What is Process Manufacturing? (Definition and Examples) Request a Demo

What is Process Manufacturing?

Process manufacturing is a production method using linked formulas/recipes and packaging specifications to produce finished products in the food, chemical, nutraceutical and life sciences industries.


There are various examples of process manufacturing industries including food, nutraceuticals, pharmaceuticals, and more. Let us look at how the entire process of manufacturing works with all this.


Food Manufacturers

The food industry is made up of several segments, including bakery, beverage, dairy, dressings & sauces, flavors & additives, seasonings, and prepared foods. All these industry segments are subject to strict regulatory mandates that require the identification and labeling of ingredients (FDA nutritional fact panels), meeting label claims, as well as tracking and tracing of all raw materials and finished goods in a production job. In addition to food safety concerns, food manufacturers must properly manage product expiration dates, shelf lives, various quality grades, by-products, and co-products.


Chemical Manufacturers

The chemical industry is made up of several segments, including paints and coatings, adhesives and sealants, personal care and cosmetics, fragrances, and other specialty chemicals. All these industry segments are all subject to strict regulatory mandates that require the identification and labeling of products (GHS / SDS) that pose a health and safety risk due to exposure, inhalation, and ingestion, as well as being explosive and flammable. In addition to hazmat concerns, chemical manufacturers must properly manage product variable characteristics, such as strength, density, and active vs filler ingredients.


Nutraceuticals Manufacturers

The nutraceutical industry is made up of several segments, including dietary and sports supplements, vitamins and minerals, and herbal remedies. All these industry segments are all subject to strict regulatory mandates that require the identification and labeling of products (FDA supplemental panels), meeting label claims, as well as tracking and tracing of all raw materials and finished goods in a production job. Nutra manufacturers must properly manage all product types, including capsules, soft gels, and tablets. They must also capture and report on all manufacturing steps from formulation through production.

Life Sciences Manufacturers

Life Sciences Manufacturers

The life sciences industry is made up of several segments, including generic / OTC drugs enzymes and specialty biologics. All these industry segments are subject to strict regulatory mandates that require the identification and labeling of products, meeting label claims, as well as the tracking and tracing of all raw materials and finished goods in a production job. In addition to effectively managing product types, life sciences manufacturers must provide electronic signatures and audit trail reports to CGMP auditors. In addition, they must validate their processes.

A Few Differences Between Process Manufacturing vs Discrete Manufacturing

In process manufacturing, a formula/recipe is employed to produce a product, including by-products and co-products, in weight and volume units of measure, which is then packaged in multiple configurations, using a multi-level bill of material architecture (BOM). Products’ mass, density, volume, and physical properties change completely, and therefore batch yields are not predictable as in discrete manufacturing. In addition, intermediate and finished products cannot be reworked back into their ingredients.

In discrete manufacturing, a multi-level bill of material architecture (BOM) is employed to produce a finished product from an assembly of components following a linear scaling model in its base unit of measure (each). The finished goods assembled at each stage along the production line can be disassembled back into their individual components.

Industry Challenges that a Process Manufacturing Software Can Solve

Batch Consistency

Batch Consistency

In the manufacturing industry consistency is the key. Whether you produce food and beverages, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals or are from any other industry, it is necessary to ensure that each batch is identical to the last. It helps maintain product quality and safety. It is required in formula/recipe management, control production processes, and manage distribution logistics, to manage a consistently high output standard.

With process manufacturing software, batch consistency is easier as it standardizes recipe/formula management. It allows businesses to calculate precise ingredient quantities for consistent batch manufacturing. By adjusting volumes and quantities automatically, manual errors are reduced. It also ensures that batches are produced to the same high standards consistently. This enables seamless integration of changes in customer orders into production processes and ensures efficient security.

Product Recalls

Product Recalls

There are various instances where your organization needs to recall products quickly to analyze quality issues with any ingredients. If the manual method is used, it becomes essential to check multiple papers or spreadsheets, gather data and information from various departments, etc. With all this, it becomes a lengthy and time-consuming process, which causes the real reason to be put on hold.

Process manufacturing software helps you recall products quickly and comprehensively. If there have been quality issues with any product or ingredient, it becomes easy to track and trace the origin of the problem. It is also easy to mitigate the risk to reduce the chances of the same mistake again.

Product Recalls
Ingredient Management

Ingredient Management

Organizations need to handle ingredients and raw material availability, shelf-life management, SKU tracking, seasonal demand variations, and more. With process manufacturing software, accurate scheduling and forecasting can be improved, as well as inventory availability, workload, and supply chain logistics. Process manufacturing software gives you real-time data insights to accurately coordinate/order ingredients depending on actual customer demand, along with managing supplier needs efficiently.

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Regulatory and Compliance Management

In the process manufacturing industry, it is important to maintain regulatory requirements to ensure product quality. Companies must adhere to specific regulations for overall product safety.

Process manufacturing software can help roll out updated instructions and documentation for all departments in an organization. It can also check all other regulatory and compliance requirements in place to make sure you follow all the rules and regulations. It also provides easy updates to data sheets and quality checks, ensuring that the team operates according to the latest legislation.

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Features of a Process Manufacturing Software

Formula/recipe management is one of those complex operations that demand perfection. So, it is easier to simplify formula/recipe management with process manufacturing software streamlining all operations easily.

It is necessary to calculate accurate formulas/recipes along with scaling measurements with units of measure. In addition, it is necessary to update ingredients and quantities in line with customer requirements. It becomes even more stringent to manage this when changing trends impact product composition especially in industries like pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, and chemicals.

Process Manufacturing Software Capabilities to Make Formula/Recipe Management Efficient

Inventory management in process manufacturing is challenging as it involves ingredients in various states like solid, semi-solid, liquid, gases, powders, and more. The use of process manufacturing software makes it easier to manage ingredients, raw materials, intermediates, and finished goods. It also helps in handling data sources to provide insights into SKU performance history. It facilitates informed decision-making along with efficient forecasting and evaluating excessive stock. The centralized system can also manage the double handling of goods and streamline daily tasks.

Lot traceability is the recording and reporting of all raw materials received and consumed in production, along with all finished goods produced and shipped. Using process manufacturing software and its lot traceability functionality, organizations can maintain the lineage of all raw materials and finished products, including co-products and by-products. By managing the capture and validation of lot numbers for all raw materials and finished goods at each step, a digital trail can be easily searched for a specific product.

Warehouse Design
Warehouse Design

Supply Chain Management

Supply chain management involves manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, retailers, and customers. It also involves planning, execution, control, and monitoring of various activities. With efficient software, it becomes easy to manage the physical aspects of supply including storage, transportation, and more. It also helps in handling demand and supply to meet customer demands on time. With feature-rich process manufacturing software, it becomes easy to operate the entire supply chain starting from material procurement to product delivery to end customer demands.

A Few Advantages of Process Manufacturing Specific Software

Most manufacturing software, especially generic, discrete solutions, manages Bills of Material (BOM), inventory, and production, and may also provide quality control, and production planning and scheduling. Process manufacturing ERP software focuses on functional areas impacted by variable product characteristics, process complexities, and regulatory compliance mandates. Here is a short list of functional areas:

Units of Measure

An item may have multiple units of measures defined and require conversion from purchasing to inventory to manufacturing to ordering to shipping units of measures. In addition, an item may need to be converted from weight to volume units or vice versa, using a specific density. This is while simultaneously allowing the item to be used in each UOM.


In process manufacturing, intermediates and finished goods are created by defining their components, quantities, and units of measure, as well as QC tests and instructions, costs, and co and by-products. Advanced formulation provides visibility to physical and nutritional target property values and the generation of industry-compliant documents and labels.

Lot Traceability and Recall

Lot management involves the capture and generation of lot numbers for raw materials and finished goods inventory, from receiving into production through shipping. The ability to track and trace the lineage of all raw materials and finished products by lot number, then generate recall letters is a mission-critical function for process manufacturers quickly and easily.

Expiration Date

Product expiry dates, as well as its shelf life, can be captured or calculated. This is then considered when allocating raw material inventory for a batch job or finished good inventory for a sales order.


With a high level of variability associated with inventory conditions, a variety of quality statuses can be applied to raw materials, intermediates, and finished goods. This is in the receiving, production, and order fulfilment processes.

How to Choose the Right System for Your Process Manufacturing Business?

With the rise in industry trends, process manufacturing companies must choose an industry-specific ERP system that should be a solid investment on a long-term basis. You must choose the right process and discuss it with ERP experts before further action. It helps you implement the right system in your sector.

A reliable ERP partner will provide you with complete software details, understand your business processes and provide a customizable set-up according to your business needs.

BatchMaster Manufacturing Software for Process Manufacturers

There are differences between process manufacturing and discrete manufacturing as well as their associated software applications, so a ‘one size ERP fits all’ application may not fully support the needs of a process manufacturer in the food, chemicals, nutraceuticals, or life sciences industry.

Process manufacturers should focus on software applications that can support their unique requirements with minimum customization. From managing the variability of products and processes to accurately accounting for all raw materials and finished goods, running the right process manufacturing application will provide granular visibility to manufacturing data and effectively streamline all of one’s business processes.

Process manufacturing software is the new need for goal-oriented industries, if you are also looking forward to knowing more about process manufacturing software and its functionalities, watch the video now.

With a software architecture built from the ground up for process manufacturers, we recommend you learn more about our add-on process manufacturing application for QuickBooks, Sage 100 & 300, Microsoft Dynamics GP and SAP Business One, or our end-to-end, industry-specific ERP solution.

An effective process manufacturing software can help your business attain growth and success in multiple ways. We can help you get complete automation for all your business operations.

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