Tuesday, August 23, 2011
The Case For Multi-level BOM Revisions
The MISys Manufacturing System sports a 16-level BOM capability. And you can have up to 4 billion items at any level. This allows for truly massive product structures.
In the MISys system, a Bill of Material is much more than a pretty picture of what you build. MISys uses the BOM for a number of functions: from backflushing assembly operations, to mutli-level cost roll-ups, where used analyses, available to promise projections, and much more.
From time to time manufacturing companies change the way they build things. This change may be inspired by a better design coming out of Engineering, a clever cost reduction, or a substitution necessitated by a vendor part shortage. Unless you can convince me that you have been building the same assembly the same way since just after the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, and you promise you will never ever change it in the future, then make bill of material revision control a requirement of your dream manufacturing system. Changes always – and should – happen. Be prepared for them.
MISys gives you the optional ability to create as many revisions of a Bill of Material as you wish. Each Revision Number can be a letter, digit, or a combination of the two. In my previous experience designing and building super-mini computers, we used digits to track changes to the BOM as the design progressed through engineering. When the design was released to manufacturing, it acquired a letter revision, starting with A. So you instantly knew that any product bearing the Revision A was unchanged since its original release to manufacturing. I still like that methodology.
Check out the MISys Manufacturing System's support for multi-level Bills of Material and full revision control by going to www.misysinc.com.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Getting Started With MISys: Here's What's Next
That's why the new version of the system includes a comprehensive Getting Started Guide designed to lead you by the hand as you configure and set up the system.
You can explore the Getting Started Guide even without installing a copy of MISys Manufacturing by watching this instructional video.
We hope you'll discover that installing and setting up MISys Manufacturing is really quite easy if you use the tools we've provided. Request a trial copy of MISys Manufacturing by going to www.misysinc.com/.
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Are you familiar with the MISys User Guide?
To their amazement, the MISys User Guide is built into the product, ready to spring into action with just a keystroke or mouse-click. And it employs some computer sleight of hand so that the Guide opens to the right page whenever you need to look something up.
If you don't have a copy of MISys Manufacturing running right now, you can explore the User Guide by watching this short video.
Sunday, August 14, 2011
Selecting Multi-currency/tax Manufacturing Software
However, in this ever-widening global economy, more and more domestic manufacturing firms are purchasing raw materials from partners who do not trade in US Dollars. If you are among these, you will need some ability to create and print purchase orders in the native currency of the raw material supplier (called the “source currency”) and convert the applicable amounts to the native currency of the accounting system (called the “functional currency”).
If you are looking for a multi-currency capable manufacturing system, ask the software supplier how the currency exchange rates are maintained. Calling the bank on a daily basis to check on the exchange between East Borindian Rallods and US Dollars is neither efficient nor a good way to make friends with your local bank CSR. Today, exchange rate information between every publicly traded currency is published online. Make sure your software can easily store this information.
If you live or work in a jurisdiction where taxes are assessed on purchases (such as in Canada or the United Kingdom) your manufacturing software must have the ability to calculate the applicable VAT, GST, HST, or PST due on any purchase order.
Governmental taxing authorities have complex rules for accurately calculating and reporting the taxes due on purchases (often involving taxes on taxes) so you will need to know whether the multiple tax capabilities of the software you are evaluating are sufficient to meet the needs of your client and the regulatory authorities.
The Sage ERP Accpac accounting system has strong multi-currency and multi-tax capabilities. You can learn how it integrates with MISys Manufacturing by going to www.misysinc.com/accpac/.
Friday, August 12, 2011
Manufacturing and Distribution Inventory Control
If your company is small and operating on a shoe-string, this demand may not make you many friends, but it is one you must make. Bad habits are hard to break – but in this case time never heals.
If you have only 50 raw materials and 10 sub-assemblies, insist that each have a part number and each be stored in a controlled stockroom. If you allow free access to the inventory, all your efforts to manage your manufacturing business will be for naught.
While you have your management's attention and you are in the process imposing new policies and procedures, establish once and for all how raw materials, sub-assemblies, and finished goods are to be segregated.
In general, only the items you sell belong in your accounting system’s inventory control database. Obviously this includes the finished products you make, but it may also include a quantity of selected raw materials or sub-assemblies you make available for sale as spare parts.
Ultimately, all the raw material items you naively entered into your accounting system’s inventory control database – things you don’t ever sell – will want to come out. These belong in the manufacturing system’s inventory control database.
If this looks like a daunting task, don’t make a big issue of it right now. The better manufacturing systems will offer some sort of item import feature and, if your accounting system supports item exports, an hour or so of work on your part can save many hours of tedious and error-prone re-entry. It’s something to look for in your choices of manufacturing software. Make a note for future reference.
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Manufacturing and Sales Order Entry Integration
The basic concept is that you will create a sales order for some product (or list of products) you will deliver to a customer on a specific date. Customers tend to be fussy about the date part. If these products are things they make rather than purchase for re-sale, then they will need to convert the sales order into some type of production order.
Here’s a question to ask yourself: “If I were to receive 100 orders for the widget I make, would I create 100 production orders? Or would I create one production order for 100 widgets?” The answer will provide you with significant insight into the way your current manufacturing “system” actually works.
If the answer is “Oh, we don’t create sales orders, we just build to replenish our sales inventory” then that’s the end of the story. No integration with sales order entry is necessary. Don’t press the software vendor for it.
If the answer is “Of course, we’d create 100 production orders” then you will certainly want to make sure the manufacturing software has some automated means to create a unique production order from each corresponding sales order. And when it does, make sure the production order includes a reference to the sales order number.
On the other hand, if the answer is “We’d obviously net all the sales orders into one production order for 100 widgets” the problem gets simpler to solve – or a whole lot more complicated – depending on your needs.
Some of the more rudimentary manufacturing systems in the market would simply add up the number of widgets on all the sales orders and produce a production order for the total quantity. That’s the simple part.
But what if each of those sales orders, even the orders placed on the same day, contain various customer ship dates based on either the customer’s need for product or your ability to produce? At this point, three types of manufacturing systems surface:
Good Nets the total sales order requirement and creates a production order for the total required quantity.
Better Nets the total sales order requirement and creates a production order for the total required quantity on the earliest customer ship date.
Best Nets the total sales order requirement and creates one or more production orders for the total required quantity on each customer ship date.
The issue at hand here is whether the sales order to production order conversion process is date sensitive.
Good systems create the production order but ignore the customer ship date issue entirely.
Better systems consider the customer ship date, but avoid thorny scheduling issues by simply using the earliest date.
The best manufacturing systems schedule production orders for that work is completed just in time to meet customer commitments. Software that performs at this level is clearly more expensive than systems that take the easy way out, but considering the objective you set for justifying the cost of a computerized manufacturing control system, it may well be a price you are willing to pay.
Remember our story about the menu-planning disabled shopper? Think what could happen if you could effectively plan your purchasing and production based on actual customer shipments? You could avoid having to horde “just in case” inventory, reduce your storage/warehousing requirements, and build nothing until you actually needed it. How much would all this be worth in monetary terms? Staggering.
Designing Your Own Custom MISys Interface
In the past, several clever programmers have figured out ways to add special functionality to MISys Manufacturing by tapping into the MISys database. On the surface, this seems like a good idea but it can actually lead to some very severe integrity problems.
As an illustration, imagine that you wish to add your own data to a table that contains four columns:
A B C D
2 2 4 1
2 3 5 0
2 4 6 1
3 2 5 0
3 3 6 0
3 4 7 0
3 5 8 0
Even if you aren’t that clever as a programmer, you can probably figure out what data you should add to the first three columns in this table, right? But you would be hard-pressed to know what you should write in Column D.
Really clever programmers might be able to guess at the value for Column D. (Warning: the program depends on the correct value always appearing in Column D in order to function as designed.)
My point is that, absent an insight into how the program actually uses the data in this table, it is impossible for you to write new data (rows) without corrupting the database.
That’s a problem that is solved by the use of an API, designed by the people who know exactly what Column D is for and what data it should contain.
If an API existed for this imaginary example, the programmer would set the values for Column A and Column B, then call the API which would set the value for Column C (Column A + Column B) and Column D (1 if the values in Columns A and B are both even numbers, otherwise 0).
If ever you have the urge to write a custom program that manipulates the MISys database, I hope you’ll remember this article, slap yourself once or twice, then contact MISys Customer Service (802.457.4600) to find out whether an API is available to accomplish the results you desire.
As of this writing, the only API that is avaible is one that automates certain shop floor transactions so that bar code system integrators can write applications that interface proprietary bar code hardware to the MISys Manufacturing System.
If you have other needs, please submit them to email@example.com. Thanks!
Tuesday, August 09, 2011
Inventory Control Add-ons for Core Accounting Systems
Running at Sage Summit
Create a Report: Stock Threshold Info 2
Continuing from our previous discussions, you are now ready to add some data to our report. Considering that we’re calling this a “Stock Threshold” report, we probably want some core item information and the various thresholds. Some of this data is in MIITEM, the rest is in MIILOC.
Versions of Crystal vary, however, there should be a frame to the right that contains Database Fields and should have the two tables listed. Expand these nodes and you will see the fields that are available. Start by adding MIITEM.itemId and MIITEM.descr to the details of the report (don’t forget column headers if they don’t get automatically created). To do this, click on the field and then drag and drop it in the details section of the report. Now add the following fields from MIILOC- minLvl, ordLvl, maxLvel, ordQty.
Once you have done this, look at the Preview of the report. You should see a tight listing of items and their thresholds.
This report is a nice foundation. Next time, well discuss some filtering.Visit us online at www.misysinc.com/support
Tuesday, August 02, 2011
Create a Report: Stock Threshold Info
Previously we talked about getting Crystal Reports connected to your MISys Manufacturing (no longer SBM!) database. Once that’s done, what can you do? While there are limitations on what can be done with custom fields and some of our more complicated reports that required processes, the whole database is otherwise available to you. In this simple example, we will demonstrate getting stock threshold information so that you can display them.
While you could just go to the Item Location file (MIILOC) and display the items and their thresholds, you may want to include other pieces of information from the Item record (description, unit of measure, etc.) So, we’ll start with MIITEM.
Create a new report in Crystal. Select the Data Source you created previously (using the required credentials and select the appropriate database name). You need to drill down into
Now you can bring in the desired fields you want. Next time we’ll discuss a little more on this report concept.
For MISys Manufacturing technical support, visit us online at www.misysinc.com/support