What Manufacturing Businesses Seek in an ERP System

10 April 2024 by
What Manufacturing Businesses Seek in an ERP System
WMSSoft Pty Ltd, John Gellel

As a salesman deeply immersed in the world of ERP solutions targeted to Manufacturers, I've gained some insight into what our clients look for and expect from ERP systems. 

With the Australian Manufacturing Week AMW Sydney Expo happening next week on the 17-19th April 2024, its a great time for me to ramp up on knowledge that may help you prior to attending. If you would like to chat, I and my WMSSoft colleagues will be at the Odoo booth MS205. 

Let's explore some expectations and how the right ERP system can transform a manufacturing business’ operations. These points are all high level, but they cover key areas of expectation. 

An Odoo ERP implementation in its vanilla form without customisation can cover your purchases, sales, inventory, CRM, website, financials, manufacturing, warehouse, dispatch, marketing, field service and much much more. 

When demonstrated to people not familiar with the workings of an ERP, I enjoy watching their eyes light up when they realise that all the data is connected, all the way through the system in real time. They realise just how far this technology has come and what this means to their business. 

Anyway, here are some pointers: 

Resource management is at the core of every manufacturer. Businesses expect an ERP system to streamline resource allocation, track inventory levels and optimise production schedules. It's about maximizing efficiency, minimizing waste and reducing costs, all while ensuring smooth operations.  

Production planning is another critical aspect. Manufacturers rely on ERP systems to help them plan and control production processes effectively. From capacity scheduling to routing optimisation, an ERP system should be a strategic tool for meeting customer demands and improving overall productivity. Whether you are MTS, MTO or ETO, the ERP needs to cater for your workflow. 

Inventory management is a constant challenge for manufacturers. They look to ERP systems to help them manage inventory levels, automate replenishment processes, and reduce carrying costs. It's about finding that delicate balance between having enough stock to meet demand and avoiding excess inventory.

Supply chain integration is also high on the list of expectations. Manufacturers need ERP systems that can seamlessly integrate with suppliers, vendors, and logistics partners. This integration enhances visibility, reduces lead times, and improves overall supply chain efficiency.

Quality control and compliance are non-negotiable in manufacturing. ERP systems play a crucial role in ensuring product quality, tracking compliance with industry standards, and facilitating corrective actions when needed. It's about maintaining high standards and meeting regulatory requirements.

Data driven decision making is a game changer for manufacturers. They expect ERP systems to provide actionable insights through advanced reporting and analytics capabilities. From KPI tracking to demand forecasting, an ERP system should empower businesses to make informed decisions based on real-time data.

Scalability and adaptability are essential considerations for growing businesses. An ERP system should be able to scale seamlessly as the business expands, accommodating increased transaction volumes and evolving needs. 

Flexibility in customisation and configuration is also key, allowing businesses to tailor the system to their unique requirements. We find that manufacturing operations  is a key area of customisation as each business has unique requirements. Saying this, we advise on best practise industry techniques that may not fully align with current manufacturing practices of the business - in some cases clients decide to change processes as they see a clear benefit of the change, where other clients requirements are such that a customisation is required. The end result being a successful outcome. 

Integration with other business functions is crucial for seamless operations. It cannot be the expectation that the ERP system will be the one and end all for a currently operational business. Even though Odoo has website, ecommerce, HR, financials, CRM, projects, field service and much more, a business may require to stick with the current software in some areas. This is where much effort can be focused on how the integrations will be solutioned. 

The same for areas which an ERP system won't cover, such as CAD, or in house built systems where an integrative solution may be required.

In conclusion, businesses expect ERP systems to be strategic enablers that optimize resources, improve efficiency, ensure quality and compliance, and empower data-driven decision making. 

As an ERP salesman, I understand these expectations and work with businesses to find an ERP solution to meet their unique needs and drive success. 

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