- 29 November 2017
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When looking for an ERP system, you want to find a solution that will support not only your needs today, but also the needs that the future will bring. For many in manufacturing, that future is one involving additive manufacturing methods.
Additive manufacturing — or AM, commonly referred to as 3D printing — has already revolutionized industries from healthcare to consumer electronics to the automotive sector. Now, additive manufacturing is coming to the aerospace and defense industry. The creation of new printing systems designed specifically for the manufacturing industry promises engineers the ability to quickly prototype and produce metal components — a far cry from the plastic filament printing that started the industry. In early 2017, BAE Systems became the first manufacturer in the A&D sector to include a 3D printed part into its military airframe.
For manufacturers, 3D printing provides the tremendous opportunity to produce individual, specialized parts in-house — but you need the right technology to take advantage of this technology.
The Role of ERP Solutions in AM
An effective ERP system is key in helping your company best embrace the latest 3D printing innovations.
An ERP will allow you to closely track the quality and materials that make up each part that comes out of your shop — including those made with AM. An ERP product data management solution will track your products from material sourcing through delivery, allowing you to monitor efficiency in real-time and have the information you need at your fingertips. An ERP solution can also function as a forecasting tool to predict where orders may need to be placed in the future.
Since AM is still a fairly new innovation to the A&D world, it becomes even more important to track the safety record of 3D printed parts. Tracking part serialization using an ERP will mean you can identify where each individual part has come from — whether it’s from a provider or something that was created on your own manufacturing floor. Your ERP will keep records that are far more useful and convenient than anything that the best employee could document with paper and pen.
AM is a blend of physical manufacturing and technology. Your ERP can help by offering applications linked to discrete manufacturing and process manufacturing. The discrete manufacturing industry is all about creating custom, made-to-order components quickly and without compromising quality. Process manufacturing, on the other hand, involves the use of different chemical recipes to create a new product. With 3D printing, your company may engage in either form of manufacturing. You need an ERP that can handle both.
Harness Innovation With ERP
A&D manufacturers know that efficiently producing products of consistent and predictable high quality is the name of the game. Ensuring this by using an ERP to oversee new additive manufacturing methods is the best solution to harness this emerging innovation.
Cre8tive Technology & Design offers ERP solutions that meet their specific needs of A&D manufacturers. Get in touch with us today to talk about what we can offer your organization.