What are stages in manufacturing?
In more complete manufacturing processes there is a need for tracking stages. Especially when manufacturing the finished (or semi-finished) product lasts a bit longer (a couple of days for example). The tracking is used to determine how many pieces are completed, committed, and the most important, how many of them are in which stage. Based on this insight we can eliminate the congestions in the manufacturing process, and conduct some kind of quality control.
One of the examples is machining production, where the semi-products are processed – cut, grinded, painted, drilled, etc.
One of the ways to track such production, is to create a phantom BOM (bill of materials) after each stage. Or a semi-product that we will place in stock once the stage is completed. And then, we will use that semi-product as a material in the next stage. This is not a bad solution, if there are only a few stages. But it’s really impractical because each stage requires a separate SKU. For example, for product “Galvanized pipe 113” we will have “galvanized pipe 113 stage 01”, “galvanized pipe 113 stage 02”, “galvanized pipe 113 stage 03”, etc. Also, you will have to deliver finished goods and load material at each stage change.
ERPAG Solution – Stages
We solved this in ERPAG by including the “Stages” option. In our system, we follow the “Output item” from work order through Stages. We can’t deliver such item to stock (deliver finished goods), unless we previously complete all required stages.
Switching from stage to stage is quite easy, simple and quick within a click of a button in very work order.
We simplified it even more in ERPAG Mobile app! With just a few “taps” the worker on the shop floor can switch from one stage to another. And, of course, deliver the finished goods after all stages are completed.
In this blog, we will explain through an example of manufacturing custom windows and doors. If you want to test this out, you can open a demo through this link: https://demo.erpag.com/demo.aspx?company=doorswindows
Setting up Stages
First, we have to define all stages that we will use (Manufacturing > Resources > Stages).
Once we complete this step, we have to define on Bill of materials based product all the stages this product is going through.
As you can see in the picture above, an item can go through some stages, and skip the rest of them. By setting this up, all generated work orders (based on BOM) will have automatically assigned stages.
In our example, we took the “Aluminum anodized profile”. And we manufacture it from “Aluminum raw profile” and it will go through next stages: Pre-treatment > Anodize > Post-treatment > Quality assurance (QA).
Using Stages in Work Order based on bill of materials
Right after we select the product, the Stages will be automatically populated. If we define them in BOM (bill of materials).
In our example, we will demand the production of 150 m of “Aluminum anodized profile”. We won’t add any work operations, because we want to keep it simple.
In ERPAG we record the completion of a stage. Due to simplicity, we don’t record the beginning. To record a stage in a work order, click on the “Complete stage’ button (picture above).
Since we can partially complete a stage, we enter the quantity we produced (output item). And we do this for each stage. The stage that we completely finish won’t appear on the menu.
The Stage progress is visible on a work order and in “Completed stages” history panel.
Partially/Completely delivering finished goods will be allowed only for the quantity that went through all stages.
In our example, we can’t deliver 150 m, but we can deliver 10 m to our stock.
Note: Currently we can’t control in which order the stages will be completed (finish to start/start to finish, etc.). Because in practice there will be cases when it’s necessary.
Stages in Mobile APP
We designed stages in ERPAG Mobile APP to be maximally customized for recording stages on the very shop floor. Which, in practice, means that the worker who is assigned to the process itself records the completion of the stage.
On the picture above you can see the current progress. Operator can also do a “Product receipt” (if allowed through user authorization).
Work orders that are complete (they delivered the total amount of required quantity), will disappear from the list.
Note: The whole process can be speeded-up if you use ERPAG Tags (QR code) or barcode. By scanning QR or barcode via mobile camera you will find the related Work Order, SKU or stage.
Open stages report
In order to check currently unfinished work order stages, we created a separate report in the Manufacturing menu.
This list has a table view of “Output item” and columns for each stage. The stage that doesn’t exist on the item will be disabled (greyed out).
This report shows in a simple way which stage “holds up” the production.
Stages in a Standard Work Order
You can set the stages in the standard work orders as well!
Here we have much more freedom! We can manually set through which stages an item is going through, independently from the bill of materials.
Note: In case of multiple output items (eg. summarized work order), you have to set up the stage for each output individually. This can cause repetition!
We highly recommend that you have one output item, if you are going to use stages. Eventually you can add a scrap item as well! For more information about scrap, go to our blog: https://www.erpag.com/news/scrap-in-bom-bill-of-materials-and-manufacturing