Is your MRP system configured correctly?

MRP systems are an integral part of many manufacturing businesses. Whether you are running MRP, MRP II or ERP there are some common issues that I see on a regular basis.

I see three main points when it comes to using MRP systems:
1. Decide how you want to use your MRP system.
2. Configure the various modules correctly.
3. Manage the MRP process as you would with other processes.

For point 1, is your business a ‘Make to Stock’, ‘Make to Order’ or an ‘Engineer to Order’ type of business. Being clear about this can make configuring your system more straightforward.

Configuring the modules, point 2 above, means inputting your rules of working into the system. Many businesses either lack the knowledge of how to configure the system or they fail to complete the task. Either way they end up fighting the system’s suggestions every day, often creating workarounds and poor working habits.

Finally, there are routines associated with MRP systems. Identify them and build them into your sunrise meeting and routines, if they aren’t already. Appropriate KPIs are also useful to incorporate. An additional routine worth considering is housekeeping. Maintaining the data in the system is essential. Creating ways to pull out the data from the system, cleansing it where required (plus educating the culprits) and improving it are invaluable longer term.

Recommended Actions

  • Confirm that your system is configured to be the right approach for how you handle your orders.
  • Complete, or correct, the information in the various modules (including; Bill of Materials, Inventory, Routines, Work centres / Capacity and Stocking Policies) so that the system generates the right instructions for your team.
  • Develop housekeeping routines that complement the running of an effective MRP system and build them into your existing routines.

Giles Johnston
Author of 'Business Process Re-Engineering', a practical plan to improve business performance.