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MISys Multi-level Bill of Materials
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MISys Advanced Purchase Orders Option
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MISys Scrap and Waste Tracking feature
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MISys Labor Tracking
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MISys Barcode Hand Scanner
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MISys Custom Reporting feature
We have been looking at a variety of Inventory Solutions that work with QuickBooks, and I had also said that we would look at some ‘Manufacturing systems’ that provide Inventory functionality as a part of their package. The first of these I want to explore is MISys Manufacturing which has been around for some time, and which frequently is recommended by the QuickBooks ProAdvisor community to meet relatively complex manufacturing requirements when QuickBooks simply isn’t enough. I like this product, it isn't right for every situation, but it can be exactly what you need in others.
MISys provides a variety of functions ranging from multiple warehouses/locations, inventory control, multi-level bills of material (Figure 1), revision control, production work orders, job tracking, multiple units of measurement, inventory valuation using FIFO, LIFO, standard or average cost methods, activity monitors, physical inventory cycle tracking, supplier pricing, and material requirements planning capabilities, to what I consider a detailed level of integration with QuickBooks.
Let's look at a few examples of how MISys integrates with QuickBooks. First, you can use the MISys ‘Process Sales Orders’ function to create linked MISys Production Work Orders automatically for any specified range of QuickBooks Sales Order dates. MISys also provides a drill-down from any MISys Work Order so that the corresponding Sales Order transaction is displayed directly in QuickBooks. Unlike some products, MISys supports the QuickBooks multi-currency option; for example, you can create Purchase Orders to Vendors that use a different currency from the ‘home’ currency. For example, if the ‘home’ currency in both MISys Manufacturing and QuickBooks is set for U.S. Dollars, you can create the PO using the Vendor’s Canadian Dollars as the currency.
The MISys user interface, from module to module is pretty clean, straight-forward and user-friendly; it has a feel similar to QuickBooks (especially QuickBooks prior to 2013). Each task is organized into its related function group such as planning, purchasing, production, etc., and that tends to make it easy to find tasks and information. All of these things reduce the ‘learning curve’ when transitioning from QuickBooks to MISys.
Now I want to summarize some of the key features of MISys, starting with their core module called Basic Manufacturing which every manufacture begins with when acquiring MISys software. Within this core MISys offers control over raw inventory materials as well as Work-In-Process management; this module also includes multi-level bills of material, BOM revision control, physical inventory cycle counting, and production work order processing. If you need purchasing capabilities uniquely suited to a manufacturing firm you will probably want to acquire MISys’ optional Advanced Purchasing module. (Figure 2) With just a few clicks, you’ll be able to analyze your material shortages and automatically create all of the purchase orders needed to replenish your inventory.
Depending on the complexity of your manufacturing processes, you may need the ability to create variants of standard assemblies (or custom orders for special “one-off” items). In these cases the Advanced Production module provides critical importation needed to track production activities. With Advanced Production, you’ll be able to predict the cost of every job and track your performance. When you couple Advanced Production with the Materials Requirement Planning (MRP) module, you will be able to plan your production and purchasing activities weeks, months, even years in advance. (Figure 3) With just a few mouse-clicks, you can create a detailed Master Production Schedule which analyzes your current inventory in the context of open purchase orders, work orders, manufacturing orders, and (optionally) sales orders. Spot impending shortages while there is still time to respond. Click again to create all the required purchase orders and production orders.
Clear definition of each production operation is the key to effective manufacturing business management. Shop Floor Control delivers the ultimate solution to running a manufacturing plant profitably by allowing you to accurately predict production costs based on estimated material, labor, and overhead, and allowing you to analyze actual production costs. In my mind if you are going to make the most of Shop Floor Control you also need to implement Labor Tracking to keep track of the elapsed time your production workers spend on selected Jobs and Manufacturing Orders. (Figure 4) It automatically posts the specified quantity of any labor resource type Item to the Job or Manufacturing Order. Labor Tracking may be run on any PC where labor time needs to be recorded and does not require that MISys Manufacturing be installed on that computer.
Sometimes, simply keeping track of the quantities on hand, enroute, and committed on orders isn’t enough. You need to know where every single component is, both in terms of raw materials, as well as partially assembled products. In this case you need the ability to track all of your raw materials, sub-assemblies, and finished goods in specific locations and/or containers such as bins, bales, bolts, etc.; in order to do this MISys provides an optional MISys Bin Tracking module.
Depending on the critical nature of what you are producing, you may need to track serial or lot numbers, not just for your own finished goods but throughout the entire purchasing and production process, the optional MISys Serial/Lot Tracking module allows you to comply with strict regulatory agency requirements such as those mandated by the Food and Drug Administration or the Federal Aviation Administration.
MISys has developed two different cohesive bar coding systems to work with the software, MISys Manufacturing Bar Coding and the enhanced MISys Worth Terminal Manager. Both systems are included with the MISys Bar Coding module, but each requires its own unique barcode hardware. The MISys Manufacturing Bar Coding was developed primarily for physical inventory counts. The software works with “Worth Data bar code readers” which are an offline device that runs small programs on the device itself, enabling the user to collect data on the factory floor or warehouse. These readers must then be connected to a host PC where data files can be transferred and imported into MISys Manufacturing in a batch transfer. In contrast the MISys Worth Terminal Manager gives production managers and inventory managers more control from the shop floor and the warehouse. It is designed to work with “Worth Data’s RF Terminal platform connected to a Worth Data Base Station”. (Figure 5)The Worth Data Base Station then connects wirelessly with MISys. With this Radio Frequency based technology, users can receive and display detailed information and initiate a full range of factory floor operations in real-time from their hand-held devices.
MISys offers a wide variety of reporting options, including standard reports generated from the core product; however, if you want the option to modify standard reports, easily create custom reports directly from the data, or access the MISys database from the backside in order to produce custom reports using various reporting tools such as Crystal Reports, you will want to consider the Custom Reporting Module. (Figure 6) You can make modification to any standard MISys report using this module, or create a quick report in an external reporting tool in order to make use of wizards that allow you to access and pull the information you need from your MISys. It’s also possible create custom reports using Crystal Reports or any Microsoft ODBC compliant interface.
Overall, MISys is a feature rich manufacturing system that provides a reliable interface with QuickBooks and meets the need of a lot of manufacturing situations that simply cannot be adequately provided by QuickBooks, even QuickBooks Enterprise with Advanced Inventory and/or Advanced Pricing. I am not saying that MISys is the only such product on the market, or the best one, but it is one of the better options and that is why we included it in our Inventory Alternatives series.