Project Manufacturers

Rootstock’s Cloud ERP software for Project Manufacturers, enables the Engineering, Sales, Operations, Procurement, Materials, Planning 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.

Within Production Engineering, the item and bill revisions, and routing revisions can be managed and the fully indented costed bills of materials with phased in and phased out date effectivities provide the costing visibility one requires to support a comprehensive engineering change control program. The  Rootstock Engineering Change Control capabilities, provides for easier integration to the industry standard PLM systems which may already be in use within the Design Engineering departments; and which also provide the document control and integration to the various 2D and 3D Cad software packages. In a multiple plant situation either a  centralized engineering function for all plants – or a decentralized control by plant – can be designated for the maintenance of change orders and bill of materials and item revisions. Since both Work Flows and Approvals functionality are features of the platform, the user can establish elaborate approval work flows for the management of the engineering changes, tailored to their specific requirements.

Item number definition, while originating within engineering, requires controlled participation of the entire organization. An item grouping capability, using commodity codes, 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. An important criteria in a project control environment, is the item designation concerning the tracking and planning for specific project control versus ‘company planned’ inventory. An item can be purchased, manufactured or stocked by a specific project or ‘across projects’ (i.e. ‘company planned for global use’ ). Rootstock designates this ‘company planned and controlled inventory’ as home project planned (i.e. across projects). Those items that are bought, stocked or manufactured for a specific project are classified as ‘project specific’ (versus ‘home project’). This setting is done at an item number basis as well as using the standard commodity code default mechanism. This designation of home project versus specific project allows the project manufacturing company to control those selected items on a ‘project specific basis’, yet allows for planning and cost at a divisional basis for those parts that are designated as ‘common’ (i.e. home) inventory. Purchasing settings include vendor lead times while Costing defaults include a number of manufacturing sub ledger account settings.

Project definition, accomplished at the beginning of the life cycle of a contract or project, can be done at the estimating or quote phase to a prospect, at the budget phase, or at sales order entry. It is expected that one of the activities at project creation is the establishment of the budget (or for engineer to order companies – the estimate). While many companies will use the default manufacturing sub ledger cost accounts that are set up on the division and commodity code and item masters, there is a capability to denote some of these cost accounts at a project level should one want to track the dollars in inventory or in WIP by project.

The planning, costing, and inventory tracking can be accomplished at an ‘item-project/contract’ basis so that visibility of projects can be maintained. If average cost is enabled, then the ‘moving weighted average’ cost is maintained at an item-project basis. If standard cost is enabled, then all the standard cost of a given item is the same – regardless of project. When the Project’s Budget at Completion (BAC) is set, the Actual Cost of Work Performed (ACWP) is updated ‘on line-real time’ so that comparisons of the actual to  the estimate or budget 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 program manager in a Project Manufacturing 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. Other information that is provided in the project work bench includes: the Budget, Actual Costs to Date, and the Variance. On the project work bench there are tabs which, when clicked, provide inventory information, requisitions, purchase orders, work orders, sales orders, forecasts, material movement transactions and labor transactions – all for a given project. There are links to the Project’s Budget Detail so that one can view the project budgets and actual by cost element as well as other direct charges.

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’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 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 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; backflushed and kanban enabled. 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. The project’s material cost  is charged when a purchase order is received for those ‘project specific’ items. Likewise the labor cost is charged for those labor bookings for project specific work orders. For those items that are designated as ‘home project’, the project costs are charged upon the issuance of component material from ‘home project’ inventory to project specific work orders.

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. 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. 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 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. 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 are beneficial for those Project Manufacturing firms that manage their business by Contracts or Projects. MRP, which can be run for a given project, will use the high level project demands of a sales order line (or forecast) to drive the planning by project and stamp planned work orders, subcontract requisitions, and purchase requisitions with that project number. Non-project specific items (i.e. those designated as ‘home project’ parts) will use standard MRP planning rules across projects, thereby gaining efficiencies of scale when planned by MRP.

Purchase Orders can be created from requisitions that 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 program manager in a Project Manufacturing environment, they can view the project work bench and have complete visibility of project costs and project revenues. Additionally, they can also see what project obligations are already committed by approved purchase orders and ‘pending obligations’ represented by requisitions and ‘not as yet approved’ purchase orders. 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, including the project identifier, 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.  These transactions can also be seen by project from the project work bench. 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. One can view the work orders by project so that the project manager can see how capacity constraints could impact the project.

With the Rootstock Cloud ERP modules, all of the departments of a Project Manufacturing 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.