Operations management is very crucial a process in the control of activities and decisions involved in the production, maintenance and delivery of goods and services. In encompasses all the activities and responsibilities that are employed in managing resources in production, maintenance and delivery of products and/or services. In at least every organization, there exists an operations arm that is mandated with such tasks of decision making and responsibility taking in trying to manage a company’s resources. This arm of management is usually headed by an operations manager who is responsible for supervisory work in managing these resources that form the core of the operations function. Operation management is also important when it comes to customer satisfaction through the fulfillment of their needs. This is achieved in the production and safe delivery of the goods and services to the consumers who are indeed the customers. When a product is delivered to a consumer according to their needs and preference, customer satisfaction is achieved.
Traditionally, operations management was carried out manually due to the lack of automation procedures that could make management easier. However, with the advent of technology, software systems that can automatically manage the whole operations management process have been developed out of necessity. These systems often vary depending on the management process and the type of industry in question. For instance, a construction or manufacturing industry will be in dire need of implementing Materials Resource Planning software system. On the other hand, an audit or accounting firm will mainly be interested in first implementing Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software together with Capacity Requirement Planning (CRP) system. This is not to say, however, that the construction or manufacturing firm will not need any Enterprise Resource Planning or Capacity Resource Planning. It basically shows their main priority based on the industry category or type.
For PPQ Parts Manufacturing Company, there are a variety of software systems that can be considered for implementation. These systems are recommended based on their cost, functionality, user friendliness, end user support, and their ability to be compatible with other workplace systems and processes. Being a parts manufacturing company, PPQ will need to consider the best Materials Requirement Planning (MRP) software package. Material Requirements Planning control system is majorly focused on managing the production planning as well as inventory control and monitoring in order to manage and ensure smooth work flow in the manufacturing processes. MRP control systems are very worthwhile in the control of inventory, material processing as well as the scheduling of manufacturing tasks. Medium to large companies usually benefit from these systems since there is a wide scope of control compared to the Excel spreadsheet package used by smaller organizations.
The Exact MAX system, on the other hand, is a MRP software application designed for the engineer-to-order as well as assemble-to-order types of production processes. Unlike NetSuite Advanced system, this manufacturing control system is very compatible with most Microsoft systems and applications such as Microsoft Dynamics Great Plains Accounting, QuickBooks Pro software among others. Exact MAX is based on SQL protocol and is developed with an in-built support for the Microsoft Reporting Services (Exact MAX Manufacturing Software Reviews, Ratings and Comparisons, n.d.). Used in conjunction with Exact Synergy, Exact MAX achieves a web enabled status with enough support for customers and supplier functions for example in the creation of quotations and work orders. It is usually loaded with powerful and flexible features involved in batch processing, production, and part management. Therefore, it can be used at satisfying the needs of both contractors and full-service production facilities. The unique features that the Exact MAX incorporates include:
- A user-friendly system that integrates order entries, management of materials, and production control, and customer service.
- The system has an open but powerful architectural design that supports compatibility with other widely used applications and systems such as accounting programs. This integration results in limited data entry errors. The integration is also important in that it is able to support real-time information processing when it comes inventory update management.
- The system incorporates a very robust regulatory support enhanced with serial controls in order to improve and maintain the traceability levels that are often a requirement by regulatory bodies such as the Food and Drugs Administration. Through the strong support, the system can update and reorganize a probable process of recall.
The system, however, has two major shortcomings in its implementation. The first shortcoming is its cost. Since it has got major functionalities incorporated in it, the system seems pricey compared to its equivalents. The second shortcoming, though not considered more of a shortcoming, arises from its complexity. With its support systems integrated into the core functions of the system, a lot of system design is needed. With this complex design comes complexity of the whole system.
The second consideration comes when selecting the best software systems to be used for Capacity Requirement Planning (CRP). This software system helps in trying to understand the limits of a company’s production as well as delivery capacities. The CRP usually eliminates the possibilities of guessing a company’s limits of production or delivery in a process that could jeopardize the company’s profitability. CRP software gives one the best image of the company as it is and not as guesswork. By relying on guesswork, overwhelming of production lines, inventories, the supply chain, and indeed the whole company is experienced. To avoid this, a company is at a better position having invested in Capacity Requirement Planning software. There are two software systems that are most recommended in CRP. These are MIE Trak and Visual EstiTrack systems.
The Visual EstiTrack system comes with an integrated Enterprise Resource Planning software solution that is ideal for the management of shops and warehouses. It incorporates a complete set of applications used in Capacity Requirements Management (CRM), sales order processing, job costing, quotations processing, visual scheduling, and inventory management. These applications usually involve multiple bins and locations. Thus, the system can be used at multiple points with a single port linking them. Visual EstiTrack is the ideal CRP software since it has various inclusions in it that can integrate the whole process work flow (Henning Software Visual EstiTrack Reviews, n.d.). It is especially recommended for use in mode shops that often require strong controls for the inventories. It is also considered good in ERP tasks management since it includes various components such as make-to-order, assemble-to-order, make-to-stock, among other functionalities used in ERP software systems. Its main advantages are its user-friendly features, including drag and drop features and an all-interactive screen that displays the work place floor design and active scheduling Gantt charts with the capability of accessing future and past charts. This makes the system easy to learn and use. Other advantages rest in the system’s ability to use an integrated accounting functionality such as QuickBooks and its stability. Its major disadvantage is that it requires extreme expertise in its installations and implementation.
The MIE Trak system, on the other hand, is quite different. The system’s main strengths lie in quotation, tracking, quick views as well as strong quality control systems and inspection modules. The system is able to analyze CAD representations and give time studies and size of materials as a result. It can also generate multiple quotations and route in multiples for the same item quoted. This ensures that it maintains its flexibility that allows users to decide on the best quotation and production process. MIE Trak is an SQL-based product that is designed to show the number of work processes remaining, quotations to be filled, and the remaining operations for every quotation. The system has a very strong quality control program incorporated into it as well as outstanding inspection modules. These modules support the ISO 9000 prerequisites. In the system, the users can utilize already customized templates in the workflow processes and generate counteractive action reports (MIE Trak Pro Manufacturing Software Reviews, Ratings and Comparisons, n.d.). The dashboards in the control panels are strong and every user has their own control panel, making it easy to operate the system individually. As its name suggests, MIE Trak incorporates a track revision panel that comes with complete PLM and ECO capacities for provision of tracking services. The tracking panel usually allows system users to lock and sign off from the system, enabling tighter control of their processes. One disadvantage, though, of the system is its cost and limitations when it comes to offering CRM, web interfaces and e-commerce. No e-commerce application comes with the system. The web interfaces are limited, and in other applications, it is absent. The CRM is very basic in this system.
The final consideration to make is in the selection of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software system. ERP systems are very timely in inventory management, purchasing, sales orders processing as well as in shipping and invoicing. They provide an integrated software solution that manages all the processes that are involved in the supply chain. In selecting the best ERP software programs, it is very crucial to consider the company size since this also affects the size of the supply chain. In case the company is small, the best ERP software would be one eliminates all kinds of complexities while also ensuring overall efficiency in the company’s supply chain. For a large company like PPQ Parts Manufacturing Company, it is imperative to consider ERP software that does not slow the supply chain. The software should also serve to eliminate or totally avoid backlogs and unnecessary complexities.
In line with this, the best software systems that would suit the company are Epicor and SAP. SAP is the ideal ERP software that is run by medium and large size enterprises to manage their businesses. SAP is preferred by these entities since it is able to relay data and information in real-time while also enabling operational innovation for the business processes. The system’s main functionality is in accounting, CRM, inventory management, manufacturing, project management as well as supply chain management tools (erpsoftware.findthebest.com/l/218/SAP, n.d.). It is mostly recommended to be used by large size companies due to its complex integration. The system can run on a number of platforms such as Windows, Mac, Linux, Web-based, and Mobile. The system is able to manage the entire supply chain since it has control features incorporated into it for easier tracking of the inventories and production processes. It is user-friendly and has an exemplary user support network. The cost of the whole system is friendly since a company only needs a monthly subscription of a hundred and fifty dollars. SAP has also got a project management dashboard that allows easier access and control of a company’s projects in ensuring that they are completed on time and within the proposed budget. It is also extensively integrated to accounting programs, keeping in check a company’s finances and budgets. The major limitation, though, is its extreme complexity. SAP is designed to control a wide range of workflow processes and entities. In this case, much linkage occurs resulting to complex integration circuits that might prove difficult to implement in some organizations. The system is also slow in cases where the servers are not strong and stable.
Epicor’s major strength is its significant capacity that is always focused on reduction of costs, supply chain process improvement, and customer responsiveness. Indeed, as Epicor developers put it, this Enterprise Resource Planning software proves to be a game changer in offering opportunities for businesses. It is a single system that provides software solution in an end-to-end manner. The system offers a comprehensive project management dashboard that allows users to customize and control how the projects are carried out. On purchasing it, the end-user support is great. The implementation process is carried out on the company’s behalf by carefully selected implementation experts (erp-software.findthebest.com/l/2/Epicor-ERP, n.d.). This minimizes or eliminates the occurrence of faulty installations and technical hitches to the system. Epicor offers a multi-level business operation management (BOM) and engineering capacities at a much reduced price than its major competitors. The management of the system can also be carried out by selected experts at a fraction of the price as the company continues with its production and delivery processes effortlessly. Epicor scores highly among organizations due to its simplicity and high overall efficiency. It can be used in all types of organizations. The only major limitation to this system is its inability to manage the procurement needs. A separate software solution is needed to address the procurement function.
In conclusion, it is imperative to note the importance of operations management in any organizational setup. Its importance is particularly realized when management, design, and control of the production process are considered. Usually, it is concerned with raising efficiency standards as well as reconfiguration of business operations during the production processes of goods and/or services. It is also highly effective in the management of business operations, both in terms of ensuring that as few productive resources are used in producing goods and/or services and in observing the right customer requirements. Usually, some major factors to consider in the selection and implementation processes are the software feasibility, cost, compatibility with other systems or processes, and its user-friendliness. The feasibility enables an organization to consider the merits of the system over its demerits or vice-versa, and therefore come up with the best solution. Cost represents the expenditure budget that the firm will utilize during the purchase, implementation, and overhead maintenance of the software system. User-friendliness of the system entails the ease of use of the software platform by its users in the organization. Once a software system has satisfied the organization in terms of the above considerations, its ultimate implementation can begin since it is always an indication that the system will ease management of the production processes.
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