- 17 May 2017
Discrete manufacturers are always on the lookout for systems and tools that provide tangible benefits — value that can be seen and experienced on the production floor. It’s no wonder enterprise resource planning (ERP) is spreading through the discrete manufacturing industry like wildfire. As more manufacturing leaders turn to ERP to improve production, they quickly find that the benefits extend far beyond just the plant.
ERP is a type of management software that helps automate business functions. ERP solutions use a system of integrated applications to connect every department in your company. Check out the benefits ERP brings to discrete manufacturing, and you’ll see why manufacturers value ERP software so highly.
1. Streamline Operations
One of the primary benefits of ERP is its ability to streamline operations within your business. ERP streamlines data entry processes by automating your systems and removing the need to enter information manually. All departments are then able to collect and share data more efficiently.
Take the example of El-Cab, a company that manufactures cable harnesses and other components for automotive, marine, and rail industries. Implementing an ERP solution allowed the company to coordinate manufacturing, maintenance, and distribution processes more efficiently. El-Cab’s management team was especially pleased that ERP enabled the business to incorporate Lean Manufacturing principles into its production process.
2. Increase Customer Satisfaction
Streamlining data isn’t just a benefit to production. By organizing customer data and making it easier to access, ERP software also improves customer service. Sales and service representatives can quickly pull up data when speaking with a customer, allowing them to fulfill requests in a timely manner.
El-Cab’s ERP solution provides multi-language support — ideal for a company located in Poland and working with a German-speaking board — and direct communication with both clients and suppliers of the company. El-Cab’s employees can use ERP to verify stock availability or check on items a customer has ordered to see when they’ll be available. Improving customer relations is key to improving business profitability, as pleased customers will keep coming back for more.
3. Improve Communication
In addition to improving customer communication, ERP solutions make it possible for different departments to communicate easily. With ERP, all your data is in one central location rather than spread across multiple databases — keeping everyone integrated into all aspects of the business.
Because ERP allows employees to see data in real-time, staff can stay updated on the status of inventory levels and order fulfillment. Easy access to data makes for quicker, more efficient deliveries, inventory ordering, accounting, and more. All departments can react to changes in data instantly, minimizing the risk of error and miscommunication.
4. Reduce Costs
ERP empowers your operations to run faster and with fewer errors, reducing costs for your business across the board. Unnecessary errors are not only expensive to fix, but often cause equipment downtime and slow production. When you automate processes through ERP, you can do more work with fewer hands — meaning you won’t have to hire as many people to grow your business.
5. Prepare for Growth
ERP solutions prepare companies for growth, as seen firsthand in the case of Challenger Door, an RV and cargo door manufacturer. After adopting an ERP strategy, the company experienced 30% growth in eight years. ERP streamlined processes, automated calculations, and gave all employees access to real-time company data. Staff was able to easily view historical data, production schedules, and project details — keeping everyone on the same page, and reducing downtimes and communication errors. ERP contributed to a rapid expansion for Challenger Door, by enabling the company to meet the needs of a growing market, without becoming overwhelmed by the workload.
6. Drive Competitiveness
Implementing an ERP strategy elevates your internal processes, keeping you at the front of the pack. It’s easy to see how all of the benefits listed above contribute to a company’s ability to compete in its field. When you’re spending less time entering data and responding to issues caused by human error, you can focus more on what counts — delivering high-quality products and ensuring customer satisfaction — and that gives you a competitive edge in the industry.
Businesses that aren’t using ERP will find it difficult to scale up and compete against the bigger businesses that have already figured out the secret to streamlining processes and reducing costs. With all of its far-reaching benefits and the ability to create efficiency across all departments, there’s no reason a discrete manufacturer should do business without an integrated ERP solution.