Discrete vs Process Manufacturing

Why it Matters in your ERP Selection.

The most discernible difference between discrete and process manufacturing is the way the product is created. In discrete manufacturing, identical products are duplicated by way of an assembly line. The raw materials used to create these products are the same from the first job to the next.

Process manufacturing becomes more intricate due to its nature in converting/transforming raw materials and ingredients. With process manufacturing, the end product is unable to be unassembled to its original raw materials.

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What makes Process ERP Software Unique?

Percentage Formulation

With process manufacturing, it can be beneficial for the lab to create formulas by entering the percentage of each ingredient. For example, 10% water, 20% starch and 70% acacia powder. A quality process ERP software solution makes this formulation breakdown possible.

Ingredient Formulation

A superior process ERP software solution should easily assist your chemist in setting up product formulas. Similarly, when user-defined calculations are entered, the software should automatically recalculate. For example, calculations could be made for calories or volatile organic compounds in the finished product, and the software should also allow the chemist to do “what if” calculations.

Batch Recall

A quality ERP process manufacturing system has the ability to perform forward and backward lot tracing to allow you to locate and track the raw materials and finished goods.

Batch Quarantine

Process manufacturers need to test raw materials and finished goods with the ability to quarantine materials by batch. This includes raw materials, intermediates and finished formulas. Process manufacturing ERP software makes testing and quarantining easy through quality control functionalities.

Decimal Places Used in Formulation

Most discrete ERP software is limited in the number of decimal places used for an ingredient. Discrete manufacturers produce items that are measured in “eaches” (e.g. when constructing a bicycle, one handlebar, two to four sprockets, two rims, one seat, etc. are needed). Comparably, when using a process ERP manufacturing system, a formula is set up for one unit (pound, gallon, etc.) and the formula can be scaled up or down to any batch and production run size. This often requires up to eight decimal places (e.g. one gallon of liquid formula may require .00000231 pounds of an expensive dye).

Batch Processing vs Route Step Processing

Process manufacturers add most, if not all, of their raw materials at one time. Discrete manufactures individually assemble materials at each work center and for each route step. For example, a discrete manufacturer may make the base of a chair at Work Center A and add the arms to the chair at Work Center B. As a result, it becomes difficult to track all components used in each work center. When the Bill of Material is comprised, each component is linked to a specified work center. After each component is utilized its usage is recorded. This complexity, which is very beneficial for a discrete manufacturer is of little value to a process manufacturer.


Learn More about Discrete vs Process Manufacturing

To get a more in-depth look at what Process ERP software can do for your business, read our Process vs Discrete Manufacturing white paper. Process ERP software streamlines and automates processes used multiple times a day and helps you improve your accuracy, reliability and flexibility. Many process manufacturers have already made the move to a process ERP software solution, gaining more enhanced productivity and improving their bottom line.

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