Michael Aubuchon
, June 25, 2024
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A top challenge faced by mixed-mode manufacturers is that they must support both discrete and process operations at the same time. This makes it difficult for organizations who have these two kinds of production types to confer its requirements. How can a firm with double functions address the needs of each category? Microsoft Dynamics 365 can provide an all-inclusive strategy for dealing effectively with these conflicting requirements.

Understanding the needs of discrete and process manufacturing

Discrete manufacturing focuses on the production of items like cars, furniture or computers using a bill of materials (BOM) and assembly instructions. On the other hand, process manufacturing goods are usually produced in large quantities and cannot be taken apart into their primary components. Examples of items included in process manufacturing include chemicals and food or beverages.

Discrete manufacturing requirements

  • Production Planning demands an exacting approach with intricate BOMs and routing instructions.
  • Inventory Management requires precise tracking of components and subassemblies.
  • Quality Control to ensure each unit meets strict quality requirements.
  • Customization often comprises made-to-order or configure-to-order processes

Process manufacturing requirements

  • Formula Management deals with recipes or formulas instead of BOMs.
  • Batch Tracking needs strong tracking for batch production and expiration dates. 
  • Yield Management needs tools for both tracking and optimization of yield and wastage. 
  • Compliance regulatory requirements for safety and quality are strictly enforced for these organizations.

How these needs are addressed by Microsoft Dynamics 365

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a complete set of applications that operate in discrete and process manufacturing. The all-encompassing approach guarantees efficiency and effectiveness of all the operations in the manufacturing sector.

Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management for unified production

To provide advanced tools and functionalities, Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management bridges the gap between discrete and process manufacturing. Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS) is featured here as it addresses mixed mode planning/scheduling needs when there are concurrent types of manufacturing. Moreover, this feature includes powerful inventory and warehouse management capabilities that ensure real-time visibility into inventory and effective raw material, work-in-progress (WIP), and finished goods management. In the case of process manufacturing, this module ensures batch tracking/traceability that helps comply with industry standards while quality management takes care of the differences in standard requirements between discrete and process production lines.

Dynamics 365 Manufacturing Execution for smooth production

With Dynamics 365 Manufacturing Execution, manufacturing processes become more efficient. This part offers end-to-end production control from order management to production scheduling, handling both discrete production orders as well as processing batch orders smoothly. Resource management within this module optimizes the use of machines, labor, and materials across manufacturing activities. This enables manufacturers to analyze their production performance in real time such that they can detect bottlenecks during operation optimization through continuous improvement.

Better collaboration with Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) features in Microsoft D365 for Customer Engagement enhances collaboration to better manage customer relationships, sales and after-sales services. Microsoft’s fully integrated solution efficiently manages both configure-to-order requests for discrete manufacturing industries as well as large, customized orders made according to customers’ preferences that are produced by process-based manufacturers. Plus, Field Service Management helps improve after-sales services which include maintenance tasks, thereby supporting customers’ loyalty, especially for complicated products requiring regular maintenance.

ERP and Finance & Supply Chain Management solutions

Integrating Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) with Finance & Supply Chain Management (F&SCM) solutions further streamlines and enhances manufacturing operations. Dynamics 365 Finance & Supply Chain Management provides complete financial management including ledger, financial reporting and budgeting for accurate record keeping in discrete as well as process manufacturing operations to support decision making. Integrated ERP capabilities span the whole production cycle from procurement through to sales, ensuring real-time consistency across the entire organization. Cost management features provide detailed cost analysis and tracking, helping manufacturers manage production costs and identify savings opportunities to enhance profitability. Lastly, compliance with international accounting standards and regulations is an important global feature of Microsoft Dynamics 365 F&SCM designed for companies operating on several markets or having strict regulatory requirements.

Microsoft Dynamics 365’s utilization of AI and IoT

Artificial Intelligence (AI), as integrated into Microsoft Dynamics 365, can be used in planning ahead of time by providing maintenance predictions which helps in managing inventories efficiently for better processes optimization. Monitoring as well as control of manufacturing processes can be done in real-time due to integration of Internet of Things (IoT). IOT sensors help maintain optimum production conditions in process manufacturing that guarantee productivity alongside quality.

In conclusion, both discrete and process manufacturers can benefit from Microsoft Dynamics 365 in ways such as improved operational efficiency and collaboration, as well as conforming to laws and restrictions using advanced technologies like AI and IoT.

The bridge between discrete and process manufacturing

Supporting both discrete and process manufacturing within a single organization can be difficult however Microsoft Dynamics 365 provides an all-encompassing integrated solution to address these issues, thus improving operational efficiency, collaboration with others while conforming to laws at the same time. No matter whether you are producing complex machinery or bulk chemicals, dynamics 365 will help you understand the challenges presented by today’s modern manufacturing landscape, hence becoming relevant in this dynamic market.

Why Alithya

Implementing these sophisticated solutions can be daunting but Alithya stands ready to assist. As a leading provider of Microsoft Dynamics 365 implementation services, we offer vast experience in supporting a smooth transition and optimized setup ideally suited for your specific production needs. Our team is dedicated to providing the best service possible by taking into account your unique requirements so that we can streamline your operations and maximize what you gain from using Dynamics 365. Contact us today so that we can begin transforming your business processes around manufacturing aimed at achieving operational excellence.

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