One of the most important benefits of enterprise resource planning (ERP) software is its ability to connect an organization.
Modern ERP can help business leaders manage and oversee everything from production on the shop floor to accounting and HR. This integrated view of operations makes it that much easier to make informed decisions that benefit the company as a whole.
Following best practices for manufacturing ERP helps your business get the most value for its investment. Similarly, it helps to realize all of this software’s many intended benefits. Let’s take a closer look at manufacturing ERP systems and some best practices for using it.
How is ERP Used in the Manufacturing Industry?
Epicor, our partner for ERP software, offers a short yet very informative definition of ERP in manufacturing.
The software company says: “ERP systems connect the plant floor to the back office. They help manage customer demand, plan and schedule resources, supply optimum levels of production and quality, and control inventory.”
ERP generally supports more efficient and effective operations. With relevant information easily available, it’s easier to schedule production based on client needs, avoid waste, and so much more.
One crucial and specific benefit of ERP is its ability to help businesses look forward, as Epicor explains. The many streams of information manufacturing ERP software provides make it easier to predict potential issues. That can mean more preventative maintenance and fewer catastrophic failures for key equipment, for example.
To put it another way, ERP supplies the data that makes managing day-to-day operations easier. In turn, business leaders have more time to focus on strategy and growth.
Why is ERP Important for Manufacturing?
ERP isn’t the only possible way to efficiently manage manufacturing operations. However, this reliable software solution has decades of development focused on manufacturing behind it.
Even more importantly, ERP can be broadly and deeply customized. It’s not something that has to be used as-is. Additionally, customizing your ERP is much simpler than it may sound at first.
By partnering with an experienced ERP solutions partner, your business can more easily build an ERP solution that meets its needs. Modules, add-ons, and similar offerings can offer additional functionality and reporting that addresses key goals and challenges. A skilled partner will help guide the process, make relevant suggestions, and deliver an effective manufacturing ERP solution.
With the knowledge and support of the right partner, ERP is both easy to customize and easy to implement. That partnership leads to more sustainable and especially positive results.
ERP Best Practices in Manufacturing: Getting the Most Out of Your Investment
Keep these tips for ERP best practices in mind as you and your ERP partner work through the implementation process. Following best practices is the path to the best ERP for manufacturing.
1. Have a Strong ERP Integration Framework
A strong integration framework captures the broad information and specific details needed to make manufacturing ERP a success.
We explain the concept in detail in our article on integration frameworks. To sum it up, this roadmap can help capture the full impact of a new ERP system. That means all resources, stakeholders, and impacted systems are accounted for.
A good framework will offer guidance for effectively combining existing systems and new ERP software. That’s true from the very beginning of initial plans through testing and full deployment.
A framework makes it much easier to predict and address potential issues before they turn into true emergencies. It can also encourage strategic thinking that helps your business derive the fullest possible value from manufacturing ERP.
2. Find a Solution That Offers Both Existing Support and Options for Customizing
Most businesses need to go beyond standard features when it comes to ERP. Adding additional functionality relevant to your business is both common and effective.
At the same time, the foundation of the ERP solution you select should be relevant to your industry and operations. Choosing ERP designed for manufacturing companies will make it easier to find a supportive partner and relevant modules and add-ons.
3. Recognize the Impact of a New ERP System on Your Staff and Operations
The influence of ERP stretches across manufacturing processes, supply chain management, back-office tasks, and so much more. When properly configured, implemented, and managed, it delivers some major benefits for your business.
At the same time, it will almost certainly disrupt certain existing workflows and business processes. Employees may be affected in minor or major ways, and they all need to feel comfortable and confident with those changes.
Your business will only have so much past experience with implementations. It simply makes sense to leverage your ERP partner’s expertise and knowledge in this regard.
They can help you identify potential pain points and provide training to staff. Crucially, a great partner will continue to offer support after the go-live date.
4. Get Business Leaders and Staff to Support New ERP Software for Manufacturing
One thing is true whether your business is a smaller shop or an especially large manufacturing enterprise. Leadership support for a new ERP system is crucial. It starts with the people at the very top of the organization — the decision-makers who sign off on major projects.
For a machine shop or similarly-sized manufacturer, it can be quite easy. Executive buy-in can be as simple as the owner making an informed decision. That’s only part of this best practice, however.
It’s also important to have senior staff, frontline managers, and regular employees support the new system. If they’re hesitant or reluctant to adopt manufacturing ERP, it can significantly reduce the value the software provides.
Training and familiarization with ERP during implementation will help from a technical, “how do I use this?” perspective. But don’t neglect the strategic side of things. Explaining why a new ERP system is needed can help your team understand the strategy behind the decision. And that can offer motivation that goes beyond technical competency.
Learn how you can transform your business with manufacturing ERP: Get in touch with CTND today!