From finance and IT security to human resources, production, and logistics, manufacturers have always sought the most efficient method for communicating across departments. The faster one area can connect with another, the better. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is a technology your company can use to integrate all aspects of your business. Usually referring to a catalog of business management software, ERP allows you to collect, store, manage and interpret data while tracking business resources and keeping an eye on all points along your product’s supply chain.
As the cornerstone for collecting information and linking systems, if your business doesn’t have an ERP system in place, it could already be far behind the competition.
The Benefits Behind ERP
Real-Time Business Intelligence
Arm your decisions with the best data available. With the use of business intelligence tools, ERP systems allow companies to collect data, analyze it for instant changes to existing processes, and create customizable reports on key performance indicators for shareholders, leadership briefings, and staff updates.
Avoid miscommunication and develop company-wide goals by pulling all departments under one technology umbrella. Especially useful for businesses with locations around the world, ERP systems provide a way for your whole team to stay on one path regardless of location or language. You can organize documents, coordinate phone calls, create globally accessible databases and provide a big picture outlook of the company’s future.
If your business utilizes artificial intelligence or robotic process automation technologies, an investment in ERP solutions can elevate existing efficiencies and reduce tedious tasks to help save employee resources. The more you can navigate the workforce to where it is most needed, while utilizing emerging technology, the more you’ll see reduced costs across the board.
Improved Customer Service
ERP systems often include a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) application which will keep your sales and marketing team updated on their customers’ needs. A global sales force can learn in real-time about individual relationships with customers and your executive team can track what works and what doesn’t work to attract and retain customers.
Mobile and Flexible
Global manufacturing moves at an increasingly fast rate. By positioning your team with technology accessible anywhere and everywhere at once, you can quickly capitalize on new trends and emerging business opportunities. The time between discovering and decision-making can be done faster than ever when your whole team can connect at a moment’s notice.
ERP technology continues to innovate, providing manufacturers with improvements in collaboration, decision-making and overall productivity. But that doesn’t mean risks and uncertainties don’t exist. Be willing to ask the following questions as you start implementing an ERP system and consult with local and leading experts to get their advice.
How do I know I’m selecting the right ERP solution?
There are plenty of ERP options available, but some businesses remain hesitant to redesign their in-house tech. Make sure the solution you choose comes equipped with applications for accounting, inventory & warehousing, e-commerce and other web-based tools, HR, customer resource management, and project management. Together, these will offer a good foundation to cover most of what manufacturers need in an optimal ERP system. The rest can be tailor-made for the unique needs of your business.
Can my business afford it today or is it something we should start working toward in the future?
Converting to an ERP system isn’t cheap and you wouldn’t want it to be. But you may not have the resources to commit to a change overnight, so determine the costs involved and — if you can’t afford it today — plan a strategy so that you can afford it a year or two down the road. Then take the necessary steps to bring an ERP solution in-house when you can afford it.
Can we easily train our team for such a company-wide switch of technology?
Change comes at a cost and often that includes employee resistance. Before jumping in with a new technology that represents company-wide change, have the necessary conversations with department leaders, facility floor managers and key staff. Let them know how these changes will affect them — including the positives and how the company will help assist with pushing past any potential challenges. The more your staff feels confident in the addition of an ERP system, the more the changeover will come naturally and with enthusiasm rather than resistance. There must be buy-in and commitment at all levels or the implementation is doomed to fail.
This sounds like open-heart surgery. Where or how do I begin?
It starts with taking stock of what’s working well, and what’s not working well. This will help you maintain what you don’t want to lose and identify areas of improvement.
For more information on Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems for manufacturing & distribution, call us at 248.208.8660 or start a conversation today. Interested in other emerging technologies that could move your manufacturing business forward? Stay tuned for more content on artificial intelligence (AI), robotic process automation (RPA), blockchain technology, and cybersecurity.