What manufacturing’s system should we use? Discrete or Process?

Este post também está disponível em: Portuguese (Brazil)

When an industrial customer begans the implementation process of an ERP system, one of the most common error is choose the wrong manufacturing software. This happens because there are big differences in the core business from a manufacturing company who performs as a discrete and another who performs as a process manufacturing.

As an EBS Oracle Manufacturing Consultant, this is a major decision and it must be taken well right. I see many companies choose the application suite in a wrong way to meet your needs and after a while, find yourselves with many problems and “technical solutions” for a whole life.

So, let’s see below the main differences between one kind of manufacture to another.

Process Vs Discrete

The Discrete Manufacturing deals often with assemblies, produces exact things. Like machines, cars, home appliances. Example, when it makes pens, you can produce, let’s say 1000 pen’s units or 500 pen’s units and you can’t produce 95.5 pens. If it’s need to dismount a pen and use its cap in another pen, it’s possible with a certain effort or you can just return each of of its pieces to your inventory.

Típica indústria químicaNow, the process manufacturing usually deals with commodities, pharmaceuticals products, foods, beverages, oil, gas and things like that. It’s normal to measure the productions using units like kilos, liters, pounds, cubic meters, oz, etc. The conversions between one unit and others is kind of mandatory. The reassemble or disassembly of finish good is, almost all the times, impossible to be done and when it is made there’s no warranty that you’ll gonna have the same product that you had before. Other peculiarity of the process manufacturing is that the process are made through mixing, blending or transformations instead of assemblies and the results sometimes is different from what was expected.

In discrete manufacturing you can’t make half product, if you want to make a car, you must issue all components to produce it, while in process manufacturing, if you have some ingredient shortage, perhaps you’ll be able to continue the production and yield half of the production.

Indústria automobilística, exemplo de discreta

For discrete manufacturing we have a bill of materials (BOM) to structure products and its components, their quantities and all operations which each component is used. Now, for process manufacturing we use a similar structures called Formula, where ingredients are specified according its quantities and how each one behaves when they are scaled.

Both manufacturing types have Routings, but with differences regarding what procedures each one performs. While in discrete manufacturing we basically have assembly actions (cut, turn, bend, assemble) and it says how much type each operation takes. In process manufacturing we deal with transformation’s steps (pick, mix, dilute, mill, fill, blend) and all of them can be related to standard times and how we can have independent types of scales and charges.

How is made in Oracle EBS?

In the Oracle EBS’ world there are 2 specific suites for each one of the manufacturing types. Both suits perfectly all processes.

Below table shows the main process and theire related modules  (based on EBS R12.1.3 version).

Business Process Discret Manufacturing Process Manufacturing
Planning MRP – Material Requirement Planning ou ASCP – Advanced Supply Chain Planning ASCP – Advanced Supply Chain Planning
Engineering/ Product Development ENG – Engineering / BOM – Bills of Material OPM Product Development
Production WIP – Work in Process OPM Process Execution
Quality QA – Quality OPM Quality Manager
Costing CST – Cost Manager (known as PAC in Brazil) OPM Financials e SLA (Subledger Accounting)

There are differences for each one of the business process in the way that we can deal with requirements, data, pros and cons. The consultant always need to guide the customer to choose the best option for your business and avoid possible mistakens.

For now that’s it, for next posts I want to detail some processes. See ya!

16 thoughts on “What manufacturing’s system should we use? Discrete or Process?”

  1. I have studied sufficiently; but this Article is DISTINCT to have clarification b/w Discrete & Process Manufacturing. Really Good!

  2. I’m still learning from you, as I’m trying to reach my goals. I certainly liked reading all that is posted on your website.Keep the posts coming. I liked it!

  3. Excellent site you’ve got here.. It’s hard to find high quality writing like yours
    these days. I seriously appreciate people like you! Take care!!

    1. No. As I said in my post, each one of the modules are made for specific processes, specific customers.
      You wouldn’t use OPM for a car assembly company, neither WIP for a pharmacy.
      Remember, there’s no golden rule, there’s no golden hammer.

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