Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Software provides a framework for everything a manufacturing company does. It ties out all of the business functions that a manufacturer needs to efficiently serve each customer.
The smaller you are, the even more integral it can be. Not only does it provide the means of bridging ties between the different company functions like sales, finance, operations, engineering, quality and service and repair; it can allow efficiencies that permit a company to do more with fewer people.
We enter each of our customers’ bill of materials into ERP so that with each forecast entry we can plan ahead for materials planning, capacity planning and manpower planning. Once orders are entered, materials requirements, work center planning and manpower requirements blow through the system and allow us to efficiently plan and control what is taking place on the production floor.
No homemade spreadsheet or adapted accounting software can come close to providing the breadth and depth an ERP system provides a manufacturing company. As we do our training and use of ERP, when a capability or feature comes to mind, we know that we are unlikely to be the only manufacturing company to ever have that need. The capability probably already exists within the menu of activities already available.
ERP systems do not have to be a logistical nightmare either. While larger companies and corporations staff administrators or use consultants to customize an ERP system, the software can be used just as is “right out of the box”. I would venture to suggest that a company is better off not customizing sometimes. In the analysis of whether to change the software to match your process; or change your process to match the software, the less expensive (long term) would likely be to change your process.
Look for a service provider that uses an ERP package to manage their business and subsequently your business. Assess how they use it and the advantages it offers them. In the end, you’ll appreciate that your supplier has the control, discipline and systems in place that an ERP system provides.
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