Manufacturers are under greater pressure than at any time in history; trying to meet the ever-higher quality standards of their blue-chip customers, whilst fighting off competitors from low-wage offshore locations - and staying afloat in a stagnant economy.
Unsurprisingly some companies are buckling under the strain, especially as their compliance burden grows. After all, “every company is just one bad decision or just one 'bad employee', away from scandal”.
Let’s take a look into how discrete manufacturers can effectively manage the problem of compliance:
Innovations in supply chain management and reporting software have enabled manufacturing companies to achieve better compliance performance through enhanced certification and specification tracking procedures. Working with your suppliers, the crucial information can be transmitted electronically, and then sorted, organized, and filed according to shipment dates and parts numbers.
Documenting these business processes should be done with a tight reference to IT systems, and needs to not only include the processes themselves, but also how system security and data audit is management, software such as Columbus Rapid Value, and Dynamic Security Management can help you to check those boxes.
Version control is also critical for ensuring that changes are managed and published correctly.
A major concern of discrete manufacturers is that defects can take years to surface. With the need to continually release new models to stay competitive and satisfy customer demands, managing defects plays a significant role in the ability to stay competitive and profitable.
Quality management is key to a manufacturers’ ability to respond more effectively in product recall situations, ensuring consumer safety and mitigating risk and litigation exposure.
Processes must also include the appropriate control points to ensure that quality of materials, conversion processes and finished goods are as expected. Where a non-conformance is identified, root cause analysis needs to take place and corrective actions initiated and managed through to conclusion. This process can be supported by having full supply chain visibility and therefore being able to trace back to the start of the operation.
The key purpose of traceable manufacturing is its ability to help manufacturers easily determine when a problem occurred and its associated details. It takes two forms. The first is known as product tracking, which is the capability to follow the path of a specified unit of a product through the supply chain as it moves between organizations. Products are routinely tracked for obsolescence, inventory management, and logistical purposes.
The second form, product tracing, is the capability to identify the origin of a particular unit and/or batch of product located within the supply chain by reference to records held upstream in the supply chain. Batch segregation helps in sorting out problems because when you determine which batch is bad, you only have to get rid of that single batch rather than destroying all of the products. This helps companies save on resources.
Traceability is another key component to maintaining compliance with manufacturing regulations.
Admittedly such a project will take time, effort, finance and a genuine partnership with the correct software developer - as different manufacturers will require different solutions, and each niche industrial sector will have different regulatory and compliance challenges.
However, “an integrated ERP system … will give you the necessary support in adhering to the regulations, will not slow you down, but will free you to concentrate on manufacturing.” says David J Caruso, a long-time specialist in manufacturing, supply chain and technology transformation strategies. Caruso has worked on ERP implementations for such global brands as Johnson & Johnson, Sun Microsystems, Rolls-Royce Motors and American Standard.
Learn more about how ERP can help to solve common discrete manufacturing problems, such as managing compliance by taking a look at our discrete manufacturing series below.
Our series focuses on five common problems discrete manufacturers are currently facing, and how to solve them, including case study examples of where discrete manufacturers have implemented our solutions and seen success. The full series includes tip sheets – available for download - on: