Manufacturing using webERP

This post is #4 in a series on using webERP, and is a work-in-progress. Search for “webERP” to find other posts in the series and please visit the demo on dalescott.net (login as “auditor” with password “guest”).

Features of using webERP for manufacturing include:

  • Efficiency. Items, Vendors, Work Orders, etc. are managed within one controlled system. Fix a problem once and it’s fixed everywhere.
  • Visibility. A visible, trusted, change management process and a chain of truth.
  • Scalable. Readily scales with users, items, vendors and orders, and adapts as your processes change over time.

I will explore using webERP for manufacturing using the Swift Construction Company’s development of the Aircraft Wireless as an example.

Goals

The goal of this exercise will be to:

  • Manufacture a sub-assembly with auto-issued child (input) items.

Manufacturing Cycle

The general manufacturing cycle in webERP is:

  • Enter a Work Order to manufacture an item according to its bill of materials (BOM).
  • Receive the finished manufactured items (the output from the work order) into stock. Input items listed on the bill of materials to auto-issue input items will be transacted to the work order at this time.
  • Issue any additional input items used in in the manufacturing process to the work order).
  • Close the work order.

I will be manufacturing quantity 10 of item 20000001-00, a custom electrical coil, the assembly tree is shown here.

20000001-00,"IND,830UH,AIRCRAFT WIRELESS"
|-- 90000001-00,"WIRE,MAGNET,38AWG,POLY"
|-- 90000002-00,"MAG,FERRITE ROD,1/4IN X 4IN,MATL=61"
\-- 90000003-00,"TAPE,ELECTRICAL,3/4"",BLUE,VINYL"

The manual process that will be followed is:

  • Manufacturing scheduler creates work order and assigns to assembly technician.
  • Assembly technician prints work order and kits required input materials from stock room. The technician initials each input item quantity as removed from stock.
  • Technician completes finished coils.
  • Technician initials work order as complete and returns to scheduler.
  • Scheduler receives the output items into the work order, which also causes the input items to be transferred from stock.
  • Scheduler closes work order.

TODO add swim-lane diagram(s).

TODO describe the accompanying parallel paperwork process.

Setup

If you have been following my previous tutorials,  there should be no further setup required. However, if not, it may be helpful to review building a BOM in Product Lifecycle Management using webERP, and purchasing items in Purchasing Using webERP.

Create Work Order

A work order essentially converts a list of raw material (the bill of materials) to one or more outputs. Print a copy of the work order and use to kit the raw material.

  • Create a new work order.
  • Enter optional Reference and Remark. TODO explain why
  • Search & select output item 20000001-00. Update.
  • Enter Qty 10 and comment for output 20000001-00. Update.

The work order can be printed and signed as record of kitting, and also as a record of additional input items to enter before closing the work order. A printed copy of the work order often travels with the WIP as identification (e.g. a traveler for a tote of material). Labels can also be printed for later attaching to the manufactured items. 

Main > Manufacturing > Transactions > Work Order Entry

If you search for work orders you will see that the new work work is in the system.

The  work order status shows demand for the raw materials needed to manufacture the inductor, which indicates they have not been issued.

You will also see that there is qty 10 of 20000001-00 on order from its item screen.

 

 

Receive Output Goods

When the output items have been manufactured they are received against the work order. For simplicity I will assume the manufacturing process was flawless, with no waste and all the manufactured items meet spec (see the manufacturing and test procedure filed in the Knowledge Base).  

Items listed on the BOM as auto-issue will issue to the work order at this time.

Process Manufactured Items Received

Close Work Order

Close the work order after all raw material has been issued to the work order and all manufactured items have been received against the work order. Review the work order costing,

Main > Manufacturing > Transactions > Select a Work Order > Select > Costing

and close the work order.

Reports

A variety of reports are available for managing the manufacturing process, indicating demand for work orders, and managing work orders in process.

      • TODO useful report 1.
      • TODO useful report 2.

Summary

This completes the overview of manufacturing using webERP. 

webERP at Calgary EPTECH 2017

Search for “webERP” to find other posts on webERP, and please visit the demo on dalescott.net (login as “auditor” with password “guest”).

I will be at the EPTECH electronics exhibition in Calgary on March 9 to present webERP as the ideal platform for engineering PLM and to manage parts and orders for engineering prototyping and small-volume production. Watch for me if you’re going to be there, I would love to hear about the challenges facing you, and what strategies you have found work best.

Engineering teams need to manage part numbers for off-the-shelf and custom parts, and bills of materials for assemblies, including keeping track of selected COTS OEM part numbers and vendor information for purchasing, and the current revision of a custom part (and why it’s the current version). Engineering teams must also control source documents for custom parts, such as mechanical drawings, schematics and PCB fabrication files, and also often manage prototype and small-volume purchasing and manufacturing.

webERP is the ideal platform for an engineering team to organize and manage this information with trust and transparency, providing controlled access to anyone in the organization who needs it. webERP is a fully-featured enterprise-grade ERP system, but it is equally suitable for use at an engineering department level.

EPTECH is Canada’s only series of coast-to-coast national electronics shows, targeting electronics designers, engineers, technicians, technologists, purchasers, technical managers and researchers. A broad spectrum of the electronics industry will be on display, including passive and semiconductor devices, electro-mechanical components, test equipment, contract test and manufacturing services…. EPTECH is also a place where the local community can cross paths on an annual basis, the significance of which is often under-estimated. 

 

Purchasing using webERP

This post is #3 in a series on using webERP. Search for “webERP” to find other posts in the series and please visit the demo on dalescott.net (login as “auditor” with password “guest”).

Features of using webERP for purchasing include:

  • Efficiency. Items, Vendors, Purchase Orders, etc. are managed within one controlled system. Fix a problem once and it’s fixed everywhere.
  • Visibility. A visible, trusted, change management process and a chain of truth.
  • Scalable. Readily scales with users, items, vendors and orders, and adapts as your processes change over time.

I will explore using webERP for purchasing using the Swift Construction Company’s development of the Aircraft Wireless as an example.

Goals

The goals of this exercise are to:

  • Purchase items.
  • Receive goods into inventory.
  • Create a vendor invoice and pay the vendor.

Definitions

Here are some terms in the context they will be used here.

  • Vendor. Who you purchase goods or services from. Also called a Supplier
  • Purchase Order. A request to purchase sent to a vendor. If the purchase order is accepted by the vendor, it becomes a legally binding contract between the two parties.

Purchasing Cycle

The general purchasing cycle in webERP is:

  • Create and print purchase order. The order will be approved automatically if the creator has authorization permission, otherwise it will be queued for authorization. “Printing” is really a euphemism for issuing the order to the vendor, and an order must be printed before stock can be received against it.
  • Receive stock against purchase order.
    • Print a Goods Received Note and submit to the Accounts Payable department for matching to the vendor invoice.
    • Print and attach QA labels to the received goods.
  • Pay Vendor. Paying is generally made after goods receipt according to the purchase terms (e.g. “30 day”), however prepayment  is also common.
    • A Vendor Invoice must be created first and matched to the order and a goods receipt note before paying the vendor. 

The following diagram from the webERP manual illustrates the purchasing cycle.

TODO replace diagram with swim-lane drawings: (1) Create and Issue PO,  (2) Receive Stock, (3) Pay Vendor.

Setup

Purchase Order Authorization

I will give myself purchase order authorization so that purchase orders I create will be automatically approved (automatic authorization must be enabled in Main > Setup > System Parameters). Note that separate authorization is required for each currency used in a purchase order.

Main > Setup > Receivables/Payables Setup > Set Purchase Order Authorisation Levels

 

Bank Accounts

Some basic bank account information must be entered before recording payment to a vendor will be possible (because payment will be made from a bank account). I setup the basic chequing, saving and petty cash accounts, although only the chequing account will be used in this tutorial. 

Main > General Ledger > Maintenance >  Bank Accounts

In addition to entering the bank account information, I also need to give myself authorization to use the bank accounts. You can access bank account authorization either by user, or by bank account, depending on which is more convenient at the time. 

Main > General Ledger > Maintenance > User Authorized Bank Accounts

Order Items

Before an Aircraft Wireless system can be manufactured, the raw material will be required must be procured. The items that must  be ordered have been documented through the SCC’s Aircraft Wireless product lifecycle. I will show details for purchasing item 90000001-00, electrical wire which is part of sub-assembly item 20000001-00, a custom electrical inductor.

This is the assembly tree for item 20000001-00.

20000001-00,"IND,830UH,AIRCRAFT WIRELESS"
|-- 90000001-00,"WIRE,MAGNET,38AWG,POLY"
|-- 90000002-00,"MAG,FERRITE ROD,1/4IN X 4IN,MATL=61"
\-- 90000003-00,"TAPE,ELECTRICAL,3/4"",BLUE,VINYL"

The unit of measure for item 90000001-00 wire is centimeters (cm), which means the wire will be inventoried and consumed by length as measured in centimeters. However, the wire will be purchased by the spool, which is the vendor unit of measure (the datasheet for the wire indicates there are 19,300 feet of wire on a spool).

Issue Order

Start the order process by selecting the item to purchase, in this case item 90000001-00. There are several ways to initiate a purchase order and this is only one, you will learn others as you gain familiarity with webERP. 

Select Item 90000001-00, here I have filtered the list of items with the item stock code.

Items > Search > Select

Now that I have selected item 90000001-00, I can place an order for a spool.

The order defaults to quantity 1 (spool), which is what I need. The order is complete and I can select Process Order. If you need to change the quantity from the default 1, you must first select Update Order Lines, then process the order.

Since I have order authorization privileges, and the system is configured for automatic authorization, the order will be authorized automatically and I can next print the purchase order and/or enter a vendor invoice.

Printing the order creates a PDF document that can be saved or printed locally, or emailed to the vendor directly from webERP. More significantly, printing an order means to webERP that the order has been accepted by the vendor. 

It can happen sometimes that a verbal order is given to a vendor, and the paperwork is “cleaned-up” later.  In those situations, it is often the arrival of an invoice from a vendor that initiates creation of a purchase order. This is why there a command to create a vendor invoice is provided on the same screen an order can be printed from. However, I will be receiving the order before creating a vendor invoice.

You can see that an order has been issued by searching for outstanding purchase orders.

Main > Items > Select Item > Search Outstanding Purchase Orders

Receive Stock

Stock is received in webERP when ownership transfers from the vendor. I will start the receiving process by searching for outstanding orders for item 90000001-00. After selecting the appropriate purchase order, I will be able to Receive the order so long as it has been authorized and printed. 

Main > Items > Select > Search Outstanding Purchase Orders > Select > Receive

The Goods Received screen shows and allows the quantities received to be entered. The quantity in purchase units is shown together with the conversion factor from purchase units to the item’s unit of measure, and the receive quantity must be entered in the item’s unit of measure. 

Finally a Goods Received Note (GRN) can be printed for signing and sending to the Accounts Payable department for matching with the vendor invoice before payment.

You can also print QA labels for attaching to the received goods from the same screen.

If you select Item 90000001-00 (likely still selected if you access Main > Items), you will see that the quantity on hand now reflects the received order.

Pay Vendor

Create Vendor Invoice

A vendor invoice is created to record an that an invoice has been received from a vendor for goods or services provided. The vendor invoice is matched to the purchase order and to a goods receipt note before paying the vendor. One way to start the vendor invoice process is to search for the vendor that provided the invoice. After selecting the Vendor access Vendor Transactions > Enter a Vendor Invoice.

Main > Vendors > Select > Newark

The first step is to enter a reference identifier for the vendor invoice. Vendor invoice references for each vendor must be unique. Next click the Purchase Order button and match the vendor invoice to the purchase order. 

Main > Vendors > Vendor Transactions > Enter a Vendor Invoice > Purchase Order

Select the purchase order line item that the vendor invoice pertains to and add to the invoice.

After adding the order reference to the vendor invoice, return to invoice entry.

Add a comment and enter the invoice.

The vendor invoice has now been created. 

If desired, you could proceed with paying the invoice by using the Enter Payment command, but I will start over from the beginning in the next section.

Issue Vendor Payment

The vendor can be paid as soon after a purchase order has been printed, a goods receipt notice has been created, and a vendor invoice been created. However vendors will typically be paid based on operational procedures and vendor payment terms. One way to start the vendor payment process is to select the vendor again.

Main > Vendors > Select Newark

Use the Enter a Payment to, or Receipt from the Vendor command to access the Bank Account Payment Entry screen.

Enter the cheque reference and description.

If desired, you can enter a Supplier Narrative, Reference and Transaction Text for the supplier transaction payment. I will leave them blank and they will populate as indicated. Finally process the payment.

Optionally print the cheque and complete the payment.

The payment can be allocated from the final screen, but this is the end of the purchasing cycle for this example.

Rinse and Repeat

Now that item 90000001-00 has been dealt with, I will order sufficient quantities of 90000002-00 and 90000003-00 to manufacture custom inductor item 20000001-00 (which I will describe in an upcoming tutorial on manufacturing).

Reports

A variety of reports are available for managing the materials procurement process, indicating demand, or orders that need to be issued, or following up on orders already issued.

  • Show all suppliers for a particular item.
  • Show Where-Used for an item.

Change Happens

When an custom item is revised, it may impact on items already purchased and waiting to be received, or items which are about to be ordered:

  • Cancel POs if possible for items no longer required
  • Modify POs to mitigate cost, possibly reducing quantities, extending delivery dates, stopping vendor work and paying only for work performed to date, and modifying  vendor work to meet new requirements.

It can be helpful to proactively check for new part numbers, or new revisions of existing part numbers. Presumably they will need to be ordered eventually, and in the case of a revision may indicate changes coming for orders of current revisions.

Summary

This completes the overview of purchasing using webERP. A future tutorial will detail purchasing using a BOM (Bill of Materials) to save time, instead of purchasing items individually webERP will create purchase orders for all items listed on a BOM.

Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) using webERP

This post is #2 in a series on using webERP, and is a work-in-progress. Search for “webERP” to find other posts in the series and please visit the demo on dalescott.net (login as “auditor” with password “guest”).

Product lifecycle management (PLM) is the act of consciously managing a product from concept through design, into manufacturing and sales, supporting on-going production and sales through sustaining engineering, and finally winding down. PLM integrates people, data, processes and business systems, and provides a trustable and transparent product information backbone for operations.

Features of using WebERP for PLM include:

  • Integrated data. Projects, people, hours, other expenses, purchase orders, production builds, bills of materials, etc., are conveniently managed in one controlled system.
  • A visible, trusted, change management process providing chain of truth.
  • Scales with number of users, items and complexity of item trees.

I will explore webERP’s PLM features using the Swift Construction Company’s development of the Aircraft Wireless as an example, following the SCC Product Management process

Goals

The goals of this exercise will be to:

  • Create child and parent items to model an assembly.
  • Define appropriate work centers.
  • Capture expected manufacturing labour.
  • Identify item vendor information for purchasing.
  • Identify item manufacturer information for purchasing through distribution.(manufacturer part number vs vendor part number).
  • Identify an appropriate change management or ECO process. COMING SOON 

Definitions

Here are some terms in the context I will be using them.

  • Revision Level. Each item has a unique revision level, indicating changes made to the item or its supporting documentation since it was initially defined. The revision level is changed following a well-defined sequence. 
  • Release. A release is the creation or update of a logical set of items and supporting documentation. This may be to publish information for review, to support processes such as purchasing or manufacturing, or to recognize a milestone in the development project.
  • ECO (Engineering Change Order). A well-defined process for making changes to a part or assembly, usually custom. 

Setup

Create Inventory Categories

The Swift Construction Company, like many engineering services and product companies, grew organizationally from a single-person engineering department to eventual separate mechanicals and electronics development teams. Knowing if a thing is a “mechanical thing”, or an “electronics, firmware, or basically anything but a mechanical thing” indicates which department is responsible for it.

As a result of the SCC’s organization structure, physical things are categorized as either either ELEC or MECH for raw materials and parts, or RADIOS for finished goods (currently the SCC’s only product line).  

Main > Setup > Inventory Setup > Inventory Categories Maintenance

ELEC Inventory Category

MECH Inventory Category

RADIOS Inventory Category

Create Units of Measure

An item’s Unit of Measure (UOM) specifies how the item is to be inventoried and consumed. webERP supports different purchase units, for example to purchase in US gallon jugs but inventory and consume in millilitres. 

A new unit of measure is typically created if needed when a new item is created, but using the SCC Aircraft Wireless development project documentation we can create all necessary units of measure now.

Main > Setup > Inventory Setup > Inventory Units of Measure

Create Vendors

A new vendor is typically created ad hoc, but using the SCC Aircraft Wireless development project documentation we can create each vendor now (vendors can also be imported from a CSV file). 

Main > Vendors > Add a New Vendor

Create Items

Create new items according to the SCC Aircraft Wireless development project. I will shjow details for creating sub-assembly 20000001-00 (a custom inductor), and the rest of the items and bills of materials will be similar.

20000001,"IND,830UH,AIRCRAFT WIRELESS"
|-- 90000001,"WIRE,MAGNET,38AWG,POLY"
|-- 90000002,"MAG,FERRITE ROD,1/4IN X 4IN,MATL=61"
\-- 90000003,"TAPE,ELECTRICAL,3/4"",BLUE,VINYL"

90000001-00 Magnet Wire

The unit of measure for the wire will be centimetres, meaning the wire will be inventoried and consumed by the centimeter. However, it will be purchased by the spool, which is the vendor unit of measure (the datasheet for the wire indicates a spool has 19,300 feet).

The consumption unit of measure will generally be the most relevant for any transaction other than purchasing or inventory control. When purchasing, the unit of measure will generally be determined by the vendor, and webERP supports a separate purchase unit when creating a purchase order. This means in an inventory audit that it will be necessary to convert from the counted number of full spools, add fractions of a spool for any partial spools, and convert to centimeters. However, the conversion factor can be found in the item master purchasing data, and the math is not too laborious.  

Items > Create New Item

Enter Purchasing Information

Items > Item Maintenance > Maintain Purchasing Data

Enter Standard Cost

The standard cost for cm UOM is C$0.00026308 per cm (C$154.83/spool x [ 1 / [ 19300ft x 30.48cm/ft ] ] ).

Items > Item Maintenance > Maintain Standard Cost

Upload Documentation

Upload the manufacturers’ datasheet to the Knowledge Base.

Items > Item Inquiries > Wiki Product Knowledge Base

I’m using the same template for each page. It is essentially a list of categories of typical documentation. It’s a judgement call at the time the part is created what is required though.

90000002-00 Ferrite Rod

Items > Create New Item

Enter Purchasing Information

Items > Item Maintenance > Maintain Purchasing Data

Enter Standard Cost

Items > Item Maintenance > Maintain Standard Cost

Upload Documentation

Upload the catalogue page, datasheet and application note to the Knowledge Base.

Items > Item Inquiries > Wiki Product Knowledge Base

90000003-00 Tape

Items > Create New Item

Enter Purchasing Information

Items > Item Maintenance > Maintain Purchasing Data

Enter Standard Cost

Items > Item Maintenance > Maintain Standard Cost

Upload Documentation

Upload the product datasheet and MSDS to the Knowledge Base.

Items > Item Inquiries > Wiki Product Knowledge Base

20000001-00 Inductor

Item 20000001-00 is a custom inductor, and will be configured as a manufactured part with a Bill-of-Materials (BOM).

Items > Create New Item

Enter Standard Cost

Set the standard cost to be the total calculated cost including labor and any fixed overhead costs.

Items > Item Maintenance > Maintain Standard Cost

Enter Standard Price

Items which may be sold require pricing. It is expected field technicians may wish to purchase 20000001-00 for maintenance repair.

Items > Item Maintenance > Maintain Pricing

Create Bill of Materials

The raw material required to manufacture one item 20000001-00 are specified by creating a Bill-of-Materials, including quantities. The raw materials are also referred to as child items of the parent 20000001-00, and are set to auto-issue, which will simplify creating a manufacturing work order later.

Main > Manufacturing > Maintenance > Bills Of Material

Reporting

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Managing Change

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Summary

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