If you are being asked what your all-time favorite cartoon is, the chances of your answer being Tom & Jerry are pretty high. For some, the answer could be Scooby Doo. If you are a superhero movie buff, the possibility is high that you may be a Batman series fan. Or if you like mystery, suspense and detective dramas, Sherlock Holmes might be your pick. And if you are a movie fan in general, who loves to catch up on the latest releases in the movie hall, there is a strong chance that you love to watch them with popcorns. You must be wondering why are we talking about movies, cartoons and popcorns in this space, which is supposed to be reserved for process manufacturing software? Or you must be thinking, are you missing an analogy here?
Well, there indeed is an analogy. Tom & Jerry is about the ‘two’ central characters. Scooby Doo reminds you of the Scooby – Shaggy bond, and Batman series is all about the chemistry between Batman and Robin. While Sherlock Holmes would not be half as effective without Dr. John Watson, any movie experience seems incomplete without a bucket full of popcorn. Still missing the point? We are talking about the greatest of pairs – the combinations whose whole value is greater than the sum of their parts. The secret behind the success of these iconic duos lies in their togetherness. You separate them, and they would not be half as successful.
Same goes with process manufacturing businesses and process manufacturing ERP software – a combination crucial for the success of the business.
In the current business scenario, an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software has become an indispensable part of all the manufacturing businesses – including the process manufacturing ones. As the market dynamics continue to change, and the technologies continue to evolve, businesses are getting more complex than ever. The operational challenges have been immense, such as the need to manage formulation, inventory, regulatory compliance, rising costs, quality & traceability issues, and the need to have planning, scheduling, and reporting tools, etc. This is where an ERP software has stepped in, easing out the things for process manufacturers and providing them with requisite help to reduce costs, manage growth, and increase profits. In short, it has helped the process manufacturers succeed.
This blog throws light on the challenges facing the process manufacturing businesses, and how they can overcome them and touch the height of success, which seems an impossible task without the other half of its duo – the process manufacturing software. Read on:
Process manufacturing – the challenges
As discussed in brief in the above paragraphs, the process manufacturing businesses face a plethora of challenges. To begin with, there are challenges to meet compliance needs. Manufacturing businesses operating in the Food & Beverages, Specialty Chemicals, Pharmaceuticals, Paint & Coatings, and Personal Care & Cosmetics industry are highly regulated and strictly controlled. For them, complying with the regulatory norms is not a choice but a necessity to survive in the market, failure to which may result in hefty fines, product recalls, or even license cancellations.
Being in a formula/recipe-based business, the manufacturers need a tool for recipe management and version control. There is a strong need to tightly manage and control the countless recipes/formulas required for production, so as to run the business smoothly. Another major challenge for the process manufacturers is to manage their perishable inventory, maintain required stock levels to complete the manufacturing process at any given time, and to reduce the inventory wastage. Besides, there is also a perennial challenge in front of the process manufacturers to ensure that the inventory that comes in as well as that goes out meets desired quality standards.
To be able to trace raw materials right through the supply chain is yet another thing the process manufacturers cannot compromise with. They require the capability to trace the raw materials through to the finished product, and in reverse as well, by tracking back to the raw materials from a finished product. This capability is particularly useful in the cases of product recalls. Adding to all this is the struggle to keep a lid on the rising costs. If the operational costs go up, profits go down. Hence, the managers strive to keep the costs under check, so that the profit margins can be increased.
The process manufacturing businesses also need to have access to vital data so as to plan their business operations, production schedules, inbounds, deliveries, etc. They also need to have visibility into sales forecasting and inventory levels. Additionally, process manufacturers also need a tool that gives them access to accurate reports in real time, so that they don’t end up wasting time validating reports and verifying data.
Process manufacturing businesses & process ERP software – the perfect pair!
To address the challenges they face, the process manufacturers need an industry-specific process manufacturing ERP software, which effectively deals with the issues through a set of powerful features. At the outset, a process manufacturing software takes care of all the regulatory compliances and safety norms through its advanced functionalities. The manufacturers can monitor and record their activities in real time, check whether or not they are in accordance with the cGMP norms, track non-conformance (NC) and perform CAPA for rejected materials, generate fully compliant Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), and adapt to meet new regulatory issues.
Process manufacturers use numerous formulas to create the end product, and so effective management of these formulations is extremely important. A process manufacturing ERP software’s formulation management module allows storing, retrieving, and revising every formula used in the business, thus ensuring consistency in products every single time. If a product is altered, ERP stores exactly how it is altered so that it can be replicated if required in the future. ERP software’s functionalities such as version controlling, automatic formula sizing, multiple units of weight and volume for ingredients, instant roll-back capabilities, anytime-anywhere material substitution, etc. make the formulation management module a potent tool for the manufacturers. These recipes/formula are used in complex batch processing that churns-out the final product. The process is multi-staged with a number of steps and processes (heating, mixing, grinding, etc.) involved. Ensuring that the process takes place sequentially as per the laid SOPs and under the suitable conditions is a challenge. More challenging is the need to document everything. Here’s where an ERP software for process manufacturing comes to rescue as it allows creating batches, intermediate batches (batch for the products that need to be filled), super batches (batches of final and intermediate batches in a single click), etc. Beyond creation, it allows allocation plus the issue of materials, QC and inspection of materials, process and final product, generating BMR as well as MBR, evaluating production costs and yields, and much more.
Coming to the inventory part, a process manufacturing ERP software gives the manufacturers real-time visibility into inventory in stock, thus allowing to maintain the requisite levels for production and reduce the inventory wastage. Additionally, ERP software’s Quality Control (QC) module ensures quality control for inbound as well as outbound inventory through different quality checks at different stages of the supply chain. Based on the results of the QC tests, manufacturers can take necessary action against the items that fail the inspection, and better manage their inventory.
Moving forward, a process manufacturing ERP software provides the manufacturers with automated end-to-end bi-directional lot traceability from raw materials to the finished product, thus allowing them to track the movement of materials from the vendor through to the customer. By having the ability to drill down into purchase orders, specifications, batch jobs, QC tests, inventory, sales orders, and shipments, the process manufacturers can track exactly where the nonconformity happens, and subsequently, determine which lot to recall, saving ample time and reducing the severity of any unwanted situation.
Furthermore, through its ‘what if’ analysis ability, that accurately maintains standard/estimated costs for management planning, and allows comparison between actual costs, planned purchase costs, and standard costs, the cost analysis module of a process manufacturing ERP software closely monitors and controls costs, and helps set prices of end items keeping profitability in mind. Besides, through its planning, reporting, and analytics tools, an ERP software facilitates effective planning & forecasting, predicting the demand and supply position, sound decision making, and keeping the business ready to proactively react to the changing market needs.
Even for process manufacturing the distribution is a significant part and ERP for process manufacturers leads here too. With it dedicated Purchase and Sales Module it automates and streamlines the procurement process from Vendor Quote to receipt to the voucher, and Sales Process from Quote to shipping to invoicing, handling discounts, contracts, terms, taxes, supplier management and beyond.
Final thoughts: A process manufacturing ERP software, through its set of modules, helps the process manufacturers’ deal with different challenges pertaining to the different areas of their business. This way, a process manufacturing software proves to be a perfect foil for the process manufacturing business, and forms a potent combination – one that is in the league of the iconic pairs like Batman & Robin, Tom & Jerry, salt & pepper, etc. The union of the two results in the process manufacturing businesses touching the height of success. BatchMaster ERP has the potential to form the same iconic pair with your process manufacturing business. Being the leading process-manufacturing ERP solution and original developer of formulation module, it very well understands the unique needs and is fulfilling them from past 30 plus years. Know how we are making business simpler for process manufacturers or formula/recipe based manufacturers by writing to us at firstname.lastname@example.org