As fans and purveyors of Microsoft Dynamics NAV software, and being that we specialize in solutions for manufacturing and distribution, we thought we’d pass along some comments from a Microsoft blogger about the new Assembly Management functionality in NAV 2013, with some brief comparisons to the more robust, full manufacturing solution embodied within NAV.
In an article found here, Olga Mulvad, Program Manager for Microsoft Dynamics NAV, poses the question: Isn’t Assembly Management in essence the same as manufacturing? After all, if Assembly Management is a set of features “designed for companies that supply products to their customers by combining components in simple processes, such as assembly, light manufacturing, and kitting”… then how is that different from the traditional definition of manufacturing?
We’ll spare you the full read, and simply provide a synopsis, starting with the fact that while the two are indeed similar, the Assembly Management functionality is in truth just a small subset of the very robust manufacturing capabilities inherent in a full NAV manufacturing solution.
But it is the right solution for some.
For starters, AM can be implemented for less cost, using less functionality. As a result, it simply is of lesser scope, with a simpler interface, fewer setup options, less maintenance required, and as we noted, it should cost less to implement.
On the other hand, there is no BOM versioning in the Assembly Management functionality. There is effectively no Work In Process (WIP) functionality, which makes it ill-suited to manufacturers of complex products with long lead times, for example. It does not well support multi-stage production processes. In short, it has ‘boundaries’ to its functionality – deliberately set to limit functionality while at the same time aiding those manufacturers who seek low-level, quick (rapid start) manufacturing capability.
As a quick and easy manufacturing tool it will work for some. For those in an environment where readily available parts and sub-assemblies are simply needed to assemble (or kit) a finished good, or a package of same to be shipped to a customer, AM can work well. If your production activities feature assembly (either to stock or to order), and you sell in kits or sets, and your production process if relatively simple, straightforward and quick, then this slimmed down functionality may be exactly what you’re looking for.
As Mulvad points out, an item’s production BOM can even include a subassembly with an assembly BOM, an efficient way to prepare several components for a work center as a single set.
What you don’t want to do, however, is to try to save a few dollars up front by skinnying-down your manufacturing capabilities, only to find yourself later paying dearly for the modifications necessary to bring the system back up to your more robust requirements.
Your consultant should be able to help you determine which is the right course for you. We like to think of it as the Goldilocks solution: not too much, not too little… but just right.