Mapping the Critical Path of Business

Manufacturing Insights Blog

By Carl Wurster, Solution Engineer

This week, we’re at the ERP Vendor Shootout in San Francisco, where we’ll be talking about the critical path of business which can be defined as the “…the necessary path or sequence from start to finish.” Let’s take a quick look at what this looks like.

The business processes begin with the sources of demand, which is comprised of forecasts, orders and EDI. Then, with demand in place, it is all about the plan. Requirements, capacity and scheduling are paramount to create the direction for operations – and reacting quickly to changes in the demand is essential to satisfied customers.

Keying off of the plan, the buy cycle can begin. Purchasing must manage suppliers, requisitions and purchase orders to assure that the proper high-quality goods arrive at the proper time. By doing this, the shop floor can operate smoothly with a steady supply of materials and parts.

With material in hand and the plan in place, the make cycle can begin. Scheduling the shop floor, getting the resources lined up and having the proper equipment in sound working order and ready is how production meets the needs of the customer to deliver a high-quality, on-time product at its lowest cost.

Completion of the make cycle allows the ship cycle to begin. In addition to getting the proper goods delivered on time, providing complete documentation is critical. Documents such as certificates of conformance, NAFTA agreements, commercial invoices, bills of lading, packing lists, customer invoices, advance ship notices and others can be automatically generated. This eliminates the paper chase of preparing these documents manually and putting the shipment at risk.

All of these critical processes are managed through the account process. Order to cash is managed via the operational activities that are tightly woven into the accounting process. Exemplifying our “top floor to shop floor” capabilities, see how our income statement can drill down through operations to see what material received, how much and by whom, as well as the date and time.  

And all of these activities adhere to our Plex hallmarks of data in once, paperless processes, native quality and manufacturing execution systems and advanced traceability.

Come see us live at the ERP Vendor Shootout, and bring your critical path questions and challenges – we would be glad to discuss your particular business’ needs in person.