When implementing NAV in manufacturing companies, I’ve sometimes heard complaints that the type of manufacturing supported in NAV doesn’t fit the customer needs.
And sometimes that’s completely true. NAV supports discreet manufacturing, and it handles it pretty well. But the things do get bumpy when you venture into process manufacturing world.
Sometimes customers or even consultants don’t really understand why this happens. It’s simple: there is a big difference between process and discreet manufacturing, and to successfully implement NAV in these two fundamentally different environments you need to understand and appreciate these differences.
The biggest difference between these two distinct manufacturing universes is that results of discreet manufacturing can be easily reversed, while with process manufacturing there is no way to do it.
With discreet manufacturing you manufacture countable stuff that can (mostly) be disassembled into the parts it’s made of. A car, for example, is produced in pieces, and if you fancy, you can disassemble it and put it back on shelves as components that can be used to build another car tomorrow.
With process manufacturing you typically manufacture uncountable stuff that cannot possibly be disassembled back into components. You can’t unscramble scrambled eggs.
With discreet manufacturing we talk about bills of materials; in process manufacturing we have recipes. In discreet manufacturing we have operations that put the stuff together; in process manufacturing we have processes that change physical, chemical or mechanical properties of components.
I’ve worked on several projects in both discreet and process industries, and I’ll definitely dedicate one of my future posts to process manufacturing challenges with NAV implementations, and how to overcome them.