What is an Integrated MRP System in Manufacturing?

You are likely aware of MRP (material requirement planning) if you work in the manufacturing industry. But what does it mean to integrate your MRP system with your business operations, and what are the best techniques to do this?
In this article we will discuss the benefits of integrating your MRP system with your business operations and we explain how our software can help you do this in the simplest way possible.

How can I connect my MRP activities to the rest of my business?
Some manufacturers might use out-dated methods of managing their operations. In this instance, each department would be recording their data on paper or in a spreadsheet. Then, they would have to work together to manually compile it in an effective and coherent way.

Others may be using digital solutions, but they will still have separate systems for each process. They may have an MRP system, another for accounting, possibly another for inventory control and so on.

This situation means that it is difficult to find solutions that can interface with one another easily, employees will still be required to bring together the data manually although the information is stored digitally.

The above two methods are limited in a number of ways.

The quickest, easiest, and most impactful way to synchronise MRP activity with everything else you do, is to use an ERP / business management solution, that has material requirements planning as one of its many capabilities. As we’ll now discuss, this technique brings about the most rewards for your manufacturing business.

What benefits can you get from a fully integrated MRP System?
  1. United office and factory floor
With a fully integrated MRP solution, there is no longer a division between what the finance team are doing in the office, and what the production team are doing in the factory; providing a single version of the truth.
  1. Increased automation
With all processes unified under one system, where actions from one department impact the others, one system allows for greater automation throughout the supply chain.
  1. Accurate data
This integration means that nothing can be lost in translation as data doesn't need to be moved from one place to another. Information is constantly updated in real-time, making it more likely to be accurate and up to date.
  1. Increased visibility
Your business will become more transparent to you, as it is easier to gain a view of what other areas are doing. With data centralised it is easier to see what everybody has been working on, what is happening and what plans are being made going forward.
  1. Fewer errors
As the information is captured/manipulated digitally (sometimes automatically), this reduces the occurrence of human error significantly.
  1. Greater efficiency
Through automation, tasks are completed quicker and with a higher level of quality; increasing overall business efficiency. This frees up time for employees to focus on work rather than repetitive tasks.

What are the drawbacks to a standalone MRP-system?
Depending on the manufacturer's needs and circumstances, it may make sense to use traditional MRP methods. However, there is always a greater chance that errors will occur when data is manually recorded. If important information is not stored securely, there's a greater chance of it being lost or stolen. It also slows down your workforce, as it takes more effort and time to manually do the calculations.

There is the possibility for data to be incorrect even with the most sophisticated technology, but this often occurs when businesses are using a separate MRP system. This disconnected approach leaves no central source of performance metrics. Different departments may have contrasting facts, creating an environment that is inconsistent, inaccurate, and lacking cohesion.

Unreliable data can have a negative impact on a company's ability to succeed. It could lead to uninformed decisions around the practices implement and have negative repercussions on your finances and overall customer satisfaction.

What software is the best for creating an integrated MRP function?
Our Manufacturing Software is an example of a system that brings all of a company’s elements together seamlessly. It has powerful MRP functionality, that gives manufacturers everything they need when it comes to sourcing materials, producing goods, and delivering to customers.

The production planning component gives you complete control over the product creation process, allowing you to put everything in place for a production run to begin, and giving you clarity around the timescales of when it will likely finish too.

The bill of materials (BOM) functionality allows you to create unlimited depth BOMs, meaning you can make product configurations that are as complex as you see fit. These product recipes detail exactly what materials are needed to build an item, which ensures you never forget a crucial ingredient (which would otherwise cause a downturn in production).  
With the ability to use serial numbering, and being equipped with end-to-end traceability, you have full visibility across the entire production cycle. This means that you can identify any weaknesses, maintain aspects that work well, provide true transparency to customers, and get the product in their hands by the promised time.

With automatic calculations of stock requirements (in relation to future orders), you can make sure you’re able to meet demand. You can maintain an efficient level of inventory, rather than having a large excess or deficit.   
Manufacturing Software’s true strength lies in the fact that it also has e-commerce, accounting, contact management and stock control modules interwoven with MRP, providing full integration. This means that your sales, finances, customer relationships, production and inventory aspects are all interrelated, enriching the quality of your data, and providing the kind of automation mentioned earlier.

The costs associated with buying raw materials, hiring new staff, and running machinery, is passed into your financial data, giving a more accurate picture of performance (and allowing the finance team to deem what is safe to spend going forward). Sales are also fed into these finances, and customer orders can trigger production runs, as well as material purchases (when stock drops below a certain threshold).

With high-quality reporting capabilities, you can collate this centralised (and accurate) data in powerful ways, extracting insight, and allowing it to govern transformational business decisions. Increased efficiency and enhanced operations enable you to grow as far as your ambition takes you. As the software is scalable too, it will adapt as you expand, meaning that much of the discomfort that normally comes with growth is eradicated.

If you want an MRP system that is integrated with the rest of your functions, take a closer look at our Manufacturing Software. It’s an all-encompassing business management solution that is perfect for small to medium-sized manufacturers.

Call us today on 01423 330335 Option 1 to discuss with a member of our friendly team how we can help. Alternatively, email and we can help that way too.

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