Sunday, February 10, 2008

Manufacturing resource planning

MRP and MRPII: History and Evolution

Material Requirements Planning (MRP) and Manufacturing Resource Planning (MRPII) are predecessors of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), a business information integration system. The development of these manufacturing coordination and integration methods and tools made today’s ERP systems possible. Both MRP and MRPII are still widely used, independently and as modules of more comprehensive ERP systems, but the original vision of integrated information systems as we know then today began with the development of MRP and MRPII in manufacturing.

The vision for MRP and MRPII was to centralize and integrate business information in a way that would facilitate decision making for production line managers and increase the efficiency of the production line overall. In the 1980s, manufacturers developed systems for calculating the resource requirements of a production run based on sales forecasts. In order to calculate the raw materials needed to produce products and to schedule the purchase of those materials along with the machine and labor time needed, production managers recognized that they would need to use computer and software technology to manage the information. Originally, manufacturing operations built custom software programs that ran on mainframes.

Material Requirements Planning (MRP) was an early iteration of the integrated information systems vision. MRP information systems helped managers determine the quantity and timing of raw materials purchases. Information systems that would assist managers with other parts of the manufacturing process, MRPII, followed. While MRP was primarily concerned with materials, MRPII was concerned with the integration of all aspects of the manufacturing process, including materials, finance and human relations.

Like today’s ERP systems, MRPII was designed to integrate a lot of information by way of a centralized database. However, the hardware, software, and relational database technology of the 1980s was not advanced enough to provide the speed and capacity to run these systems in real-time, and the cost of these systems was prohibitive for most businesses. Nonetheless, the vision had been established, and shifts in the underlying business processes along with rapid advances in technology led to the more affordable enterprise and application integration systems that big businesses and many medium and smaller businesses use today (Monk and Wagner).

New 8x DVD-R Fits MacBooks

MCE Technologies releases a slot-loading 'SuperDrive' to swap in for optical drives in MacBooks and 15-inch MacBook Pros.

MCE Technologies on Friday announced the release of a new slot-loading DVD-R "SuperDrive" designed to work as a replacement for the optical drives found in 15-inch MacBook Pros and MacBook laptops.

The new drive supports DVD+R DL (Double Layer) and DVD-R (Dual Layer) media, so it can burn up to 8.5GB per disc (on supported media). It replaces the 4x and 6x drives found in these machines, matching the same form factor. It costs US$199.

The drive is 9.5mm high, compared to 12.5mm tall for some other mechanisms. It writes standard DVD-R and DVD+R media at up to 8x speed, and DVD-RW and DVD+RW at up to 4x speed (dual-layer and double-layer disks are written to at up to 4x speed). It can also write to CD-R media at up to 2x speed.

The drive is natively compatible with Mac OS X v10.4 and 10.5, and works with iTunes, iDVD, Finder burning, iPhoto and DVD player. It's bootable, as well.

MCE includes installation tools and a manual.

For more Macintosh computing news, visit Macworld. Story copyright © 2007 Mac Publishing LLC. All rights reserved.,142126-c,macs/article.html

Manufacturing resource planning

Key functions and Features

MRP II is not a proprietary software system and can thus take many forms. It is almost impossible to visualise an MRP II system that does not use a computer, but an MRP II system can be based on either purchased / licensed or in-house software.

Almost every MRP II system is modular in construction. Characteristic basic modules in an MRP II system are:

  • Master Production Scheduling (MPS)
  • Item Master Data (Technical Data)
  • Bill of Materials (BOM) (Technical Data)
  • Production Resources Data (Manufacturing Technical Data)
  • Inventories & Orders (Inventory Control)
  • Purchasing Management
  • Material Requirements Planning (MRP)
  • Shop Floor Control (SFC)
  • Capacity Requirements Planning (CRP)
  • Standard Costing (Cost Control)
  • Cost Reporting / Management (Cost Control)
  • Distribution Resource Planning (DRP)

together with ancillary systems such as:

  • Business Planning
  • Lot Traceability
  • Contract Management
  • Tool Management
  • Engineering Change Control
  • Configuration Management
  • Shop Floor Data Collection
  • Sales Analysis and Forecasting
  • Finite Capacity Scheduling (FCS)

and related systems such as:

  • General Ledger
  • Accounts Payable (Purchase Ledger)
  • Accounts Receivable (Sales Ledger)
  • Sales Order Management
  • Distribution Requirements Planning (DRP)
  • [Automated] Warehouse Management
  • Project Management
  • Technical Records
  • Estimating
  • CAPP

The MRP II system integrates these modules together so that they use common data and freely exchange information, in a model of how a manufacturing enterprise should and can operate. The MRP II approach is therefore very different from the “point solution” approach, where individual systems are deployed to help a company plan, control or manage a specific activity. MRP II is by definition fully integrated or at least fully interfaced.

  • Better control of inventories
  • Improved scheduling
  • Productive relationships with suppliers

For Design / Engineering:

  • Improved design control
  • Better quality and quality control

For Financial and Costing:

  • Reduced working capital for inventory
  • Improved cash flow through quicker deliveries
  • Accurate inventory records
  • Timely and valid cost and profitability information

Industry Specifics

MRP II systems have been implemented in most manufacturing industries. Some industries need specialised functions e.g. lot traceability in regulated manufacturing such as pharmaceuticals or food. Other industries can afford to disregard facilities required by others e.g. the tableware industry has few starting materials – mainly clay – and does not need complex materials planning. Capacity planning is the key to success in this as in many industries, and it is in those that MRP II is less appropriate.