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Process or Discrete; Manufacturers now Conveniently opt for ERP Solutions

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Manufacturing industry is scaling new heights, thanks to the modern and innovative technology that is making its way in the domain.  Manufacturers aim to improve client profit, proficiency and productivity while providing their employees with unique and rewarding opportunities.

In fact, manufacturers are quickly replacing the traditional ways of doing business, with various sophisticated and modern solutions to augment productivity and production.  Of late, ERP solutions have gained immense popularity among manufacturers; be it a small factory or a large-scale production unit.  Enterprise solutions play an instrumental role in streamlining activities across the manufacturing processes.

Processvs Discrete Manufacturing

Since, stakeholders at manufacturing units are either in the process of implementing new, or upgrade their existing ERP solution; it becomes mandatory for them to evaluate the options available to determine whether the solution that they are planning to buy or upgrade – best fits their business requirements.

Many a times producers don’t label themselves as a part of process or discrete manufacturing; instead they identify themselves as sole manufacturers.

Manufacturers can be are divided into two broad categories; Process manufacturers and Discrete manufacturers (though, many identify themselves as just manufacturers). This demarcation leads to confusion for the stakeholders.

ERP solutions: Process vs. discrete manufacturers

Process ManufacturingDiscrete Manufacturing
  • Process manufacturing, more about, precise formulas and recipes.
  • They generally yield liquids and powders – items which can be measured in weight and volume.
  • Some of the common process industries are food, pharmaceuticals, & chemical.
  • Discrete manufacturing, basically deals in production of quantifiable items that can be further broken down into small parts.
  • The common industries include automotive, computer, toy and furniture producers.

Process and Discrete manufacturers are constitutionally different, and hence, In order to understand how each segment can benefit from an ERP solution to increases its manufacturing productivity; decision makers must first understand the difference between the two and then determine which all ERP features are essential to the success of overall operations and the successful implementation of the ERP system as well.

  • Software feature requirements
  • Though these manufacturing entities have same basic needs in common, they can vary greatly, especially when it comes to inventory and BOM (bill of materials). So, when one seeks to implement/integrate/upgrade an ERP solution, it is highly recommended to consider the benefits it has to offer to each subset of manufacturers.

  • Process manufacturing needs
    • Quality: For process manufacturing, testing and tracking for quality control, has highly stringent standards. Therefore, to accommodate these requirements, it is recommended to have an ERP module/system that is integrated with quality module.
    • Formulation: When it comes to process manufacturing, there are a variety of factors which greatly affect the end-product. Precise details and measurements like strength of a dye lot or the exact ratio of milk that goes into making cheese production needs to be shared and tracked across the organization.  Unlike, the initial stage of ERP; developers now include features such as input precise measurements to help manufacturers.
  • Discrete manufacturing needs
    • Inventory control: Since, discrete manufacturing involves assembling various parts, ERP solutions need to act as a centralized resource to track inventory. In addition, it even requires constant monitoring of the quality of raw material across the production, for high quality end-products.
    • Supply chain: With so many moving parts, discrete manufacturers are continuously looking at their supply chain to ensure scheduling, production, and delivery flow for quality experience.
  • Mixed Mode Manufacturing
  • Units into mixed mode production need to have an ERP solution which provides flexibility and agility to efficiently handle both the processes.


By thoroughly researching their options, decision makers at manufacturing units can ensure the selection of an ERP solution which fits perfectly to manufacturing unit’s business needs.

A company should not change its production process just to fit a system; get a software that can adapt to company’s needs. Microsoft Dynamics NAV partners offer a solid foundation, along with delivering flexibility enabling the company to enhance their productivity and apparently leverage their production.

About the Author:

Hitech ITO

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