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FLEXO Magazine : February 2008
defines which components make u only one-half of the manufacturin processes required to produce the fined. In ERP systems, this is typic routing. The production routing d setup and run times of each opera mation on the bill of material with the routing information, it is possible to compute the cost of producing the final product. The original MRP function is still a key component of ERP systems. It is MRP that works out the required quantity of each component to support the forecast production of the finished product. It can also work out when these components are re- quired. However in the rapidly changing demands of a jobbing environment, which is common practice for most packaging companies, those ERP concepts do not always translate to a lean oriented workflow---due to the multitude of changing produc- tion routes available to the scheduler. Finding an ERP system to support Lean principles requires finding one that closely fits the specific needs of packaging and printing organizations, so that the most efficient work processes can be leveraged in the system, without having to heavily customize something built primarily for a repetitive manufacturing environment. DEFINING LEAN Lean is defined as a process to improve manufacturing and service operations, reduce waste, improve quality and drive down without it. According to a Gartner Inc. white paper entitled, ERP Applications Help Achieve Lean Manufacturing, there are five areas in which IT can be leveraged as a crucial enabler to a successful Lean Manufacturing operation: Product Data Management -- the ability to leverage the use of product data. Forecasting -- the ability to forecast in a highly unpredictable environment. Line Design -- using the estimated demand to design pro- duction lines. Line Scheduling -- scheduling of the demand on the lines. Flow Visualization -- visualization of the flow of the product through the manufacturing cycle. PRODUCT DATA MANAGEMENT ERP systems enable users to maintain the integrity of mas- ter data. Some applications incorporate the use of raw material and finished goods, both of which are integral to the use of the system and in managing data. As a sales order is booked, the pro- TECHNOLOGIES & TECHNIQUES