Supply chain execution software ensures more headache-free days in a manufacturing plant.
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"With execution software," said Anil Gupta, principal of Applications Marketing Group, "the parts are there on the right day, the equipment is ready, workers are scheduled to work that day. It makes sure that trucks are ready to pick up stuff as it's being manufactured and customers are notified that XYZ is arriving at their doorstep at the right time."
Supply chain execution systems work closely with supply chain planning software systems. You can purchase separate systems that perform supply chain planning and execution independently or closely integrated solutions.
"As long as they're talking to each other it works but it's a lot more closed-loop if they are integrated; they must be in sync," he said. Most planning or execution suites have collaborative functionality so that the manufacturer's software can send messages to customer or supplier systems.
When using supply chain planning functionality to create a smooth manufacturing process, any unique limitations -- called constraints -- allow for a plant's particular needs to be taken into account.
Similarly, with supply chain execution tools, manufacturers can work in changes to the plan (called exceptions) when needed.
For example, if a supplier gets delayed and isn't able to ship the part, said Gupta, users can enter the exception and the supply chain execution management software will go to the plan and get alternate products and suppliers.
The change will also carry through to placing the order, stopping the assembly line and rescheduling production. "What's the impact on everything else?" Gupta said. "Execution [software] is all of that."
About the author: Christine Cignoli is a Boston-based freelance writer who covers IT infrastructures and storage technology. She is a regular contributor to SearchManufacturingERP. Contact her through her website.