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ERP System to Solve Contract Manufacturing Issues

Sep 09, 2009

As a contract manufacturer perhaps you are currently using a quote system that does not have all the essential supplier collaboration features, a system that does not tie into your production operations or even your supply chain. The need for a Quoting application that performs Receiving, Kitting, SMT, Thru Hole Hand Solder, Thru Hole Wave solder, Hardware/boxbuild, QA, Shipping, Purchasing, Scheduling and Production Planning also one that is integrated with financials, costing as well as intelligence is key to being a world class manufacturer capable of lean competitive world class performance.

The ability to define your production lines and their capacities is often important to the line supervisor who often times is trying to determine the “how to” and optimize scheduling task using the required labor at each station with available manpower and due date info. A valuable technique often used is to simulate production outcomes using “What if” scenarios. A software that allows plug and play options to determine production outcome based on capacity or material availability allows single or multiple adjustments to production and even to run unscheduled or unplanned quote jobs without impacting planned schedules.

Many software applications will perform one operation well but lack capability in other areas to handle exceptions. This is very common in many non erp packages. Some software are only as good as the info that they have, for example a software with quoting that typically use either last price paid, or average pricing can be good, but bad for your production model. For this the application may not work as well because the software uses different parameters and so your selections and options become limited and you are stuck with a more manual approach for a solution. For instance if you don't do common inventorying, and your last price paid for customer A wouldn't necessarily reflect the quoted price for customer B say because of volume differences. If you quote jobs independently then most likely you would like the inventory separate so now you are stuck with making a manual workaround to meet your exception orders.

A good ERP system will engage your suppliers as well and still manage your inventory, your shop floor scheduling, your WIP, your parts list and will also allow you to upload a costed bom into a quoting module. Even if they do not perform perfectly you will at least obtain some accuracy. Many are even web based service so that you can upload your parts list, and submit it to your authorized distributors for RFQ's. Later you get a summarized quote that is more accurate, complete and depending on responses of your vendors maybe much faster.

Today some systems have the capability for much advance features such as production line Level Dashboard that allow production flow by providing the SMT workforce with real-time information on current performance, work order status, level of components consumed, MSD alerts, and more. It enables measurement of key performance indicators (KPIs) such as: OEE, change-over time, 1st pass yield, nozzle/feeders errors by specific ID numbers, and more. Additionally having Plant Level Dashboard is even more advanced with Manufacturing Intelligence, providing a high level view of performance of multiple assembly lines, WIP tracking, and full metrics of KPIs focused on factory performance, asset utilization, product quality and the productivity of the shop floor workforce. The most advanced will have cutting edge capability that can also provide an analysis/design service and create custom dashboards to suit your manufacturing needs and your specific KPIs.

Instead of continuing to work with inadequate systems it might be worthwhile to investigate some of the top products that can be configured specifically for your environment, some even off the shelf without too much customization. There are not very many erp software packages that will be ideal in performance and costs, but with proper investigation you may find some likely to effectively meet your requirements. Keep in mind that what you will find is that some solutions, including ours are more advanced than others.

Before you select one of these solutions make sure that you research all the features that each package solution provides. Understanding how these features will benefit your company is important, so make sure you understand how any software package will meet your enterprise processes and will solve your problems. If possible, take a trial or demonstration, which is offered by most top providers to create awareness on how the product would work in real-time.

Instead of worrying about operational, production or financial issues a good erp software in place can make significant difference between ease of use and headaches. Research and due diligence will provide you with an excellent ERP solution.

For more information, visit

About ERTechnologies Inc.

ERTechnologies Inc,. is a provider of erp software for manufacturing and supply chain. The company's software solutions simulate, optimize, monitor and control the production lifecycle, enabling customers to manufacture electronic products more efficiently, cost effectively and with better quality. The company assists manufacturers to better manage their cost structure with leading production and process planning tools, shop floor monitoring and control software solutions, and quality information management solutions. For more information, visit

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