Flexible unit of measurement is an integral element to formula manufacturing. Variation is a given in the production process. These fluctuations can create added work or challenges in sharing data across departments such as sales and finance.
You can’t manage it if you can’t measure it.
One of the primary drivers for businesses to invest in software is to help automate and alleviate manual processes. For a formula or batch manufacturer, one of the unique characteristics is the complexity or variety of measurements used throughout the production process. The number of calculations and conversions needed to incorporate the spread of measures and consolidate data for reporting can be extensive, and most manufacturing applications are not built to integrate these various conditions.
Unit of measurement becomes a critical element in accuracy and precision with live production; however, when it comes to financial reporting, certain measures do not make sense or are too granular.
Three issues that can lead to tedious, manual workarounds include:
- Reporting in the smallest unit of measurement
- Incorporating different types of measurements
- Sizing and scaling production runs
A number of our clients found that the ability for flexible units of measurement became a massive driver in their evaluation and selection of formula manufacturing software.
The Smallest Unit of Measurement
“Before Vicinity, our team was forced to deal with everything in the smallest unit of measurement. This created a disconnect between the functionality of our ERP system and our everyday production processes. The result was a nightmare when it came to inventory and adjustments.”
-Mike J. de Bellefeuille, Director of Purchasing/Human Resources, Duke Food Productions.
Having to convert measurements to the smallest unit creates a mess of decimal places and enormous numbers for reporting. Companies typically have a more common unit of measurement they use throughout their ERP system for financials and overall reporting to simplify or avoid having to deal with such granular numbers. These systems typically require the “base” to be the smallest anticipated measurement preventing any further reduction in measurement. A program built for formula manufacturing can easily translate these values between production, sales, and financial reporting for your ERP system. Without the flexibility to easily convert measurements within the production process, a new issue of manual calculations and conversions arise and can be an inhibitor to successful adoption of the system aimed at reducing manual tracking and transactions.
Types of Measurements
“The ability to change the unit of measurement and measure density was huge for us. It is very rare to find a system that can support these types of conversions.”
-Brian DeClark, President, Continental Flavors LLC.
With different types of production stages or unique product mixes, formula manufacturers can cycle through several different kinds of measurements – some being weight, volume, or density. In one stage, a production run may be measured by weight or volume. During a later stage, the output may be defined based on the total number of items, where a count of “each” could represent an individual object or, possibly, a bulk pallet count. The ability to capture this information and have the system understand and translate it is a vital element in many batch operations.
Sizing and Scaling Production Runs
Variable batch sizing provides the ability to easily scale a production batch up or down using variable sizing or unit of measurement options. In production planning, batch sizing and scaling for optimal efficiency is a core part of the job. Recognizing your finished good demand and being able to convert that demand back to initial inputs can include many complex calculations. The use of variable sizing and multiple units of measurement options within the batch process can significantly reduce time and errors while efficiently converting the complex calculations.
For the sake of simplicity and data accuracy, working across the various measurements systems is the most effective way for batch manufacturers to operate, utilizing the best measurement for the task and or production run at hand. In addition to minimizing the need to perform manual calculations or out of the system workarounds, finding a solution to easily organize and translate this data into usable/reportable/actionable information becomes vital to your business.
Most systems available require a base unit of measurement across both the production system and financial ERP. Vicinity software provides the ability to capture and translate the smallest measure and finite details, independent of your financial ERP base unit of measurement, as an out-of-the-box feature. Sales can order in quantities that make the most sense for them, production can operate in an intuitive and efficient manner, while financial reporting remains clean and organized to your business standards! Contact our team today for a demo.