Each week, our "Warehouse Wednesday" series focuses on topics related to inventory, warehouse management and manufacturing. Sometimes we look at specific products, including applicable software, that provides functionality related to the core purpose of this column.
Over the past couple of months, we have been examining "assemblies" by looking at QuickBooks products that offer such functionality and contrasting a series of third-party products that make use of "assemblies" (or equivalents) for manufacturing purposes.
After a week away from the Warehouse, we return to our series by looking at Industrios, a software package designed to help manage the challenges of discrete manufacturing for made-to-order, made-to-stock, assemble-to-order, configure-to-order, engineer-to-order or mixed modes of production.
As with other complex manufacturing software packages, we first must look at some of the critical aspects of the configuration of Items within the product before we can jump into either the creation of a manufacturing assembly, or the manufacturing process employed by such software.
Configuring Items using Industrios
Within Industrios, the Inventory Control Master File Maintenance screen is used to create, maintain and track inventory items needed to support operations. The master file is comprised of a series of tabs that allow the user to record different characteristics relating to each item.
Industrios Item Master File
The information grouped on the Item Details Tab contains all the fields required to identify and describe the part number, classify the part for reporting purposes, determine valuation methods and define the basic planning characteristics.
Industrios Item Master tab
Once your locations are set up within your master files, they will be available to select whenever a location is required, including items. In addition, you'll be able to view your quantity and cost-related information for each location from various queries and on a variety of reports.
Industrios Item Location tab
The information defined under the Item Locations Tab establishes the number of warehouses or locations where perpetual inventory can be maintained and tracked. Associated with each location are definitions to support the status, general ledger integration and stocking constraints for the item in the specific location.
Industrios Item Location Details
An Inventory Activity Query is available directly from the Location screen to provide quick inventory information about the item/location.
Industrios Item Query-01
You can even drill down further to get all the details about any specific aspect of item availability or use.
Industrios Item Query-2
The information associated with each product supplier is captured on the Vendor Tab and includes: where inventory is managed, who is the main vendor contact, the lead time that must be considered and vendor part reference.
Industrios Item Vendor tab
While it is typical to have vendors suppliers or manufacturers for each item, and perhaps even multiple vendors, it is not uncommon in the real world to unique vendors for each of the various stocking locations for an item. And that may mean different pricing and lead time considerations based on where the inventory is located.
Industrios Item Vendor Details
In fact, some of the time you may purchase items that actually are manufactured or processed by one or more of your vendors. When you supply the materials, but your vendor performs the services associated with such sub-assemblies/sub-processes, you need a way to provide the details related to the purchase quantities, units of measure, status, effective dates, lot size, yield and whether the materials should be back-flushed when the finishes item is received.
Industrios Outsourced BOM
You also must be able to track the delivery location for drop shipments to the vendor from your raw materials suppliers or for deliveries you make directly to the vendor from your own warehouse stock. Industrios recently has streamlined this process, improving this functionality that you may not find in other software on the market.
Related to the various vendor details is the Item Purchasing Details Tab, which provides specifics concerning how the item typically is supplied. That includes units of measure purchase units and conversion, receiving units and conversion, use units and conversion, and sales units and conversion. Additional characteristics, including decimal allowances and rounding methods,, also can be specified.
Industrios Item Purchasing Tab
Similar in concept to the purchasing details tab is the Stocking Details Tab that captures information about additional stock related values, including physical measures such as length, width and height along with any applicable linear Unit of Measure. Weight and weight-related Unit of Measures also are captured.
Industrios Item Stocking Tab
When it comes to tracking your items, Industrios captures the details related to Serial or Lot number tracking on the Item Tracking Tab. You can specify tracking criteria and serialization numbering as well as lot specifications, including expiration date (days-to-expire) criteria. Unlike QuickBooks Advanced Inventory you're making your choices on an item-by-item basis, not a global "all item" basis.
Industrios Item Tracking tab
Easily identify all related transactions, from purchases orders to receiving, and production in progress to sales orders, using the Transaction Detail tab from an Item Activity Query. You will easily identify the transaction type, related document, activity date, quantity and cost. Just drill down on any single item for additional details, including the actual transaction itself. Industrios makes it easy to get the details you need.
Industrios Item Transaction Details
The last Item Master tab we want to look at within Industrios is the Where Used Tab. This window provides information about where an item is used within a specific Process. Within Industrios, the process is the term given to any "finished good" that we typically have been looking as the "parent-level" assembly within this series (in terms of other software options).
Idustrios Item Where Used tab
You can identify the specific process or processes making use of this item, which revision (if any) applies in each process, the status and effective date of any process. You can drill down into the specific process from this window if needed.
So, it is entirely appropriate that this last Item tab takes us to the next phase of our comparison – a look at Bills of Material as defined within Industrios Processes.
The Industrios Process Plan
While many of the software packages we have looked at consider an "assembly," and the associated Bill of Materials, the most sophisticated manufacturing functionality they offer, Industrios takes an entirely different approach when it comes to manufacturing.
A Process Plan defines all of the various aspects of manufacturing or production of a finished product. In some cases, the Process Plan may be for a manufactured finished good, while in other cases it might be the instructions (recipe) for a production batch.
Industrios Process Plans
Within Industrios, the Process Plans gives you the flexibility to not only handle manufacturing functionality, but also disassembly situations and processes with by-products. Process Plans track the bill of materials associated with the process as well as the human and equipment resources, location and routing details. It also tracks many other needs for complex manufacturing, ranging from production and fabrication to batch-based processes.
Industrios Process Plan
For each sequence stage, you will define the specific work center where the work or tasks will be performed, along with the time requirements for each stage. Time requirements can include Queue time, Wait time, Set-up time, Run time, as well as any other Delays. Routing, equipment, resources and manpower requirements are all part of the process stages.
A variety of options define how specific sequences fit into the overall production process. For example, a specific sequence might occur in tandem or "parallel" with another sequence, or it might have override authority over another stage of production.
You can configure queue or lag requirements when specific staging requirements must be followed in the timeline.
Industrios Process Plan Staging
You also will notice that within this Process Plan is the Materials Tab (highlighted in the red box within the illustration that follows) in which you define the Bill of Materials for each of the associated stages in the sequence. This methodology results in better timing of the availability of materials as the normal work process occurs.
Materials required for early stages of the production sequence are scheduled at the time they are needed, and you don’t have materials sitting around or being delivered well before their scheduled production stage.
Industrios Process - Bill of Materials
As part of configuring the Process Plan, you also will define additional requirements using the Industrios Parameters and Routing Wizard to define tools and equipment, routing details, and cumulative costs.
You also can attach or link drawings, instructions, specifications, quality control and other documents and resources to the process. These can be general in nature, relating to the process as a whole, or any of them can be relative to specifically sequenced steps in the process.
Industrios Process Details
Once you have configured all of the details of the Process Plan, you are ready to actually begin production.
Industrios Jobs – Manufacturing Process
Industrios uses the term "jobs" to refer to the actual manufacturing process. Depending upon the mode of operation of your manufacturing operation, made-to-order versus made-to-stock, there are different mechanisms that may trigger a job.
For example, in a made-to-stock environment, if the MRP identifies deficiencies in available stock, a job will be generated to bring stock back-up to the designated levels. On the other hand, in a made-to-order environment, a new Sales Order (like the one shown below) may trigger a new job to meet the specific production demand associated with that Sales Order.
Industrios Sales Order
From this Sales Order it is easy to actually migrate directly to the associated job.
Industrios Job Info
Within the Job window, we can find all the standard and specific characteristics of this production order, including the specific Process Plan, and any revisions or customizations, the associated Sales Order, the Customer Information, and the Order related dates (order date, order state date, order due date, etc.). We can even update any production time or date details directly from this window manually, if we choose to do so.
Industrios Job Summary
We can tab to the Process Plan Details, the Item Master, Drawings and other documentation. Several additional details can be accessed from this job window, including the actual parts used as seen in the screen below.
Industrios Job Part Details
We can also see the various personnel and equipment hours used in the job.
Industrios Job Production Time
But we don't have to limit ourselves to just static data, we can easily access the actual Shop Floor functionality for production process details in progress from the job, as well as from the Job Production Work Center (shown below).
Industrios Job Production Work Center
Whether we access the Shop Floor features of Industrios from the Job Production Work Center or within a single job, the goal is to automate as fully as possible the actual input of the manufacturing process in order to provide as close to 'real time' production data as possible. One aspect of that real time approach is the labor tracker feature Industrios offers.
Industrios Shop Floor Tracking
Shop floor control incorporates labor tracking to capture manpower, equipment, workstation and production phases on a moment-by-moment basis. Shop floor personnel begin by logging into the system, and then selecting the job associated with their assignment. They can even scan this job from a bar coded paper traveler or make the selection from hand held scanner computers.
Industrios Job Labor Tracking
Similarly, they select the specific production phase and task associated with the work to be performed. A variety of additional details, including specific equipment or workstation, may be incorporated in the initiation process. Materials consumption or return also are incorporated into shop floor details providing up to the minute information about the work in process.
Industrios Job Progress Tracking
Once an employee starts, the clock begins to not only capture their time, but also associated labor-related production costs and the exact point in production for a specific job.
From a shop floor supervisor or management perspective, it's easy to drill down into the details of what's happening on the shop floor without ever leaving your chair.
Industrios Job Time and Production
This type of data isn't just of benefit within the actual manufacturing system. Employee time data also can be imported as part of your payroll preparations and used directly for paycheck purposes.
Best of all, the overall production details from the system can be used in conjunction with PlantGauge, a software option from Industrios. PlantGauge will analyze and publish production and manufacturing details as key performance indicators providing practical business intelligence that managers and business decision makers can use on a day-to-day basis.
The software is full of interesting production and manufacturing metrics. And we all know how much I love metrics.
Industrios Plant Gauge Software
As you can see, Industrios offers a wide variety of production capabilities and features designed to fit most manufacturing business models. You don't necessarily need to take my word for it. You can either visit the Industrios website or check out thisTwo-hour Deep Dive Demo into Industrios for QuickBooks, which Insightful Accountant hosted in 2015.