A process manufacturing business faces numerous operational challenges on a day-to-day basis, mainly due to the fact that this particular sector is an ever changing one. Challenges pertaining to data management, accurate reporting, planning & scheduling, quality and traceability, formula management, meeting regulatory requirements, product development, and inventory management, among others, threaten to peg back the process manufacturers. To deal with these as well as other challenges, the process manufacturers need a proficient and intelligent IT tool such as a process manufacturing ERP software, which can fix the majority of their manufacturing problems. This blog takes a look at the five major challenges a process manufacturing business faces, and how an ERP can overcome them. Read on:
1. Recipe management & version control: Recipe management is the heart of the manufacturing process for the process manufacturers, who rely on the use of numerous formulas for production. For the same reason, it is important to tightly manage and control these formulations, so that their consistency is maintained and every product is identical to another. Also, there’s a need for the process manufacturers to be able to alter the products as per the changing business needs.
This is where the role of a process manufacturing software becomes so critical. Its formula management module allows storing, retrieving, and revising every formula used in the manufacturing process. If a product is altered, a process manufacturing software stores the information on exactly how it is altered so that it can be replicated if the need be, as its version control functionality makes it possible. Besides, capabilities such as automatic formula sizing, multiple units of weight and volume for ingredients, instant roll-back capabilities, anytime-anywhere material substitution, etc. make a process manufacturing ERP an integral part of a process manufacturing business.
2. Complying with environmental & regulatory norms: Process manufacturing is one of the most heavily regulated sectors, and thus fulfilling the regulatory requirements is not a choice for the process manufacturers, but an absolute necessity. Following compliance manually or through spreadsheets is like scoring an own goal, as it can result in hefty fines on your organization, product recalls, and even license cancellations. At the same time, process manufacturers also have to satisfy the environmental regulations.
With the regulatory standards getting increasingly stringent day by day, process manufacturers are turning towards a process manufacturing software, as its compliance management feature helps manufacturers monitor and record the manufacturing activities in real-time and check whether they are in accordance with the cGMP norms. Additionally, a process manufacturing ERP also enables tracking non-conformance and performing CAPA for rejected materials, generating Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) that are in full compliance with governmental regulations, and adapting to meet new regulatory issues.
3. Production management: The process manufacturers face challenges galore when it comes to managing the production part. Their manufacturing processes involve the use of complex methods like mixing, grinding, heating, state change, filling, and assembling, among others. This calls for the need of automated processes to a great extent.
The production management module of a competent process manufacturing software can ease the complexities of this complicated process through its features. It enables easy and quick creation of batches, and supports, manages, tracks and controls all the production activities from batch creation, allocation, inspecting, quality checking, to finally closing. And, process manufacturing ERP can also accommodate last minute configuration changes, or change in customer requirement, unavailability of material, etc., through automatic batch sizing and material substitution. It even allows full and partial closing of batches for immediate shipment of urgent orders, thus simplifying and smoothening the overall production process.
4. Inventory management & control: Effective inventory management & control gains greater significance when it comes to process manufacturing industries, predominantly because of the perishable nature of the raw materials used. The process manufacturers like food & beverages manufacturers must know how fast a product or its ingredients need to be consumed before they expire. Then there are other needs too, like having the requisite stock levels required to complete the manufacturing process at any given time, and keeping the inventory wastage to a minimum. And they can’t have this critical information at their disposal by using manual methods.
For the same, the process manufacturers turn to a process manufacturing ERP, which through its inventory management module, takes care of both inward as well as outward inventory management process. Thanks to a process manufacturing software, the process manufacturers can efficiently manage the inventory, maintain the optimum level of inventory through real-time visibility of inventory in stock, and avoid the situation of overstock or understock, thus ensuring right materials reach the shop floor at the right time and sufficient products are produced to fulfil the orders.
5. Quality control, lot tracking & traceability: One of the biggest challenges the process manufacturing businesses face is on Quality Control (QC), lot tracking & traceability front. They are required to be able to trace raw materials through to the finished product, and reversely back to the raw materials from a finished product. This way, they know exactly where the nonconformity happens, and which lot to recall. Similarly, for any process manufacturing business, delivering quality products is the topmost priority. But by relying on outdated methods, they compromise on the quality by erring in batching, expiration dates, lot recall, etc.
This is where a process manufacturing ERP with adequate lot tracking and serialization capabilities becomes an indispensable part of the process manufacturing businesses. It comes with the ability to drill down into purchase orders, specifications, batch jobs, QC tests, inventory, sales orders, and shipments, thus giving the businesses end-to-end visibility into the supply chain, and the ability to trace and track the raw materials and finished goods at any point in the supply chain.
Besides, its QC module helps achieve optimal quality control for every phase of their operations: right from receiving raw materials, through the production of intermediates/finished goods, to inspections of finished goods before dispatching it to the customers. The manufacturers can do so by defining different quality checks at every required point, ensuring that the expected quality is achieved every single time. The module also enables manufacturers to manage the records of passed/failed tests, accept or reject the product based on inspection result, and take immediate as well as counteractive action like return, destruction etc. against the items that fail inspection.
The ones mentioned above are just five of the many challenges process manufacturing businesses face on a routine basis. An efficient process manufacturing software not just fixes the aforementioned issues faced by the process manufacturers, but also helps them deal with other operational issues, streamline their business processes and gain a competitive advantage. If your process manufacturing business faces the similar challenges, and your process manufacturing ERP software is incapable of overcoming them, we at BatchMaster can help. Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation.