How are ERP, or production systems, used by manufacturing companies?

If you're in the manufacturing industry, then you probably use an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning system) or Shop Floor Control system to stay organized with accurate production planning and reporting.  These systems usually offer communication between Sales, Production, Warehouse, Procurement, Administration and Finance, including integration with online accounting systems.

A work order, or job order, is used to signal the start of a manufacturing process and will most likely be attached to a bill of material and state the quantity of the product to be manufactured, built or fabricated.  Work orders are a tool to help your operations with planning and scheduling. It provides you the ability to forecast demand so you know how much inventory to keep on hand, plan your staffing needs according to production dates, and run a leaner operation – neither overstaffing nor holding too much stock.  

Shop Floor Control systems are used to track, schedule and report on the progress of work in a manufacturing plant. Shop Floor Control systems generally evaluate the portion of an order or operation that has been completed.  Shop floor control reporting shows what is actually happening in a physical manufacturing or industrial environment. 

In many cases, shop floor control systems are integrated into larger enterprise systems (ERPs) for governing various business processes and aspects of business operations.

Shop floor control features can be tied to work order entry systems to automate much of the sales cycle. In other words, orders that come in can be directly applied to the shop floor control systems that govern assembly, packaging and everything that precedes the delivery of finished products. The main goal, similar to other kinds of enterprise systems, is to make processes more transparent to decision-makers. 

Common ERPs in the manufacturing industry are SAP, Microsoft Dynamics-GP (Great Plains), Vision Manufacturing, and Epicor.

While these systems often track employee start/stop times on work orders/jobs and employee production information, most of these ERP systems don't include a robust time and attendance or payroll module to enforce shift differentials, overtime, and state specific rules (e.g. California Meal rules).  Therefore, many manufacturing companies choose to outsource their HCM needs (e.g. ADP, Paychex, Ultimate).  Most of these payroll systems have a GL link back to the production and accounting systems; however, they don't don't have a way to exchange detailed labor information in relation to employee time and production information.

Because of this, many manufacturing companies with multiple systems are relying on time-consuming, manual efforts to get all of the detail they need integrated between their ERP/Shop Floor system and HCM platform.


How can IDI help?

IDI can eliminate your time-consuming processes and synchronize your disparate systems!  Our Time Bank™ Punch Link solution allows us to automate the import of employee punch times (in/out) to jobs AND/OR production information (e.g. pieces/amounts) from other systems into an HCM time and attendance system.

On a scheduled basis (typically daily), Time Bank automatically retrieves the employee start/stop times and production data from the client's system of record and seamlessly uploads it into the HCM time and attendance system for enforcing labor rules.  

Time Bank can be further enhanced to read timecard data from the time and attendance system to write back to the ERP/Shop Floor system for labor efficiency tracking and reporting.

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