What are the typical ERP requirements of a manufacturing company?
Whether you have 50 or 500 employees, whether you operate in the metals industry or in mechanical engineering, in custom production or in mass production, whether you’re doing business in Milwaukee or Malaysia, ERP solutions have become indispensable to mid-market businesses.
You don’t just want to “remain competitive,” you want to develop a sustainable competitive advantage over others in your market in order to grow. It takes a lot to build that competitive advantage: you need to excel at efficiency, costing, cost management, data transparency, and more. Ensuring competitive advantage is also a dynamic process requiring your to develop “agility.” Agility means that you can change the way you work depending on how technologies and customer expectations evolve into the future. And evolve they will. Getting your systems to work together, offering you real-time visibility into your data is what we’re all about, because we know these capabilities are the key drivers of your competitive advantage today and tomorrow.
ERP Systems Enable Manufacturers to Work Smarter
Having a solid ERP system comes into play in order to enable you to work smarter today and “future-proof” your business for tomorrow. An ERP system connects the various functional departments of your manufacturing company to form the "big picture," enabling coordination and data sharing across your business while giving you full visibility into your processes and operations. For manufacturing companies, ERP systems control all essential business processes and material flows, collect data, and deliver evaluations for strategic decisions—from purchasing, warehousing, and production to marketing and sales, customer support, controlling, and more. With an ERP system, you have visibility and control from the plant to the warehouse to sales and distribution.
One Small Example
Let’s look at an example of the many benefits an ERP system can offer a custom manufacturer, who’s in one of the toughest (yet booming) businesses in the world. The systems integration enabled by an ERP system will allow that custom manufacturer to seamlessly input the customer’s product design from a CAD file and then start the process of planning and production. With such CAD integration, the custom manufacturing can accurately schedule and cost out the customer’s order, so the customer can get a quick quote and accurate delivery estimate. Meanwhile, the manufacturer can estimate the project’s profitability. From there, the custom manufacturer’s systems can automatically order parts and materials for the production run.
Once the production begins, an ERP system enables the manufacturer to track actual costs versus estimated costs throughout the entire project. Again, an ERP system coordinates all of this data sharing and updating across your organization in real-time. You have visibility into what’s happening, operationally and financially, and can change course quickly and still assess your operational capacities and profitability. That’s what agility looks like in manufacturing, and an ERP system enables it.
Future-Proofing Your Manufacturing Business
As every manufacturer knows, change happens fast, largely driven by technological innovations. Some of the evolving technologies that are now transforming manufacturing include the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), Additive Manufacturing or 3D Printing, Artificial Intelligence, Advanced Robotics, and much more. How can you keep pace and integrate all these emerging technologies into how you do business?
Let’s look at Additive Manufacturing (or 3D Printing) as an example. It’s becoming increasingly possible for manufacturers of all kinds to print parts in various materials, from plastic to multiple metals, with the 3D printers that are becoming available. The manufacturer simply inputs the product design and the production begins via the printer. Custom manufacturers can use 3D printing for the development and prototyping process, where the speed of additive manufacturing can improve efficiency and control costs. Yet purchasing these new 3D printers and the materials they use can be an expensive investment for any manufacturer. Having an ERP platform in place makes it easy for you to integrate this emerging technology into your entire business.
Considering a new ERP system? Download the Guide: How to Buy ERP Software in 7 Easy Steps
How can you keep integrating new technologies as they arrive? The answer is in having an ERP system that’s also a platform for today and tomorrow’s technologies. When you have that solid foundation that an ERP system provides, you can keep on adding whatever manufacturing technologies come next, in a fast and seamless way. You can’t afford to fall behind in technology, and your customers will punish you by taking their business elsewhere if they discover that you can’t keep pace. At abas USA, we pride ourselves in helping our customers become “future-proof.”