Amongst various industries across the United States, manufacturers are the leaders of ERP usage. Even to the great extent, that the discrete manufacturing ERP market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 9% between 2021 – 2027, according to MarketResearch.

ERP systems for discreate manufacturing provide control and visibility over every step of the manufacturing process, from inventory to customer information, real-time data is centralized, and accessible. With a single integrated source of information, discrete manufacturers can diminish redundancy and errors while fostering integration and efficiency.

Now at this point, the question shouldn’t be ‘Should I invest in an ERP solution?’ but rather, ‘What do I need to know to be sure the investment of an ERP solution will pay off as quickly as possible?’ Read on for the answers to your questions. If you find yourself looking for more information, the ACC Software Solutions team is always here to share our expertise. Get in touch today.

Choosing the Right ERP for Discrete Manufacturing

Selecting the right ERP solution is probably the most significant decision you’ll face throughout the entire ERP implementation process.

Every ERP system has the same basic features and functionalities, i.e., product life-cycle management, materials requirement planning, barcode scanning, production scheduling, and supply chain tools. From there on, the decisions comes down to your specific wants and requirements. Every business has its challenges, and your chosen ERP should work to solve your specific pain points.

Additionally, you should consider the solution provider’s background. Working with an ERP provider who is well-versed in the manufacturing industry is important. Solution specific ERPs are different from generalized ERPs. Select a company that understands your needs and will work hard to meet them.

Implementing an ERP Solution for Discrete Manufacturing

The ERP implementation processes isn’t just about installing the software; it’s a complex process within an already detailed operation. So, it’s important to get the implementation right the first time to avoid wasting time, money, and other resources.

The implementation process beings long before an end-user will ever access the system. After selecting the right ERP, the first step of your implementation process includes taking a close look at your business, identifying a team to lead the implementation, and creating a plan, which includes:

  • Budgets
  • End-User Training
  • Communication between Clients, End-Users, and Stakeholders
  • Detailed Project Timeline

Once the above tasks have been completed, data migration is the next step. This involves cleaning and verifying all data, determining what to do with legacy information, data back-ups, data transfers, testing, and verification.

After a successful ERP implementation, the evaluation period begins to track pre-determined KPIs.

Benefits of ERP for Manufacturing

There’s a multitude of benefits within an ERP solution. Any system which brings more organization, visibility, and efficiency is bound to improve business processes. However, here are the top 3 benefits of ERP for discrete manufacturing:

Automation – With accurate, real-time data at your fingertips, end-users are finally able to automate those pervious tasks which were error prone, repetitive, and often caused many delays. You can now take the time you’ve saved by automating processes and focus on more complex tasks or additional project which didn’t get the proper attention.

Market Condition Decisions – ERP systems and their associated data analytics ensure your discrete manufacturing company can stay on top of market conditions, with forecasting and insights that make sense. With visibility into all of your processes, departments, customers, and data, this helps inform strategic decision-making.

Cost Savings – By eliminating manual and time-consuming process, improving productivity to minimize personnel and labor costs, and ensuring lower error rates and product issues, your bound to reduce bottom line costs. While inventory control and market forecasting handle supply and demand challenges, production planning ensures your warehousing is under control.

The above benefits add up to higher customer satisfaction, enhanced customer service, and a more substantial competitive spirit.

Features to look for in an ERP for Discrete Manufacturing

There are hundreds of ERP options available in the United States, all of which share the same basic features and functionalities. However, to be sure the right ERP solution fits your specific wants and requirements, double-check for features such as these:

Requirement and Production Management/Planning – Use historic and day-to-day data to predict manufacturing requirements. You will be able to use the ERP to manage production planning, scheduling, inventory control, and other processes.

Inventory Management – Understand what is coming in and out of your company and its sites.

Quality Control – Quality management tools ensure your products are meeting or exceeding standards. It alerts if something falls below a specified target.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) – A sound CRM system will round out a manufacturing ERP. Instead of having to invest in a separate CRM platform, you can use the data that exists in the ERP. It will keep clients happy, and it will do so intelligently and proactively.

Supply Chain Management within ERP

A robust and predictable supply chain is imperative for a successful manufacturing process. Coincidentally, ERPs provide real-time data in a single centralized solution so, the end-users of your supply chain can plan, respond, and deliver the right information. It’s a win-win for everyone.

With enhanced insight comes optimized procurement, streamlined operations, consistent delivery, and reliable logistics.

ERPs Predictive Analytics Tool

A modern ERP solution just may be the closest thing you’ll get to the magic 8-ball which predicts the future. ERPs are an excellent predictive analytics tool – they assist end-users to understand how to handle inventory, scheduling, and delivery without worrying about underestimation or overestimation.

ERPs are constant tracking and collecting data to provide perceptions and the potential to automate analytics in an intelligent, informed way. With real-time visibility into business processes, orders, and market demands, an ERP can use actual data to run predictive analytics.

Alerts will be sent to end-users when adjustments need to be made in order to meet goals. The predictive analytics tool of an ERP solution simply eases your mind when it comes to decision-making, and brings you more productivity, profits, and loyalty.

Maximize Efficiency of ERP with Automation

Automation is an exciting possibility when investing in an ERP system. To make the most of an ERP and its automation capabilities, make certain that end-users are trained to use ALL of the ERP’s features, including automation.

More often than not, end-users will express concerns regarding automation, fearing they will lose their jobs to systems and machines which can do the same work. Automation training helps overcome this concern, so end-users understand that ERPs and automation are here to optimize their roles, not overtake them.

Throughout the implementation of an ERP, end-users will begin to see how their work is altered by the use of automation. Whether they are the ones who are inputting data and applying the results, or working directly with customers, properly training end-users provides a sense of security, supports morale, and helps increase overall productivity.

Consider Moving ERP to the Cloud

When deciding between an on-premise ERP or a cloud-based solution, the ACC Software Solutions team will suggest the cloud-based option.

Cloud-based ERPs come with a great deal of benefits. First, these ERPs are easy to update and maintain when you have a vendor responsible for managing the nitty-gritty details. Additionally, there’s no need to invest in extra on-premise hardware; only pay for the resources you need and use.

In terms of scalability and/or the potential to tap into new markets, a cloud-based ERP will support that change with easy. Add in robust data security, fast implementation, and accessible vendor support, and you have a clear winner of a solution.

Generic or Industry Specific ERP?

Every industry is unique and different to the next – there are different needs, compliance rules, and pain points. Which is why most manufacturing facilities will choose an industry specific solution or the solution which is made specifically for manufacturers.

Now, some industries can get away with using a generalized ERP or taking another industry ERP and tweaking it a bit. But for manufacturers, the requirements are unique and specific enough that it makes sense to use a system built for these specific purposes. When a company’s success relies on insight into supply chain management, process control, and shop floor scheduling, you will be happy you went with an ERP which understands what these things are and why they matter.

ERP Vendor Selection

The right ERP vendor/consultant will assist you throughout (and beyond) your ERP journey, from selection, to implementation, and on-going training and technical support. Now, it’s important to consider that not every ERP vendor will meet the needs of your company or be the perfect match.

To help you find the right consultant, we suggest you watch for these qualities and skillsets:

Industry Knowledge – The right ERP vendor needs to know about manufacturing, manufacturing ERPs, and what companies like yours require for success.

Individualized Business Expertise – A new vendor may not know every nitty-gritty detail about your business in the beginning stages. However, the chosen vendor should be ready to complete a deep-dive of your business processes, determine challenges and needs, and find a solution that fits perfectly.

Tech Know-How – Because a manufacturing ERP is a tech system, vendors should provide technical support, customizations and adapt to your ERP wants and requirements.

Reduce Costs with ERP

One of the most popular benefits of a robust ERP solution is cost reduction. With the proper solution, businesses can reduce operational costs and administrative costs, while increasing on-time deliveries. ERPs promote efficiency, which goes hand in hand with savings.

This happens in a few ways. First, an ERP takes the complexities of business processes and streamlines them into a lean machine. It cuts out silos and redundancies by putting all of the data into one centralized location.

Data includes inventory information, which, with an ERP, is up to date and accurate. And it’s ready to forecast future needs and avoid waste. Intelligent analytics, such as those that allow for inventory forecasting, is another excellent cost-cutting method, sure to show reliable results.


Build Transparency to Manufacturing Processes with ERP

In today’s demanding world, customers, insurers, industry regulators, and key stakeholders want visibility into the supply chain and manufacturing processes. They care abut how products are made and where supplies originate. It’s all a part of being ethical, responsible, and forthright. These are qualities key to a manufacturing company that wants to stay competitive in today’s every-changing, and demanding world.

Discrete manufacturing ERP systems present a high level of traceability to manufacturing processes, from the materials and components used to storage conditions, test results, and personnel involved. In the event of any questions or concerns about your processes, the ERP has the detailed information you need to provide answers.

If a company were to run into issues, real-time data can helps determine the source of the problem, understand where it came from, and put in preventative measures.

Improve Productivity and Efficiency with ERP

End-user productivity and efficiency is crucial to developing a competitive business. And simply, the more work end-users complete in within a set period of time, allows more time for more meaningful projects and tasks.

An ERP improves both productivity and efficiency by streamlining communication and collaboration. In traditional systems, you may have several departments, with many employees all working toward different goals, using their versions of data and information. When this data is combined, it might not look alike, even though it should. However, with an ERP, end-users are using the same, accurate, up-to-date data from the start. There is no risk of redundancy or error. ERPs also promote standardized processes.

When teams share information and follow the same processes, they are free to innovate, collaborate, and cut down on time it takes to get things done.

Your Next Steps

Are you looking to begin your ERP journey? When you team up with ACC Software Solution’s premier team of consultants, you’ll receive a team of experts committed to following ERP best practices, from selection to end user training, and on-going technical support —contact ACC Software Solutions today!

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