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System Guide

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Merlin MRP Factory 8 draws upon all of our experience in developing Merlin MRP Pro and Merlin MRP 2000.  The result is an ever more sophisticated and advanced system.  And you can download it, and start using it free of charge today  The Single User Licence is free of charge!

New advanced feature include:-

User logon, with access rights determined by the administrator, from look-up only to full administration privileges.

User tracking, enabling administrators to see which critical actions were carried out by which user.

Shop floor track checked for availability when Sales Orders are entered, and again when production is Authorised.

Fast. button-click entry of process start and finish dates for progress and production items.

Super fast navigation of records for data update, goods-in, BoM editing, etc., which means, for example, that goods-in can be achieved with a few button clicks, enabling long lists to be process very quickly, and likewise that BoMs can be built very, very fast.

Program Update Adviser to check for new releases of the software from within Merlin MRP Factory 8.

JiT or Stock Control?

It has been said that the aim of the modern efficient plant is to have zero stock, and zero work in progress.  This has given rise to various "Just-in-Time" (JiT) stock control systems, but the problem with many of these is that they cannot react to demand until it is too late.

The object of Merlin MRP Factory 8 is to save you huge amounts of time, and to react to incoming demand in such a way as to enable you to operate a JiT system (if you so wish) based upon your incoming sales orders.

In any event, its ability to react to what is needed and when it's needed will certainly enable you to drive stock levels downwards, freeing capital for other purposes.

But the choice is yours.  You can work on a stock controlled basis with the aim of always having the materials you require on the shelf, ready for when needed.  Minimum stock options, minimum purchase quantities, maximum stock levels, etc., enable you to rigorously control what stockholding you maintain.

This is highly desirably if you are repeatedly producing the same finished items, but the reality is that you will almost certainly wish to mix an match between the two systems, maintaining stock of inexpensive and frequently used items, where finding yourself short is not an option, whilst using the MRP system for expensive and infrequently used items.

The object is to optimise (minimise) the amount of capital you have tied up in inventory, without compromising your ability to produce and to deliver on time.

The MRP Engine

The thing that makes this possible, at the very heart of the system, is Merlin's exceedingly fast and powerful MRP engine.  This can be invoked at any one of three levels:-

All Unprocessed Production Jobs, a Jobs Series (linked jobs), or a single job.

It starts by scanning the top level job(s), drilling down an infinite number of levels to establish the complete subassembly requirements.  When this scan is complete, Merlin calculates the shortages against free stock and Works Orders to establish an overall shortage and requirement schedule.

A number of reports are available which detail these requirements by job and by part number.

Merlin will then offer to generate Works Orders and to auto-create subassembly jobs to make good these shortages.  (No need ever to manually create jobs for subassemblies, unless building for stock.)

Now all of these jobs are analysed for materials shortages, and again, various analysis reports are available.

Merlin will then (upon your say so) generate purchase orders for all of these materials, create delivery schedules where appropriate (one delivery per month per supplier, on the earliest date that any material is required from them that month), and allocate these materials to the jobs which have called for them.

At single job level, the MRP engine can optionally generate all of this for the full kit, rather than just for shortages.

The Interface

All of this would be as naught if the system were complicated or difficult to use.  In fact, it is all contained in an attractive, easy-to-use user-friendly interface that requires neither engineering nor computer skills to use.  All of the functionality described above is accomplished by clicking a few buttons!  The new Home Screen in
Merlin MRP Factory 8 guides you step-by-step through the process of starting and completing your jobs - about as easy as learning gets.

To do something in Merlin, all that you need is to know what it is you are trying to do.  However, the simplicity of the interface belies the tremendous power that sits within.

The program is managed from the Home Screen which gives access to the areas of operation, each of which is a productivity centre.  Let's take a whistle-stop tour...

Resources

 

In order to function, Merlin needs a basic data set, which comprises Resources (materials, assemblies, etc.), Business Contacts, and Assembly Definitions with associates Bills of Materials (BoMs).

The first of these, Resources, comprises a set of record cards for materials, assemblies (top-level and subassemblies) and production processes or stages.  The stock file includes physical and non-physical resources, and handles them appropriately.

The Resource Record Cards show an astonishing amount of data about these items including History, Movements, BoMs which contain the item, running jobs which use the item, and Work in Progress (WiP) to build the item if it is an assembly.

Warehouse Management allows you to maintain and move stock items in and between multiple physical locations without ever compromising the system generated stock figures.

Stock Categories and Hazards Management allows you to apply a Category and Hazard or Special Consideration flags to all Resource Record Cards.

Business Contacts

 

The Business Contacts Record Cards contain your supplier and customer records, and also show a large amount of information about each of these including a list of the materials which can be purchased from the supplier (and whether or not this supplier is the default or preferred supplier for each item), outstanding Purchase Orders, or, in the case of customers, outstanding Sales Orders.

Design

 

The Design Office is, of course, where you define your assemblies and subassemblies, build the BoMs, cost the BoMs, and indeed import BoMs from your CAD package or Excel spreadsheets.

Job Tracking

 

Job Tracking does what it says, and provides you with numerous tools for tracking jobs, costing them, and of course, closing them when the production run is complete (or sign-off part of a run into stock with a balance still in production.)

Job Tracker incorporates the wonderful WiP Schedule which instantly shows you which jobs are scheduled to be in production and their current status, which jobs actually are in production with their current status, and Shop Floor Process progress for each job.

Her also you have the Despatch Office for issuing and invoicing final assemblies or spare parts.

Shop Floor Control

 

Shop Floor Controller is where all the detailed work is done.  It is here that you can manually step each job through its various shop floor procedures, or invoke the MRP Engine at job level.

It is here that you keep track of missing parts (Waiting Items) which are frustrating production, or make special issue of materials additional to those provided by the BoM.

Buying

 

 

The Buying Office is another busy place!  Here you can view your Purchase Orders, report late items, purchasing cash-flow, and run the conventional stock control processes for items out of which you never want to run.

Here you receive Goods In, Reject unsatisfactory items, set up manual Delivery Schedules if you have reason to do so (Merlin normally does this tedious task for you in the MRP Process), run the Shopping List program for ad hoc purchasing, and so on.

And above all, here you invoke the mighty MRP engine to run in its most powerful modes!

Administration

 

 

This is where you enter your Sales Orders (Merlin warns of Mission Impossible situations), Authorise them (which activates them as Production Jobs), and undertake a number of other administration task, including User Management and control, check for program updates, etc.

This is where you enter your Sales Orders (Merlin warns of Mission Impossible situations), Authorise them (which activates them as Production Jobs), and undertake a number of other management tasks.

This also is where you enter you company details on start-up, and select your regional settings for date style, currency, and report formatting (A4 or American Letter size).

This also is where you enter you company details on start-up, and select your regional settings for date style, currency, and report formatting (A4 or American Letter size).

And a few more points...

 

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Well, actually we are nowhere near the end of the story.  In order to keep this guide down to readable proportions, it has been necessary to skim past huge amounts of Merlin's capabilities.  If you are still with us at this point, thank you!

But best of all, why not download the software itself and take advantage of the FREE Educational & Learning User licence?