Having an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system offers an injection molder many day-to-day tools to plan the steps of getting your parts and subassemblies when you need them. For customers with a more dynamic order and stock environment, the need to replenish stock unexpectedly and quickly arises often, and one feature of ERP that will help greatly is the “What If” planner.
When customers call with a part number, quantity and a date needed, we can go into ERP and perform a simulated pick. By entering those three pieces of information, the ERP system can bring back the item with its bill of materials (BOM) and show, based on that quantity and date, what the stock status will be for each item required. It will tell you if the quantities necessary are available or if you are short. It also offers the ability to branch off into a Future Planned Activity page for each BOM item. There you can see more detail about other demand usage on the item, entered and planned purchase orders and receipts of the item, and the rise and fall of the stock level. Any issues with satisfying the “What If” can be addressed quickly and answers formulated.
The last factor is the production schedule. The ERP will show what work centers are necessary and when it will need to run to meet the completion date. In our case one of the benefits of being a low volume/high mix service provider is that molds are coming in and out of the presses rapidly, more often than not, on a daily basis. This provides the ability to respond to the “What IF” scenarios by performing drop-ins top the production schedule.
Carrying extra inventory to cover for the occasional unplanned demand is expensive and eats up warehouse space. Having a molder that can provide quick answers and response make the What If a For Sure done deal.
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