1. Clear, cross-organisational process visibility
Many manufacturers use accounting software as their main method of managing what’s going on in the organisation. The problem with this approach is that, although valuable, accounting software won’t provide the clear, cross-organisational view necessary to help decision makers respond to current and future demands. A well-integrated ERP application, however, can provide insight into customer purchasing history, real-time sales order processes, and production levels so decision makers can respond quickly to changes in customer demand or in general market conditions.
2. Flexible production scheduling
The trademark of an agile manufacturer is the ability to switch gears quickly between production runs, shortening or lengthening the run or even changing products, as necessary. An ERP application makes it easier for organisations to adopt this type of flexibility by providing scheduling strategies to handle unexpected orders or order changes through features such as capacity planning, work order management, and materials requirements planning.
3. Automating manufacturing capabilities
One area in which ERP can really pay off for manufacturers is in the ability to automate processes and functions that don’t require human interaction. Nearly two-thirds of manufacturers still use manual tracking processes, which can introduce errors and duplications that interfere with the agility of the manufacturing processes. By automating manufacturing processes and transactions, those manufacturers can free human resources for more lucrative activities, such as product design, innovation, and sales.
5. ERP can contribute to customisation
The reason manufacturers often reach for agility is to be able to serve more customers with customised, short-run (and sometimes single-run) manufacturing services. This customisation can be accomplished with an ERP application that helps organisations streamline the manufacturing process so that the interchangeable components of the process are monitored closely, and those components that aren’t interchangeable can be switched to create a custom product, when necessary.
Manufacturers of the past functioned perfectly fine without an ERP system. Some used financial applications in place of ERP; others just used manual methods for planning and resource management. In today’s market, however, manufacturers need to have a solid ERP application in place that will help to create visibility, improve scheduling, and enable the automation and customisation that are the true benefits of being an agile manufacturer.
For those of you exploring different ERP options right now, you’re probably tired of hearing about how ‘flexible’ they are, and how they will make your business more ‘efficient’. But what does that really mean for your business? Investing in an ERP solution should be the result of a carefully made decision, because it will be an integral part of your organisation.
Get advice from professionals who will take the time to understand your business and optimise technology to help you achieve your goals. If you’re serious about creating business agility for your manufacturing organisation, contact Acora.
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