Continuous manufacturing

Hi everybody!

I have a scenario of continuous manufacturing, where a batch of salad mix is prepared and after some minutes of cooking and molding it is packaged in multiple presentations, the fact is that it there is no way to measure the quantity of the mix that is being packaged except after the end of every packaging order. Does anybody manage to have a scenario like this where the necessity of a batch order for the mix was avoided or minimized (without having the proportion of raw materials in the packaging order)?

Hope to see some suggestions, many thanks in advance


Based on your industry, I believe process manufacturing would be the best solution. It allows for co-products that represent the outgoing SKUs. Just need some answers to some questions:

  1. Does the process result in multiple outgoing skus ?
  2. What is the basis for the difference outcomes.
  3. How is the production planned.

I believe I can get you to the best overall solution. It might be good to discuss your requirement in more detail.

  1. Yes it does.
  2. Depends on packaged grams/packaging material.
  3. Right now it is manually planned, next step the intention is to be planned from the sales forecast.
    Many thanks Don

What version of AX do you have?

If it is 2012 or Dynamics 365, you have the Process Manufacturing module.

Hi Don, thanks for your replies. It is 365, I know about the process functions, but we are willing to avoid the use of a bulk, as per your first comment. Are you suggesting that I should configure a formula for a “main” package and the other packaging presentations as co-products? and have in the lines of the formula raw material and packaging material together…?


You are absolutely on the right track. The bill of material will house the bulk material. The problem will be the packaging. The way that process manufacturing is architected is that you can have a main product and any number of coproducts. The main product has all the capabilities of back flushing materials based on their individual bill materials. The coproducts however are simply reported and costed based on a relationship of total cost of the manufactured products. In this case there will be no direct relationship on the coproducts ability to back flush things like packaging material. That does not mean however that the packaging material cannot be issued to the process manufacturing order. It is a total cost versus a relationship of total items produced. The cost is allocated based on the amount produced and most typically the standard cost of the given coproduct.

Another thing to consider is the bulk order process. It does allow for unique orders related to a single bulk order. I find this more effective when you have a very predictable product mix. If you can make the coproduct process work for you it is clearly the most flexible and the easiest to maintain. Keep in mind you can also add a coproduct at runtime if for some reason it wasn’t in the original product mix.

Both of these concepts are fairly easy to model. Another consideration would be the lean manufacturing module. It has much less overhead than discrete manufacturing module. People would just simply report what they packaged. Of all the possible solutions, the discrete manufacturing module would be the least effective solution.

Don, I appretiate a lot taking the time for sharing your knowledge and experience, it is clear the concept behind your idea and I also share the particular “considerations” for this model.

Many thank and best regards

Hi Don, I’ve been reading regarding lean functionality within Dynamics 365, in the following white paper…/hh272876.aspx (page 27) it seems that this could provide a good approach to continuous manufacturing. Have you use/know about using kanbans for this purpose?

Hi Hector

I have one similar requirement but the approach adopted was due to the historical nature of the solution, so for one product they have multi-level BOM’s and many batch orders which represent all of the WIP stages of the product. The mix in your case is one batch order they periodically report as RAF in the day, there are then different batch orders as that base mix is transformed, the production is flow so the material moves but actually jumps batch order per cell transformation. The end batch order whilst started as driven from forecast is ultimately amended as the days orders come in whilst the base WIP products are being made, and this then drives the final order. They validate the quantity of the mix and the next stage because they have weigh stations as it moves from one step of the process to the next, so they weigh it and RAF it, once they they have no more product in lineside they have made all that is required and do a final RAF - validate the labour and material and ultimately close the order.

One other consideration is that the customer needed the packaging differentiation of the final product to be a distinct item, we looked at configuration dimension etc but they decided to have different items per packaging, which gives them more work for promotional packaging, but it is the approach they wanted to take.

Thanks a lot Steve,
The customer here has been working with semi-finished and packaging orders since AX2009, they are moving to 365 now and they expectation is to eliminate the semi-finished orders, and they do not want to have separate routes either. The bulk cannot be measured with their equipment. So I’m trying to find the best possible solution in this implementation, I’m trying to find out if Kanban is the right or better approach… I have proposed them almost the same (bulk-packaging model) with co-products, containerized packaging, but this still requires separate batch orders and separate routes…

You are only trying to map the process to the software, if they cannot measure the bulk you cannot report it at that stage. The customer may have an expectation but I have customers expecting reason codes on inventory journals on every implementation and they are shocked it does not have them. We are not the authors and can only advise on the possibilities and options. Not sure Kanban gets you anyway, it is a replenishment flag in essence, reusable but still technically a separate order.