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Solving the Work-in-Progress "Black-Hole" Problem
in Manufacturing ERP Deployments

WIP Black Hole

This White Paper is for the operations managers in the 60,000 or so mid-sized manufacturing plants in the USA that specialize in short-run, quick-turn, semi-custom product manufacturing.

From a conversation with one of those managers: "But my ERP sales person said that our ERP system would do work-in-process tracking." To which I replied "Then why are you still using paper forms and Excel spreadsheets to track your manufacturing operations and then handing paper forms to your front-office to manually enter into your ERP system?"

Many manufacturing ERP systems do a great job of managing the organizations finances but do a poor job of tracking manufacturing operations in real-time. As a result, there is typically a "Black Hole" of information as to the real-time status of all the customer orders flowing through many work-centers in the manufacturing plant at any one time.

This, not infrequently leads to customer orders being shipped late or unnecessary overtime or expedited shipping fees being expended to ensure that customer orders get delivered on time. It also requires endless and time-wasting "coordination"meetings between managers and supervisors to try to avoid these problems.

 Even worse is the impact on customers and customer support people. Without real-time customer order status information, the best that a customer support person can tell a customer, when they call in inquiring about the status of their order, is something like "I will send someone down to the floor to look for your order and then call you back." This wastes an enormous amount of everyone's time and destroys customer confidence by implying you have lost their order.

To learn more about these issues and how to solve them, please read "Solving the Work-in-Progress "Black-Hole" Problem in Manufacturing ERP Deployments ".


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