As engineers it is not uncommon that we use or are asked our opinions on the software systems that are used in the plant. I would like to know if any of you have had good/bad experiences with facility software systems, especially those involved in Inventory and accounting management. We are a small MFG facility that runs 4 SMT lines. Most of the inventory/accounting software out there seems to be focused more on resale and has little to do with a manufacturing service industry. We also do our own software development in house but it seems like a severe case of reinventing the wheel to build a software package from scratch. Thanks
I have worked with Macola, MAS90 now BPCS ("B-Pics"). They are ALL expensive too. To me the MAS software had the best interface and was "easier" to teach an operator who needed to pull up a BOM for a job or to see about missing/short kit items. I think Macola was more powerful (we had the DOS, not the Windows version), but it took longer to learn and there were a million or so different modules. Macola required more up front planning for implementation (get organized first!!) I am currently using BPCS, though our plant has not fully incorporated all of its potential yet, so I can't really comment.
Another added benefit that not to many users incorporate is documantation control through their ERP/MRP system. By giving a document a controlled "pivit point", changes and general document information can be traced, and quickly at any user terminal. This comes in handy when engineering (in house or out) wants to know which BOM you are using and if a certain MCSR, MCSN, ECR, ECN, ECO, more TLA's than you can count (Three Letter Acronyms) have been applied to the document. If you don't know what these are, then you really have a lot of planning to do before you are ready to implement some kind of software. Though they have a plus effect of quality, they can make the actual task of manufacturing hell!
You mentioned that you do some applications in house, a little Visual Basic and you can make some really usefull apllications out of MS Access. A LOT LESS money up front, but a good bit of time, not to mention you can make changes as your company changes and really tailor it to your needs.
Yes Access is a definite option. We have an in-house built and tailored MRP package, that started out with Access and VB. I am not sure if it is still solely based on that or not. We have tailored it so much and worked with it so much that I doubt we could ever convert to an outside general purpose MRP package. It has its quirks, but it does exactly what we need it to do, and nothing more, and if we need it to do something new we just walk down the hall or send an email with our wish list item. As priority and time allow, it will be added. We have a whole dept built around maintaining it...