Formula-Based Manufacturing Software: Get the Right Tools for the Job

If your business is a formula-based manufacturer, you have unique challenges in the marketplace. Vicinity Software designed a system, VicenityChem, to provide the tools to meet the complex needs of formula-based manufacturers.

What is on your wish list of must-have R&D tools? What makes your formula-based manufacturing business run more efficiently, stimulate growth, and increase profitability? There is a good chance that these tools are already there and ready to help.

Here are 5 tools you might like:

1. Advanced Notepad Lab

Most research and development (R&D) departments have some form of lab notebook. We’re talking about something more complicated than a yellow legal board. You may have worked with Excel or have a custom Access database. Perhaps there is a database compiled by an employee who no longer exists and who took his memories with him. What you need is a lab notebook containing all of your company’s project work – searchable and archived for easy access. You’ll want the option to add user fields without programming. And you’ll want to make all the information available to your team members. You’ll save time and pressure when your employees can collaborate quickly and easily.

Depict a process in which marketing sends an electronic requirement request to research and development. Research and development evaluates similar project outcomes, compiles a list of possible formulas, and narrows them down to the most likely examples. They create a batch ticket form, and submit samples for evaluation. Everything is tracked and measured as a routine KPI. Is this a tool you can use? This tool is out there today, and you can get it for your formula-based manufacturing business.

2. View past, present and future material prices

It is not very difficult to determine the costs of current materials. And you can just go back to your ERP system to see what you paid for in the past. These numbers are valuable, but perhaps most important is to look ahead and accurately predict future costs. This is not easy, but it is necessary if you want to incorporate expected changes in the cost of materials into the formulation of research and development.

If you spend your day researching current costs, you are almost ten years behind. When you can compare your running installation costs at three months, six months, and twelve months, that’s even better. However, a truly valuable tool will help you forecast future material costs and determine which current production combinations are most affected by these changes. This tool is also available.

3. Research historical formulas

It may surprise you how often companies craft duplicate requirements. Or maybe you did it yourself. Once you centralize your formulas from Excel to a searchable database, you need a tool to query the database without contacting staff with programming skills. Some of the research parameters are the presence of specific raw materials, quality specifications, material and labor costs, suppliers of raw materials, physical properties of materials such as allergens or hazards. Your search engine should also rank formulas according to whether your company currently produces these products and the returns they achieved during production. Imagine having a tool that provides all that data. There are affordable, integrated tools that can help deliver this vision to your organization today.

4. Production to R&D feedback loop

The feedback loop is a simple tool, but it is rarely implemented routinely. Marketing operations must include reviews of new formulations immediately after the first batch. The data should be collected again once the formulas have been running for a period of time. Regular, focused meetings between production, quality control, and research and development can change the course of your company.

Your team should discuss returns, what works and what doesn’t, and ways they can improve the process. Then consider quality additives. Should you change the process or formula to eliminate or reduce the need for a second pass through quality? Every time a run goes through quality control a second time, it costs your company money. Are there alternative components or processes that could make the process more efficient? Every bit of the time and material savings will affect your bottom line. Use the tools available to gather valuable feedback.

5. Sample tracking and conversion rates

How much time and effort does your company spend from sales through marketing to research and development and shipping to process just one new formulation sample? It is expensive! Do you have systems to track the conversion of each sample into a sale? How many of your samples turn into sales? Which buyers have the highest (and lowest) conversion rates? How much will it cost to create a new formula for your company, and how long will that formula be sold? These are valid questions, and there are tools available today to provide answers. You can track your samples in Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Can be stand alone and hosted; Setup takes minutes and can provide valuable knowledge.

Complex formulas? We have solutions

Would you like to learn more about these and other R&D tools for your formula-based manufacturing business? Integrated with Microsoft Dynamics, VicinityChem provides formula-based manufacturers the comprehensive ERP system they need. Contact our team At Vicenity Software today.

by Vicinity Software, Neighboring Software

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