Process or Discrete Manufacturing: Finding the Perfect ERP Fit

Take a minute to think about the product(s) your company manufactures. Do you utilize process or discrete production? Do you know the difference? Does it matter? The answers are important when choosing an effective ERP solution for your company. While “one-size-fits-all” vendors claim they can handle both process and discrete manufacturers, further investigation demonstrates that the capabilities of an ERP specializing in process manufacturing is more adept at handling the following unique needs of your industry.

What’s the Difference Between Process & Discrete?

Process manufacturing uses complex formulas and recipes to transform raw materials into product batches (chemicals, cosmetics, drugs, food, etc). Once created, the finished product cannot be separated (i.e. brewed beer cannot be deconstructed back to its original ingredients). By contrast, discrete manufacturing creates identical products built by means of an assembly line (cars, appliances, furniture, toys, etc). Component parts can be taken apart after assembly to be used in another capacity (i.e. a bicycle can be taken apart and individual pieces used for other things). Companies using each of these processes have particular needs that an industry-specific ERP can meet

By the Numbers

Process manufacturing involves a variety of complex measurements and calculations that require accurate handling and management. The ability to convert specific gravity, percentage formulation breakdowns, ingredient calculations and the adjustment of decimal places in formulas are all easily handled by a process manufacturing ERP. An ERP solution developed for process manufacturing will also convert any of your mixed units of measure, allowing you to purchase, stock, count and manufacture in the most accurate terms.  

Formulation Management

A few features qualify as “must haves” for any batch process manufacturing ERP solution. The ability for scalable batch tickets, adjustment and revision tracking, procedure notations and recording of historical recipe information are necessary. There is also a need to store complex recipes, facilitate new recipe testing, accommodate custom recipes, create consistency from one standard batch to another and support co-product and by-product management. These specific requirements will not be addressed by a “one-size-fits-all” solution or an ERP software developed for discrete manufacturers.

Regulatory Compliance

Since regulatory requirements for process manufacturers can be very strict, ever-changing and complex, an ERP solution must be capable of accurately accounting for these needs. Industry-specific software can provide an audit trail, electronic signatures and backward and forward lot traceability. This becomes crucial should a contamination event occur and a recall is required. Mandatory reporting and audits are also readily handled by the solution. In addition, this traceability tracks expiration dates, lot potency and shelf life, all integral to the success of your business.

When selecting an ERP software, it is imperative to choose a solution capable of handling the complexity of your process manufacturing company. ProcessPro’s ERP software solution is designed specifically for batch process manufacturers in the food and drug, beverage, chemical and cosmetic, and nutraceutical and pharmaceutical industries. We know your industry, we’ve been speaking your language for over 30 years,  contact us today to see how we can help you in your ERP selection process.