Three Ways Your ERP Can Improve Your Manufacturing Process

Market dynamics force you to meet delivery and cost targets while collaborating more closely than ever before.

Your competitors are getting their products to market faster than ever and improving quality while keeping their costs in check. In order to keep up with customer demands in a competitive landscape, you have to be on a level playing field or, preferably, one comfortably big step ahead.

Supply chain visibility is key to driving down operational costs and reducing your time-to-market without compromising on quality. This is where you can really leverage your ERP technology to increase agility and collaborative success, and make a difference to your bottom line.

Here are three ways your ERP can significantly improve your manufacturing process:

  1. Enhance your strategy with Big Data analytics

Does everyone in your business understand and work to your strategic objectives?

A quality ERP system can translate what happens in the boardroom into actionable directives on one unified platform. Customer and supplier SLAs, forecasting and operations planning can be accessible in one place. ERP can help you make informed decisions on what to produce, in what volume and when as well as manage customer expectations.

Of course, we all like to believe we do this already but a smart ERP will do the legwork for you and will do it much quicker than a manufacturer that is wading through manual or legacy reporting tools. You can even include analytics from big data and use those learnings to inform and feed back into your strategy, thus closing the loop on continual operational efficiency optimization.

Big Data analytics can take huge swathes of information regarding orders, inventory, purchase cycles, supply chain reports and a multitude of other data points and turn it into clear, actionable insights. A simple use case for such data could be to inform you of demand drop predictions and therefore, when scheduled maintenance would cause the least disruption. With the advent of IoT, even more exciting developments can be harnessed to inform business decisions. For example, IoT allows manufacturers to communicate with their own products and learn, among other things, how and when their products are being used, whether there are any malfunctions and if inventory is running low in distribution centers. Successfully implementing real-time Big Data with your ERP means not only cutting out almost impossible manual reporting, but also cutting down the time it takes to receive vital information.

  1. Automate your supply chain and transform it into a strategic asset

Integrating a supply chain management solution into your ERP not only improves transparency between a manufacturer and their suppliers but can also give your own customers greater visibility into your activities. Being able to track order status, define specs, have crystal clarity on compliance and contractual expectations can save on costly mistakes and penalties all the way up and down the chain.

Human error is a major factor in quality issues. By having a ERP automate multiple processes, you can eliminate many of the mistakes made in a complex chain. This, in turn, frees up your talent to spend time on the things that require human creativity and also take away some of the less exciting parts of a job. Not only can your ERP increase efficiency, but its automation abilities can help cut labor costs and have a significant and positive impact on your bottom line.

  1. Get your products to market faster through global access to

Automation isn’t the only way your ERP can increase a manufacturer’s efficiency. To improve your time to market, everyone in your supply chain needs access to relevant information like production deadlines, BOMs and shipping instructions. If these can be provided in real time across global locations, suppliers, customers and internal stakeholders, a manufacturer can react and adapt according to new opportunities or potential risks such as stock control, quality issues or logistics threats.

Outmoded manual processes with multiple software solutions bolted together simply can’t compete with one integrated solution. Ready to make the change but not sure where to start? Read “The mistake first-time ERP buyers make (and how to avoid it).”


Helen Peatfield is a writer for ERP Focus. She is also editor and marketing consultant with a wealth of experience in ad tech, supply chain management and SaaS. When she is not typing away at her desk, she can be found scuba diving or wakeboarding in the sunny Gulf of Thailand.

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