The challenges facing the semi-process chemical manufacturing industry
Highlighting a positive outlook for the 2015 year and onwards, the majority of companies in Britain’s £50 billion pharmaceutical and chemical industries forecast a rise in sales and exports in the next 12 months. With almost 60% of companies expecting sales and export growth, while almost 50% of businesses have predicted an increase capital expenditure and growth in employment numbers.
Although this looks to be a positive picture the challenges facing the chemical manufacturing industry are vast, with escalating complexity in all areas of the business, including development, purchasing, manufacturing, distribution, and sales. Customer demands for faster deliveries and lower costs, together with increasingly stringent government regulations in regards to quality control and traceability create many challenges for chemical manufacturers. In addition to the demand for innovative product formulas and recipes, clear and concise packaging variations whilst still managing growth and productivity. With many chemical companies pursuing the global market whilst concern mounts over energy & raw material prices. This blog will look to highlight just some of the challenges facing the chemical manufacturing industry:
Formula Management & Documentation
Formula development and management is a constant concern for chemical manufacturers, multifaceted product formulas and recipes must be amended regularly to reflect differences in material supply, packaging, manufacturing developments, the supply of raw materials, and product innovation, and all of these changed must be documented.
As the industry has grown it is increasing important to move beyond manual records to integrate development directly with batch and formula management, inventory control, suppliers, and production planning. When manufacturing formulas need to be automatically adjusted based on the raw material characteristics to ensure consistent quality from one lot to the next, with yields tracked by standards identified in the formula. In addition, there is a need to plan production, replenish inventory, and simplify quality assurance so as to track product-specific materials characteristics such as catch weight, shelf life, potency, lots, classifications, and units of measure.
By capturing more complete information early in the product life cycle and integrating it into the order management and financial information systems, manufacturers can improve accuracy and gain further insight to make timely decisions.
Quality control, tracing production and managing compliance
Manufacturer’s must look to streamline Quality Assurance Control (QAC) processes for monitoring, analysis, quarantine, and product downgrading, whilst supporting effective recall procedures and providing compliance and technical documentation. With increasingly complex regulatory and customer mandates, chemical manufacturers need to be able to manage and trace raw materials, integrate information, and monitor lots and production.
Accurate full traceability throughout the whole manufacturing process is key to support fast, proactive, and informed responses to quality variations or unforeseen conditions.
Improving manufacturing efficiency and refining departmental communication
Manual processes between production, laboratory, customer, order entry, procurement, and financial systems can slow product development and production cycles. Manufacturers need to be able to schedule production, define routings, and plan for co-products or by-products and improve collaboration between internal research, production, sales teams, and external associates. Whilst Operational Managers need to control inventory with real-time insight into production schedules, capacity, shop floor activities, and production costs.
Outside of production, manufacturers must be able to extend key information to customers and suppliers, automate business and production processes, speed-up transactions, and gain insight for operational improvements, whilst delivering a single, real-time view of data from multiple facilities and departments. From laboratory technicians to the marketing team, people across your organisation need access to different types of product, process, production, and customer information.
Providing centralised access to reliable and up-to-date information can help increase efficiency, enhance customer service, streamline compliance tracking and reporting, and reduce errors resulting from incomplete or outdated information.
An ERP system such as Prodware for semi-process manufacturing powered by Microsoft Dynamics NAV will allow companies to optimise the whole manufacturing process and streamline department functionality to allow for real-time analysis, accurate quality management, multi-level analysis, traceability of components and be in-keeping with government legislation. Capitalise on new opportunities as they arise by modelling production capabilities and providing accurate capacity planning and associated production costing. Prodware offers the essential solution tailored to the chemical semi-process industry. Benefit from the experience and expertise of an ERP leader, find out more here.