Interns at House of Thousand Designers work on developing a Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) System.
Can you imagine pushing a super market trolley with the controls of an airplane? That’s how we felt attempting to implement an existing Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software in a small scale boutique furniture factory as FEYDOM.
So, last week, computer science student interns at the House of Thousand Designers received a challenge. The challenge requires digitalizing the material supply chain for FEYDOM by the end of March this year. The digitalization has to take the shape of an ERP system that will help us manage the information between all the sectors of the company and organize the production system.
Learning about an ERP system was the first task, but minutes later many other questions came rolling in, such as: What does it really take to create an efficient production line? (the other two question marks were removed for the sake of sanity)
We place a high value on the creativity, and therefore design, as a basis of the product development process, resulting in allocation of a large amount of resources of the company in this segment. Such an organization style is specific to FEYDOM and HO1000D. This meant we had to create our own custom design ERP system to fit our requirements.
We began from the place where no one wants to start but everyone always goes back to: Step 1. We started with a name FILDS (Feydom Integrated Linked Data System), and a logo.
The next step was making the big picture into a table that will become the home page of the software, clarifying all the individual sectors and activities.
If you’ve ever played a video game in your life you’ll probably be quite familiar with the term inventory. It’s where you keep all the stuff you may one day need until you find something you need more. Suddenly, the inventory is too full and you realize maybe you didn’t need all that stuff.
In the same way, there is an inventory of materials and components used to build all of the FEYDOM products. Though, in this case, we had to go through the warehouse filled with hundreds of different materials to find what we need. This made things a little more complicated than a video game.
Since we didn’t know exactly which materials are used and their amounts, we worked our way from one work sector to another and gathered all the necessary components to answer our question.
DESIGNING THE MRP SYSTEM
To begin creating the ERP system, we first started with the Material Requirements Planning (MRP) system, focusing on the organization of the material supply chain, to later continue on to the production line.
To create a working MRP system, we had to accumulate enough information to fill a table with the components names, supplier codes, packaging type, price, and form of delivery. Our search through the warehouse from the helped us recognize the items in the production system and connected us to the the rest of the information that we needed. The information we gathered will serve as the initial database for the software used to keep track of the cycle of materials in the company.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
Using the MRP system will benefit the company in many ways, including:
- Developing a more efficient manufacturing system
The ERP software will make the manufacturing system more efficient through digital management. The goal is to make problems occurring in sourcing, procurement, and manufacturing quickly recognizable and more easily solved.
- Quicker alternative material implementation
An important part of the system at House of Thousand Designers is the constant need for change. The change, of course, in terms of improvement. The most active problem is a need for the whole production system of FEYDOM to become sustainable. Digitalized inventory organization will make comparison and analysis of alternative materials in terms of the existing production system much easier. This will lead to simpler and quicker implementation of better materials.
- Reduction of waste
Together with quicker alternative material implementation the MRP system will let us find the best resources and optimize their use. Better organization of the sourcing, procurement, and manufacturing systems will result in much less waste materials.
- Quicker adaptation of new people to the system
With a working software management of the inventory, scheduling delivery dates and amounts will become less about memorization and more about use of the information in the system, making the procurement workplace easier to adapt to and open to a wider range of people.