Wednesday, November 28, 2012

C. Return it and get what you need!

Buyer's remorse can be more than just a sense of regret.  Sometimes you bought the wrong product.  The question is this:  what are you going to do about it?

You have some choices:

a) Suffer through it.  A couple of years ago I got a great deal on running shoes out of the bargain box at a local sporting goods store.  They were a little tight - about a 1/2 size too small - but I thought they were okay.  The next day I entered a half marathon running race with my new shoes and at mile 4 I began to suffer.  I kept going.  At mile 10 the pain was so bad I had to stop.  In the next two weeks I lost the toe nails on four of my toes.  Bad idea.  

b)  Put it on the shelf but get the right product.  With a pair of shoes, especially ones from a bargain box, the investment is low enough so it is not too painful to just keep them and get the ones you need.  But would you do that with a car purchase?  Probably not.  Would you do that with a software purchase?  You might.  But it is a bad idea as well. 

c)  Return it and get what you need.  Good idea.  MISys created a money back guarantee, recognizing that customers sometimes buy the wrong software.  We work really, really hard to make sure that the software is the right fit and that it solves the pain points of the customer by giving numerous demos, free trial copies of the software before the purchase and a multitude of videos and a SureStart coach to help get started.  But sometimes it still doesn't meet the needs of the client.  We get it.  That is why we have the 60 day money back guarantee. 

Recently MISys launched a trade-in program for manufacturers who purchased Fishbowl Inventory software but found it missing some critical elements for manufacturing.  Don't get me wrong, we think that Fishbowl is a great software solution for distributors and wholesalers.  But we do believe that it is the wrong product for a manufacturer with more complex needs.  So...we are offering a trade in for the amount of funds paid for Fishbowl Inventory software towards the purchase of the right configuration of software modules and user licenses of MISys Manufacturing software.   Cool, huh?

The answer is C.  Return it and get what you need.  That is the right choice.

And don't enter a half marathon with shoes that are too small.  It is painful...

Charlie Kimbell
VP, Sales and Marketing

Monday, October 22, 2012

MISys Launches Easy Purchasing App for QuickBooks Users

MISys Automates Inventory Purchases for QuickBooks through MISys Easy Purchasing App

Woodstock, VT
October 22, 2012

Software developer, MISys, Inc., today launched MISys Easy Purchasing, a desk-top application for QuickBooks users. The product automates inventory purchases for manufacturers and wholesalers, saving companies time and reducing inventory levels.  MISys Easy Purchasing is sold on a monthly subscription basis for $20 per month.

"We are really excited to offer this new software application," said Dave Brown, CEO and co-founder of MISys, Inc. "We have worked with Intuit for 7 years, providing a comprehensive add-on application to QuickBooks for manufacturers to plan production, manage inventory, purchase materials and track costs. MISys Easy Purchasing utilizes a piece of that software, extending the purchasing function to wholesalers as well.  It will save customers time and money - always a good thing."

About MISys Easy Purchasing

MISys Easy Purchasing scans the data in QuickBooks for existing inventory levels, Purchase Orders, and Sales Orders, then creates Purchase Orders in QuickBooks for materials needed to satisfy the sales orders. By using the application, customers are able to save time by automating purchase orders with preferred vendors. Customers are also able to reduce inventory levels by buying only what they need when they need it.

For more information about MISys Easy Purchasing, visit the website at

Friday, September 28, 2012

Expertech South Africa to Promote MISys Manufacturing in southern Africa

Bernard Ford, Expertech CEO, adds the manufacturing software to a portfolio of products that integrate with Sage 300 ERP Accounting software.

“We are very fortunate to be working with Bernard Ford at Expertech,” said Dave Brown, CEO and President of MISys. “He has extensive experience selling and servicing Sage accounting products in South Africa and the bordering countries. We are confident that he will be effective promoting MISys Manufacturing software to Value Added Resellers and end users. ”

“I have known MISys for more than 15 years,” said Ford, “and appreciate how the software gives Accpac, now Sage 300, users a very strong manufacturing system tied into their existing accounting system. I believe there are some real opportunities for MISys in the market and I hope to reach the largely small and medium sized businesses in the region requiring powerful yet simple-to-operate manufacturing software.”

About Manufacturing Information Systems:
MISys has been a leader in the manufacturing software industry for more than 25 years. MISys Manufacturing is the current version of its software, first released in 2006 as MISys SBM, version 6.0 was released in September of 2012. MISys is an Endorsed Development Partner with Sage Software, the developer of Sage 300 ERP (Accpac), Sage 50 US (fka Peachtree) and Sage 50 CA (formerly Simply Accounting). Intuit, the publisher of QuickBooks, has recognized MISys as a gold development partner. MISys software products have been sold and serviced in South Africa by Sage Softline. A privately held corporation headquartered in Woodstock, Vermont, MISys has more than 7,500+ customers worldwide. Visit MISys online at

About Expertech Pty:
Expertech was founded by Bernard Ford in 2011 to promote third party software applications to channel partners for Sage software products in the South African region. Bernard has more than 20 years of experience in business applications, accounting and ERP software in the mid-tier market across all industry types. He previously worked for Sage software resellers in sales and marketing roles at Softline Lorge, Acctech Systems and Sage Softline. In addition to MISys Manufacturing, Expertech markets Orchid Systems, Systronics, Orion Digital Integration and others.

Learn more about MISys Manufacturing software. Visit

accpac, Bernard Ford, Expertech Pty, misys, misys manufacturing, MISys SAE, MISys SBM, peachtree, Sage 300 ERP, Sage Softline, simply accounting, South Africa, Woodstock.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

MISys Manufacturing Software Version 6.0 | FAQs

(Used with permission. This content created by Sean Fitzsimmons of Central Nervous Systems - an experienced MISys Implementation Partner).

Today, MISys announced the release of the next major version of MISys Manufacturing - MISys 6.0. I am writing to let you know what this means for your business, in the form of a Q&A list as follows:

Question: How is this different from a minor patch?
Answer: A minor patch (i.e. upgrading from to is a small modification to the program in the existing folder on your server. A major release, on the other hand, is a completely new installation of the program, in different folders, on your server.

Question: How is the upgrade process different?
Answer: Instead of logging into the administration module (on the server) and pressing the upgrade button, we have to download an executable file and follow a 15 step process to ensure that the system installs properly.

Question: Do I need Central Nervous System's help doing this, or can I attempt the upgrade on my own?
Answer: You are completely free to try the major upgrade on your own - please don't think you are not. We just know that many customers will want assistance because they are uncomfortable with the idea of coping with a manufacturing system that doesn't work should anything go wrong. Should you choose to include us, our process involves upgrading your system on a test server (that we bring with us to your office) to ensure that the upgrade processes properly before doing the upgrade on your operational server.

Question: How many hours will Central Nervous Systems bill to come on-site to upgrade my MISys installation?
Answer: Central Nervous Systems staff - Paul, Nigel and Nick - have already been testing the upgrade process. We anticipate it will take between 3 to 5 hours to complete the upgrade at client sites.

Question: What's in it for me, the MISys customer?
Answer: There are a lot good reasons to upgrade to MISys 6.0. For one, there are dozens of improvements to the code to consolidate previous updates and streamline the integration with different accounting programs. Secondly, MISys has added a bunch of new features and fixed some annoying bugs. You can see the full list on the MISys 6.0 landing page at the following link:


But the feature that we think people are going to be most excited about is the MISys Query Report Designer. This will give you the ability to quickly create new, custom reports without any prior training. MISys corporate has a video uploaded on their website that gives you a preview of what it is like. MISys Query does NOT replace the standard reports in MISys Manufacturing. You are still able to modify existing MISys reports or create new reports using Crystal Reports.

Sean Fitzsimmons, Partner
O: (604) 602-4375
C: (604) 990-0082

Monday, July 02, 2012

Back from Scaling New Heights

Back from Scaling New Heights

The MISys Guys have recently returned from Nashville where we participated in the Scaling New Heights Conference and Exhibition.

SNH turned out to be an excellent opportunity to connect with QuickBooks consultants who wish to push their practices to more profitable market segments. Visitors to the MISys Booth will soon be receiving more information about the MISys Manufacturing System for QuickBooks.

Next month (August 2012) we will return to Nashville for the Sage Summit Conference where MISys will exhibit our manufacturing solutions for Sage Peachtree, Sage Simply, and Sage Accpac accounting.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

MISys Up and Running at Scaling New Heights

MISys Manufacturing is organizing an informal 5k fun run/walk in East Nashville during the Scaling New Heights conference. The run is Monday, June 18th at 6am.

To participate, meet in the lobby of the Renaissance Hotel at 5:45am to get a ride to the start point/end point at the Bongo East Java coffee shop at the corner of 11th and Holly in East Nashville. This is 2.7 miles from the hotel.

Check out the 5k route suggested by the East Nasty Running Club:

To make sure we have enough seats in the van/bus, send an email indicating you are going to participate to with the message SIGN ME UP FOR THE EAST NASTY 5K!

What does this have to do with manufacturing software?  Remember that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.  The run is for fun while at the conference.  

Friday, May 25, 2012

Custom Mobile Alerts in MISys Manufacturing

One of my customers wondered how the sales and/or shipping staff would know when an order had been completed in MISys and transferred to Sage 50 Quantum Accounting (formerly Sage Peachtree Quantum). This would apply, of course, to a Make-to-Order scenario where there is a specific sales order linked to each production order (either Work Order or Mfg Order).

So I created a Sales Order in Sage 50 and did a “Process Sales Orders” transaction which brought in the details of the SO:

Notice there are several details captured automatically: the item required (I50), the quantity (200), the customer name (xyz), the sales order # (1179) and the ship date (5/29/2012). No data entry required at all.

I’ll skip through the building of the 200 but at the point we have built it we’re ready to transfer the 200 units to Sage 50. I have already created a Custom Alert called Sales Transfer Notification, and included a mobile alert with an e-mail (or e-mails) to people in shipping/sales. The alert criteria looks like this, but of course it could be further tweaked:

You might want to limit it to active MOs only, not closed, or within the last week, or whatever -- you don’t want a long long list of every sales transfer you ever made, so make it relevant to the needs of the shipping/sales folks. I do the transfer from within the MO and my custom alert shows me this:

And I also get an e-mail, which is key since I, in the shipping department, am not a MISys user, ever, and that e-mail says:

You might note that the Sales Order # did not come over in the e-mail, but the customer name and ship date did. That’s a little tweak we can solve, but even with just this information we in shipping now know that 
  1. finished goods were delivered into Sage 50 
  2. who the customer is 
  3. what day the goods need to be shipped by 
  4. what the goods are and 
  5. how many.

We love custom alerts and mobile alerts, and you should too! 

Posted by Michael Byrne on behalf of
Al Alessi
MISys Sales

Take the tour at

Monday, April 30, 2012

Confirming Serial/Lot Numbers in MISys Manufacturing

There is little chance that you’ll decide to track serial/lot numbers for the sheer fun of it. Most manufacturing companies take on the added burden of tracking raw materials and finished good because some regulatory agency demands it. One of the other things that regulatory agencies demand is the assurance that, once you have assigned a serial number of lot number to an item in a stock transaction, it is impossible for someone to change that assignment. It’s understandable. If, as a regulator, you were concerned about maintaining the integrity of the data created by a computer system, you would certainly want to build in barriers against unscrupulous users who felt the need to change the data.

When we were first designing the Serial/Lot Tracking module for the MISys Manufacturing System, we considered long and hard the implications of this security rule. What bothered us most was the knowledge that tracking serial/lot numbers through multiple levels of assembly requires no small amount of data entry. Human beings, imperfect machines that they are, can be depended on to make data entry errors when assigning serial/lot numbers to item transactions.

Just about everywhere else in the MISys Manufacturing System, it is possible to fix a data entry error by editing a form, or making an adjusting entry. But, to satisfy the regulators, there should be no way to change the assignment of a serial/lot number after the fact. Obviously, a compromise was needed.

Ultimately, the compromise came in the form of an “Undo” function for the serial/lot number assignment process. That is to say, if you make a mistake when assigning a serial number or lot number to an item transaction, you have a certain fixed period of time during which you can undo the assignment and try again before the “ink” as it were sets.

So, in the MISys Manufacturing System, every serial/lot assignment transaction that you enter gets stored in a temporary register. If you have an “Oh sh…” moment and want to undo the transaction you’ve just entered, you can go to the Assignment Register, select the transaction you wish to undo, then click the Undo button.

Recognize that the process of undoing a serial/lot transaction is just as complex as doing it in the first place. The MISys software not only undoes that item assignment transaction itself, but necessarily, it also undoes all the ancillary assignments that were made automatically.

The regulatory consultants we contacted weren’t crazy about the transactions being left in the Assignment Register for all time. We agreed that doing so would open (and keep open) a large security hole that could easily be breached. For this reason, MISys requires that you confirm serial/lot tracking assignments with 30 days of making them.

MISys Manufacturing periodically checks to make sure there are no un-confirmed serial/lot number assignments older than 30 days. If it finds any, the program will remind you of the need to confirm the outstanding serial/lot assignments by triggering a dashboard alert.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Serial/Lot Tracking Ease of Use Factors

As I’ve discussed in previous posts, manufacturing software that performs real serial/lot tracking is more difficult to use and more labor intensive to maintain than software that “fakes it” by just providing a text field in the item master to record serial/lot numbers. Therefore it is incumbent on the designers of the software to make it as easy as possible to use while maintaining the integrity of the data being collected.

For example, when serialized or lot-tracked raw material items are being received, their serial/lot numbers may have been assigned by the supplier -- or that may be job of the customer (the manufacturing company). If the serial/lot assignment is done by the manufacturer, then it is likely that the serial/lot numbers can be assigned in sequence. Good manufacturing software will ease the burden of assigning serial/lot numbers by letting you create a sequence of, say 100 serial/lot numbers starting from XYZ001. Poorly designed software would require you to enter 100 serial/lot numbers.
On the other hand, if the serial/lot assignment is done by the supplier, then good manufacturing software will allow you to enter 100 unique serial/lot numbers (even though doing so is more time-consuming) because there is a good chance the parts will come to you that way.

Then there is the matter of when serial/lot assignments are most conveniently done. If your receiver can open a box and readily read the numbers printed on serial/lot-tracked items, then it may be most convenient (and efficient) to assign the serial/lot numbers right then and there.

However, if serial/lot tracked items are being used in the production process, then you may not wish to hold up production while you update the computer with the serial-lot numbers of the items being used. Deferred entry of serial/lot numbers may be the best (or only) entry method you would consider at this phase of the manufacturing process.
You will rarely find manufacturing software that gives you the option of entering serial/lot numbers in real time, or deferring the entry process to a more convenient time. The MISys Manufacturing System is among the few systems that give you the flexibility of both methods.

For more information about MISys go to

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Serial Number Tracking for Manufacturing Companies

In my previous postings about lot tracking in a manufacturing environment, I tried to differentiate between manufacturing business management systems that take a shortcut to lot tracking and those that perform what I call “cradle-to-grave” lot tracking. I feel it is important to make this distinction because the latter will satisfy regulatory agencies such as FDA and FAA (as well as meeting ISO 9000 standards) while the former will not.

The characteristic that makes cradle-to-grave lot tracking so important lies in its ability to track the lot number(s) of any raw material component through multiple levels of sub-assembly, to the lot number(s) of the finished goods being produced.

I also pointed out that any software you select to assist with lot tracking in a manufacturing environment must deal with partial (split) lots. In other words, if there isn’t a sufficient quantity of a required material in one lot, then you need to get the balance for a different lot. The rub is that once you split lots, the software has to track all those lots through the entire production process.

Tracking serial numbers isn’t all that different from tracking lot numbers. While there can be many members of a lot, there can be only one member of a serial number. The MISys Manufacturing System allows you to identify a tracked item as either lot-tracked or serialized.

If raw materials are serialized, the serial number can be pre-assigned by the supplier, or assigned by the manufacturer at the time they are received. Some manufacturing software simply provides a field in the item master in which you can record the serial numbers of the items you have received. Bad choice.

As we have seen with lot-tracking, professional-grade manufacturing software (such as MISys) keeps a transaction log of the serial numbers received, then follows each individual serial numbered item through the manufacturing process. Ultimately, the software can tell you where a serialized item was used – and what serialized item(s) were used as components in a tracked finished good.

Without a doubt, using software that performs “cradle-to-grave” serial or lot tracking like MISys requires a degree of overhead that is not needed when running simple (arguably inadequate) manufacturing software. In my next post I’ll take a closer look at the work required to adequately track serial and lot numbers and discuss what MISys does to ease the burden.

For more information about the MISys Manufacturing System visit

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Cradle To Grave Lot Tracking

In my last post about lot tracking in a manufacturing environment, I tried to differentiate between software that allows you to record the lot number of materials you receive and complete -- and software that maintains an auditable connection between received raw materials and completed finished goods.

The cheap way to implement lot tracking in a software product is to maintain a table of lot numbers for raw materials received. If the software you are evaluating records lot numbers on the PO receiving side, there’s a good chance it also records lot numbers of the MO production side of the house. That may be as far as it goes, but that may not be far enough for your needs, or the needs of a regulatory agency that keeps tabs on your operations.

If the software you are evaluating is advertised as being “integrated with a core accounting system” then you should look for the ability to pass the lot number of the items just assembled to the sales order invoicing system. If the core accounting system has lot tracking capability, look for the ability to see which lots were delivered to which customers -- or which customers received which lots.

The MISys Manufacturing System provides what we call “cradle-to-grave” lot tracking – the complete path of lot numbered items as they move through the production process. It’s a system that meets the audit requirements of most regulatory agencies.

Imagine that you are notified by the FDA of a product recall of some raw material Item XYZ. You immediately need to be in touch with customers who purchased a finished good you produced that used the affected lot. You find yourself in a very precarious position if your manufacturing software cannot trace the affected lot number from the time it was received as a raw material, through every level of sub-assembly, to the finished good, and eventually to the customer.

Similarly, imagine that within a few hours of one another, three customers all complain of the same failure in a finished good you produce. You suspect some particular lot of a raw material item used in the product, but which lot? If you could determine that the same lot numbered raw material was used in each of their products then you’d have fingered the culprit. You need help from your manufacturing software.

As you can see, the real value of a lot tracking system is lies in its ability to connect the vendor’s raw material item to the customer’s finished good item. Software that does this will cost more and require more data entry on your part, but when a regulatory agency comes calling, you’ll be glad you made the right choice.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

More About Lot Tracking In A Manufacturing Company

Manufacturers often need to track lot numbers for one of two reasons (sometimes both):
  1. They need to uniquely identify the source of raw materials.
  2. They need to identify the destination of a group of finished goods.
Many inventory management systems offer lot tracking capabilities and have provisions for capturing the lot number of raw materials you receive as well as the lot number of customer shipments. In a manufacturing environment, the task of lot tracking gets more complicated because a manufacturing company typically uses the lot-tracked raw materials to create lot-tracked finished goods.
Imagine a raw material Item A being used in a sub-assembly Item B, Item B used in sub-assembly Item C, and Item C used in finished good Item D. If Item A is lot-tracked, the software needs to be able to record the lot number whenever Item A is received. Likewise, if finished-good Item D is lot-tracked, the software needs to be able to record the lot number whenever Item D is produced.
Whether Item B or Item C are lot-tracked themselves is not so important (they may or may not be), except that these sub-assemblies perform a role in consuming the lot-tracked raw material, Item A. This is to say that, in a manufacturing environment, it is important to be able to track the “use” of a lot-tracked component step by step through the manufacturing process to the finished good.

There are two views of the manufacturing process that regulatory agencies require you to meet:
  1. A view of where a lot-tracked item was used (the lot-tracked component item looking forward).
  2. A view of the lot-tracked item(s) used in a finished good (the lot-tracked finished good item looking back).
If your manufacturing process requires lot-tracking, be certain that the software you are evaluating delivers both views. Be careful because some software (and some software vendors) try to fake it.

If the job of tracing lot-numbers through the entire manufacturing process wasn’t difficult enough, there’s another complexity of lot tracking that many manufacturing software products gloss over.

Going back to the example of raw material Item A being baked into finished good Item D, consider this: the production of sub-assembly Item B may require more of Item A that exists in a single lot. So, to build Item B, multiple lots of Item A are consumed. The manufacturing software needs to know how many of Item A was used from each lot. Then when sub-assembly Item C is produced, the manufacturing software cannot lose track of the various lots of Item A included in Item C. Likewise, the production of the finished good Item D, includes various lots of Item A. But which lots? Regulatory agencies require you to know. Make sure the manufacturing software you are evaluating can tell you accurately.
The lot tracking capabilities of the MISys Manufacturing are specially designed to be able to trace a lot-numbered raw material throughout the entire production process, regardless of how many levels of sub-assembly are involved, and deal accurately with the consumption of multiple lots. As you might imagine, this is a massively complex process, management of which few MISys competitors can match. If you are required to accurately trace lot numbers through the entire multi-level manufacturing process, by choice or necessity, MISys Manufacturing is up to the task. See for more details.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Complexities of Lot Tracking

When you are looking for a right-sized manufacturing software system, lot tracking is another one of the “deal-breaker” features that, if you need to perform this level of tracking, will eliminate a great many prospective manufacturing solutions.
Lot tracking is difficult by any measure.
First, the software required to track lot numbers in a manufacturing environment is difficult to write (we have seen a number of totally unworkable lot tracking systems).
Second, the task of accurately maintaining records detailing the movement of tracked items from raw material receipts to customer shipments is time-consuming and error-prone.
So why do lot tracking? Because regulatory agencies require it.
If you are in the pharmaceuticals manufacturing business, the Food and Drug Administration will require you to track lot numbers and maintain a detailed audit of every production run. FDA won’t ask you if you would like to do lot tracking. It is a requirement – no matter the cost.
Some of the most basic and low-cost manufacturing software products claim to feature lot tracking, but the devil is in the details: beware!
For some manufacturers (well, actually very few manufacturers) lot tracking simply means making a permanent record of the lot number of the finished good they just assembled. Their record-keeping amounts to keeping track of the lot lumber of the products they built, the date they built them, and possibly the customer to whom the material was shipped.
If this is all you need (and we suggest you explore this extensively) then consider yourself lucky. The software to perform this task is relatively easy to write, inexpensive to obtain, and is often included as a “feature” in an inventory control system.
However, if the audit requirement is that copious records be maintained for lot-tracked raw materials, through all levels of sub-assembly to the finished good and beyond, then the job gets a lot tougher. The software gets harder to design, more difficult to use, and more expensive.
A manufacturing-oriented lot tracking system (of the sort required by FDA, FAA, and others) must maintain 2 distinct views:
1) A view showing the lot number of every tracked component, tracking its use throughout the entire product structure. We call this the “Where Did It Go” view.
2) A view showing the lot number of every assembled product, tracking its production back throughout the entire product structure to every tracked component. This is what we call the “Where Did It Come From” view.
If the software you have selected does not allow for such a bi-directional view, do not allow the FDA or FAA auditors in the door. You will most certainly fail the audit and be shut down.
Nobody likes to perform lot tracking. But when a regulatory agency says “jump” you do it.
The good news is that manufacturing software with effective 2-way lot tracking does exist, although it is not cheap. In my next blog post I’ll introduce you to the lot tracking capabilities of the MISys Manufacturing System.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Performing Bin Tracking in MISys Manufacturing

My guess is that Bin Tracking grew out of manufacturing software vendors need to track inventory for customers who keep their stock distributed in multiple containers. For example, injection molding companies keep raw plastic pellets in multiple silos. Fabric manufacturers roll finished material on cardboard tubes called “bolts.” Chemical manufacturers may have multiple railcars-full of any particular raw material.

Consider the following scenario: “I’m making this product at Location One and one of the required components, powdered paint, is stored in any one of three 55 gallon drums. I pick up my bucket, scoop, and weigh scale, walk over to one of the drums and take what I need.”
Happens all the time, right?

You should expect the manufacturing software to know how much powdered paint is in stock at Location One. But ask yourself this question: “Do I need to know how much powdered paint is in each drum?” If the answer is “Yes” you definitely need bin tracking capability.

In the MISys Manufacturing System for example, Bin Tracking is an extra-cost module ($1500) that allows you to create what are effectively sub-locations. In your business, the sub-location might be a drum of paint powder, a roll of tape, a spool of wire, a bolt of fabric, a silo of plastic pellets, or a roll of resistors to name just a few.

The important point is that, with MISys Bin Tracking installed, the program will allow you to set up as many Bins as you want (well, up to 4 billion) for any Location. Initially, there is no stock in a Bin even though there may be some stock in the Location at large. Stock transfers allow you to move material from the Location into a selected Bin, or out of a Bin.

When performing any of the stock transfers permitted in MISys Manufacturing, Bin Tracking causes the program to ask you for the Location and Bin number. Thus it is possible to receive material into a Bin, dispense it from the Bin, or move it from Bin to Bin within a Location, or from one Location/Bin to another Location/Bin.

With Bin Tracking enabled, the MISys Physical Inventory functions are automatically expanded to include Bin numbers. That is, the Physical Inventory batch entry function asks for a count for each Location/Bin.

Interestingly, there is no requirement in MISys Manufacturing that the sum of the stock quantities in each Bin equal the quantity reported for that Location. That is because MISys allows you to have stock in the Location at large which is not associated with a Bin. Although this rarely happens (most users transfer all the material in the Location to the specified Bins) it is possible.

Any stock transfer in which the Bin number is left blank is interpreted by the software as a non-bin specific transfer which affects the stock in the Location at large.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Practicality of Capacity Planning

Capacity Planning is technically a component of MRP II. It is a system that analyzes your capacity to produce a product (more likely a long list of products) and compares that to what it knows about your ability to produce the product.

A few low- to mid-range manufacturing control systems advertise capacity planning capabilities. Based on the comparison of production demand and supply, they can alert you to impending “bottlenecks.” We believe system such as this should more properly be called a Capacity Analysis system. While its output can be illuminating, it performs no actual planning, and the benefits achieved are far less than what is typically advertised.

A true planning system, know as Capacity Resource Planning (CRP for short) not only tells you where the production bottlenecks are bound to show up, but they tell you what to do about them to minimize the impact on other tasks.

For example, a CRP system knows that Bill and Fred and Sally are scheduled to work on Project A starting June 1st. It knows that Mike and Sally and Jim are scheduled to work on Project B starting June 15th. It knows that Fred is due for a week’s vacation starting June 12th. It knows that Mary isn’t scheduled to work on any project until July 1st. If Fred leaves on vacation as planned, but Project A isn’t yet complete, a CRP system would suggest someone who could jump in to help (that’s the planning part). It would know that Mary is available in the required timeframe, but that she works 75% as fast as Fred and takes every other Wednesday afternoon off as a community volunteer. If Mary does join Project A, but slows it down and the project isn’t complete until June 20th, a CRP system can plan the impact on Project B which Sally was supposed to start, along with Mike and Jim on June 15th.

Now, if just reading the paragraph makes your head hurt, you’re not alone. Some very complex and very expensive manufacturing control systems claim to do effective CRP.

We have had personal experience with one $20+ million MRP II system that created more bottlenecks than it resolved with each click of the “fix it” button. And the salesman said it was a bargain at $20million. We are not recommending it.

If we have convinced you to steer away from Capacity Planning, the question remains whether the “capacity lite” capability of the software you may be looking at is going to be of any value.

Bear in mind, that to do any capacity analysis/planning, the software must know about every operation associated with the production your client performs. This means that a simple bill of material, even a multi-level bill of material, is insufficient if you intend to perform capacity analysis/planning. The bill of material must include what are termed “routings” or “routing operations” – a step by step list of the processes that must be performed, in sequence, in order to produce a given product. For anyone with rudimentary (or non-existent) bills of material, collecting and entering that level of detail is a big, big task.

Coupled to the bill of material routings, the software must have a detailed description of every work center – area of the plant where some specific task is performed: when the work center is open for business, how fast it can operate, and what additional resources (material, labor, and overhead) it requires.

To perform capacity analysis, the manufacturing software computes the “capacity demand” (derived from the BOM routings) and the “capacity supply” (derived from the work center descriptions). From this, it can highlight any impending “capacity bottlenecks.” It is unlikely that any software can tell you what to do about these bottlenecks.

From our experience, true capacity planning is out of the reach of all but the most sophisticated manufacturers. Capacity analysis is nice to have if you are willing to invest in creating – and maintaining – all the supporting data for routings and work centers.

Since its release in 2009, the Shop Floor Control module of the MISys Manufacturing system (a $1750 add-on to MISys Basic Manufacturing) has proven to be a reasonable and effective alternative to complex and mind-numbing capacity planning systems. For users who need a high degree of production control and costing, MISys Shop Floor Control does the job.

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.


Monday, February 13, 2012

"I just bought MISys Manufacturing... now what?"

Fair question. You have 3 options for implementation.
  • Do it yourself
  • Use the MISys SureStart program to help you
  • Hire a professional to do the work
Do it Yourself (DIY) implementation
In our experience, this rarely works. Implementing a manufacturing system is complicated and can be intimidating. It is possible to do it on your own, and we have customers who have done it, but you will save a lot of time and aggravation if you work... <read more>


Monday, January 16, 2012

Best-In-Breed works for Ski Racing Equipment and for Software Solutions

As a former alpine ski racer, I used to mix and match my equipment depending upon the best skis, best bindings, and best boots. Rarely were they the same brand. It worked pretty well. Now, the biggest ski manufacturers own boot and binding brands, so a ski racer will get one brand for all equipment – mostly because of price incentives. It certainly makes it easier as a buyer, but the components are rarely the best in their class. Going with one brand might be a compromise.

The same holds true for software. I often hear about customers wanting “all-in-one,” “end-to-end” ERP systems because they are easier to manage than a group of best-in-breed applications. In theory that is true. But in reality is is not. And, those complete ERP systems rarely perform the best in all areas.

Here are some advantages of going with a “best-in-breed” approach for ski racing equipment and software:

1. Better performance: Just like alpine race equipment, you want the best solutions in the areas most important to you. And you don’t care if the equipment is good at something you will never use it for (like ballet skiing). Settling for one system that is bloated or weak in one area will only hurt your results.

2. Lower Start Up Costs. Best-in-breed solutions have small, bite-size pieces to get up and running rather than implementing a behemoth that reaches into every corner of the organization. In skiing, you can add equipment as you need it instead of buying it all at once.

3. More flexibility. Hey, if the boots aren’t working for you, find another pair that will. If you are locked into a specific brand, you are really limited in what you can choose. Same thing with software.

4. The solution fits you: Imagine that you purchased equipment that required you to change everything about the way you skied. You wouldn’t do that. There are some things you want to change in order to get better, but not everything. Many all-in-one systems require you to substantially change your behavior to fit the system. Yuck. Best-in-breed enables you to laser in on the things that you need to change, while leaving the rest alone. Yea.

What does this have to do with MISys Manufacturing? Everything. MISys leverages the “best-in-breed” approach, focusing on the things most important to a manufacturer: Better performance, lower start up costs, more flexibility and a solution that fits your organization.

See for yourself. Download the brochure, factsheets, watch more than 30 interactive videos, and get a price estimate based on your industry. Visit