Manufacturing ERP Mistakes: Scheduling Issues

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For many of us, scheduling is one of the primary objectives to justify the investment of time and money in manufacturing ERP. Get it wrong and you are on the road to ERP failure.

  • Where is the job in production?
  • Will it be done on time?
  • The customer just called, can we insert one more job into today’s production?
  • Will we need to add a third shift next month when that big order hits the shop?
  • We fell behind in production last week, how can we arrange the work to catch up with the least overtime?

Manufacturing ERP scheduling is part of the answer to all these questions. In addition, scheduling goes beyond our shop. Scheduling also drives material requirements. When we schedule a job to run at the end of next week, we also schedule the material that we have to purchase and receive at the beginning of next week.

Common Scheduling Failures

Many kinds of scheduling issues can lead to manufacturing ERP failure. One of the most common failures is when we set a schedule for the week and assume the planned production will be done by the end of this week.

Scheduling a manufacturing operation is the result of many assumptions. We assume work will be done at a certain pace. But that pace is not certain – it is an average over time based on different processes, different, individuals, or it is an engineer’s dream.

Scheduling can be the heart of a well-running manufacturing process. Scheduling can also lead to manufacturing ERP failure when not monitored and maintained frequently.

We assume materials will be available at the time needed for the schedule. What happens if the supplier’s truck was caught behind a traffic accident on the highway? Is your manufacturing ERP integrated with your supplier distribution updates? We assume subassemblies from all previous operations will all arrive as scheduled for the next operation. Scheduling a manufacturing plant cannot be static. Ideally, the schedule will be recalculated by your ERP every time an event occurs or an ERP transaction is recorded. Then the schedule might be perfect but if we cannot communicate the schedule changes fast enough, we will be constantly juggling balls and when one falls, we have to pick it back up and hope no one tosses us any more while we are blinking.

We can use manufacturing ERP scheduling in many different ways to reduce the risk of failure. We have finite and infinite tools at hand. We can schedule forward and backward. We can split jobs and combine the operations from multiple jobs to run simultaneously. Perhaps Sonya, who works in production, sees two jobs waiting; one is easy and she just has enough time to complete it by the end of her shift and the other is difficult and probably will not be complete when her shift is due to end. Does she check your schedule? Or, does she cherry-pick the easy work? You know the answer.

Production scheduling can be the heart of a well-running manufacturing process. Scheduling can also lead to manufacturing ERP failure when not monitored and maintained frequently.


3 Causes of ERP Supply Chain Management Failure

Supply chains can fail for any number of reasons. Many, such as a supplier that suddenly goes out of business are often beyond the control of management. However there are some causes of supply chain failure, such as poor ERP supply chain processes, where the blame lies squarely at the feet of senior management.

Viewing ERP as the Answer to Cost Cutting Pressures

When supply chain management is all about finding the lowest cost supplier, there are risks. If the low-cost supplier delivers poor quality products a business can compensate by increasing quality controls or they can accept a decline in product quality.

Many businesses have come to rely on ERP as their supply chain safety net. In the case of low cost suppliers, many use their ERP quality control modules or CRM to accommodate the risk involved. This can often place pressure on the system and its users increasing the likelihood of supply chain failure. ERP supply chain management is a valuable tool, but one that must be used alongside common sense and the other tools in our toolbox.

Automating Supply Chain Processes without Fail-Safes

Both supply and demand can be hurt when ERP supply chain management processes are automated without important fail safe controls in place. If a poor forecast drives demands and orders are placed with suppliers without forecast verification, the result can be a surplus or deficit in inventory.

When a purchase order is placed and conditions change during the lead time, similar inventory problems can occur. We all strive for automated ERP processes as they bring lower overall costs and usually improved control, but we need to ensure these automated processes are regularly audited for accuracy and reliability.

Over-Estimating Efficiency Gains

Outsourcing production is often a good method of improving efficiencies – we should stick to our core competencies after all. This can mean we ask our suppliers to deliver assembled components instead of several components we assembled in-house in the past. We also can outsource fulfillment. The final assembly in production may be whether to deliver our product with a pink cover or a green one and our third party distribution center can help.

We will expect gains in efficiency to pay for these outsourced operations. What happens when we use ERP to predict a 30% gain in efficiency and decided to lay off 30% of our own labor force? We save money and our stock price goes up. But when we realize we should have only laid off 25%, we are already late on the next orders and some of the 5% already have new jobs, the importance of accurate efficiency forecasting becomes apparent.

Our supply chain is a critical process and we must manage it well using our ERP. Good management can lift our business above the competition. Pay attention to the details and constantly seek ERP supply chain management improvements.

Posted on 12/06/15 by Tom Miller


4 ways ERP can create a lean supply chain


In business, lean means eliminating waste. Waste can be seen in manufacturing and office practices and is also found in the supply chain, but too few businesses use lean ERP processes to focus on supply chain waste. The final principle of lean is to strive for perfection; almost all of us have some waste in our supply chain to find and eliminate.

1. Customer relationship forecasting
Lean supply chains are customer-centric. Your ERP has modules to manage both customer relationships and supplier relationships. Use customer relationship management (CRM) to go beyond prospecting for new business. Contact your customers regularly to inquire about expected and suspected changes to order patterns and to discuss how you and your customer can work together for mutual benefit. Integrate your ERP with their order management system to see, as a minimum, planned orders from their side.

2. Integrated business intelligence
Lean ERP can integrate business intelligence from all sources. You might have macro-economic forecasts and point-of-sale data that can be combined with data from your customers to develop more powerful order forecasts.

3. Supplier performance measurement
Use your supplier relationship management (SRM) module to learn what changes your suppliers see or are forecasting. Much of these changes might seem to be soft data but, when combined, can become valuable predictors.

Look at the value stream from your customer’s perspective.
– Do all your purchasing activities add value?
– Do all your supplier’s activities add value?
Use supplier audits to check how well they have eliminated waste. Record your findings in your ERP SRM module and agree improvement targets. Integrate your SRM with their communications systems to allow them to report on their progress. Share the improvements with customers to demonstrate your desire to reduce your selling price and improve your delivery to them.

What can you expect? Longer, better relationships with your suppliers and customers. Lower costs, both for the products and the transactions involved.

It is important to monitor supplier performance in your ERP from all directions.

  • How many orders?
  • How many lines?
  • Which delivery targets have been met and missed?
  • How much time is needed from placing an order to receipt of that material ready for your use?
  • What unnecessary processes are you using; are they using unnecessary processes that add no value?

Answering these questions will allow you to reduce your transaction costs to the lowest possible amount.

4. Supply chain modelling
Just-in-time delivery is only one model of eliminating waste through a lean supply chain. Can you change your supply-chain model to a pull system? What do you and your supplier need to do to become more responsive? ERP is already a repository of your transactions. It can be expanded using user-defined tables and fields to store exactly the data you require and support the supply chain model you wish to pursue.

What can you expect? Longer, better relationships with your suppliers and customers. Lower costs, both for the products and the transactions involved. Better forecasting, which your supply chain will be able to use to help your customers add value. Higher profits for all and the ability to responsively manage any change that comes around the corner. Win-win.

The article was posted by: Tom Miller in ERP Focus knowledge blog.

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Oracle BPM Suite 12c Architecture Overview

OBPM Architecure Overview

Oracle Web logic Server :
  • Java EE Application Server
  • Take advantage of clustering capabilities
  • Highly per-formant run time platform.
SOA Suite :
  • BPM Suite sits a top a required SOA Suite installation
  • SOA Suite runs as a Java EE composite application using the Service Component Architecture (SCA) assembly model
  • All SOA Suite facilities are available to a BPM application.
Process Engine :
  • Models are in the BPMN(Business Process Management and Notation) notation
  • BPMN models are executed by the BPMN service engine
  • BPEL models,for SOA Suite,share a common process core for execution.
Rule Engine :
  • Powerful business rules engine in SOA Suite is available in BPM Suite
  • Rules can be used to condition BPMN control flow and manage work in workflow engine
  • IF/THEN and decision table rule formats.
Human Work Flow Engine :
  • BPM Suite extends human workflow capabilities from SOA Suite
  • Supports the frequent human interactions that are characteristic of BPM app
  • Interactions may includes approvals and execution management tasks that advance a process instance through the BPMN model.
BPM Studio:
  • Capabilities added to Oracle Jdeveloper IDE to support BPM application development
  • Supports BPMN 2.0
  • Provides simulation capabilities so you can watch  a process execute before you deploy it.
Process Composer:
  • Web browser -based subset of BPM Studio capabilities
  • Aimed at business users that participate with process analysts in the modeling process
  • Provides simulations and process playing
  • Process templates can be created in BPM studio and then populated using Process Composer.
Process Spaces:
  • Browser-based,collaborative workspace
  • Built a top Web Center Portal Spaces product
  • Provides documents sharing,discussions,wikis,lists,links,tagging and instant messaging.
PAM(Process Asset Manager) :
  • PAM-Process Asset Manager
  • Acts as a design -time repository
  • Stores business process catalog where key BPM artifacts are stored
  • Allows sharing between BPM Studio and Business Process Composer users.
  • Metadata Service Repository
  • Acts as a run-time repository vs. PAM’S role as a design time repository.
Business Process Workspace :
  • Browser -based,task management environment
  • Allows users to perform human tasks that have been modeled in BPM applications
  • Delivers the UI to the users
  • Provides task in-box,process tracking and performance dashboards.
Enterprise Manager:
  • Browser -based run-time management console shared across all Fusion Middleware
  • Enables system administrators to control and manage application running in the BPM run time
  • Allows business administrators to manage process instances.