Operating Only with BOMs Is Hard Work          

If you are a manufacturing company and your software does not include work centers and routings, it is not a manufacturing software system, even if it includes bills of material (BOMs) and assembly builds.

BOMs define the materials that comprise your products and assembly builds deduct components when finished items are received.  These are inventory functions and are available with most accounting software packages, including QuickBooks, but these are not manufacturing software systems.

Inventory is not manufacturing

Inventory is required for manufacturing because you cannot make products without materials.  But inventory is not manufacturing.  Manufacturing is performing the processes used to make your products and coordinating shop activities.

Manufacturing on your own is hard work

If your software does not include work centers and routings, you are manufacturing on your own without any active guidance.  Products get out the door, but it’s very hard work when you are left to your own devices.

Work centers and routings make it easier

DBA is a demand driven manufacturing system whereby production is based on actual demand from customer orders.  Work centers and routings are standard features because they define manufacturing processes and are essential for managing shop activities.

Operating only with BOMs and assembly builds is hard work.  Let’s examine why this is so and how much easier it is to operate with help from work centers and routings.

Making products from memory is hard work – and costly

In DBA routings and work centers define your manufacturing processes and provide the information for job travelers that are used for worker reference out on the shop floor.  When workers operate without this information, they are relying on memory and can easily make costly mistakes.

Scheduling jobs on your own is hard work – and inefficient

Manufacturing is a set of time-phased activities.  Routings enable jobs with start and finish dates to be used instead of static assembly builds.  DBA schedules jobs for you within a coordinated master schedule where jobs are performed in the correct order of assembly. Jobs are automatically rescheduled when released to production.  Scheduling jobs on your own without the visibility of a schedule is not only hard work, it can be highly inefficient.

Running the shop by expediting is hard work – and counter-productive  

In DBA work centers and routings enable you to schedule work centers by job priority so that all jobs meet their required dates.  Without work center scheduling, job expediting is used to meet required dates, which is highly inefficient because it favors one job at a time, but at the expense of all the other jobs that get pushed aside. Overall productivity suffers.

Costing without routings is hard work – and invalid  

In DBA work center hourly rates for labor and overhead are applied to routing cycle times to calculate labor and overhead costs.  Without work centers and routings there is no viable method for calculating these costs.  Workaround methods such as using components for labor and overhead are much harder work and can be wildly inaccurate.

Why do things the hard way? 

If you are operating only with BOMs and assembly builds and tired of working so hard and getting such poor results, I urge you to explore the DBA alternative.  It is far more efficient to operate with a demand driven manufacturing software system and much easier to manage your activities with the help of work centers and routings.

Mike Hart

Author Mike Hart

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