In our last post, we discussed some of the challenges that the electronics manufacturing industry faces and how ERP systems can help meet them. Essentially, short development cycles and product lifecycles, strict quality standards, ever-changing regulatory guidelines, and thin profit margins have created a need for electronics OEMs to better integrate their supply chains and improve the efficiency of their end-to-end operations.
Electronics OEMs turn to ERP systems to streamline operations and provide greater visibility into their processes from the initial order to the final shipment. But given the vagaries of the industry, a generic enterprise software package is unlikely to provide these manufacturers with all of the functionality they need. Further, ERP software geared toward large companies is unlikely to satisfy the unique requirements of mid-market OEMs.
abas ERP, on the other hand, is designed specifically for these "hidden champions" of the industry. This article will examine some of the specific features that make abas ERP such a powerful choice for electronics OEMs.
How abas ERP benefits mid-market custom electronics OEMs
Much of the mid-market electronics manufacturing sector is made up of custom manufacturers. Every product they make is engineered specifically for a particular client's need, which creates an inherent unpredictability in the engineering and production process. The ERP system on which the manufacturer relies must be agile and responsive enough to quickly source and order potentially unfamiliar component parts, determine accurate costs for each part of the production process, and have the flexibility to accommodate design changes that arise even after production has started.
When it comes to the custom manufacturing environment, basic ERP functionality and generic features may not be enough. abas ERP is designed for custom manufacturers who need to integrate their entire production and development process to achieve the agility and responsiveness necessary for a successful project.
Most importantly, there needs to be a seamless integration between the Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Document Management System (DMS), and ERP systems. The custom manufacturing environment is defined by the constant interplay between the OEM and customer. For example, if the customer wants to make a design change during production, any alterations to the design must result in updated costs, parts to be ordered, new tooling, time to completion and other critical project-related changes. abas ERP's ability to integrate with CRM software makes it easy to automatically get an updated workflow just by entering new specifications into the CRM.
One feature abas ERP offers that many other systems do not is the integrated field service module. With this feature, an end user can contact the OEM if there is an issue with a specific component of the product. Using the detailed lot control features, the OEM can determine the exact lot that went into that specific product based on its serial number, trace it through the value chain to see where the issue originated, and work to remediate it. This is essential for the electronics industry, which has extremely strict requirements for quality from customers who rely on electronic components and from regulators who expect compliance with Underwriters Laboratory standards.
abas ERP was designed specifically for midmarket electronics OEMs.
From made-to-order to configured-to-order
The electronics industry isn't so cut and dry as to be able to divide it cleanly into custom manufacturers and mass producers. Many OEMs offer products and services centered around both forms of production. These hybrid OEMs can create custom products for a customer's specific design, or they can provide parts that are configured to order. Made to order requires a CAD integration like the one abas ERP offers.
With the latter, the customer picks an existing product out of a catalog and sets the specifications it needs based on a predetermined list of features. abas ERP includes a "configurator" tool within its system to automate this process. Electronics OEMs can make their catalogs available through an e-commerce platform, mobile application, or even a live salesperson. The customer uses the configurator tool to set its exact specifications. From there, the abas ERP software automatically loads the order details into the back end.
The seamless integration between the parts of abas ERP are key. The customer can fill out an order, and that information is automatically transmitted to the next part of the development process. There are no dual data entry processes that could lead to potential errors and slow down sales or production. abas ERP shortens the cycle and helps manufacturers move products quicker.
Everything mid-market electronics OEMs need in one system
Enterprise-level manufacturers often rely on multiple ERP systems to underpin their operations. If a hybrid electronics OEM produces custom goods for some customers and configured-to-order goods for others, the manufacturer may require multiple systems to handle those separate processes.
As a solution for midmarket OEMs, abas ERP is built to handle custom and mass production all in one system. In an industry where profit margins are thin and operational efficiency is of the utmost importance, the ease with which abas ERP integrates everything OEMs need into one package can be a decisive advantage.