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


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