So the market conditions are good, you have the best minds in the field working on your product…. the PR machine is in full action and you have shelves waiting to be filled in all major stores… we all like to shop after all, but have you ever give much thought to how your products are made?
No two products are the same and different types of products require different manufacturing processes, usually defined as process, discrete or mixed-mode manufacturing.
The simplest definition of process manufacturing is defined by products that, once manufactured, cannot be distilled back into their original components. Examples of process manufacturing are wine production, soft drinks, plastic products etc. Once the grapes have been crushed and the other ingredients added, you can no longer return the grape to its original form.
Alternatively, discrete manufacturing refers to the production of distinct goods that can be easily counted, touched or seen. Examples of these products are televisions, cars, white goods etc in theory these products can be broken down onto their composite parts at the end of its life cycle, and recycled.
Mixed mode manufacturing
Mixed mode manufacturing is a combination of process and discrete manufacturing that allows businesses the agility and flexibility to switch between the two manufacturing processes, or to combine the two for the production methods of one product. A great example of this would be the production of a standard product, with the ability to manufacture a one off design.
Traceability of components is an important aspect of all manufacturing, but specifically in the food, drinks and drugs industry…. ever seen a food recall notice in the supermarket? A relevant bill of materials will support this requirement, detailing the raw materials that are needed to manufacture the end product. This will of course vary between process and discrete manufacturing, as the units of measurement will differ from distinct parts to liquid or weight quantities.
Bringing it all together
Designed with manufacturing in mind, ERP software solutions can accommodate the many different types of manufacturing that support your business processes. This includes outputting the correct reports and ensuring that your manufacturing process is linked to your financials, stock management and distribution type features.
Primarily as a consumer, maybe down to the fact that I am a girl (….sincere apologies to all feminists, suffrages and Germaine Greer) but I have never really considered what goes into the production of everything, from my Pinot Grigio to my Sky+ box, and I can honestly say that I find it fascinating.
Let’s face it, good manufacturing of a quality product firstly motivates us to buy a product, secondly (if the product pleases us) to become a loyal customer, with a penchant for said goods. Thirdly, and ultimately, to become an advocate, a customer who thinks said goods are so extra-ordinary that we want to tell the world, and we then become the ‘super customer’.
This is of course, partly down to marketing, the brand identity, the price point and the market conditions, but lets’ not forget the value of a well made product, and the legacy it provides businesses with.
Julia Commons, Sage ERP X3 Team