Integral Logistics Management — Operations Management and Supply Chain Management Within and Across Companies

9.2.2 Software for Customer Order Production or the Variant-Oriented Concept

Intended learning outcomes: Describe typical software modules for customer order or variant-specific production. Identify specific software packages.

Software for customer order production and the variant-oriented concept, that is, for products according to (changing) customer specification or for product families with many variants, has been specially designed for and developed in conjunction with make-to-order producers. Often, bills of material are customer-specific or order-specific. Such companies need the variant-oriented concept for single-item production or nonrepetitive or “one-of-a-kind” production. The different techniques identified in Chapter 7 all place different requirements on the software and, in the most extreme situation, could even lead to different subtypes of ERP software for the variant-oriented concept. Equally, a package may only be suitable for one of the techniques within the variant-oriented concept.

Software for customer order production or the variant-oriented concept was mainly developed in Europe, particularly for small- and medium-sized companies (SME). This software includes PSIpenta from PSI, ProConcept from ProConcept SA, and, in the past, MAS90 from IBM, IPPS from NCR, and many niche products. Packages that are particularly suitable for product families with a wide range of variants include Infor LN (in the past Baan) as well as Expert/400 (which was developed by the author). There are also a number of industry-specific products, e.g., for window and furniture production. For bid processing of engineer-to-order products, the Leegoo Builder Software of EAS GmbH is well known.

Figure shows, by way of example, the PSIpenta software module for product families with a wide range of variants. It also provides an overview of the level of detail below that illustrated in Figure

Fig.         Typical software for customer order or variant-specific production: the PSIpenta modules.

Some of the modules, such as “Customer order archive,” “Create order package,” and “Network planning module,” suggest that the software is particularly suitable for customer order production. Within the order structure, the product that is ordered or offered may be greatly modified for a particular customer. One particular characteristic is the processing of “exotic” items that are only needed for a specific order and for which it can be said with certainty that there will be no order repetition. In this case, there is no need to store master data for the item or to allocate an item ID.

Course section 9.1: Subsections and their intended learning outcomes