In some ways, MRP II implementations are easier for continuous
flow manufacturers; in some ways they are
harder. There tends to be less raw data to work with, compared to
batch or discrete companies. There may only be a few hundred items
used. Converting old data into the new system is less time
consuming as a result. There are usually fewer employees available
to learn the new system, so the task of training them is easier.
However, if they have never been exposed to MRP II systems before,
it may take a while for MRP principles and concepts to take hold.
A typical MRP II implementation in a continuous
flow plant can take from six to nine months for a full system
(excluding corporate functions). Payback on the investment can
take from nine to eighteen months.
Benefits can be achieved almost immediately, and include:
Improved process yields
Improved capacity utilization
Uncovered "hidden" capacity
Reduced inventories and safety stocks
Better cost identification and management
Quicker response to market changes
More efficient use of warehouse space
Improved inventory accuracy
Improved operating flexibility
Continuous flow manufacturers have invested
significant funds in plant floor technology to leverage operations
and maximize process yields and capacity utilization. This has
contributed to an atmosphere of skepticism about the applicability
of higher-level computerized business systems in these
environments. Today, less than 15% of continuous flow
manufacturing companies have installed MRP II systems.
This condition is now recognized as an
opportunity to seize competitive advantage by many process
manufacturers who are more likely to say "Please, More
MRP!" now that they have seen successful implementations in
their industries. Throughout the 1990s, the biggest growth in
first-time installed MRP II users will come from continuous flow
manufacturers who include MRP II in their arsenal of weapons to
help them compete more effectively in the areas of cost, quality,
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