ERP for Configure-to-Order Processes
There’s no cookie cutter approach that works for every discrete manufacturer. Each business must determine the strategies that will align with their client’s needs and optimize productivity. For some companies, that strategy is configure-to-order (CTO) manufacturing.
CTO combines make-to-stock (MTS) and make-to-order (MTO) processes. This model empowers customers to order a product in line with their specific needs. For each order, the manufacturing instructions and list of components differ, and a set of components are stocked to be assembled in the final product.
CTO might be the ideal method for some manufacturers, but it comes with a unique set of challenges that can only be met with the right ERP solution. Below, we go through a few of the ERP features essential for optimizing CTO operations.
Product configurators perform critical functions for a range of manufacturing modes—one of those being, of course, CTO manufacturing. Configurators simplify the process of designing products to fit each customer’s specifications and eradicate common production roadblocks. Information silos and multiple systems of record are all too common in CTO manufacturing, making it difficult to access production data and resulting in inefficient collaboration and data entry errors. That’s why it’s essential to invest in an ERP platform with an integrated configurator, so your information stays in one place to enable on-the-fly configurations.
With Epicor 10, users gain a powerful product configurator tightly connected to your ERP system. The solution provides the flexibility to change orders at the quote, sales or job level. These changes automatically go into the Bill of Materials (BOM) to maintain productivity and accuracy on the shop floor. Other automated processes include engineering and quoting as well as the generation of part numbers and manufacturing records. Epicor’s agile product configurator fuels transparency throughout your supply chain to ensure customers receive exactly what they want.
Configure-to-order manufacturing is sometimes considered as taking the best of both worlds when it comes to inventory management. It can maintain the product variety of MTO or BTO manufacturing to satisfy specific customer needs while also keeping many components in stock to provide rapid order fulfillment. Still, CTO businesses are susceptible to several inventory management issues, including lack of visibility—particularly across multiple sites—and insufficient stock levels.
ERP software provides tracking features to help you maintain inventory control. Epicor’s inventory management module enables users to track lots, parts, materials and more to uphold quality and accuracy. The Advanced Material Management (AMM) module offers even greater control by allowing users to create electronic requests for materials, reserve specific parts in inventory for selected orders and prioritize orders made by your most loyal customers. Using lean metrics and demand planning technology, you can ensure that your stock is in line with customer demand. Furthermore, with Epicor’s multi-company menu, users can keep track of warehouses and production across the globe from a single login.
Material Requirements Planning
Since CTO products are material intensive, a material requirements planning (MRP) solution is critical to maintain precision and efficiency. Raw material shortages can delay the production process, while excess material can result in high inventory costs. Epicor’s MRP module helps you stay on top of supply and demand across your enterprise. By managing inventory alongside MRP, Epicor maintains the optimal stock of materials for your array of products. It also balances customer demand with the supply of jobs, automatically adjusting jobs or rescheduling plants in response to changes in orders or forecasts.
No matter the complexity or expanse of your enterprise, the MRP module can ensure you have the right materials at the right time. Multilevel pegging allows you to peg each supply against demand, calculating supply for every inventory item to alert you of possible stocking issues. Businesses can run MRP across all plants or individual plants within a company. Changed schedule dates roll down to all subcomponents, even if they’re manufactured in another plant, to streamline processes across your organization. Agile planning and easy access to enterprise data make Epicor’s MRP solution a critical component of CTO operations.
During the ERP selection process, you have to dig deep. It’s not just about finding a manufacturing solution—you also need the right platform to handle your particular industry and processes. A CTO manufacturer can only obtain ROI by finding a system that can handle their unique stocking and production processes. Epicor ERP’s comprehensive modules and flexibility make it amenable for an array of manufacturers: CTO, MTO, MTS, ETO and more. It’s this agility that has made Epicor a trusted vendor for over 45 years, supporting any changes that discrete manufacturers face in their pursuit for continued growth and improvement.
Datix, an Epicor Platinum Partner, is the ultimate source for all things ERP. For over 20 years, we’ve executed ERP implementations, customizations and upgrades for manufacturers and distributors. We understand the distinct requirements of each client and do what it takes to ensure you have the best solution for your enterprise. Additionally, we can connect Epicor with an array of front-office solutions using Unity, our premier integration platform. Unity aligns the processes and data across your organization to drive efficiency and visibility.
No matter your manufacturing process, make sure you have a premier expert and solution on hand to help you achieve business success. Reach out to one of our consultants at Datix today!