The Master Scheduler. Production Planner. Lord of the Shop Floor Calendar. By whatever title you call your employees in charge of the production schedule, this position is critical to the success of your plant. Your manufacturing business lives and dies by the effectiveness of your master production schedule, making the role of scheduler an unenviable position. It requires a deft hand and comprehensive knowledge about every work center, job type and operator on the floor, leading some to consider the process of advanced planning and scheduling as more of an art than a science.
IQMS Blog for Manufacturing ERP Expertise
At the end of the day, as the truck carrying your freshly manufactured goods pulls away from the dock, you wonder what sort of profit your hard work and quality products delivered. Unfortunately, the costs of running a manufacturing business are not completely straightforward. When you factor in material expenses, overheard such as rent and utilities and employee wages, how do you determine whether you are losing money or making money on each product that you manufacture?
What comes to mind when you hear the word "lean?" Being a few months into 2014, what you might think of is that New Year's resolution that you've already given up on. However, if you're in manufacturing, one area that is at the top of your "lean" list is not going to the gym, but rather inventory control. Being lean in business is the key to success and when it comes to inventory control, what better tool do you have to help you get there than your ERP system?
IQMS has taken on several new exciting projects this year. As we kick off 2014, I'd like to preview the upcoming web shopping cart product IQMS is calling WebDirect B2C. This new product release will join our WebDirect line of offerings that includes our employee, customer and vendor portals. Many of our customers have seen or are already using the WebDirect B2B portal.
Let’s start by outlining that B2B stands for business-to-business and B2C stands for business-to-consumer. The name is somewhat descriptive of the difference between the two products, however there are some distinct differences in functionality. The B2B product is typically used for relationships where purchases by your customer can be made on account, on PO and/or for blanket purchases over multiple scheduled releases. In this case, you’ve already entered the user credentials and opened up access to the business user to enter the B2B portal prior to the user purchasing anything from the site and considerations such as customer-specific price breaks can be taken into account.
Now that we have numerous customers using our new RTStations in their manufacturing facilities, I would like to take a moment and discuss the many uses this device offers. The second iteration of IQMS’ shop floor device, the RTStation 10.1, was soft launched a few months ago to our customers based on their valuable development feedback to the legacy RTStation (for example, the more modern version offers a larger screen (10 inch versus 7 inch) and wireless capabilities to allow more flexibility on the shop floor - Manufacturers can now mount the RTStation to a forklift for improved inventory tracking and warehouse management). Much of the success of a program like this is not possible without our customers’ valued input and it is always a great feeling to provide our users with products that resulted from their direction and feedback.
For those of you who have read some of my past blogs, you've heard me mention the IQMS SolidWorks add-in. I explained some of the integration our Automation department has done within SolidWorks, but I didn't go into much detail about what exactly the add-in does. In the past month, this application has seen some significant advancement in functionality that I can see being a huge benefit to our SolidWorks users. However, before I get into these new features, a little more detail of how the SolidWorks add-in works is in order:
When it comes to successful manufacturing ERP implementations, people and processes matter most. Without management buy-in and the adoption and usage of the new software across the entire organization, implementations cannot be sustained and will not deliver the best results. When you consider factors of ERP implementation success, long-term organizational change management ranks among the most important components.
IQMS' Automation Group is working on four new mobile applications that are bound to be popular: Bill of Lading Signature Capture, Carton Builder, Inventory Transactions and Maintenance and Repair Operations (MRO) are joining IQMS' suite of mobile apps and the IQMS Application Manager!
Assembly Magazine recently ran an article penned by IQMS in its February 2013 issue regarding the benefits that assembly-specific ERP software can bring your manufacturing operation. From real-time visibility into production, improved customer service and increased inventory control to full financial management, quality control and streamlined processes and workflows, assembly-specific manufacturing ERP software can ensure consistent quality and greater traceability throughout your organization.
The IQMS Development and Automation staff are working on some exciting new development projects for 2013, over and above the hundreds of software enhancement requests (SERs) that we receive from our customers every month through the customer support website, MyIQMS. We believe that our commitment to continuous improvement has been one of the keys to our high growth and overall success.