1) Moving forward towards Industry 4.0 revolution

After the first 3 Industry Revolutions, Industry 4.0 is aimed with 2 main objectives:

        • Digitalization of processes & Connection of ALL (other) actors in the organization. 
        • IoT (Internet of Things), which is the use of additional gadgets/technology to achieve the first objective. 

If you noticed, the latter is pretty much not useful if the first is not achieved!

A proper back-end accounting software integrated with manufacturing solutions will ensure that your organization is well-prepared to proceed to industry 4.0 efforts.


2) Digitalization of manufacturing processes


Gone are the days when we should rely on hand-written forms and mass Excel files for our production activities. Especially in Malaysia, we’re relying more and more on foreign workers for our production activities as they are a financially wiser option.

However, getting them to key in information into your back-end accounting / ERP software will create a lot of hindrances as these are double-work for them. Most of what they require are NOT included in a normal ERP or accounting software.
A good manufacturing software will have modules that are relevant to the production activities. Modules that are relevant to your activities will lead to a much cleaner and error-free printouts for your workers.

For Excel driven activities, almost all companies have that ONE employee who knows ‘where’ those Excel files are in their shared server. Losing THIS employee will be a huge problem for the organization. Having the BOM (Bill of Materials) in the system, however, will eliminate this ‘ticking-time-bomb’ problem.


3) Material Requirement Planning (MRP)


MRP Report is one of the fundamental reports that was required in past ERP/MRP software. Without this report, the software is deemed NOT an MRP software. As the title suggests, an MRP report gives an accurate description of which of the raw materials will be insufficient for the upcoming production jobs. A proper manufacturing software MUST include this report. 

Digitalising your manufacturing process will be the beginning of achieving such a report. After which; 

        • the purchasing department will have quick results on which raw material purchase order to follow-up on, and depending on how well implemented the production flow is, will be able to work out purchases of raw material without waiting for the production team.
        • immediate costings (and therefore, profit margin) can be generated for the finished products. Relying on a system to produce this result will mean that your organization will not need to depend on that one senior staff to produce this forever! And it can be produced that much faster at a few clicks of the mouse.


4) Quicker Generation of production related reports


“It takes 4-5 working days!” is a common reply to “How long does it take to compile a production report?”. Be it, ‘How much product A have we produced in the past week?’ or ‘How much raw material B have we used in this month?’.
This is because, if you’re like 80% of SME manufacturers out there, at least 80%-100% of your production activities are recorded via multiple Excel files or via hand-written-stacks of papers.

When you finally get most of your production activities recorded, be sure to get your solution provider to provide, or customize if necessary, reports that are frequently used and relevant to your specific industry or production activities. The cost might give you an initial scare (yes, we programmers are expensive!), but think about the ROI that you’ll reap within a few short months. Let the system generate these reports while your production team concentrates on what they do best, production!


5) Batch traceability


Whether your industry requires good batched product traceability (e.g. metal products, food processing) or you’re trying to comply with a governing body (e.g. Ministry of Health), getting a suitable MRP software will be key to achieving it.

It is quite common that one will have to first, dig through the finished goods production slips. Then, roughly estimate (based on experience) when the materials should have been issued to the production floor. THEN, dig again through the Store department’s records, before estimating which Goods Receive that this raw material belongs to. If what was found is not exactly what was being looked for in the first place, repeat!

A good MRP solution should already have all these in place and should be able to retrieve such information in an instant. This kind of traceability feature is commonly mistaken as less important, yet becomes a hassle when you need it most!