What is Routing in Manufacturing?

What is Routing in Manufacturing?

Table of Contents
Table of Contents

If you are involved in the manufacturing industry, you may have come across the term "routing" as a critical component of efficient production management. But what exactly is routing, and how does it contribute to streamlining manufacturing operations and improving overall productivity?

Routing is a fundamental concept in manufacturing, encompassing a series of steps and decisions that outline the most efficient path a product or component takes from raw material to finished goods.

It serves as a roadmap for the entire production process, guiding each work order, operation, and assembly step to ensure the smooth and timely completion of the final product.

Routing is a complex and dynamic process, influenced by various factors such as product complexity, production volume, resource availability, and order priorities. It involves determining the optimal sequence of operations, work centers, and machines through which a product must pass during its transformation from raw material to finished item.

What is Routing in Manufacturing?
What is Routing in Manufacturing?

In this article, we will explore the concept of routing in manufacturing, supported by in-depth explanations and real-world examples. We will delve into the key components of routing, such as defining operations, setting up work centers, and establishing a bill of materials (BOM).

According to a recent report by Grand View Research, the global manufacturing execution system (MES) market, which includes routing capabilities, is projected to reach USD 23.23 billion by 2028, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.8%.

This statistic highlights the increasing adoption of routing solutions as manufacturers recognize their significance in streamlining operations and achieving production excellence.

So, let's embark on this journey to explore the world of routing in manufacturing and unlock its transformative potential in driving operational efficiency, reducing costs, and ensuring customer satisfaction.

Here's what we shall cover in this post:

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Introduction to Manufacturing Routing

Manufacturing routing, also known as production routing or work routing, is a critical aspect of the manufacturing process. It involves the detailed planning and sequencing of operations required to transform raw materials or components into finished products.

Think of it as a roadmap that guides the product through various stages of production, specifying the steps, machines, tools, and resources needed at each stage.

In essence, manufacturing routing serves as a step-by-step guide for the production process, ensuring that each operation is performed in the correct order and at the right location. It provides clear instructions to workers on the shop floor, helping them efficiently transform raw materials into finished products.

Manufacturing routing is an essential part of modern manufacturing operations, particularly in industries that produce complex products or have high production volumes. It is commonly used in discrete manufacturing industries such as automotive, aerospace, electronics, and machinery, where products are made in separate units or batches.

The creation of a manufacturing routing involves careful planning, analysis, and optimization to achieve the desired production outcomes. By following the routing, manufacturers can streamline production, reduce lead times, minimize wastage, and ensure consistent product quality.

Overall, manufacturing routing plays a crucial role in ensuring that the manufacturing process runs smoothly and efficiently, leading to improved productivity and customer satisfaction.

The Role of Routing in Production Processes

Routing plays a pivotal role in production processes across various industries. It acts as a roadmap that guides manufacturing operations, ensuring that each step is executed systematically and efficiently. The role of routing in production processes includes:

  • The sequence of Operations: Routing outlines the sequence in which different operations should be performed to transform raw materials into finished products. It ensures that each step is carried out in the correct order, preventing errors and delays in the production process.
  • Workstation Allocation: Routing specifies the workstations or machines where each operation should take place. This allocation ensures that the right equipment and resources are available at each stage, optimizing the utilization of machinery and labor.
  • Resource Planning: Manufacturing routing involves careful resource planning, including the required tools, materials, and personnel. By ensuring that the necessary resources are available at each stage, routing minimizes downtime and keeps production running smoothly.
  • Time Estimation: Routing provides time estimates for each operation, allowing manufacturers to plan and schedule production activities efficiently. It helps in setting realistic production timelines and meeting customer delivery commitments.
  • Quality Control: Routing includes quality control checks and inspections at various stages of production. By incorporating quality checks into the routing, manufacturers can identify and rectify defects early in the process, ensuring that only high-quality products reach the customers.
  • Cost Optimization: With routing, manufacturers can identify opportunities for cost reduction and process improvement. By streamlining operations and minimizing waste, routing contributes to cost optimization in the production process.
  • Flexibility and Adaptability: Routing allows for flexibility and adaptability in the production process. It enables manufacturers to adjust the production sequence, allocate resources, and modify operations to accommodate changes in demand or unexpected events.
  • Standardization: By providing standardized instructions for each operation, routing ensures consistency in production processes. Standardization leads to uniform product quality and reduces variations in the final output.
  • Continuous Improvement: Routing serves as a basis for continuous improvement initiatives. By analyzing the performance of each operation and identifying bottlenecks or inefficiencies, manufacturers can make data-driven decisions to enhance the overall production process.

Understanding Routing Operations and Sequences

Routing operations and sequences are essential aspects of manufacturing processes that dictate the order and steps involved in producing a product. They provide a detailed roadmap for how raw materials move through various workstations to become finished goods.

Let's delve deeper into understanding routing operations and sequences:

  • Routing Operations: Routing operations refer to the individual tasks or activities that need to be performed at each workstation during the manufacturing process. These operations can include cutting, machining, assembly, painting, testing, and packaging, among others. Each operation has specific requirements, such as the tools and equipment needed, the skill level of the operators, and the time required to co mplete the task.
  • Operation Codes: Each routing operation is assigned a unique operation code, which serves as a reference for identification and tracking purposes. Operation codes facilitate communication and documentation throughout the manufacturing process.
  • Work Centers: Work centers are the physical locations or machines where routing operations take place. Each work center is equipped with the necessary tools and resources to execute specific operations. Work centers are organized and optimized to ensure smooth material flow and minimize production bottlenecks.
  • Operation Sequences: The order in which routing operations are executed is known as the operation sequence. The operation sequence is crucial as it defines the workflow and determines the efficiency of the production process. Proper sequencing ensures that each operation is performed most logically and efficiently, minimizing idle time and maximizing productivity.
  • Setup and Run Times: For each routing operation, there are setup and run times associated with it. The setup time represents the time required to prepare the workstation or machine before starting the actual operation. The run time is the duration it takes to complete the operation. Accurate estimation of setup and run times helps in effective production scheduling and resource allocation.
  • Bill of Materials (BOM): The Bill of Materials (BOM) is an essential component of routing, as it lists all the raw materials, components, and sub-assemblies required for each operation. The BOM ensures that the correct materials are available at the right workstation, eliminating material shortages and production delays.
  • Lead Times: Routing operations are also associated with lead times, which represent the time it takes for an operation to be completed once it is initiated. Lead times are critical for production planning and meeting customer delivery deadlines.
  • Iterative Processes: In some manufacturing environments, routing operations may involve iterative processes, where certain tasks need to be repeated multiple times to achieve the desired outcome. Proper sequencing of iterative processes is vital to maintain product integrity and quality.

Types of Manufacturing Routing: Single and Multi-Level

Manufacturing routing can be categorized into two main types: single-level routing and multi-level routing. Let's explore each type in detail:

Single-Level Routing: Single-level routing, also known as a single-level bill of materials (BOM), is a straightforward routing system where each finished product or end item is associated with a single routing. In this type of routing, all the operations required to produce the final product are listed in a linear sequence. The routing includes all the steps from raw material processing to the final assembly, packaging, and shipping.

Advantages of Single-Level Routing:

  • Simplicity: Single-level routing is easy to set up and manage, making it suitable for smaller and less complex production processes.
  • Clear Traceability: It provides clear traceability of each operation, making it easier to identify the source of any issues or defects.
  • Predictability: With a linear sequence of operations, it is easier to estimate production times, allocate resources, and manage scheduling.
  • Lower Overhead: The simplicity of single-level routing can lead to reduced administrative and coordination overhead.
  • Quick Implementation: This routing approach is easier to implement, making it suitable for smaller manufacturing operations or when rapid scaling is required.

Disadvantages of Single-Level Routing:

  • Limited Flexibility: Single-level routing may not be suitable for more complex products that require different variations or customization.
  • Lack of Granularity: It may not provide a detailed breakdown of sub-assemblies or components, leading to limited insights into the manufacturing process.
  • Inefficiencies: Certain operations might be duplicated if a more direct or optimized route is not available.
  • Lack of Adaptability: Changes in production processes or requirements may necessitate significant adjustments to the entire routing, which could disrupt operations.
  • Limited Product Variety: Single-level routing may not be suitable for manufacturing a wide range of diverse products.

Single-level routing is commonly used in industries where the products are relatively simple, standard, and have consistent production requirements. It is often found in assembly line production, where products move through a fixed sequence of workstations, each performing a specific operation or task.

However, for industries with more complex and diverse product lines, multi-level routing or more flexible manufacturing approaches may be preferred to accommodate variations and optimize efficiency.

Multi-Level Routing: Multi-level routing, also known as a multi-level bill of materials (BOM), is a more sophisticated routing system that incorporates a hierarchical structure. In this type of routing, the final product is associated with multiple sub-assemblies and components, each with its routing. Each sub-assembly can have its own set of operations and sequences.

Advantages of Multi-Level Routing:

  • Flexibility: Multi-level routing allows for greater flexibility in handling complex products with multiple configurations or options.
  • Detailed Analysis: It provides a more granular view of the manufacturing process, enabling detailed analysis and optimization.
  • Optimization: Depending on the specific characteristics of each product, multi-level routing can help optimize the production process by selecting the most efficient path.
  • Resource Allocation: By considering the characteristics of each product, multi-level routing can help allocate resources (such as machinery, labor, and materials) more effectively.
  • Customization: Products with different features or options can be routed through operations that specifically address their customization needs.
  • Adaptability: Changes in product design, requirements, or production processes can be accommodated more easily by adjusting the routing at specific levels.

Disadvantages of Multi-Level Routing:

  • Complexity: Managing multi-level routing can be more complex and may require sophisticated software solutions.
  • Increased Data Maintenance: As the number of levels and components increases, data maintenance and updates can become more challenging.
  • Coordination Challenges: Coordinating different routes and levels of operations requires careful planning and communication to ensure smooth production flow.
  • Longer Planning Time: The planning phase of multi-level routing can be more time-consuming as compared to single-level routing.
  • Potential Bottlenecks: If not well-managed, certain paths or operations in the multi-level routing can become bottlenecks, affecting overall production efficiency.
  • Increased Overhead: The additional complexity may lead to higher administrative and operational overhead.

Choosing the appropriate type of manufacturing routing depends on the complexity of the products, the level of customization required, and the production process. For smaller and less complex operations, single-level routing may be sufficient.

On the other hand, multi-level routing is better suited for companies dealing with complex products, multiple configurations, and diverse manufacturing processes. Implementing the right type of routing is crucial for efficient production planning, accurate inventory management, and streamlined manufacturing operations.

Routing vs. Bill of Materials (BoM): Key Differences

Routing and Bill of Materials (BOM) are two essential components of the manufacturing process that serve different purposes. Let's explore the key differences between routing and BOM:


  • Routing: Routing refers to the sequence of operations and processes required to transform raw materials or components into a finished product. It outlines the specific steps, work centers, machines, and resources needed for each operation in the production process.
  • Bill of Materials (BOM): BOM is a comprehensive list of all the materials, components, sub-assemblies, and quantities required to build a product. It details the structure of the product, showing how each part is assembled to create the final product.


  • Routing: The primary focus of routing is on the process and sequence of operations involved in manufacturing a product. It is concerned with the steps needed to transform materials into a finished item.
  • BOM: BOM, on the other hand, emphasizes the materials and components required for the product. It identifies all the items needed for assembly, including raw materials, semi-finished goods, and purchased components.


  • Routing: Routings are represented as step-by-step instructions, often in the form of a list or a flowchart. They define the exact order of operations and the resources used at each stage of production.
  • BOM: BOM is represented as a hierarchical structure, typically in a tree-like format. It shows the relationship between different components and their sub-assemblies, indicating how they come together to form the final product.


  • Routing: Routing is used for production planning, scheduling, and optimizing the manufacturing process. It helps in determining the most efficient way to produce a product and the resources needed for each operation.
  • BOM: BOM is used for procurement, inventory management, and cost estimation. It helps in identifying the materials needed for production and calculating the total cost of assembling the final product.

Impact on Production:

  • Routing: Changes in routing can have a significant impact on the production process, as they affect the sequence of operations and the allocation of resources.
  • BOM: Changes in BOM can affect the availability of materials and components, potentially leading to production delays or adjustments in the assembly process.

Example of Routing in Manufacturing

Let's consider an example of routing in manufacturing for a simple product, a wooden chair. The manufacturing routing for the wooden chair may involve the following steps:

  • Cutting and Shaping the Wood: The first step in the routing is to cut and shape the wooden components of the chair, including the seat, backrest, and legs. This may involve using a sawing machine and other woodworking tools.
  • Sanding and Smoothing: After cutting, the wooden components are sanded and smoothed to remove any rough edges or imperfections. This step ensures that the chair's surface is even and ready for finishing.
  • Assembly: In this step, the various wooden components are assembled to form the chair's frame. This may involve using screws, nails, or glue to securely join the pieces.
  • Painting or Staining: The chair is then painted or stained to add color and protect the wood from damage. This step may involve applying multiple coats of paint or stain and allowing sufficient drying time between each coat.
  • Upholstery: If the chair has a padded seat or backrest, upholstery is added at this stage. This may involve cutting and shaping foam or padding and covering it with fabric.
  • Quality Inspection: After the chair is fully assembled and finished, a quality inspection is conducted to ensure that it meets the required standards. Any defects or issues are addressed in this step.
  • Packaging and Shipping: The final step in the routing is to package the finished chairs and prepare them for shipping to customers or retailers.

Each of these steps represents a specific operation in the production process, and the routing provides the sequence in which these operations are performed. It also specifies the tools, machinery, and resources required at each stage. By following the routing, manufacturers can ensure that the wooden chairs are produced efficiently and with consistent quality.

Product Routing Procedures

Product routing procedures are a series of steps and instructions that define the sequence of operations and activities required to manufacture a specific product. These procedures guide the movement of raw materials, work in progress, and finished goods through the production process.

Here are the common steps involved in product routing procedures:

  • Product Identification: The first step is to identify the specific product for which the routing procedure is being created. This includes gathering all the necessary information about the product, such as its name, code, description, and any specific features or variations.
  • Process Mapping: Once the product is identified, the next step is to map out the entire production process from start to finish. This involves breaking down the production process into individual steps and operations. Each step should be clearly defined, including the equipment, tools, and resources required.
  • Routing Sequencing: After process mapping, the sequence of operations is determined. The order in which each operation is performed is crucial for optimizing efficiency and minimizing wastage. The routing sequence should be based on the most logical and efficient flow of production.
  • Operation Times and Resources: For each operation in the routing sequence, the time required to complete the task and the resources needed, such as labor and equipment, are specified. This helps in planning and scheduling production activities.
  • Work Center Assignments: Work centers are specific locations or areas where certain operations are performed. In the routing procedure, each operation is assigned to the appropriate work center based on the equipment and skills required.
  • Bill of Materials (BOM) Integration: The routing procedure is integrated with the Bill of Materials (BOM), which lists all the materials and components needed to manufacture the product. The BOM specifies the quantity of each item required for each operation in the routing sequence.
  • Quality Control Points: Critical quality control points are identified in the routing procedure to ensure that product quality is maintained at each stage of production. These points may include inspections, tests, or other quality assurance measures.
  • Documentation: All the information related to the routing procedure, including process maps, operation times, work center assignments, and quality control points, is documented in a standardized format for easy reference and future use.
  • Review and Approval: Before implementation, the routing procedure is reviewed by relevant stakeholders, including production managers, engineers, and quality control personnel. Any necessary adjustments or improvements are made based on feedback.
  • Implementation and Training: Once the routing procedure is finalized, it is implemented in the production process. Production personnel are trained on the new procedures to ensure proper execution and adherence to the defined routing.

Production Routing in Manufacturing and Accounting

Production routing in manufacturing is closely related to accounting in several ways. The production routing process provides valuable information that impacts various accounting aspects within a manufacturing company.

Here's how production routing and accounting are interconnected:

Costing and Inventory Valuation: Production routing specifies the sequence of operations and the resources required to manufacture a product. This information is crucial for cost allocation and inventory valuation.

By accurately tracking the resources consumed at each step of the production process, accountants can assign the appropriate costs to finished goods, work in progress, and raw materials.

Job Costing: Production routing helps in job costing, where costs are allocated to specific manufacturing orders or projects. Accountants can use the routing data to allocate direct and indirect costs to each job, enabling the company to determine the profitability of individual orders or projects.

Overhead Allocation: Production routing also plays a role in allocating overhead costs. Overhead costs, such as rent, utilities, and administrative expenses, are distributed to products based on the resources consumed during each operation. This information is essential for determining accurate product costs and pricing.

Standard Costing: For companies using standard costing methods, production routing is used to establish standard times and costs for each operation.

These standard costs serve as benchmarks against which actual costs are compared, helping to identify any inefficiencies or cost overruns.

Work-in-Progress (WIP) Accounting: Production routing provides insights into the progress of each product through the production process. This information is essential for WIP accounting, which involves recording the value of partially completed products as they move through various stages of production.

Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) Calculation: The production routing data is critical for calculating the cost of goods sold. By accurately tracking the costs associated with each production step, accountants can determine the cost of producing goods sold during a specific period.

Variance Analysis: Production routing data is used in variance analysis, which involves comparing actual costs to standard costs or budgets. Variance analysis helps identify any discrepancies and allows management to take corrective actions to improve cost control.

Financial Reporting: The data obtained from production routing is crucial for preparing financial statements accurately. The information related to production costs, inventory levels, and work in progress is used in the income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement.

Creating and Managing Routing Data

Creating and managing routing data is a crucial process in manufacturing that involves defining the sequence of operations and resources required to produce a product. Here are the key steps to create and manage routing data effectively:

  • Define Operations: Start by identifying all the necessary operations required to manufacture the product. This involves breaking down the production process into individual steps, such as cutting, machining, assembly, and finishing.
  • Sequence Operations: Determine the correct sequence of operations that need to be performed to create the product. The order of operations is essential for efficient production and to ensure that each operation is completed in the right sequence.
  • Assign Resources: For each operation, identify the resources required, such as labor, machinery, tools, and materials. Specify the quantity and duration of each resource needed for the operation.
  • Establish Time Standards: Set time standards for each operation, which represents the expected time it takes to complete the operation. Time standards help in calculating the total production time and estimating lead times.
  • Calculate Operation Costs: Determine the cost associated with each operation, including labor costs, material costs, and any overhead costs specific to that operation. This information is critical for cost allocation and pricing decisions.
  • Create Routing Sheets: Document the routing data for each product in the form of routing sheets or work instructions. Routing sheets should include detailed information about each operation, its sequence, resources required, time standards, and costs.
  • Revise and Update: Routings may change over time due to process improvements, changes in product design, or updated resource requirements. It is essential to regularly review and update routing data to ensure accuracy.
  • Use ERP/MRP Systems: Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) or Material Requirements Planning (MRP) systems can be used to manage routing data effectively. These systems automate the routing process, ensure data consistency, and facilitate real-time updates.
  • Integrate with Inventory Management: Connect routing data with inventory management systems to ensure accurate tracking of work in progress (WIP) and finished goods. This integration helps in inventory control and efficient production planning.
  • Analyze Performance: Regularly analyze production performance based on routing data. Look for bottlenecks, inefficiencies, and opportunities for improvement in the manufacturing process.
  • Cross-Functional Collaboration: Involve different departments, such as production, engineering, and purchasing, in the routing creation and management process. Collaboration ensures that all aspects of the manufacturing process are considered.

By following these steps, manufacturers can create accurate and effective routing data, which is vital for efficient production, cost control, and overall success in the competitive manufacturing industry.

Routing Software and Tools in Modern Manufacturing

In modern manufacturing, routing software and tools play a crucial role in optimizing production processes, managing resources, and ensuring efficient workflow. These tools automate and streamline routing data creation, management, and analysis, leading to increased productivity and reduced production costs.

Here are some of the commonly used routing software and tools in modern manufacturing:

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Systems: ERP systems are comprehensive software solutions that integrate various aspects of a manufacturing business, including production planning, inventory management, finance, human resources, and more.

ERP systems often include robust routing modules that enable manufacturers to create, manage, and update routing data efficiently. Here's how ERP systems are used for routing in manufacturing:

  • Routing Configuration: ERP systems allow businesses to define and configure routing templates or models for different products. These templates outline the sequence of operations, work centers, machinery, labor, and resources required to produce a product.
  • Work Order Management: ERP systems generate work orders based on customer orders or demand forecasts. These work orders include routing information, specifying the steps and operations required to fulfill the order.
  • Routing Optimization: ERP systems can analyze different routing options and suggest the most efficient path based on factors such as machine availability, resource capacity, lead times, and production constraints.
  • Resource Allocation: ERP systems provide insights into resource availability and capacity, helping manufacturers allocate machinery, labor, and materials effectively across different operations and routing paths.
  • Material Planning: ERP systems integrate with inventory management modules to ensure that the required raw materials, components, and sub-assemblies are available at the right time and in the right quantities for each operation.

Material Requirements Planning (MRP) Systems: MRP systems are focused on managing material resources and their requirements for production. They help ensure that the right materials are available at the right time for each operation in the routing, minimizing stockouts and inventory carrying costs.

Here's how MRP systems are used for routing in manufacturing:

  • Bill of Materials (BOM) Management: MRP systems store and manage detailed BOMs, which specify the components, sub-assemblies, and raw materials required for each product. BOMs are associated with routing information to provide a comprehensive view of the production process.
  • Routing Integration: MRP systems integrate routing information from the ERP system, allowing for a synchronized approach to production planning. This integration ensures that materials are planned and procured based on the specific operations and steps outlined in the routing.
  • Demand Forecasting: MRP systems analyze historical demand data and customer orders to forecast future demand. This information helps in determining the quantity and timing of materials required for production.
  • Inventory Management: MRP systems monitor inventory levels for both finished goods and raw materials. They generate replenishment orders, such as purchase orders or production orders, when inventory levels fall below predetermined thresholds.
  • Lead Time Considerations: MRP systems take into account lead times for procuring materials, including supplier lead times and in-house processing times, when planning material orders. This ensures that materials arrive in time for production.
  • Scheduling Coordination: MRP systems align material availability with the production schedule, helping to avoid production delays due to missing components or materials.

Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES): MES software is designed to manage shop floor operations and connect the production process with the overall enterprise systems. MES often includes routing capabilities that facilitate real-time tracking of production progress, quality control, and resource allocation.

Here's how MES systems are used for routing:

  • Real-Time Production Monitoring: MES systems offer real-time visibility into the progress of work orders, including the movement of products through different operations and routing paths. This helps production managers and supervisors track production status, identify bottlenecks, and take timely corrective actions.
  • Routing Adherence: MES systems ensure that products follow the correct routing and sequence of operations specified in the production plan. They enforce routing rules and prevent deviations to maintain consistency and quality.
  • Data Collection and Tracking: MES systems collect real-time data from machines, sensors, and operators during production. This data is used to monitor production efficiency, track cycle times, record downtime, and capture quality metrics at different stages of routing.
  • Quality Control and Inspection: MES systems integrate quality control checkpoints within routing paths to ensure that products meet defined quality standards. They facilitate data collection for inspections, tests, and audits at various production steps.

Computer-Aided Design (CAD) Software: CAD software is used for product design and engineering. Some advanced CAD tools include routing features that help in designing the manufacturing process and generating routing data directly from the product design.

Here's how CAD software can be used for routing:

  • Layout and Visualization: CAD software allows designers and engineers to create detailed layouts of production facilities, work cells, and assembly lines. These layouts help visualize the physical arrangement of machines, workstations, and routing paths, aiding in efficient space utilization and process flow.
  • Assembly Sequencing: CAD software can simulate the assembly sequence of complex products, showing how components come together and the order in which assembly steps should be performed. This visualization helps optimize the routing and sequencing of assembly operations.
  • Interference Checking: CAD software can identify potential clashes or interferences between components, machinery, and routing paths. This ensures that the chosen routing paths do not result in collisions or obstructions during production.
  • Ergonomics and Accessibility: CAD software allows designers to analyze operator ergonomics and accessibility during assembly and production. This ensures that routing paths and workstations are designed for optimal operator comfort and efficiency.
  • Documentation and Annotations: CAD models can be annotated with text, symbols, and notes to provide detailed instructions for each step in the routing. This documentation helps guide operators through the production process.
  • Digital Twin Creation: CAD software can be used to create digital twins of physical assets, such as machines and equipment. These digital twins can be used for simulation and testing to optimize routing and production processes.
  • Prototyping and Simulation: CAD software enables virtual prototyping and simulation of production processes. Engineers can simulate the movement of components, assembly procedures, and routing paths to identify potential issues and optimize efficiency.
  • Integration with Manufacturing Systems: Some CAD software can integrate with Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) or other production planning tools, allowing for seamless data exchange and coordination between design and production.
  • Change Management: When changes are made to product designs or routing paths, CAD software helps update and synchronize the documentation and visual representations, ensuring that the entire production team is working with the most current information.

Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) Systems: PLM systems manage product data throughout its lifecycle, from design to end-of-life. These systems may include routing functionalities to support efficient production planning and management.

Here's how PLM systems are used for routing:

  • Design Integration: PLM systems store and manage detailed product designs, including 3D models, drawings, and specifications. These designs are essential for defining routing paths and operations.
  • BOM and Routing Association: PLM systems link Bill of Materials (BOM) data with routing information. This ensures that the right components and materials are associated with each operation in the routing.
  • Design for Manufacturing (DFM): PLM systems support DFM principles by analyzing product designs and providing feedback on their manufacturability. This can influence routing decisions to optimize production processes.

Manufacturing Resource Planning (MRP II) Systems: MRP II systems build upon MRP capabilities and integrate additional functions like capacity planning, scheduling, and shop floor control. These systems help in optimizing the routing process and overall production efficiency.

Production Scheduling Software: Production scheduling tools enable manufacturers to create detailed schedules for each operation in the routing, considering resource availability, lead times, and demand forecasts. This helps in ensuring smooth and timely production.

Shop Floor Control Software: Shop floor control tools provide real-time monitoring and tracking of production activities, helping to maintain routing compliance and identify and resolve any deviations.

Supply Chain Management (SCM) Software: SCM software ensures the seamless flow of materials and information across the supply chain, including routing data exchange between manufacturers and suppliers.

IoT-enabled Devices and Sensors: In the era of Industry 4.0, IoT-enabled devices and sensors collect real-time data from production processes, allowing for data-driven decision-making and optimizing routing performance.

Business Intelligence (BI) and Analytics Tools: BI and analytics tools help manufacturers analyze routing data, identify patterns, and gain insights into production performance, enabling continuous improvement initiatives.

The integration of these routing software and tools in modern manufacturing allows businesses to achieve higher levels of efficiency, agility, and productivity, helping them stay competitive in today's dynamic and fast-paced market.

Roles and Responsibilities in Creating and Managing Production Routing

In a manufacturing facility, the efficient and seamless flow of production processes is critical for ensuring timely deliveries, minimizing costs, and maximizing overall productivity.

Production routing plays a pivotal role in orchestrating these processes, defining the sequence of operations, work centers, and resources required to transform raw materials into finished products.

Production Planning and Scheduling Team

The production planning and scheduling team is at the forefront of creating and managing production routing. This team is responsible for translating customer orders and demands into actionable production plans. They collaborate closely with sales and marketing departments to understand the demand forecast, order quantities, and delivery timelines.

Key responsibilities of the production planning and scheduling team include:

  • Analyzing demand patterns and historical data to forecast production requirements accurately.
  • Collaborating with engineering and design teams to understand product specifications and requirements.
  • Determining the optimal sequence of operations and work centers to ensure smooth production flow.
  • Allocating resources, such as labor, machines, and materials, based on production schedules.
  • Evaluating production capacity and identifying potential bottlenecks to ensure efficient resource utilization.
  • Continuously monitoring production progress and adjusting routing as needed to accommodate changes in demand or unforeseen disruptions.

Industrial Engineers

Industrial engineers play a crucial role in designing and optimizing production routing to achieve maximum efficiency. They are experts in analyzing production processes, identifying areas for improvement, and implementing strategies to enhance overall productivity.

Key responsibilities of industrial engineers in production routing include:

  • Conducting time studies to determine the standard time required for each operation.
  • Analyzing production data to identify inefficiencies and recommend process improvements.
  • Utilizing tools such as value stream mapping to visualize and streamline production workflows.
  • Collaborating with cross-functional teams to implement lean manufacturing principles and continuous improvement initiatives.
  • Ensuring that production routing complies with quality and safety standards.
  • Conducting training sessions for production operators to ensure proper understanding and adherence to the routing guidelines.

Operations Managers and Supervisors

Operations managers and supervisors are responsible for overseeing the day-to-day production activities and ensuring that production routing is followed correctly. They play a vital role in managing resources, coordinating with various departments, and resolving any production-related issues.

Key responsibilities of operations managers and supervisors in managing production routing include:

  • Assigning tasks to production operators based on the defined routing.
  • Monitoring production progress and ensuring that operations are carried out according to the specified sequence.
  • Addressing production deviations and taking corrective actions to maintain production efficiency.
  • Coordinating with maintenance teams to ensure equipment availability and reliability.
  • Collaborating with the production planning team to provide feedback on routing feasibility and resource availability.
  • Conducting regular meetings to discuss production targets and progress with cross-functional teams.

Quality Control and Assurance Team

Quality control and assurance teams are responsible for maintaining product quality and ensuring that all production processes adhere to specified standards. They work closely with the production planning team to ensure that routing guidelines incorporate quality checks at various stages of production.

Key responsibilities of the quality control and assurance team in production routing include:

  • Reviewing production routing to ensure that quality checkpoints are appropriately incorporated.
  • Conducting inspections and audits to verify that operations meet quality standards.
  • Collaborating with the production planning team to update routing guidelines based on quality feedback and improvements.
  • Documenting quality-related data to identify trends and potential areas for improvement.
  • Ensuring that production operators are trained on quality requirements and standards.

Production Operators

Production operators are the individuals directly involved in carrying out the operations specified in the production routing. They play a critical role in executing the routing accurately and efficiently.

Key responsibilities of production operators in the following production routing include:

  • Understanding and interpreting the routing instructions for their assigned tasks.
  • Adhering to the specified sequence of operations and work center assignments.
  • Performing tasks according to the standard time and quality requirements.
  • Reporting any issues or deviations to supervisors and managers.
  • Contributing to continuous improvement efforts by providing feedback on routing effectiveness.

Routing and Supply Chain Integration

In the ever-evolving landscape of manufacturing, achieving a seamless supply chain integration has become a critical factor for success. A crucial aspect of this integration is the alignment of production routing with supply chain operations.

Effective routing and supply chain integration can significantly enhance efficiency, reduce lead times, and improve overall customer satisfaction.

Aligning Routing with Demand Forecasting

One of the key aspects of supply chain integration is to align production routing with demand forecasting. By leveraging historical demand data and market trends, manufacturers can create routing plans that are closely synchronized with the anticipated demand.

This alignment allows for better resource planning, ensuring that production capabilities are fully utilized to meet customer demands while minimizing excess inventory.

Real-Time Communication and Collaboration

Supply chain integration requires seamless communication and collaboration between various departments and stakeholders. Production routing needs to be easily accessible and up-to-date for all relevant teams, including procurement, production, and distribution.

Leveraging technology and cloud-based systems can ensure that everyone is on the same page, leading to faster decision-making and more agile responses to changing market demands.

Optimizing Inventory Levels

Supply chain integration facilitates a better understanding of inventory requirements at different stages of production. With accurate routing and synchronized inventory management, manufacturers can optimize inventory levels to minimize holding costs while ensuring timely delivery to customers.

This approach reduces the risk of stockouts and overstocking, leading to improved cash flow and profitability.

Adapting to Supply Chain Disruptions

Supply chain disruptions are inevitable, but an integrated approach to routing and supply chain management can help manufacturers be more resilient.

By continuously monitoring supply chain dynamics and having contingency plans in place, manufacturers can quickly adapt production routing to address unexpected disruptions, such as raw material shortages or transportation delays.

Incorporating Supplier Collaboration

Effective supply chain integration involves close collaboration with suppliers. By sharing production routing information with suppliers, manufacturers can ensure that they have the necessary materials and components ready at the right time. This proactive approach reduces lead times and the risk of production delays.

Efficient Order Fulfillment

Integration between routing and supply chain operations leads to more efficient order fulfillment. Manufacturers can prioritize orders based on production routing, ensuring that high-priority orders are processed and shipped on time. This customer-centric approach enhances customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Data-Driven Decision Making

A data-driven approach is vital for successful routing and supply chain integration. Manufacturers should regularly analyze production data, supply chain performance, and customer feedback to identify areas for improvement and implement data-backed decisions to optimize overall operations.

Challenges in Routing Implementation

Routing implementation is a crucial aspect of modern manufacturing that plays a vital role in optimizing production processes and ensuring efficient resource utilization. However, as manufacturers strive to adopt advanced routing strategies, they may encounter various challenges that hinder seamless implementation.

The Complexity of Manufacturing Processes

Manufacturing processes can be inherently complex, involving numerous steps, resources, and variables. Mapping out an efficient routing plan that optimizes production flow while considering various constraints can be challenging.

To overcome this challenge, manufacturers should invest in advanced manufacturing software that offers comprehensive modeling and simulation capabilities. This software can help simulate different routing scenarios, analyze the impact of process changes, and identify the most efficient routing plan.

Resistance to Change

Implementing new routing strategies often requires changes to existing processes and workflow. Resistance to change among employees can be a significant obstacle to successful routing implementation. To address this challenge, manufacturers should prioritize clear communication and involve all stakeholders in the planning and decision-making process.

Providing proper training and support to employees during the transition can also help ease resistance and foster a culture of continuous improvement.

Lack of Data and Information

Effective routing implementation heavily relies on accurate and up-to-date data. However, many manufacturing facilities struggle with data fragmentation and lack of real-time information. Without proper data, it becomes challenging to make informed decisions regarding routing optimization.

Manufacturers should invest in data integration and management systems that consolidate data from various sources, providing a holistic view of production operations. Implementing real-time data collection tools can also enhance the accuracy and availability of critical information.

Balancing Efficiency and Flexibility

Manufacturers often face the challenge of striking a balance between optimizing production efficiency and maintaining the flexibility to adapt to changing customer demands and market trends. Rigid routing plans may lead to inefficiencies, while overly flexible plans can result in production bottlenecks.

Manufacturers should design routing strategies that offer a degree of flexibility to accommodate changes without compromising efficiency. Implementing dynamic routing algorithms that consider real-time data can help achieve this balance.

Resource Constraints

Limited resources, such as machine availability, skilled labor, and raw materials, can significantly impact routing implementation. Manufacturers must carefully allocate resources to avoid bottlenecks and ensure optimal utilization.

Advanced scheduling and resource planning tools can help manufacturers optimize resource allocation and mitigate the impact of resource constraints.

Supply Chain Disruptions

Supply chain disruptions, such as material shortages, transportation delays, and unforeseen events, can disrupt routing plans and lead to production delays. To address this challenge, manufacturers should develop contingency plans and establish robust communication channels with suppliers to stay informed about potential disruptions.

Implementing real-time tracking systems for raw materials and products can also enhance visibility and enable timely responses to supply chain challenges.

Key Performance Indicators Used to Measure the Effectiveness of a Production Routing System

A production routing system plays a crucial role in guiding manufacturing processes and ensuring the efficient flow of materials and products through the production floor. To measure its effectiveness, various key performance indicators (KPIs) are used.

These KPIs provide insights into the overall performance, productivity, quality, and cost-effectiveness of the production routing system. In this article, we will delve into the essential KPIs that manufacturers use to evaluate the effectiveness of their production routing system.

On-Time Delivery (OTD):

On-Time Delivery (OTD) is a critical KPI that measures the percentage of products or orders delivered to customers on or before the promised delivery date. This indicator reflects the ability of the production routing system to meet customer demand and avoid delays.

A high OTD indicates that the production routing system is efficient in planning and executing production schedules, ensuring timely deliveries, and meeting customer expectations.

Calculating On-Time Delivery (OTD):

To calculate OTD, follow these steps:

  1. Determine the time frame for measurement (e.g., a month, quarter, or year).
  2. Identify the total number of orders or products scheduled for delivery within that time frame.
  3. Count the number of orders or products that were delivered on or before the specified delivery date.
  4. Divide the number of on-time deliveries by the total number of scheduled deliveries and multiply by 100 to get the OTD percentage.
Formula: OTD (%) = (Number of On-Time Deliveries / Total Scheduled Deliveries) × 100

Cycle Time:

Cycle time represents the total time taken to complete a single manufacturing cycle, from the initiation of production to the final delivery of the product. This KPI is a key measure of the efficiency of the production routing system in processing orders and completing production tasks.

A shorter cycle time indicates that the production routing system is optimized for speed and responsiveness.

Calculating Cycle Time:

To calculate Cycle Time, follow these steps:

  1. Choose a specific production process, unit, or batch for measurement.
  2. Record the start time (when production begins) and end time (when production is completed) for that unit or batch.
  3. Calculate the time difference between the start and end times to determine the Cycle Time.
Formula: Cycle Time = End Time - Start Time


Throughput measures the rate at which products are produced and delivered within a specific time frame. It evaluates the overall capacity and productivity of the production routing system. Higher throughput indicates that the production routing system is effective in maximizing production and meeting demand efficiently.

Calculating Throughput:

To calculate Throughput, follow these steps:

  1. Choose a specific time frame for measurement (e.g., an hour, a day, a week).
  2. Count the total number of units or products that have been successfully completed and processed within that time frame.
  3. Divide the total number of units by the chosen time frame to determine the throughput rate.
Formula: Throughput = Total Units Completed / Time Frame

First Pass Yield (FPY):

First Pass Yield (FPY) is a quality-related KPI that measures the percentage of products that are produced correctly without any defects or rework required. A high FPY indicates that the production routing system is accurate and reliable, producing products that meet the required specifications and standards on the first attempt.

Formula for First Pass Yield (FPY):

FPY = (Total Number of Units Completed on First Pass / Total Number of Units Started) × 100

In this formula:

  • Total Number of Units Completed on First Pass: This refers to the number of units that have successfully completed the entire production process without the need for any rework, repairs, or adjustments.
  • Total Number of Units Started: This represents the total number of units that were initiated at the beginning of the production process.

The result of the calculation is then multiplied by 100 to express FPY as a percentage.

Work-in-Progress (WIP):

Work-in-Progress (WIP) represents the number of products or orders in various stages of production at any given time. Monitoring WIP helps assess the efficiency of the production routing system in managing inventory levels and avoiding overproduction or bottlenecks.

Formula for Work-in-Progress (WIP):

WIP = Total Number of Units in Production

In this formula:

  • Total Number of Units in Production: This refers to the sum of all units or products that are currently being processed at different stages of the production process. It includes units that are waiting for processing, undergoing processing, or awaiting further steps before completion.

Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE):

Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) is a comprehensive metric that evaluates the performance of equipment and machinery in the production process. It considers three components: Availability, Performance, and Quality. OEE provides insights into how effectively equipment is being utilized and how well it performs during production.

Formula for Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE):

OEE = Availability × Performance × Quality


  • Availability = (Operating Time - Downtime) / Operating Time
  • Performance = (Actual Production Rate / Maximum Possible Production Rate)
  • Quality = (Number of Good Units Produced / Total Number of Units Produced)

OEE is typically expressed as a percentage.

Scrap and Rework Rates:

Scrap and rework rates measure the percentage of products that are rejected as scrap or require rework due to defects. These KPIs provide valuable information about the quality control processes in the production routing system. Lower scrap and rework rates indicate better quality control and lower production costs.

Cost per Unit:

Cost per Unit is a financial KPI that calculates the average cost incurred to produce a single unit of a product. This KPI helps assess the cost-effectiveness of the production routing system and identify opportunities for cost reduction.

Capacity Utilization:

Capacity Utilization measures the percentage of available production capacity that is being used. High capacity utilization indicates that the production routing system is maximizing the use of available resources, optimizing production efficiency, and meeting demand efficiently.

Employee Productivity:

Employee productivity KPI measures the output and efficiency of the workforce in the production process. It evaluates the performance of employees involved in various stages of production, such as assembly, machining, or packaging.

Higher employee productivity indicates that the production routing system is well-designed to support employee performance and overall efficiency.

Customer Complaints and Returns:

The number of customer complaints and returns provides insights into the quality and accuracy of products produced through the production routing system. A low number of complaints and returns signifies higher customer satisfaction and product quality.


Downtime measures the amount of time that equipment or machinery is not operational. Minimizing downtime is crucial for an efficient production routing system, as it directly impacts production schedules, delays deliveries, and incurs additional costs.

These key performance indicators are invaluable in evaluating the effectiveness of a production routing system. They help manufacturers identify strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement in their production processes, enabling them to make data-driven decisions and optimize their manufacturing operations.

By monitoring and analyzing these KPIs regularly, businesses can continuously improve their production routing system and enhance overall performance and profitability.

Manufacturing routing is a fundamental aspect of production processes, and as technology and industry need to evolve, so do the trends in this area. Here are some future trends in manufacturing routing:

Integration with Industry 4.0 Technologies: As the concept of Industry 4.0 gains momentum, manufacturing routing is expected to integrate with advanced technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and big data analytics.

These technologies will enable real-time monitoring and optimization of production processes, leading to increased efficiency, reduced downtime, and improved decision-making.

Predictive Maintenance: With the help of IoT sensors and AI algorithms, manufacturing routing will move towards predictive maintenance. By continuously monitoring the health of machinery and equipment, the system can predict potential failures and schedule maintenance activities proactively.

This approach will prevent costly unplanned downtime and improve overall equipment effectiveness.

Cloud-Based Routing Solutions: Cloud computing will become more prevalent in manufacturing, offering scalable and cost-effective solutions for routing data management.

Cloud-based routing systems will enable real-time collaboration, data accessibility from any location, and seamless integration with other business applications.

Digital Twin Technology: Digital twin technology, where a virtual representation of physical assets and processes is created, will play a significant role in manufacturing routing.

Digital twins will allow manufacturers to simulate and optimize production scenarios, identify bottlenecks, and test new routing strategies without impacting the actual production line.

Blockchain Integration: Blockchain technology will find applications in manufacturing routing by enhancing traceability, transparency, and security throughout the supply chain.

Blockchain can be utilized to track product movements, validate certifications, and ensure compliance with regulations, leading to better quality control and reduced risk of counterfeiting.

Mobility and Remote Access: With the increasing adoption of mobile devices and remote work arrangements, manufacturing routing will adapt to provide mobile applications and remote access to real-time production data.

Managers and operators will be able to monitor and control production processes from their smartphones or tablets, ensuring flexibility and responsiveness.

Eco-Friendly Routing Strategies: Sustainability and environmental concerns will drive the adoption of eco-friendly routing strategies. Manufacturers will focus on optimizing routing to reduce waste, energy consumption, and carbon footprint. This trend will align with the growing emphasis on green manufacturing practices.

5G Connectivity: The rollout of 5G technology will revolutionize connectivity in manufacturing. High-speed, low-latency data transfer will facilitate real-time communication between machines, enabling faster decision-making and better synchronization of production routing.

Augmented Reality (AR) for Training and Support: AR technology will be leveraged for training operators and maintenance personnel on complex manufacturing routing tasks. AR applications can provide step-by-step visual guidance and troubleshooting support, improving training efficiency and reducing errors.

These trends indicate an exciting future for manufacturing routing, with technology-driven advancements and a focus on efficiency, customization, sustainability, and adaptability. As manufacturers embrace these developments, they will be better equipped to stay competitive in the dynamic and evolving manufacturing landscape.

How Can Deskera Help You?

Deskera MRP allows you to closely monitor the manufacturing process. From the bill of materials to the production planning features, the solution helps you stay on top of your game and keep your company's competitive edge.‌

Learn More About Production Scheduling With Deskera MRP!
Ensure Increased Productivity and Profitability

Deskera ERP and MRP system can help you:

  • Manage production plans
  • Maintain Bill of Materials
  • Generate detailed reports
  • Create a custom dashboard

Deskera ERP offers routing capabilities that help businesses optimize their operations by defining efficient workflows, automating processes, and ensuring seamless communication between different departments or stages of a process. Routing in Deskera ERP enhances collaboration, reduces manual intervention, and improves overall efficiency. Here's how Deskera ERP can help in routing:

  • Workflow Design and Automation: Deskera ERP allows businesses to design and automate workflows for various processes, such as order processing, approvals, document reviews, and more. Workflows define the sequence of steps, participants, and conditions for each stage of the process.
  • Task Assignment and Notifications: Within the routing workflow, Deskera ERP enables task assignment to specific individuals or teams. Automated notifications and alerts are sent to participants when their input or action is required.
  • Approval Workflows: Deskera ERP supports approval workflows, ensuring that relevant stakeholders review and authorize documents, transactions, or requests before proceeding to the next stage.
  • Document Routing: The system facilitates document routing for tasks such as document creation, review, editing, and approval. Documents move through predefined stages, and authorized users can access and contribute to them.

Deskera Books enables you to manage your accounts and finances more effectively. Maintain sound accounting practices by automating accounting operations such as billing, invoicing, and payment processing.

Deskera CRM is a strong solution that manages your sales and assists you in closing agreements quickly. It not only allows you to do critical duties such as lead generation via email, but it also provides you with a comprehensive view of your sales funnel.

Deskera People is a simple tool for taking control of your human resource management functions. The technology not only speeds up payroll processing but also allows you to manage all other activities such as overtime, benefits, bonuses, training programs, and much more. This is your chance to grow your business, increase earnings, and improve the efficiency of the entire production process.


Routing in manufacturing is a fundamental process that plays a crucial role in determining the most efficient and effective path for products to follow during production. This article has provided a comprehensive overview of what routing entails, its importance, and the various elements involved in creating and managing manufacturing routes.

Routing refers to the step-by-step sequence of operations, work centers, and resources that a product must go through during its production journey. It acts as a roadmap, guiding the flow of materials and activities from raw materials to finished goods.

Operations represent the individual tasks that must be performed, while work centers are the physical locations where these tasks are carried out. Bills of materials detail the list of raw materials and components required for each operation.

Accurate routing data helps businesses calculate the true cost of production, allowing for informed pricing decisions and improved profitability. Manufacturing analytics enables businesses to identify bottlenecks, inefficiencies, and areas for improvement within the production process.

Efficient routing aligns with lean principles by minimizing waste, reducing production delays, and optimizing resource utilization. Effective coordination between production, engineering, and sales teams ensures that routing decisions are well-informed and align with business objectives.

Ultimately, routing in manufacturing is a dynamic and essential component of successful production operations, contributing to lean principles, continuous improvement, and overall business success.

Key Takeaways

  • Key components of a manufacturing route include operations, work centers, and bills of materials, which outline the tasks, locations, and materials required for each step of production.
  • Technology, such as manufacturing software and ERP solutions, plays a vital role in creating, managing, and optimizing routing data efficiently.
  • Balancing factors such as resource availability, lead times, and production volumes is essential in designing realistic and achievable manufacturing routes.
  • Different types of routing methods, such as fixed routing and flexible routing, offer varying levels of adaptability and customization to suit different production needs.
  • Efficient routing not only optimizes internal manufacturing processes but also impacts supply chain management, supplier relationships, and distribution strategies.
  • Accurate routing data contributes to product costing and pricing decisions, enabling businesses to calculate the true cost of production and improve profitability.
  • Challenges in routing include complexity in multi-product manufacturing, changing production volumes, and the need for continuous improvement to overcome inefficiencies.
  • Leveraging data analytics and performance metrics help identify bottlenecks and areas for improvement within the production process.
  • Routing aligns with lean manufacturing principles by minimizing waste, reducing production delays, and optimizing resource utilization.
  • Collaboration and communication among different departments involved in the manufacturing process are crucial for well-informed and effective routing decisions.
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