Tuesday, September 27, 2011

What is MRP? MRP I & MRP II Defined

Material Requirements Planning (MRP I)

Following the strict APICS definition, MRP (more accurately MRP I, read MRP-one) is a system that helps a manufacturer plan their purchasing and production activities, and when necessary, create the required purchase orders and production orders in time to meet customer commitments.
This leads to the Great Paradox of Manufacturing:
  • An inventory control system helps you maintain an inventory of your materials.
  • An MRP system helps you maintain no inventory of your materials.

Without an MRP system, manufacturers typically react by purchasing material they might need. With an MRP system, manufacturers purchase material they definitely do need. Which do you think is a better use of limited financial resources?

Many manufacturing systems combine the distinct functions of MPS (Master Production Schedule) and MRP into one called MRP. It is possible to create an MPS without an MRP, but not possible to create an MRP without an MPS. If you are convinced that the software you are considering performs the functions described here, then strict adherence to the terminology is not that important.

Manufacturing Resource Planning (MRP II)

As the term implies, Manufacturing Resource Planning (aka MRP II, read MRP-two), is an extension to MRP I that goes far beyond planning and acquiring the materials needed for production, but every other resource related to the successful operation of a manufacturing plant, including people and machinery.

Some impressive demonstrations can be made by manufacturing software vendors selling “fix all your problems with one click” systems. In our opinion, MRP II requires a level of sophistication far beyond that of most of our prospective customers. Ford Motors and Caterpillar depend on MRP II to run their manufacturing operations. MRP II is a big job – one best reserved for the big boys.

Few low-end to mid-ranged manufacturing systems offer MRP II, but if they do, beware. Systems that perform real MRP II functions cost hundreds of thousands, often millions of dollars. If the system you are looking at claims MRP II capabilities for far, far less turn your fluff detector to stun.

MISys Manufacturing v5.0

MISys Manufacturing is best described as an MRP I system, although it does have a few MRP II-like features, including the powerful Capacity Manager. This tool analyzes the load every active production order is placing on available resources (work centers) and displays where and when capacity overloads are occurring.

Using the tool, you can manually reschedule the offending production orders to take better advantage of available resources.

For a few hundred thousand dollars more than what MISys costs, an MRP II system might do this automatically, but if you disagreed with the planning decisions it made, you'd think you'd be better off with MISys Manufacturing.

Invest the next ten minutes of your time and take the 6-step tour. Download the MISys Manufacturing brochure, fact sheets, watch the demo videos, get a price estimate and more.

Visit www.misysinc.com

Related Video: "What is MRP? Why do I need MRP? A demo with MISys Manufacturing & Sage 50 Quantum Accounting"

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Top Tips: A guide to successful software implementation from MISys Manufacturing

Of the 7000+ software installations we have performed, the most successful implementations came from businesses that did their homework!  It boils down to these critical steps:

Define Goals
What are your pain points?  And what would success look like? Invite others into the conversation and listen to multiple perspectives.

Get and Maintain Buy-In
Consider the impact on the organization and make sure you have buy-in from the top to bottom. Revisit and reinforce the commitment to a new software implementation every step of the way.  If you don’t have it, don’t do it.

Don’t “Buy the Brochure” - Get the Real Story
Most marketing materials make software seem about the same. They’re not. Get a demo of the software. Ask the hard questions and make sure it meets your needs. Find what fits and what doesn't.

Assemble Your Implementation Team
This team will make sure that the software they selected will be implemented without surprises and on time.  Everyone on the team will have an important role to play, but it will be vital to assign one very capable person with the time and authority to manage the implementation. If you’re not confident that you have the proper expertise on staff, don’t wing it.  Consider outsourcing.

“Assemble Your Implementation Team” (PDF Format)
This document is a great conversation starter and highlights the roles and responsibilities required for a smooth implementation.

Visit us online at www.misysinc.com

Monday, September 19, 2011

What Good Are Simple Planning Tools?

Manufacturers who are suffering at the hands of bloated inventories, missing deliveries, and angry customers don’t usually bring up planning as one of their objectives in acquiring a manufacturing system. “Who’s supposed to be steering the boat when both of us have to be down here bailing the bilge” they cry.

Assuming there is some real hope of staunching the flood and relieving at least some of your staff to do some steering of the boat, you should have a good look at the tools prospective manufacturing software like MISys offers for simple planning.

By using the word “simple” we mean planning that is not necessarily time-phased. It is a view of the world that looks straight down at the tips of your shoes, but it is a valuable view nonetheless.

The most rudimentary manufacturing software should feature some sort of shortage report which will alert you to items whose stock level is falling below a pre-determined level or “reorder point.” In the MISys Manufacturing system, this called the Buyer's Advice Report. It lists every item where the quantity on hand, plus on order, is less than the reorder report.

Running this report once a week and dropping it on the desk of the purchasing manager would be a vast improvement over what you are doing now – most likely roaming through the stockroom groping in empty cardboard boxes. But the MISys Buyer's Advice Report has some very special abilities that help you create corresponding purchase orders automatically. Be sure to ask your MISys sales agent to demonstrate this for you.

Given that you can maintain reasonably accurate inventory records and bills of material, you should be able to perform some decent production planning, too.

If you know what you have in stock today, and you know what you want to make, and you know how to make it, then your manufacturing software should be able to perform a “what-if” analysis and alert you to impending shortages. Based on the results of this what-if analysis, you could either change your production plans, or purchase any of the material you will need to complete it. The Basic Manufacturing module of MISys includes a simple yet powerful Stock Check function that allows you to perform just such an analysis.

Even the simple planning tools described here can go a long way to helping you reduce your inventory holding costs and achieve one of the major objectives for acquiring an automated manufacturing control system.

You can explore the Stock Check capabilties of MISys Manufacturing by watching the streaming videos at www.misysinc.com.


Sunday, September 04, 2011

Sunday - September 4, 2011

One of the great things about living in a small rural community is that whenever there is a need, the populace turns out to assist. Such is the case in Woodstock (and all over Vermont for that matter) as citizens mobilize to help those who suffered the most loss during last weekend's flash floods.

Since school is scheduled to open on Tuesday, Disaster Central has been relocated from the Woodstock Elementary School to the fire department's Station #2. The continuing relief effort will be directed from there, coordinating with Woodstock Emergency Services, the Vermont National Guard, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Fresh water, food, bedding, and clothing donated by Woodstock residents is being distributed free of charge to anyone who needs it.

This is nominally a holiday weekend as the country celebrates Labor Day on Monday, September 5th. In all likelihood, you won't notice a let-up in the efforts to put the town back in shape and ready to welcome visitors for the annual folliage season.

Here is some great aerial photography of some of the flooded areas in Vermont.


Saturday, September 03, 2011

Saturday - September 3, 2011

On my 3 mile trip through Woodstock to the MISys offices yesterday, I started counting dump trucks -- ranging from small 7-yard models up to the big 30-yard haulers. Count: 23 trucks in just 18 minutes. Each of these is loaded with rocks and gravel being used to fill in the massive ditches that used to be roads.

Today we learned that the State of Vermont has decied to allow the removal of material from the Ottauqhechee Riverbed. What used to be a lazy stream with no more than a few inches of running water in mid-summer turned into a swift-running river 25 feet deep and 4-times wider that it had been the day before Irene struck. Now that the water has receded, the wide, shallow riverbed resembles the surface of the moon.

Topsoil on one of the few remaining cornields is being pushed back and piled up in preparation for the contruction of a rock crushing plant. In a few days, a giant machine will be delievered and set up in the old cornfield. Boulders from the riverbed will be fed into one end and crushed rock from the other end of the machine will be loaded into dump trucks and carted off to wherever a few more yards of fill are needed. Sourcing crushed rock locally will spare each truck a 30 mile round trip.

Immense progress is being made restoring Vermont's roads and bridges. Good thing, too, since the fall tourism season will soon be upon us. Now, more than ever. we need to get the word out that Vermont is open for business.  Our friends and neighbors run the restaurants, hotels, country inns, B&Bs, and other tourist attractions. They are working hard, despite great personal loss, to get ready for visitors from out of state. They desparately need your business. Won't you come see for yourself that we are still one of the prettiest towns in America? See http://www.forbes.com/sites/larryolmsted/2011/09/02/letter-to-tourists-come-back-to-vermont/


Friday, September 02, 2011

Friday - September 2, 2011

8:00am: MISys is back up and running!

MISys now has electric service and we are back up and running!  Unfortantely any emails sent to us after Monday of this week were bounced. 

If you received a bounce notice (or just didn't get any response) please resend it and we'll answer it as soon as possible.  All phones and email accounts are now working. 

The roads will take some more work.

Thanks for all your support, prayers and best wishes as we struggled through this mess.

The MISys Guys!

5:00pm: MISys Community celebrates with town-wide potluck supper.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Thursday - September 1, 2011

The MISys offices in Woodstock, Vermont remain closed after severe flooding related to hurricane Irene over the weekend. The town is slowly recovering from massive washouts, the failure of the town's water system, and the public utilities. Watch this news report.

The transformer that supplies power to our building is still attached to the electric pole, but the pole is laying on the ground, half submerged in a thick layer of mud.

The town's water supply was disabled when the storm surge took out an 8" main and emptied the contents of the water tank into the Ottauquechee River. Pumping the dry tank caused further failures of other equipment which must be replaced before pumping can begin again. The water company cannot promise a date when service will be restored.

Each morning we check with the electric utility company about the chances of getting power restored so that we can bring our servers up, including our email server. Their latest advice is that we might get power back by the end of Friday.

We are able to respond to emails sent to otroad1@gmail.com. We can answer many sales and customer service-related questions, and some technical support requests sent to this address.

As soon as power is restored, we can be back in business, even without running water. Hopefully everything will be back to normal by the beginning of next week.

That said, we are mindfull of the many friends and neighbors who have lost everything in the recent storm.