What to Look For in ERP Software for Manufacturers
When looking for ERP software for manufacturers, your main concern isn’t about finding possible solutions to make your operations more efficient. There are plenty of vendors for this type of software, so they’re not exactly hard to find.
The challenge is to find a suite of applications that is expressly designed for the manufacturing business you run. So before you get an ERP solution on the basis that each one is pretty much like the other, here are some questions you need to ask (and find answers for) to determine the best ERP solution for your business:
Is It Precisely for Your Business?
Obviously, there are many types of manufacturing businesses. You can be manufacturing machinery and equipment, or making molds, tools, and dies. Perhaps you’re in the food and bakery niche making cookie machines. They all have slightly different processes, and so your ERP solution should be customized precisely for the type of operations to run.
Can It Help You with Job Costs?
The software should be able to assess the estimates and actual costs of each of your projects, so that you can build a history to check to make more accurate quotations and product cost projections for your next projects.
Will It Track Your Billing?
Tracking your billing offers many benefits besides checking up on past-due payments. When you’ve compiled a long historical record of your clients, you basically have a nice customer profile to play with. You’re able to figure out various upsell and cross-sell opportunities so each costumer ends up buying more from you.
Can You Plan Your Projects Better?
Project planning isn’t just about making a schedule based on your manufacturing capacity. You have to factor in existing commitments, and when these commitments change then the plans should then automatically adjust to account for the alterations.
Are You Able to Track Employee Performance?
Not all employees offer the same level of productivity, and of course there’s a minimum standard to maintain so you’re always delivering on time. Your ERP should be able to give you various indicator data to check out to assess worker performance, and you should get real-time reports especially when you’re behind schedule to meet your delivery deadlines.
Can You Manage Your Inventory More Efficiently?
With so many parts to track, it’s not uncommon to experience snafus with your inventory. Sometimes you need something and that item isn’t available, so you waste time find them and waiting for them to arrive. In other cases, you allocate the parts twice so you end up with delays.
But a good ERP system should have a connected suite of software let you oversee these things more easily. You can then track dwindling stock so you can avoid material shortages for your manufacturing process. You can optimize your purchasing process so that there’s no waiting period when you need an item. Whatever you need, it should always be available as your ERP has already anticipated the possible shortage and your potential need.
All these questions boil down to a single query: how much better off are you with a particular ERP suite? That’s the rub, because often you can’t tell until after you’ve tried them.
But that can waste time if you try the ERP software of all the vendors. So you need to do more research and find out which ERP software other manufacturing companies are using. Your best bet is to discover what the top companies in your particular niche are using, and then use that as well. If a manufacturing company has made their operations much more efficient to climb the top of the heap, their ERP probably has a lot to do with it!