Each Wednesday we focus on topics related to inventory, warehouse management and manufacturing for users of QuickBooks and related software. From time-to-time we may focus on a specific product, including software products, that provide functionality fitting within our overall Warehouse Wednesday focus.
Several weeks ago I started this mini-series on 'assemblies' by looking at QuickBooks desktop products offering this functionality; however, Warehouse Wednesday kind of got side-tracked due to conflicting obligations, and with it this mini-series. Today we will attempt to get back on-track by taking a comparative look at assemblies in one of several other (than QuickBooks) software programs we will be looking at in this mini-series.
In today’s article we want to look at how ‘assemblies' (assembled items) are configured and tracked within MISys Manufacturing. I guess in some ways this week is taking an 'extreme jump' from the basics represented by the QuickBooks Assemblies we looked at last time.
MISys is a manufacturing solution that integrates with QuickBooks, and several other general ledger/accounting programs. One of the things that makes MISys fairly unique among such software programs is the ability of MISys to track 'items' within both MISys and QuickBooks. Since MISys performs no 'sales functions', you transfer your 'finished goods assemblies' back to QuickBooks for purposes of sales and invoicing; in fact, there is a step built into the Manufacturing Order process that automates the transfer to QuickBooks.
This graphic helps us compare the MISys and QuickBooks approaches to Assembly Items.
Assemblies 2 - Figure 1
When you create an Assembly Item in QuickBooks you configure the Bill of Materials as a part of creating that Item (like the graphic on the left-side above). In QuickBooks the Bill of Materials has a one-to-one (1-to-1) relationship to the actual Assembly Item. While QuickBooks Enterprise (and only Enterprise) allows you to ‘modify’ the Bill of Materials for an Assembly Item “on the fly” during the Build, YOU CAN NOT have more than one Bill of Materials per Assembly Item.
In contrast, MISYS allows you to have an unlimited number of Bills of Materials tied to each MISys Assembly Item (as seen in the graphic on the right-side above). This is because the ‘Parent Assembly Item’ stands alone, and each of the various Bills of Material you create are simply tied to the ‘parent’. Each time you wish to make a new Bill of Material for an Assembly Item you designate a new ‘Revision’…you can schedule Revisions for specific periods of time, and open and close revisions at will; other manufacturing operational factors can also drive Revisions. Even with this degree of complexity, you can still make “hot swaps” of components within a Manufacturing Order during the production and manufacturing processes, in whatever revision you are working on.
Assemblies 2 - Figure 2
When using the Advanced Manufacturing features of MISys you can also have a Bill of Manufacturing that provides the basis for manufacturing control and tracking because it brings together materials, labor and resources. When coupled with 'shop floor control' MISys provides detail staging with all of the necessary materials, resources, locations, and production components outlined in a full control schedule that actively tracks and manages the production and manufacturing processes from beginning to end 24 hours per day.
Assemblies 2 - Figure 8
The co-mingling of Material details and Production details constitutes a Bill of Manufacturing. The Bill of Manufacturing tab displays the Material details as they are required for each Manufacturing Operation. Expanding an Operation displays the related materials, work centers and resources. For each aspect of the Bill of Manufacturing, the details of the various materials or resources and related their information is displayed on the right side of the form.
We have kind of jumped ahead of ourselves, let's spend a moment looking back at the actual parent 'assembled item' and just some of the information MISys captures, before we look into the materials and other manufacturing details.
Assemblies 2 - Figure 4
When you compare a MISys Item to a QuickBooks Item you can easily see that MISys captures a lot more information than QuickBooks. Many of the tabs ‘capture’ information details, several other tabs display information from MISys history, and still others are ‘linked’ to other MISys records. The 'Master' tab displays general information about the item including the Item type, in this case an 'Assembled item'. One tab not shown here is the 'Sales Stock' tab, when connected to QuickBooks, this tab displays the inventory of the selected item mapped to the corresponding item in QuickBooks.
Note the little hammer shown between the Item No. field and the Item Name in the above illustration. If you click on the hammer we are taken to the Bill of Materials for this Assembled Item (shown below). If more than one Bill of Materials exists, we are taken to a list to select the BOM revision we want to see.
Assemblies 2 - Figure 5
Bills of Material tell MISys how to build all assembled Items including your final ‘finished goods’. When you create a Bill of Materials for a parent Item, and a revision, if you have the BOM Revisions function enabled, you identify all the materials that are required to build it, how many of each are required, and when. MISys also allows you to create an Assembly for an Item that you do not build but receive whole. This allows you to have MISys track an Assembly that you disassemble in your manufacturing operation. For example, taking a large semiconductor wafer and breaking it down into it’s smaller components.
After selecting a Parent Item No., the 'Header' tab records general information about the Bill of Material, including the cost breakdown of the components. The 'Revision' tab records information related to the creation and effectivity of the selected BOM Revision. If the company has implemented a formal ECO (Engineering Change Order) this tab provides a place to record the pertinent information, including an attached ECO document if required.
The 'Material' tab records the material components of the parent Item, the quantity required to make the Build Quantity (on the Header tab), and when the component is required.
Assemblies 2 - Figure 6
The grid actually captures a lot of other details (in columns to the right) not show in this illustration; in addition the 'detail type' column has a variety of options for defining how each component is used in the process. A "standard item" is a component item whose quantity depends on the quantity of the item being assembled; in other words, the quantity consumed is proportional to the quantity completed. On the other hand a "setup" item is a component whose quantity is independent of the quantity of the item being assembled, this quantity is consumed in it's entirety and is not reversible. "Consumed" items are components whose quantity is independent of the quantity of the item being assembled, but not disassembled. This quantity is entirely consumed but is reversible. Further, the component required quantity will scale according to any changes to the build quantity until the order is released to manufacturing. You won't find this level of 'quantity control' in QuickBooks Bills of Material.
The 'Routing' tab (shown at the top of the next page) records the Work Center Operations that must be performed in order to build the parent Item. The order reflects the manufacturing stages in which Operations should be executed. Milestones are used to enforce the listed order of the operations such that no subsequent operations can be processed ahead of any Milestone operation. The start quantity of the subsequent operation can not exceed the completed quantity of this operation.
Assemblies 2 - Figure 7
As I mentioned earlier, the co-mingling of Material details and Routing details constitutes a Bill of Manufacturing. The 'Bill of Manufacturing' tab (shown below) displays the Material details as they are required for each manufacturing Operation. Expanding an Operation displays the related Bill of Materials, Work Centers and Manufacturing Resources.
Assemblies 2 - Figure 8
Even with the level of detail shown in the Bill of Manufacturing above you will still see that there are '+' signs that have not been expanded that provide yet sub-layers of the manufacturing process. MISys provides a wealth of capability in Assembled Items. There are notes and documentation points throughout the 'assembly' configuration so that every detail of production can be elaborated or linked to drawings and schematics.
One last thing can not go unsaid with respect to MISys Assemblies. MISys integrates with SolidWorks 3D CAD Software that makes it easy to create items and Bills of Material in MISys from production designs in SolidWorks. You can map SolidWorks parts and assemblies to your MISys items and use templates to configure how MISys assemblies 'marry-up' to your SolidWorks designs.
As you can see, MISys provides highly sophisticated 'assemblies' with manufacturing operations and details you simply can not incorporate into any form of QuickBooks Assemblies. Next time we will look at some 'Assembly item' examples from other 3rd party Inventory software.