Key Differences Between Discrete and Process Manufacturing Software

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By Peggy Fonrose - November 05, 2021

Whether you’re managing a discrete or process manufacturing plant, software has likely become a crucial part of your overall production. Going digital using manufacturing software brings smart analytics that will help factories find efficiencies at every turn, helping you maximize throughput and produce more with less.

Discrete vs. Process Manufacturing

Though both can be complex, the differences between discrete and process manufacturing can be broken down into a few simple concepts.

What is discrete manufacturing?

When manufacturing involves assembling things to create distinct products, it’s discrete. This includes the bills of materials (BOMs) along with any assembly and routing components. The assembled parts are things that can be counted that are linearly assembled.

What is process manufacturing?

Process manufacturing is all about mixing ingredients based on a specific formula—something that, once manufactured, cannot be dismantled. Think mixing, grinding and churning, and blending into a batch.

Here are some examples of discrete vs. process manufacturing:

  • Furniture is assembled using discrete manufacturing. Take a chest of drawers for example. Each part is countable—each wood piece, each knob, each screw—and in the end, you can take it apart and recycle it if you want to. Before they’re put together, the pieces are obviously separate, and once they’re put together, they can still be broken down for recycling. 
  • Food and beverages are brought to the world via process manufacturing. Take, for example, fruit juice. The “pieces” may include concentrated fruit, water, sugar, and various flavorings. Once the pieces are measured, mixed together, and pasteurized, you can’t take the juice apart. When everything in the recipe or formula is mixed and ready, there’s no backward motion that can turn juice back into fruit. 

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How Software with Smart Factory Analytics Benefits Discrete and Process Manufacturing

Whether you’re manufacturing dog toys or microwave dinners, digital factory software with smart analytics can truly help you make better decisions using reliable data. Once you have an actual picture of how your factory is performing, you’ll know where you can create new efficiencies and make meaningful continuous improvements

First, embrace Industry 4.0 and the IIoT.

To reap the benefits of Smart Factory analytics, you have to truly embrace Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). This means embracing digital technology like Worximity’s Smart Factory analytics. Factories using Industry 4.0 technology can accurately calculate worker and machine performance.

Now it’s simple for factories to connect operations and machinery and get accurate results that can make a huge difference with performance. Find hidden downtime, catch every micro-stop, flag slow flows and gaps, and understand where operator skills need improvement. 

Using digital technology like sensors brings machine monitoring to the factory floor. This means real-time, wireless data that is easily accessed and analyzed. You can watch equipment performance yourself—and you get a better view with real-time data than you get with your eyes. 

Take both discrete and process manufacturing digital. 

If you’re still using manual processes in your factory, you’re likely missing out on efficiencies. 

The negative impacts of manual data can include:

  • Recording errors
  • Outdated information
  • Extra staff hours
  • Considerable specialized training 

Learn the OEE of your equipment. 

If you haven’t yet measured your factory’s overall equipment effectiveness (OEE), consider doing so. It’s an important lean manufacturing process that helps bring all of your KPIs together for one score. 

OEE measures: 

  • Availability 
  • Performance 
  • Quality 

Digital technology like Smart Factory analytics can help you get a true OEE score, keeping track of every second—every single micro-stop—and providing you with real-time data. This way, managers can make more informed decisions and increase throughput, improve yield, and decrease downtime—planned or unplanned. 

Why Smart Software Is a Competitive Edge for Both Discrete and Process Manufacturing

There are many differences when it comes to discrete vs. process manufacturing, but they both have one major thing in common: Discrete and process manufacturing benefit from Smart Factory software. It can be a serious competitive edge. If you’re using real-time, sensor-based machine monitoring, you’re going to reduce costs and improve margins. This will put you ahead of competitors who have yet to embrace digital technology. 

This type of real-time monitoring is often a game changer for companies, giving them the tools they need to make the best decisions and not just meet KPIs but exceed them and set new standards. Regardless of discrete or process manufacturing, all factories have goals to meet. 

Worximity’s Smart Factory analytics can help make those goals a reality. Using easy-to-install wireless sensors and a convenient data dashboard, you can make more accurate and factory-specific decisions that not only benefit your factory and your business unit but also make work life better on the floor, with staff knowing they are hitting goals. 

See how easy becoming a digital factory can be—whether you’re a discrete or a process manufacturer. Get your Worximity Smart Factory analytics demo now. 

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Worximity provides simple realtime technologies to solve food processor pains such as downtime, rejects, waste, overtime; helping them gain profit velocity by improving throughput, yield and OEE.

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