- 18 July 2018
Your enterprise resource planning (ERP) system is the lifeblood of your organization, but like any other element of your business, it can become outdated — especially in the face of the rapid digital transformation that’s currently sweeping through the manufacturing industry. If you aren’t working with an up-to-date solution, you could be missing out on all the benefits a modern ERP system offers.
How can you determine whether your software has passed its use-by date? Here are the 6 telltale signs that indicate your ERP system is in need of an upgrade.
1. Your Processes are Inefficient
An outdated ERP system can prevent employees in different departments from being able to collaborate effectively. Responsibilities might be getting lost in your ever-changing, day-to-day operations; or, your manufacturing processes might be taking too long to initiate or finish.
If you notice delays in your processes — despite new equipment or advanced machinery — or gaps in communication between teams, check how jobs and communications are managed in your ERP system. Your ERP may need to be updated to integrate with newer, more advanced equipment or to better fit the current workflow between your teams.
Modern ERP systems gather data that can help you coordinate employees’ shifts and equipment schedules to fully optimize workflow. An upgraded ERP will track and remind you of routine equipment maintenance, helping you plan ahead for scheduled downtime and preventing more costly breakdowns or repairs later. Your upgraded ERP can also be customized to facilitate smooth communication between departments that need to be in touch with each other; such as your sales and customer service teams, or your production and inventory management teams.
2. You Have a Lack of Integration
Many software solutions can only handle certain inputs, which means your organization may have to enter data into multiple systems. This isn’t only time consuming — it can also lead to mistakes. If your ERP system does not fully integrate with your other software, such as your enterprise asset management software, you can quickly end up with redundancies, errors, and disputes. If you’ve invested in IoT-connected devices or advanced machinery, your legacy ERP system may not have the capability to integrate with these newer technologies, further slowing down your processes.
A modern ERP system will integrate with the latest manufacturing technology, including IoT devices, artificial intelligence, and additive manufacturing equipment. When linked with the IoT, your upgraded ERP system will allow you to track equipment status in real-time, alerting you immediately to production errors, slow-downs, or interruptions. With the real-time data IoT provides, modern ERP systems can also gather and analyze massive amounts of data to employ predictive analytics — this enables the system to predict needed maintenance for a specific part or machine before it breaks down.
When you upgrade your ERP to integrate with your current equipment and technologies, you’ll save time, reduce tedious manual work for your staff, and minimize costs due to unexpected delays and repairs.
3. You’re Slow to React to Changes in Your Supply Chain
Variables such as changing weather conditions, new regulations, and market fluctuations in key raw materials all interfere with an efficient supply chain. Without real-time information about your supply chain, your company may struggle to respond quickly to unforeseen issues such as delays in material delivery, errors in order processing, or fluctuating material prices.
Upgrading to a fully functional, modern ERP system allows you to run ad hoc reports with instant results. This increased visibility into your supply chain helps you manage your costs and processes more easily. By combining alerts with predictive analytics, a modern ERP system can help you determine when new materials need to be ordered and when delays can be expected. When you’re aware of a delay in your supply chain in real-time, you can pivot production schedules to accommodate the change without losing productivity.
4. You Can’t Make Decisions Quickly
If you and other decision-makers at your company can’t get the information you need to make fast decisions for the business, it’s likely time to upgrade to a better ERP system. Mass amounts of data are transmitted every second. You need to stay on top of this information to make the right decisions for your organization as quickly as possible.
Updated ERP systems have the capacity to gather and analyze large volumes of data quickly, to support an efficient decision-making process. With data interpretation and recall at the touch of a button, your leadership team can analyze information in real time and act on it right away.
5. You’re Unable to Scale
If you expect your business to grow, your systems must be able to grow with it. As you scale upward, you may find that your current ERP system does not offer the features you need to keep up with customer demand or a shifting landscape. Consumers are better versed in industry information than ever before, and they have greater expectations for the companies they have entrusted with their business.
Modern ERP systems are cutting-edge, user-friendly, and flexible enough to add components without massive overhauls. This can help your organization scale effectively and stay competitive with rising demand.
6. You’re Struggling to Remain Compliant
Compliance — including but not limited to ISO, AS9100, and ITAR certifications — is essential for your manufacturing organization. Systems that aren’t automatically updated to be compliant with state and federal regulations cost you time, as you need to bring them up to code manually each time regulations for your industry change. Because these standards evolve and change as time goes on, it takes time and effort to ensure your business is compliant with the most current standards.
Modern ERP systems don’t only help you manage compliance with regulatory bodies; they also improve quality assurance and risk management by centralizing all of your compliance data. This ensures that your organization maintains thorough records and can provide any requested documentation at a moment’s notice.
Have you noticed one or more of these signs at your manufacturing business? Our team is experienced in implementing and customizing modern ERP systems to fit the rapidly-advancing needs of manufacturing companies. Contact Cre8tive Technology and Design to speak to our expert team about upgrading your ERP so you can keep your business ahead of the curve.