WHAT IS MRP?

MRP stands for Material Requirements Planning.

It is essentially a system for the planning and control of your factories’ inventory, production, and scheduling.

MRP systems are thus useful to production managers as they aid them in scheduling and placing orders for items of dependent demand; enabling efficient procurement of raw materials and component parts.

MRP systems in the past were housed in large mainframe computers which commanded high maintenance and running costs during those times; the 1950s and 60s.

Today, MRP systems are contained largely within software, namely Enterprise Resource Planning tools such as Odoo. Indeed, Odoo MRP is a basic plugin that is free to use and easy to get around to.

BENEFITS OF MATERIAL REQUIREMENTS PLANNING

As it is the aim of MRP systems to bring order to the apparent mess of manufacturing organization, they can reduce the stored inventory, component shortages and the overall cost of manufacturing and operations.

MRP systems have proven themselves to be highly invaluable to factories producing complex goods such as automobiles, electronics, and military appliances.

Involved in the production of such goods are a variety of raw materials, production routines, procedures, and much more that MRP systems can streamline and organize into an easily readable form.

This efficient scheduling improves factory productivity and output by decreasing the necessary lead time and overall leads to your company being more competitive in the marketplace.

MRP IMPLEMENTATION

Successful implementation of an MRP system means total familiarization with your factory’s internals and the personnel as well.

While it may not be necessary for all your personnel to learn how to make use of an MRP system, key personnel such as engineers, administrators, planners, and management will need to understand how it works. The basis consists of an understanding and knowledge of basic computer operation.

The free trial option offered by many ERP systems including Odoo can be taken advantage of to familiarize yourself and your staff with the mechanics and nuances of the software.

Your staff members have to be comfortable with using the software first before attempting to make further headway into training; acceptance of the new system is key.

Identify the impacts of the changes to the organization of your business once the MRP system is integrated in. Consider each and every possibility and how they would affect the performance of specific staff members.

Employees should be well-informed and notified of the upcoming changes and their roles in it in detail. They absolutely need to understand how the new system’s impacts will compare to the status quo.

Also important is the assurance that your executive and management teams are on board with your decisions.

It is vital that management understands the time commitments necessary to make MRP transitioning successful, allowing strategic decisions to be made in a timely matter such as this.

TRAINING PROCESSES

You have the option of running a number of different schemes and routines to expedite the training process.

ILT (Instructor-led training) is a workhorse method of personnel training among many businesses. ILT introduces a change of pace in daily working routines, allowing them to focus solely on enhancing their skills.

Trainees have been shown to be more comfortable asking questions, making for a thoroughly interactive learning process. However, the success of ILT depends on the type of organization your factory falls under.

Multiple separate process with their own specialized staff and timetables mean that it may be tough to find the appropriate time to get all employees under the roof without losing productivity. Thus, it is important that you consider ILT service criteria very well.

Self-learning has also turned out to be quite a popular method of learning among factory employees getting around to understanding how MRP systems work.

This method involves your staff navigating through the system by themselves with the aid of manuals provided by the software vendors. The prime advantages of this training method are time-saving and cost-effectiveness, given that the manuals explain the software in-depth and in a form that is simple and easy to understand.

Obviously, this method can be equally ineffective if your staff members have very little experience with automated business software and fail to follow the manual properly. Your work of gauging their training progress also becomes a challenging task.

The third option is job-based training. Staff members are divided into groups based on their job roles (accounts, logistics, production) and are given specialized training depending on the tasks they are to perform.

Each of these groups are primarily trained on concepts, modules and mechanics relevant to their work. This method can thus stand to be the most effective in training all your staff members but at the same time, it can be expensive.

Many companies utilize aspects from all three types of training and combine it with e-training in a form of ‘blended’ training to mitigate the shortcomings of the other.

Pulling this off will require considerable organizational gymnastics however, and the aim of smoothing the transition to an MRP system should always be kept in mind.

CONCLUSION

MRP system implementation has undoubtedly become a priority target for manufacturers to reach, as they are in full understanding of the benefits.

81% of businesses that have successfully implemented MRPs have seen measurable business benefits. However, it is also important to understand that deployment projects can fail and a good number of them really do.

This article is intended as a guide to successful MRP implementation through each and every aspect. Change may be scary but if you pull this off, you will surely not regret it.

Syncoria is a digital transformation solution provider based in Canada, and an official Odoo Ready partner.

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