A form of operations known as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is making waves in operations planning.
ERP is set up as a top-down approach to materials planning, and it all depends on predictions in sales. This is a valuable method to approach, but it is in stark contrast to the model of lean management.
Lean management is a pull-based model of production scheduling aimed at keeping inventory to a minimum. This system only replenishes supplies as needed.
These two different methods of materials planning causes a classic “push” versus “pull” system of manufacturing management. This has put a lot of managers in an awkward position when trying to balance the conflicting ideas to be the most effective in materials planning. Most companies will set the floor for ERP, but it would require modifications to enable lean management.
This delicate balance has been studied, and put through trial and error, with many different companies. Creative planning has enabled manufacturers to find ways to use both methods in harmony.
ERP utilizes a records system, recording orders processed, materials consumed and finished products shipped, and all information is kept inside of the plant. A lot of manufacturers are marrying the two ideas, creating semi-seamless modifications to allow lean management to be inserted.
Some ERP software companies are creating new functions that eliminate manually having to figure out how to insert lean elements.
The hardest part is figuring out how to keep ERP apart, keeping the two models working symbiotically, and finding ways of leveling demand.
Some manufacturers have found that weighing transport schedules is an essential part of keeping a level balance between the two models of scheduling.
No matter how you go about creating the perfect relationships suitable for your business, the lean versus ERP model requires gentle and delicate balance to ensure success.
Need more information on product scheduling or any other manufacturing questions? Please visit the Bayside Solutions website for more.