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Contract Manufacturing Technology

Contract manufacturers [CMs] are often the critical link in a manufacturers supply chain that determines speed-to-market and pricing. CMs are therefore under pressure to continually deliver faster, cheaper, and at the highest quality.

Contract manufacturing is a project based business, with complex interrelationships between planning, scheduling and reporting. Such complexities are increasing for those businesses who must manage the production of a vast array of projects and customer orders. Projects may combine parts supplied by customers, stock or third parties and may either be a very quick turn or a lengthy, multi-stage production run.

Aggressive project management is required with detailed estimating, measuring, controlling, and reporting by department, project or task [WBS] level. Without access to reliable time-stamped data, such time sensitive activities such as inventory, costs and order management would not provide managers sufficient detail to determine task level costs against project time-lines.

Contract Manufacturing capabilities include:

  • Design engineering – a preproduction sandbox free from the constraints of manufacturing document control
  • Engineering change control - discipline over modifications to the bill of materials and shop floor routings
  • Rich estimating capabilities - establish project budget baselines
  • Project workbench - tracks costs by project and details project status on-line at any point in the life cycle of the project, including identifying project variances
  • Clear pegging - of supply and demand by project
  • Full lot/serial control
  • Material Requirements Planning [MRP] - by project
  • Milestones for economic value add [EVA] and/or billing impact and the ability to drive resource requirements via task management milestones

There are a number of solutions available that are project-oriented, with a variety of names such as:

  • Costing - Work Breakdown Structure, Earned Value Management
  • Engineering - Design Engineering, Production Engineering, Engineering Change Control, Estimating, Quoting
  • Manufacturing - Project Control, Shop Floor Control
  • Materials - Material Requirements Planning, Lot/Serial Control, Inventory Control

Business Intelligence solutions must interact will each of thse programs to give a total enterprise and production line view of a contract lifecycle.


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