Engineer to Order

Rootstock’s Cloud ERP software for Engineer to Order Manufacturers, enables the Engineering, Sales, Operations, Procurement, and Production Departments to efficiently manage all aspects of the Supply Chain. Salesforce chatter feeds and the ‘on event’ generation of emails provide automatic communication amongst the various departments and customers and suppliers.

Rootstock provides the capability for an Engineer to Order company to establish estimates for labor, material and other direct costs.  These estimates can provide the basis for proposals which are attached to the Salesforce opportunities. A number of Engineer to Order companies that use the Salesforce CRM have developed their own estimating system on the Force.com platform. To enable seamless integration and validation with Rootstock, these ‘already established’ estimating systems can validate work centers, labor grades, and item numbers against the standard Rootstock tables. In the case where the estimating system being used is not Rootstock, the Rootstock estimating tables can act as a repository for data so that proper estimate to actual comparisons can be accomplished throughout the life cycle of an estimate’s project.

By utilizing Rootstock’s Labor Order and Project capabilities, ancillary tasks such as design and prototyping can be linked to the estimate so that all costs and expenses are budgeted and tracked through the life of the order. Rootstock also offers easy connectivity to industry standard Configurators allowing the derived labor and materials to be seamlessly transferred into Sales and Production.

Item number definition can be accomplished as part of the estimating function. An item grouping capability, using commoditycodes, allows the company to establish defaults for engineering, inventory, purchasing and cost accounting, much facilitating the addition and maintenance of item numbers. Engineering attributes such as the responsible engineer, lot and serial tracking designation, part status and part type can be set at the commodity code level so that when the item is added, its correlation to a specific commodity code will insure the default of these settings. Likewise, inventory commodity code settings include planning policies, lead times and default receiving and shipping locations, and backflush designation. Purchasing settings include vendor lead times while Costing defaults include a number of manufacturing sub ledger account settings.

The planning, costing, and inventory tracking can be accomplished at an ‘item-project/contract’ basis so that visibility of projects can be maintained. When the Project’s Estimate is set, the Actual Cost of labor, material purchases and other direct charges is updated ‘on line-real time’ so that comparisons of the actual to the estimate can always be viewed in the project work bench. Salesforce provides comprehensive KPI’s and dashboard creation software, allowing for multiple views of this planning, costing and inventory data. This enables the project manager in an Engineer to Order company to better effectively manage the cost of the project on an ‘up to the minute’  basis – rather than wait until  the end of the month.

The entire Rootstock ERP suite is seamlessly integrated with the FinancialForce Financials of Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable and General Ledger. All on the Salesforce platform, the modules have the same look and feel and can rely on the same robust architecture that supports complete integration that one would expect in a comprehensive system. This, of course, includes  ‘record locking’ and roll back across all software regardless if it is Salesforce, Rootstock or FinancialForce or any other integrated software that exists within the force.com’s ‘best of breed’ platform ecosystem. For profitability reporting, Dimensions and the Rootstock project code are established within FinancialForce so that the financial reporting can be sliced and diced based on Dimensions and the Rootstock project – thus providing not only profitability by Division or Department but even profitability by Project. The costing in an Engineer to Order environment is typically average cost (although standard costing may be used if desired). The many cost elements that are tracked include labor, material, direct labor overhead, fringe overhead, material burden, machine overhead, subcontract material and outside operation. In addition, indirect charges (travel, indirect material, service and other costs),  at the project level , are also tracked. The estimates at these cost elements level are also established providing a more detailed ‘estimate to actual cost’ comparison. The backbone of the inventory tracking is supported by ‘user defined’ Inventory locations which include location id and location number by item and by project. These inventory locations can be identified as nettable or non nettable;  available for picking; consigned; and backflushed. Also inventory locations can be designated within the division or site or even the vendor’s facility and for lot and/or serial controlled items will include both the lot and serial identification of the items within that location.

Comprehensive item serial history is maintained. Not only is the serialized history of receiving, inventory, work in process and sales order fulfillment retained in the system, but how many times the serialized item is returned on an RMA, or reworked, or inspected or even if it is scrapped, is also tracked. The latest revision of a serial number is also maintained and if appropriate the condition code of the item serial can be designated and updated. If the item serial is replaced by another item serial out in the field, this is also maintained on an item serial history record.

The sales order management module of Rootstock not only supports the various functions of Sales Order Entry, Allocation, Pick- Pack- Ship, Invoice and RMA – but it is also seamlessly integrated with the  Salesforce CRM modules. Customers are  created within Salesforce as these are used for the CRM module when tracking leads and opportunities; and in so doing, this automatically creates the customer information required in Rootstock when the opportunity (with the Estimating information) is converted to a Rootstock sales order. A Salesforce Case, used by field service, can automatically create an RMA should the field service staff wish to return an item.  Also there is an ‘As Built’ versus ‘As Maintained’ on line view that is up to date with any field replacements. From the ‘As Maintained’ item tree one can see any field service Salesforce Case that may apply to a field replacement or RMA. Each sales order line is stamped with a unique project identifier which is helpful not only for planning purposes but also for project visibility when comparing project ‘recognized’  revenue to project costs. The sales order fulfillments can be accomplished from the main plant (or from an ‘off site’) – or in a centralized sales order organization from multiple plants (or divisions).

Material Requirements Planning (MRP)  has capabilities that may be beneficial for those Engineer to Order firms that manage their business by Contracts or Projects. For those common materials that are used for all projects, the capability exists to plan across projects using a ‘lot for lot’ or ‘days cover’ or even reorder point capability.

Purchase Orders can be created from requisitions that are either derived during the estimating function or are planned by MRP.  Selection of  Approved Vendors and Approved Manufacturers are part of the requisition approval and conversion to purchase order process. Full project traceability is maintained from requisition to ordering to receiving – and into inventory. Within a project environment, since each requisition is stamped with a project, their conversion to a purchase order line will cause the stamping of that project identifier on the purchase order line (and eventually on the purchase order receipt and inventory stock location record).   Purchase Orders are not limited to one project and a purchase order to a vendor can be for multiple projects and multiple items. For a project manager in an Engineer to Order environment, they can view the project work bench and have complete visibility of project costs, comparison of costs to estimates and project revenues. Purchase Order Management has extensive purchase order revision change control. Any revision to a purchase order can be printed so that if there is any question between vendor and buyer as to that which was agreed, the purchase order revision change control mechanism provides a complete audit trail. There is also comprehensive vendor and buyer collaboration and both the vendor’s commit or promise dates are recorded as well as the buyer’s requested receipt dates. Additionally, the recorded date on the PO line can be one of those promise or requested dates – or even a different date – so that complete communication about both the vendor’s promised date and the buyer’s requested date are always maintained. Purchasing can be performed at the plant (i.e. division) level – or for ‘big purchases can be performed within a ‘centrally controlled’ purchasing department. Multiple currencies are also supported and both the home currency and vendor’s currency are maintained on the purchase order and agreement. If parts are supplied to a vendor, this is supported by the Subcontract Purchase Order capability within Rootstock which also – when combined with the drop shipment capability – provides much needed visibility when managing purchases amongst multiple vendors for a given completed supplied item.

Full Lot and Serial traceability exists in purchasing receiving, inventory, work in process, shipment and field installation. Complete audit trails of more than one hundred data fields per record exist. A costed audit trail record is created for a purchase order receipt, all inventory material movements and adjustments, work order issue and work order receipts, subcontract purchase issues, labor and machine bookings, sales order fulfillments, RMA receipts and advanced shipments, site to site inventory transfers and division to division inventory transfers as well as any reversals of these functions. From these transactions one can drill to the general ledger – and from the general ledger one can drill  to the source transaction. No matter how stringent the audit may be, the audit trail of Rootstock provides ample visibility into the source and cost of any transaction.

For those organizations that have installed the discipline of maintaining routings, the Rootstock work order will have a copy of the standard – or altered – operation routing. The scheduling module of Rootstock will date these operation steps (which can be sequential or concurrent) and this is used as a the basis for the comprehensive ‘drag and drop’ scheduling when reviewing the work center’s capacity. Comprehensive priority rules enable production control to easily manage the changing demands of the various contract ship dates as these often impact the shop floor.

With the Rootstock Cloud ERP modules, all of the departments of an Engineer to Order company, can now have both complete visibility at a very granular level of all aspects of their operation and the infrastructure to more easily communicate and respond to events in a timely manner.