacturers. ERP helps them reduce costs to achieve a competitive advantage over the competition. If your legacy inventory management isn't cutting it, contact us to see how a smart ERP program can make a difference. 

The problem with surplus inventory

In the manufacturing industry, inventory management can make or break a budget. You need to produce enough units to meet customer demand, otherwise your customers will go elsewhere. If you produce more units than you need, then you have a whole other set of problems. Your customers may be content, but you still have excess units and wasted materials to deal with.  

Dealing with a surplus
What can you do with excess inventory? There are a few options, but none of them are great. Here are a few reasons why:

  • Storing the units could require you to rent additional warehouse space. Otherwise, the accumulating units could take up too much space on your site and get in the way of your operations. 
  • Selling it at a discount could come back to bite you. The products could end up in a secondary market, where they could be competing with yours. 
  • Destroying or dumping the surplus products is a waste of resources. Not only that, but filling up a landfill with your waste can have a negative effect on the environment. 
  • If you keep trying to sell the products despite reduced interest, your sales team is going to grow frustrated about having to sell an unpopular product while, updated models might be rolling out. The demand was down for a reason, so why would you expect them to suddenly start selling again? Also, soon the products will be out of date. 
ERP inventory management software offers many tools to help you plan for customer demand, and deal with surplus issues. ERP inventory management software offers many tools to help you plan for customer demand and deal with surplus issues.

How ERP inventory management software can help
One of the most important components of a manufacturing enterprise resource planning platform is a robust set of inventory management tools. 

  • Demand planning: An ERP system's inventory management tools provides up-to-date information, so your business can produce exactly what is needed, keeping inventory low while meeting demand. 
  • Identifying a surplus immediately: Sometimes, unexpected events reduce demand with little warning. Whether the surplus occurs because the demand for a particular product drops or because of changes in the market, the ERP software will identify it and notify you right away. This immediate reaction gives you more options than the ones mentioned above, such as contacting the customer right away to offer an additional order. 
  • Automated replenishment: Inventory management software can automate many of the processes around your production and distribution channels, streamlining operations and reducing many costs. As demand grows, ERP software orders the ideal quantities of materials to meet it. This automation reduces the number of transactions you have to make, and helps maintain an efficient turnaround between you, your partners and the end users. 

At Accent Software, we work with growing manufacturers to implement Microsoft business software, helping them reduce costs to achieve a competitive advantage. If your legacy system isn't cutting it, contact us to see how a sophisticated ERP program can make a difference. 

Requirements for discrete manufacturing business software

Discrete manufacturing refers to producing finished goods that are easily countable and sortable. There goods are often made from smaller components. Some examples include furniture, electronic equipment, toys and airplanes. As opposed to process-manufactured goods, discrete goods can be identified as individuals, whereas process goods are difficult to break down because they're usually liquids or powders. 

Discrete manufacturing requires separate characteristics in its business manufacturing software. Combining smaller component into a complex finished product can require sophisticated systems to help manage the whole workflow. An ERP software solution that addresses these requirements can help a discrete manufacturer streamline processes and improve the bottom line. 

Customization
While many discrete manufacturers stick with specific plans for their products, some operations offer more customizable goods. These custom goods can be made to order, and to properly track information the ERP software needs to be able to adapt to new custom workflows. 

"An inventory management system is crucial for discrete manufacturing companies."

Quality management
Since discrete products are usually created by combining components, there are additional steps in the process. ERP software must be able to manage quality assurance checks and help track both the components and the finished products. This tracking can include regulatory requirements and safety inspections. 

Inventory management
An inventory management system is crucial for discrete manufacturing companies. Tracking products accurately helps ensure quantity requirements are met and finished products are delivered to clients. This can also include a demand planning extension, which helps ensure the ideal amount of goods are manufactured. 

Identification of basic components 
In a circular economic model, discrete goods can be broken down into their basic components at the end of the product lifecycle. Ideally these components can be used again for new products. An ERP solution for discrete manufacturers should be able to identify basic components in addition to finished products. While not every manufacturer is part of the circular economy, this is a growing trend. 

At Accent Software, we help growing businesses learn and implement Microsoft Dynamics NAV, a flexible and customizable ERP software that supports discrete and process manufacturers. We understand the importance of smart software for manufacturing to streamline workflows, boost productivity and foster innovation. If your legacy system isn't cutting it, contact our team to see the difference a modern business management software solution can make.

Business management software for process manufacturing

Process manufacturing is the production of goods in bulk quantities, such as chemicals, paints, food and beverages. These goods are not individually countable. This is opposed to discrete manufacturing, which involves the production of countable goods such as machine parts, cars or electronics.

Goods manufactured through process manufacturing usually can't easily be broken down into smaller components like their discrete counterparts. Process manufacturing's characteristics give it some unique requirements in a business management software solution. It takes more than just any run of the mill inventory management system to handle process goods effectively. 

Units of measurement
As materials developed through process manufacturing are not easily broken down, the ERP system needs to be able to adapt to more flexible units of measurements. Powders and liquids require decimals places in transactions, as well as a wide range or units of measurement.

To meet regulations from organizations like the Food and Drug Administration, every single drop or grain needs to be recorded and measured. That means the ERP software needs to be up to the task of working with very small units of measurement. 

"Every single drop or grain needs to be recorded and measured."

Quality testing
Process manufacturing ERP needs to be able to record the results of the many rigorous tests that goods go through before they're shipped off to clients. An ERP system needs to have its own module for quality standards and test results. This is especially crucial for food and drug materials. 

Special characteristics
In addition to units of measurement, some materials may also have special characteristics that more traditional ERP software may not track. Characteristics such as strength and potency, shelf life or expiration date and quality monitoring for regulatory requirements need to be identified. 

An ability to trace goods
Whether its food products or pharmaceuticals, goods produced through process manufacturing usually have to be tracked after they're shipped to clients. These requirements are usually connected with their environment, their specific batch, or their test results. Tracing process goods requires flexibility and customization in an ERP solution. 

Microsoft Dynamics NAV is not just your run of the mill business management software. It's the ideal tool for process manufacturing, giving the user unprecedented ability to streamline workflow and track goods. Dynamic NAV's customization helps enterprises adapt to the unusual requirements for process goods. That's why at Accent Software, we help growing businesses learn and implement this software. We understand the importance of smart software for manufacturing to boost productivity and foster innovation. If your legacy system isn't cutting it, contact us to see the difference a modern business management software solution can make.