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A little background info, we are primarily make to order in our manufacturing operations, heavily utilizing configured items. We have very dedicated work centers that often only build a single product. Additionally, several of these work centers have very low production rates, typically one unit per day. We have only been live on E1 for about 7 months so our manufacturing operations are still primarily tailored from our previous system. We are utilizing W line type items to open related work orders for a sales order. Each work order has multiple routing operation paypoints that may flow through multiple work centers.
We are running into problems when we get larger quantity orders for a product that is built in a work center that can only produce one unit per day. An order for 10 units might represent 2 weeks worth of production time for final assembly, plus a few hours in sub assembly work centers. Below is a hypothetical routing based on how E1 back schedules each individual operation. This would tell manufacturing to first complete all 10 for Sub Assembly A. Then, to complete all 10 for Sub Assembly B. Finally, all 10 of the last operation would be completed over a 2 week period.
This causes major problems with our manufacturing operations. In work centers where we are only building one unit per day we typically only have WIP staging for the current and next days production. Using the example above, we do not have room for 10 of each sub assembly to sit around while the final units are assembled one at a time. What we would like to have happen is to build one of each sub assembly on a day, then final assembly the following day. This cycle would repeat 10 times so the sub assemblies are not all made up front and left in WIP.
The only solution we have been able to implement was to have the sales order lines re-entered as 10 lines for a quantity of 1 each. Then we can schedule the individual orders over multiple days as necessary for manufacturing. This is causing growing amounts of frustration with our customer service and distribution groups as they now have increased administrative workload to split out and maintain 10 sales order lines instead of one. This is especially time consuming when it comes to re-entering lines for configured items with many segments. There is also significant risk of re-entry errors with configured items.
Has anyone else faced similar challenges? I'm not really sure what we can do outside of hire more customer service reps to deal with the increased work load or try to revamp our entire manufacturing operation to better fit this new system.
We haven't had to deal with that scenario, but have you explored the use of the Percent of Overlap field on the routings? That is supposed to let you specify how much of the previous operation needs to be completed before you can start the next operation. Since it is a percentage, you would probably need to utilize routings of different batch sizes since an order for 10 units could start the second operation when 10% of the first operation is completed while an order for 2 units could start the 2nd operation when 50% of the first operation is completed.
Again, I have not utilized this field before, so I justed wanted to point it out in case you haven't looked into this yet.
Little Rapids Corporation