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Five Ways to Improve Your Manufacturing and Material Planning

Determining ways to improve your manufacturing and material planning is an effective way to lower costs for both you and the customer, leading to a request for more items by trusting customers, increasing your overall profits, and expanding your business exponentially.

The way that proper materials resource planning (MRP) does this is through your company’s ability to meticulously plan the supply chain from top to bottom. Ultimately, you’ll find that labor costs are drastically reduced through a streamlined process. Inventory costs are reduced through avoiding overflow of manufactured items or constituent parts. “In process” manufacturing items become less of a hassle, equipment usage is optimized, and deliveries are on time and much quicker, creating a better customer experience.

How to go about planning a streamlined and standardized discrete manufacturing process is simple as long as you keep a few simple steps in mind. What makes planning even easier is that many of the following methods can be performed through the proper utilization of an enterprise resource planning (ERP) software suite.

Forecast
By hand or with primitive software, forecasting can be a nightmare and prone to serious human error. With an expertly coded ERP suite, you’ll find that your business can keep up with historical data, current market trends, and established orders. This can help you keep up with demand but avoid stocking up your inventory unnecessarily.

Order Ahead of Time
No customer wants to wait for a product they have ordered, to first be manufactured (unless of course it is a custom order). In a day and age where a customer can simply point and click to order, they expect the order delivery date to only be contingent on the shipping method they choose. That’s why every discrete manufacturing business should order ahead of time and keep some stock on hand and ready to be shipped out in an instant.

Standardize Processes
Standardization is a key factor in ensuring that your products come out exactly the same every time. This will help you avoid aberrations that may cause product failure and the dreaded return. With every return that happens, customers lose faith and will advertise that to people they know. By creating a process that is the same from top to bottom for every product, you can avoid this hassle.

Maintain Low Material and Product Levels
Although your business should always have a stock of constituent parts and finished products on hand, it’s important to have a bare minimum of those items on hand. Consider mimicking a restaurant’s ordering process. It is imperative for them to order just enough product to ensure that they can deliver food to customers, but not so much that their food becomes rancid before it’s used. Thinking about your inventory as perishable is a good way to maintain low material and product levels.

Compile Data
Always use your ERP software to compile and analyze data relating to item creation, item demand, the amount of materials in stock and on order, materials needed for production, forecasted waste, shelf life, and your manufacturing processes. With this information, you’ll be able to further streamline your process, reduce waste, and reduce ordering and inventory costs dramatically.

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