A recent study by the Aberdeen Group found that companies who have adopted Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central as their ERP system achieve at least 25% greater operational efficiency than those who have not. While this may be an attractive proposition for many businesses, some may wonder what role specific assembly and manufacturing modules play in the overall system, and if their company needs a full ERP manufacturing solution.
The good news is, the nature of Business Central‘s scalability gives you an excellent option for meeting limited manufacturing requirements with the Assembly module, while still leaving the door open for implementing full manufacturing later. In this blog post, we will compare and contrast the functionality of the Assembly vs. Manufacturing modules for Dynamics 365 Business Central production and scheduling to give you a better understanding of how both modules can benefit your organization and which of them fit best to meet your current needs.
Business Central Manufacturing In a Nutshell: All The Pieces You Need
The Manufacturing module in Business Central is intended for “build to stock” or “build to order” and includes all of the primary pieces you would expect in a manufacturing system – production BOM (Bill of Materials), production orders, MRP (Material Requirements Planning), shop floor routings, and capacity planning. What it doesn’t have is a “drag and drop scheduler” or a configurator, but both features can be met through available third-party products. Your trusted Business Central implementation and support partner should be familiar with add-ons for manufacturing, and have a network of partners they can work with to add features or functionality to meet your needs if they aren’t available in out-of-the-box Business Central, including prominent manufacturing extensions like Lanham.
Business Central Assembly In a Nutshell: Affords Better Configuration
The Assembly module also works for “build to stock” or “build to order” but actually works better if the product needs to be configured for a specific requirement. Users in the Sales Order module can bring up the assembly BOM for a SKU and change the requirements on the fly. The result is a custom-configured assembly order while preserving the original assembly BOM for the next order.
In contrast, users of the Manufacturing module either need to configure a custom production BOM or modify the production order, or sign up for one of the third-party configuration tools. While the ability to custom configure an assembly order through the Sales Order module is pretty cool, the manufacturing configuration add-ons offer rules-based options to control the combination of components. Keep in mind as well that the configurator add-on’s can run at a higher cost and can be a lot of work to implement, which often rules them out for smaller manufacturing needs. However, as with any software evaluation, it’s important to consider your potential return to the level of your investment. If the advanced configuration of Business Central Manufacturing with a third-party tool has the ability to add 10, 15, or even 25 percent more efficiency, what does that mean for your bottom line and growth ability over the next 5 years?
Business Central Manufacturing Offers More Options for Inventory Handling
The consumption of parts and labor in manufacturing, recording of scrap and output, and subcontractors are important components. There are many options in Business Central Manufacturing for flushing parts to the production order including forward or backward flushing and by shop floor workstations. Labor can be consumed through a consumption journal. Output can be recorded through the output journal. Third-party outsourced activities can be managed through a subcontractor worksheet. Most of this can be automated but can be a lot of work to set up correctly.
Business Central Assembly Is More Flexible Out-Of-The-Box
By choosing an inventory SKU with an attached assembly BOM and specifying a quantity and quantity to assemble, the assembly order is automatically created within the sales order and can send directly to the assembly department, regardless of whether it is a standard or configured assembly BOM. The assembly BOM can include components, subassemblies, or other charges such as labor. Text notes can be added to an assembly order as default notes or by the sales order user. Partial quantities can be assembled at one time with the rest deferred to a later time.
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Manufacturing or Assembly for My Dynamics 365 Business Central Production and Scheduling Needs?
Choose Manufacturing if you:
- Need tight control over the shop floor including workstation capacities and scheduling resources
- Don’t need to configure your items during the sales process or have the budget for an expensive rules-based configurator, if you do need custom configurations
- Have complex MRP requirements with the ability to manage the timing of inventory purchases or manufacture of sub-components.
- Need to manage scrap.
- Assembly routings are important.
Choose Assembly if you:
- Want your sales people to easily configure items and related assembly orders on the fly without regard to formal business rules, i.e. all components have to utilize a four inch pipe.
- Don’t care about shop floor management or capacity, or are willing to manage them manually from reports or a third party drag and drop scheduler.
- Order items solely on committed demand, min/max’s, and inventory forecasts without any consideration of lead time.
- Want something simple and fast to implement. Assembly can be used in conjunction with Manufacturing in the future.
- Have a limited implementation budget.
Both Manufacturing and Assembly are good options but fit into specific niches. Manufacturing has a few third party add-on products that can substantially improve certain functions in the product, but Assembly is easily modifiable, if necessary, for many situations.