6 Key Business Central Job Shop Features for Manufacturing

By Rob Jolliffe | August 5, 2021
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Business Central Job Shop Projects Differ Greatly from Production Manufacturing

A lot of content about manufacturing for Business Central is focused on the production manufacturing system.

Job Shops tend to be smaller, and the past pricing for Dynamics NAV was out of reach of these small owner/operator businesses. Business Central job shop opportunities are opening up however, and at Sabre we are finding more and more of this common small manufacturer are looking at Microsoft Dynamics seriously.

The approach to implement Business Central job shop manufacturing is a different than for production. At Sabre we happen to be good at this industry - and although they sometimes overlap, the tools needed can be quite different.

business central for job shop manufacturing - example shop

What Kind of Job Shop Are You?

I classify Business Central Job Shop projects into 3 categories depending on the direction the business has taken.

A Pure Job Shop

A pure job shop is a company that has very few recurring jobs, does a little bit of design and engineering for some customers, but none for others. They are most interested in measuring the time and costs involved in their jobs. The Pure Job Shop is the most common type of Job Shop.

A Repetitive Job Shop

A repetitive job shop is moving towards being a Make to Order manufacturer. They have a number of recurring jobs for the same part or service that has grown to be a pretty big part of their business. These might not be multi-year orders and probably not every job, but the "repeat job" has become common. It might be that only 10% of their jobs are repetitive, or that 90% are.

A Design Job Shop

If you are a job shop that customers come to with an idea, and you help them design then build things - you are moving towards becoming an ETO. What distinguishes this type of Job Shop from an ETO is that you have tool and die makers on staff, and your own production equipment. You do complicated designs and builds but not to the level an ETO would do. A "Tool and Die" shop is probably like this.

Things that are not that important to a Job Shop running Business Central

Before we get into the important features of Business Central job shop manufacturing, let's look at some features that are generally not used in this industry. If you are looking at these "unimportant" features and disagree, then that probably means the business is not a Job Shop.

  • Warehouse Management
    Most Job Shop manufacturing don't keep a stock of inventory. They order what they need for each job, and at most keep very common materials (structural steel, wiring, connectors) in relatively small quantities. They don't have a 20,000 sq foot storage area that needs to be managed.
  • MRP and MPS
    MRP (Material Resource Planning) and MPS (Master Production Scheduling) really only work when sales are clearly forecasted into the future or safety stocks and reorder points can be well defined. If A Job Shop has a forecast of sales or maintains safety stocks of components and items - they're not a Job Shop. They are Make to Order or Make to Stock production.
  • Assembly Management
    This is a very simple to use and light weight version of the Production Management modules, but I would not recommend it for a Business Central Job Shop implementation. It is not good at collecting and analyzing job costs. Most Job Shops need good cost analysis and collection capabilities - so we think Assembly Management serves only a very limited use in Job Shops (maybe for super small repetitive shops).

Important Features | Business Central for Job Shops

These features are not in any particular order:

Production Management - Repetitive Job Shops

As mentioned above, those Job Shops that make the same product in small batches irregularly are Repetitive Job Shops. They do have enough repetitive work that they need production software. The premium version of Business Central adds classic manufacturing capabilities for production. This is the same as you would find in most typical manufacturing ERP systems. Production management features and capabilities are as follows:

  • Bills of Material and Routings
  • Finite Scheduling & Capacity Planning
  • Make to Stock or Make to Order based planning
  • Machine and Work Centers
  • Production Orders linked to Sales Orders
  • Sub contractor (outside service) planning and execution

When implementing Business Central job shop projects, we see production management only in those cases where there is a lot of repetitive production too.

Business Central Jobs | aka Project Manufacturing

For most Business Central job shop implementations, we generally need more of a project manufacturing approach as opposed to a production manufacturing approach.

If your primary Job Shop is doing one-off work for customers, rarely if ever repeated, then Jobs would work best for you.

Jobs in Business Central has a few advantages over Production Management for the Job Shop. First - it is part of Essentials, not Premium. This makes it less expensive.

Second, Jobs do not require well-defined routings for production and are better at incorporating "miscellaneous" costs into Job Costing.

Most Job Shops have more machines and equipment than qualified workers, so the scheduling of machines is a lot less important than the scheduling of workers. The Business Central Jobs module works well when the resource is a worker, not a machine.

Jobs offers these features:

  • Purchase Orders linked to Jobs
  • Free form collection of time from Engineering, Tool Makers, Production and other staff
  • Creation of unlimited "Tasks" for separating cost collection into buckets
  • Flexible invoicing
  • Simple WIP tracking

Business Central Requisition Worksheet

The Requisition Worksheet is a light MRP module in Business Central. It is easy to use and is only used for purchasing materials. For a Business Central job shops project, we generally need very simple purchasing processes and rarely need a full MRP or MPS system (see above).

Requisition Worksheet is an easy-to-use system that can accumulate the purchases required for Jobs and Production and quickly allow a buyer to process purchase orders.

The key features of the Requisition Worksheet are:

  • Basic Material Requirements Planning (MRP)
  • Item Factors : Safety Stock, Safety Leadtime, Minimum, Maximum, Order Multiples, Replenishment Type, Planning Type
  • Lot for Lot planning: with Reorder Frequency, Lot Accumulation Period and Dampener settings
  • Reorder Point Planning: with Reorder Point, Reorder Qty

InsightWorks Shop Floor Insights

Job Costing in a Business Central Job Shop manufacturer means collecting how long it took people to do their jobs. This could be a designer/engineer; a tool and die maker; or a CNC machinist or other general laborer. InsightWorks has a great application addon for Business Central to collect time cards from staff. It also allows export into all major payroll systems.

Shop Floor Insights from Insight Works is the industry leader in this type of labor collection. Sabre is a certified implementer of InsightWorks products and as such, we strongly recommend the product.

Shop Floor Insights adds a number of capabilities that greatly enhance the standard production management module:

  • Real-time labor reporting against Jobs and/or production orders
  • Paperless travelers and access to attached shop drawings
  • Recording the materials used and recording extra materials
  • Shift configurations and rules for payroll and time and attendance use
  • Supervisor review and approval

Netronic Production / Job Scheduling

The most popular production scheduler addons for Business Central as of mid-2021 come from Netronic. They offer two products. The Visual Production Scheduler is designed to schedule production orders, where the cycle times, setup times and machine sequence is what is important.

The Visual Jobs Scheduler is designed to schedule the resources (people) more than the machines.

If you have to worry more about how many hours of welding is needed on a job, and not which steps those welding hours need to happen in or which welding station would be used - Jobs and the Job Scheduler are for you.

netronic visual production scheduler

There is also a more advanced VAPS (Visual Advanced Production Scheduler) system for advanced finite capacity planning. It would be very hard to imagine a Job Shop where that kind of scheduler would make a lot of sense. Usually the ability to visualize the schedule, move things around and manually adjust it is all that is needed. Having the system try and predict a schedule has very little value.

YouTube Video | Dynamics Business Central Manufacturing Overview

This Sabre video overview of Business Central Manufacturing is another overview of some of these features and functions.

Conclusion

If you are considering a Business Central Job Shop implementation you've come to the right people.

We are experts in manufacturing for Business Central, so don't hesitate to reach out and contact us for more information about your Business Central job shop project. We are very well known for our fixed fee implementation model, exclusively designed for manufacturing. We work in combination with the out-of-the-box features of Business Central manufacturing, as well as preferred 3rd party apps.

If you need help with a Microsoft Dynamics manufacturing implementation, either Business Central or Dynamics NAV, where you or your partner are struggling, give us a call at: (519) 585-7524 x.45 or contact our team, we're excited to talk with you soon!

Rob Jolliffe

Robert has been an ERP consultant in the Manufacturing space for over 25 years, starting immediately after graduating University of Toronto Engineering. In addition to a deep knowledge of Manufacturing (including teaching MRP at the Supply Chain program at Conestoga College in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada) Robert holds a Microsoft Systems Engineer designation and is much less of an expert in Networking and IT infrastructure than he thinks, but is still pretty good. He also has applied his engineering skills to learning programming, and is warned frequently by the professional developers who work for him that he is pretty good, but don't write any code for customers without letting them check it.

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