Source: Äri-IT, autumn 2019
Author: Virgo Vjugin, consultant at BCS Itera
Integrating Dynamics 365 Business Central with your production management software allows your production team to continue using the software they are used to, while providing the company with a number of important benefits that help boost efficiency.
Every company is a synergistic entity where all departments must work together to meet the needs of the company as a whole. Enterprise Resource Planning, or ERP, systems were originally designed to seamlessly integrate core business processes such as planning, sales, purchasing, production, and finance. Over time, ERP systems have been expanded with additional functionalities: marketing, customer service, contact management, and human resources solutions. However, even with the increased range of functionalities in ERP systems, there may be applications in use in the different departments of your company that are not so easily abandoned. In such a case, it is worth considering ERP integration.
ERP integration involves linking ERP software with other systems to ensure consistent and uninterrupted information sharing and to automate the company’s workflows. This is useful in several respects, since by acting as a hub, the ERP system can collect and organise data at all levels of the company, while departments can use specific systems. The only caveat here is that these systems must be able to output and receive the information required by the ERP system.
ERP and MES (Manufacturing Execution System) integration is a relatively new thing, but more and more manufacturing companies have been turning to it in recent years.
MES is primarily oriented towards managing orders on the shop floor by collecting information on which materials are used, what kind of workload the equipment is under, where human resources need to be allocated, and which steps need to be taken or have already been taken. Meanwhile, ERP ensures that basic data, such as those concerning goods, suppliers, customers, and the related orders, are in order and that they are automatically accompanied by the financial details of the transaction.
Now that we understand what the two systems are and what they do, let’s dive into the details, where we will explore the benefits and impacts of ERP and MES integration.
Having all of the data available in one place greatly improves internal workflows. For example, the accounting department does not have to deal with the daily, weekly, or monthly entry of data on the inward and outward movement of inventory in production processes (write-off of raw materials and registration of finished goods). Instead, this information is automatically transferred between the two systems, with only the task of validation being left to people.
The more automation, the better. Reducing the number of manual input operations results in more time, for instance, for better production planning or for more careful performance of other duties.
FEWER HUMAN ERRORS
Automated processes reduce the amount of input errors made by people. This is time saved that would otherwise be spent sorting out the mess and which would paralyse the company’s normal production process.
IMPROVED COMMUNICATION BETWEEN DEPARTMENTS
Even when every department does its job impeccably and professionally, some information can get lost in ‘translation’. Someone might forget to send out an important e-mail or might misunderstand a phone call – the risks are manifold. However, if a sales order is uniformly accessible in the ERP system, the production department can see the required volumes and transmit information on the raw material requirements to the purchasing department. Throughout the whole process, people only have a corrective and validating role.
Reducing the amount of time that staff have to spend on tasks such as data entry and troubleshooting will free them up for tasks that require greater accuracy and attention. This improves the productivity of your business.
Integrating data from disparate systems with ERP may seem complex, but the benefits it offers in the form of automation will enable you to take your company to the next level.