Discrete manufacturing is a type of production process where the output can be counted and tracked as per unit numbers, and they are measured in terms of weight or volume.
For example, products like toys, automobiles, smartphones, aeroplanes are made from discrete manufacturing.
A business must have good supporting software that helps in impeccable planning and execution of the same.
The biggest challenge of this manufacturing process is that its production depends on the individual needs of its customers.
During the production planning phase, the real-time data collected across plants and resources will help the managers analyze the firm’s current production status.
Due to the unexpected demand in this system, with complete details, the production team will be able to pull themselves up to meet the unexpected demand and fulfil the orders accordingly.
It also must be quick enough to adapt to the current demand to implement a new course of action. Thus, flexibility is one of the key factors of discrete manufacturing.
The business must also ensure that it takes equal measures to ensure that the quality of products is extremely good with the least number of defects.
It is also vital that a firm chooses an ideal software for discrete manufacturing that will help in good inventory management so that the company doesn’t waste time getting stocks for unexpected demand.
It must also ensure that it doesn’t overstock the goods, which can make them obsolete and will add up to the firm’s expenses.
ERP systems are developed to manage discrete manufacturing processes. These ERP systems help the organization to control the manufacturing process, reduce waste, save time required by the product manufacturing, and get a clear vision of the manufacturing process.
Some good ERP vendors for discrete manufacturing are Netsuite, Oracle, Epicore, SAP, Infor, and more. ERP modules of these vendors are flexible and easily customizable to meet customers’ requirements.
Most of the ERP systems for discrete manufacturers ran on-premises, but these systems also run in the cloud.
Discrete manufacturing workflow
The discrete manufacturing process supports the following workflow.
1. Make to stock: That means in this type of workflow, you keep stock of products before customers order.
2. Make to order: You do not keep more product stock in your warehouse in this type of workflow. Instead, you manufacture the product only when a customer order comes in.
3. Assemble to order: This type of workflow lies between Make to stock and Make to order. Here you manufactured the components or parts of the products before the customer order.
Once the customer order comes in immediately, you can assemble the final product.
Types of manufacturing process
Apart from discrete manufacturing, four more manufacturing methods are available. Let us have a quick overview of other methods.
Industries that produce the same items throughout the year use a redundant manufacturing method.
This method allows the industries to adjust the production speed as per the customer demand because its setup needs minimal changes to adjust the speed.
Job shop manufacturing
Industries that produce small batches of customized products follow this manufacturing method.
Unlike discrete manufacturing, it uses production areas. Here, work centers are arranged to make one or more versions of custom products.
Process manufacturing (continuous)
This method produces products by adding ingredients using formulas and different recipes.
For example, products like food, chemicals, pharmaceutical, soap, shampoo, glass, plastic, and beverages are produced from process manufacturing methods.
This process includes both discrete manufacturing and process manufacturing.
For example glass ornament industry. To produce glass process manufacturing method will be used and to make glass ornaments discrete manufacturing method will be used.
Discrete manufacturing v/s Process manufacturing
- Products made from discrete manufacturing can be broken down into their basic components, and these parts can also be recycled. But products made from process manufacturing cannot be broken down into their basic component.
- The discrete manufacturer uses a Bill of material, and the process manufacturer uses a formula or recipe for products.
- Examples of discrete manufacturing industries are automobiles, computer hardware, smartphone, defense, etc. Examples of process manufacturing industries are food products, beverages, pharmaceuticals, refined oils, paints, etc.
What are the products made by discrete manufacturing?
Products made by discrete manufacturing are toys, computer hardware, mobile handset, automobiles, etc.
What are the products made by process manufacturing?
Products made by process manufacturing are jam, juices, beverages, chemicals, medicines, oils, etc.
Get more definitions about discrete manufacturing and other ERP-related terms here.