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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Accounting Software 411 Looks At Escape Velocity Systems Auditing and Security for Process Manufacturers

by Thomas Cutler

When one food manufacturer has to contend with hundreds of recipes, ingredient variations, and multiple batches in a single production run, the possibilities for errors are enormous. Seemingly at odds, lean manufacturing principles call for productivity gains which are increasingly dependant upon speeding up the flow of sensitive data throughout the enterprise. This paradox is felt most significantly by thin margined formula-based food processors; according to manufacturing journalist Thomas R. Cutler who recently profiled the role of advanced auditing and security for the process manufacturing sector in the January issue of Accounting Software 411.

While discrete manufacturing systems are generally designed around a bill of material containing whole, or discrete quantities of materials (such as 1 axle, 2 tires), process manufacturing systems are driven by formulas (such as 90% water, 10% flavoring.) Process manufacturers usually blend or mix materials rather than cutting, shaping, or assembling hard goods. Hybrid manufacturers combine process and discrete components. A good example would be a cosmetic company that mixes a batch of lip stick bulk and fills the bulk into a base container (process manufacturing), then assembles this into a finished product with a packaging and label bill of material (discrete manufacturing).

Like the Colonel's secret recipe, proprietary data is managed through an ERP (enterprise resource planning) system which must be guarded from malicious data tampering. As with regulations, like Sarbanes-Oxley, companies are held accountable for the data that is produced from their ERP system; few have the necessary tools to ensure that the data is managed appropriately by the authorized personnel (although most make claims to the contrary.)

According to Evan Garber, President of Escape Velocity Systems (, which specializes in formula-based process manufacturing, "Advanced auditing and security functionality is not simply preventing unauthorized data manipulation...risk management, it provides a context for a data management plan that includes process improvement."

Advanced Auditing and Security Drives Continued Process Improvement

Some of the features that technology solutions must provide, particularly among process manufacturers include: * User accountability for one's actions * Managing ancillary attached data (such as Excel or Word attachments) through an approval, lockdown, and version control process * Managing efficiency of electronic document handling

The term escape velocity refers to the speed that is necessary for an object to overcome gravity and soar into space. EVS provides direct applications for businesses looking for a catalyst, not just a software package. Process manufacturers require the best software solution coupled with industry experience that will accelerate the velocity with which they race towards their goals. The gravity of status-quo opposes aggressive, cutting edge organizations as they strive towards high quality and short lead time delivery while reducing inventories and operating costs.

The entire article may be read at

Escape Velocity Systems Evan Garber President 303.494.1765 x114

About the Author

Professional Marketing Firm for the Manufacturing Community and Manufacturing Journalist to most manufacturing magazines

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