A Work Center in pERP is not a physical place where a job is done. Instead, it is a functional step in a manufacturing process.
As an example, let's take an injection-molded toy robot bug.
In first step of manufacturing, thermoplastic is injection-molded, forming the shell and legs of the bug. The first WC is called "Injection". The company making this bug has four injection molds devoted to this toy, so they can run up to four colors at once. Let's call the four injectors "Injector A" through "Injector D" because each machine can run any color of plastic. All of these are physical locations, but they all belong to the same WC, Injection. Injector A is an "Injection" work center. So is Injector B and so on. All of the injection machines are part of the "Injection Work Center". The company has other injection molds devoted to other toys, and they too are all part of "Injection". The company can has a toy plant in another city, and that plant's molds are also part of the Injection Work Center.
After the mold is released, the plastic parts need to have the flash (surplus plastic from seams and joints) trimmed off and the release agent is removed using a solvent. Let's call that WC "Cleanup". Doesn't matter what toy is being made or what color it is, it goes from "Injection" to "Cleanup".
Why call these "Work Centers" rather than "Manufacturing Steps"? The reason is that the manufacturing process is linked to inventory use. In practical fact, that manufacturing step does happen at a specific user-defined physical place where inventory is held for use in that process step. Materials are pulled from an associated inventory Location and added to a build in progress. Thermoplastic pellets in various colors are stored in the same area as the "Injection" Work Center, and these pellets can supply any of the four injectors. So "Injection" is both a work center (as defined in Manufacturing, where the injection molding process takes place) and an inventory location (as defined in Inventory, where six colors of thermoplastic pellet feedstocks are stored).
You can have several Inventory Locations mapped as the same Work Center, so a facility in another city can use the same workflow (Injection -> Cleanup) and bill of materials (500g red pellets). In this case, the injection molds will be supplied from the appropriate Inventory Location in both cities. However, pERP is not automated manufacturing software. Human intervention is required to ensure that the proper bug mold is in the injector, that the hopper contains sufficient pellets and that the pellets are actually red, and so forth.
Note on the Selection Bar that you can filter for work centers associated with a particular Inventory Location.
New Work Center
To create a new work center, click the button.
- Work Center - Enter a name for the work center. Maximum of 20 characters.
- Description - enter a description of the work performed at the center. Maximum of ??? Characters, but too many may not display properly on the Work Center List.
- Overhead per hour - this will be multiplied by the Time an Assembly is at the work center to give an overhead cost.
Overhead is for "How much does it cost you to have this work center? What is the hourly cost of the staff who operate this center? This is more of an approximation ($35) than an exact ($36.13) number. It adds the overhead cost to the product for the time it is in the work center.
- Overhead Account - choose from the Chart of Accounts
- User Account - This field is to allow tracking machines access to pERP.
- Set location associated with this work center - assign the WC to the inventory location(s) where parts for the operation are drawn.
Each inventory location should be associated with only one work center, but a work center can be associated with many inventory locations.
Mapping Work Centers to Inventory Locations
In order for pERP to pull inventory for a manufacturing process, each work center needs to be "mapped" to at least one inventory location. This is normally done when the WC is set up, but it can be done or edited at any time.
This is handled by the bottom field "Set location as a Injection [work center]". The drop-down will list all available inventory locations. From the list, select the first one that supplies the Injection WC. Click Save. The location will now be shown in the list. Repeat for any other locations from which supplies for this work center are drawn.
Ideally, there is only one - a supply bin beside the work center, for example. Inventory transfers are used to record stock moved from the warehouse to the supply bin.
Checking What Stock is Used at a Work Center
Click the Stock Items tab for a list of the stock assigned to the work center.
Stock is assigned to a work center in the BOM for a product or assembly.
Bug? The edit icon to the right of each line opens the Edit Work Center page. Click the stock code to open the stock item.