Why Use MRP Software In Manufacturing

Material requirements planning (MRP) is system that can help better plan machine scheduling, labor loads and stock resources. MRP software can help lower operational costs for a company by improving these tasks. Manufacturers use MRP to coordinate machine and personnel workloads, calculate material requirements, and to plan purchasing to best meet customer demands. When manufacturers are looking for ways to eliminate inefficiency in the production process and shorten delivery times, MRP software is a critical technology asset.

MRP is used primarily in manufacturing and aids in managing production schedules and inventory to produce products and complete manufacturing jobs. An MRP system determines what materials must be purchased and when and what assemblies must be built in order to build completed products by customer due dates. MRP software applications link to both inventory applications database and to the bill of materials to determine the raw materials necessary to create the finished products. Manufacturers also use MRP applications to coordinate machine workloads, personnel, and to plan outside purchase of materials to meet anticipated or projected sales.

In manufacturing, effectively coordinating resources can mean the difference between efficiency and inefficiency and making or losing money. Poor planning can result in dormant machines at times and then work stacking up at others. The function of an MRP system is to alleviate these issues by scheduling materials, labor, and machines and managing the complexities of the manufacturing scheduling process. MRP begins when a product is conceived and the raw materials identified. It covers the period of time when these raw materials are procured, resources defined and all production steps planned. At this point, the manufacturing system takes over and another software system takes control.

MRP software allows the manufacturer the security of knowing that materials are available for production and the products are available for delivery; that inventory levels are at optimal levels to reduce inventory costs and that purchasing and manufacturing activities are planned to minimize waste. As with any data-driven system, a major concern with an MRP system is the integrity of the available data. For the MRP system to be successful, the data must be accurate and updated frequently. Accurate inventory, bill of materials detail and master production schedule data must be input constantly and updated. Inaccurate data leads to production delays and manufacturing problems.MRP software

Ultimately, the MRP systems is only as good as the data provided. When it comes to purchasing manufacturing software, they are generally run on the premises. A small business may only have a small network or even a single user system, while a larger business may have networks with workstations throughout a facility. There are Cloud-based versions of MRP systems, although manufacturers have so far been slower to adopt these.

There are many options when it comes to purchasing MRP systems. It really depends upon the size and type of business and to some extent how technology driven the business is. Some manufacturers would rather buy a full suite of products which include both the MRP system and the accounting, estimating, and work-in-progress management software as well. This way they can manage the entire project with the same software going from estimate all the way through to project management and then just match invoices to allocate job costs and project status.

A smaller manufacturer may have limited resources so may be interested in just one application from an MRP system such as inventory control or resource planning. They can always add on another application later if they find the first one helpful. There are a variety of solutions available and manufacturers and small businesses should shop around and find the MRP software package that suits their needs.

With the cost of technology decreasing and the advances in technology moving rapidly forward daily, more and more powerful planning tools are coming to market every month. These new tools are yielding better and more exciting results and expanding the possibilities for this technology.

Mobile devices

For many years, MRP system designers assumed that users would be working from a fixed location within a facility or plant and that any information would be entered into a computer located at that facility. The new trend is to have mobile computer systems throughout the facility in the warehouses or on the shop floor. Operators enter the data directly into the mobile systems without having to go to a permanent workstation. It makes complete sense. With the explosion of tablet computers, iPads, and smartphones, there is no reason at all for anyone to be tethered to a desk for data input.

Vendor consolidation

In order to build their manufacturing applications and round out their libraries, the big vendors like Microsoft and Oracle are buying niche vendors who specialize in manufacturing software. This should help stabilize the industry and keep these products available for the long term. Intelligent inventory tagging. This is tagging inventory and equipment items using one-dimensional bar codes with radio frequency identification (RFID). These RFIDs can then be read remotely to check inventory levels and confirm equipment availability. There is also a two dimensional system that contains descriptive information as well as an identifier such as a part number. These types of technological improvements are making MRP systems more and more attractive to manufacturers, especially as the cost of the MRP software keeps coming down. Helping to reduce inventory and production costs as well as ensure on-time delivery to the customer is a sure-fire way to make a manufacturer’s day.

Image source: ©varijanta - Fotolia