Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software is sector-neutral. Its capabilities in automating and unifying organisations’ back-office processes, creating consolidated information sources and automated manual functions are valuable across every industry.
However, in the manufacturing sector it can introduce some very specific benefits. Here are some of the main ones to think about.
A single foundational information source – the BOM
A bill of materials, or BOM, is the foundational information source for all manufacturing processes, setting out the materials, sub-assemblies, sub-components and quantities necessary for creating a particular product. Once it is created by development engineers it can be added to the ERP system and then become the core information source and driving force for the rest of the assembly process. A single source equals more accuracy and more efficiency.
Strategic supply chain and inventory management
ERP software tailored to the needs of the manufacturing industry includes sophisticated features to help with the procurement of those elements specified in the BOM. From ensuring that orders are placed for the optimum volumes at the optimum time, to providing granular analysis into the performance of each supplier and the contracts agreed with them, ERP software can help manufacturers to manage their supply chains truly strategically. This efficiency is passed straight onto the manufacturing process, and the final product. Low stock notifications and auto-replenishment can be built in for greater automation, and inventory coming in and out of the organisation can be tracked along with key characteristics, locations and so on.
Automating manual processes
Many small and medium sized manufacturers are still dependent on more human intervention than is strictly necessary, for example in manual tracking processes. These are time-intensive and error-prone, risking mistakes and duplications which can slow down the entire manufacturing process. And ERP software can take care of them at a stroke, freeing up that valuable human resource for more strategic, creative or sales-focused work.
Customising products to order
Short-run or single-run manufacturing services can be a fantastic way for manufacturers to develop close relationships with customers and a reputation for going the extra mile. They can also be complex and costly to implement. But an ERP application which streamlines the manufacturing process can be a huge help. From there, the interchangeable elements of that process can be monitored closely, and switched in and out to suit.
Intelligence and agility
The real-time data analytics that ERP can supply into a manufacturing business’s operations, customer requests and wider market demands can enable a far more intelligent, informed and ultimately agile approach to business development than manual methods. Decision-makers can view automatically generated reports on a regular basis to understand everything from the efficiency of the production line to wider market demands and customer buying trends – and make adjustments accordingly. With this business intelligence, manufacturers can get better at responding to market conditions, and ultimately become more agile.
Ensuring excellent quality
Quality assurance is, of course, a top priority for all manufacturers. ERP software can bring order and consistency to quality checking, by enabling organisations to set inspections to take place at certain times, and preventing processes from moving forward unless certain conditions are met. From checking initial purchased products, to affirming the manufacturing process itself, to signing off the completed product, ERP software not only gives structure to the quality check process, it also stores the results and generates business intelligence for future improvements.
Maintaining hardware effectively
Manufacturing organisations typically incorporate a great deal of valuable hardware, which needs careful maintenance both for compliance purposes and to ensure that investment is maximised. ERP software can automate preventative maintenance so that equipment is less likely to fail, by analysing data on elements like average time to failure.
These are just some of the diverse and powerful ways in which ERP software can benefit manufacturing businesses. To lean more, get in touch with us today.