Apprise® ERP is a fully-integrated, enterprise-wide solution designed specifically for the consumer goods industry – built to fit the needs of importers and distributors that market or manufacture fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) such as toiletries and cosmetics, non-durable goods such as food, wine and apparel, or durable goods like electronics and home furnishings.
As a top-class ERP system, SYSPRO 7 helps businesses to really look at all aspects of their core operations and other parts of their businesses. Part of the functionality of this ERP solution is focused on sales processes. Most companies need to have some sort of oversight of internal sales and marketing processes. The leadership wants to tie these elements of business into actual product and service developments, and other parts of a general business administration system through functional ERP systems.
Enterprise Business Systems software that is easy to work with. ForeMost works the way your business works today. A complete suite of applications that easily integrates with accounting, payroll, reporting, business intelligence software, .NET, Web Services, and SQL Systems. You must see ForeMost if you are considering upgrading your business systems software! Our Foremost ERP Fund Based Accounting Solution facilitates Integrated, Grant Based, Cost Accounting!
QAD Enterprise Applications has been a leading ERP solution for global manufacturers in the automotive, high-tech, food and beverage, consumer, industrial and life sciences industries for several decades. QAD Enterprise Applications supports multiple local languages and country-specific business practices and legal requirements. QAD Enterprise Applications’ domain architecture enables you to easily configure ERP to match your organizational structure including support for shared services.
For over 30 years, Chempax has been helping Chemical Process Manufacturers and Chemical Distributors cut costs, improve operational efficiency and make better decisions faster. Combining the latest technological innovations with our chemical industry expertise, Chempax address you unique requirements of your industry and offers total integration for the daily demands of your business with powerful functionality options. Chempax is the ready to use solution that is seamlessly integrated allowing you to see rapid ROI without missing a beat.
As a particular kind of innovative ERP software, IFS Applications helps deliver its functionality to businesses with a lot of business process complexity and precision requirements. IFS Applications is popular in industries like manufacturing and aerospace, as well as the oil and gas industry.
Single, simple solution for job shops, contract and a variety of make-to-order manufacturers. Comprehensive ERP that includes everything from estimating and quoting to scheduling, purchasing, shipping, customer management (CRM) and accounting.Using Quickbooks currently for Accounting? No problem. E2 Shop System is Gold Certified through Intuit and we offer a superb integration so you don’t have to change your accounting system. Shoptech Software offers exceptional implementation assistance so you’re up and running quickly. The Support Team has received top notch reviews from Customers.
The ProcessPro ERP software suite tackles your mission-critical business functions while linking all of your information through integrated business intelligence functionality. Gain total visibility – in real-time – to all your information so you can run more efficiently and grow more profitable. ProcessPro Premier helps batch process manufacturing companies like yours by organizing and tracking your manufacturing process, planning and execution, inventory management, quality assurance, FDA compliance, financials, sales, and more.
BatchMaster ERP is an end to end, tier one ERP solution that is built upon the SAP Business One platform and designed to meet the unique needs of formula-based, process manufacturers. Key process functionality supported includes R D Lab, Samples, Formulation, Production, Quality, Compliance, Costing, Planning and Scheduling plus Mobile Warehousing. Accounting, sales, purchasing, maintenance, inventory, customer service and other front office processes have all been enhanced to better support the needs of process manufacturers. Our comprehensive industry specific solutions for food, chemical, nutraceutical, and pharmaceutical manufacturers enable our customers to streamline their operations, reduce overall costs and ensure quality and compliance. BatchMaster ERP can be deployed as an on-premise or in the cloud solution.
The IQMS Manufacturing ERP system is a comprehensive, end-to-end solution that provides complete integration and visibility of the order to cash process. The extensive feature set allows manufacturing companies to react instantly to events happening throughout their organization, from the front office to engineering to the shop floor and supply chain. IQMS provides the visibility, planning and execution tools that enable manufactures to excel.
Fishbowl Manufacturing (FBM) offers advanced work orders, manufacture orders, bills of materials, and other tools you need to maximize efficiency in your production process. Whether you have simple or more complex manufacturing needs, Fishbowl Manufacturing is a great solution for you. FBM integrates seamlessly with QuickBooks Online and with Xero, a Web-based accounting solution
VAI's technology roadmap, our shared vision with IBM, provides companies with a business model based on best industry processes that leverages technology to create value and improve performance. The S2K family of products includes solutions for Distribution, Manufacturing, Retail, Service, and Rental companies; with industry specific features for Durable Goods, Apparel, and Pharmaceutical.
NetSuite ERP delivers the proven, comprehensive financial management capabilities required to grow a changing, complex business. NetSuite ERP takes your business beyond traditional accounting software by streamlining operations across your entire organization and providing you with the real-time visibility you need to make better, faster decisions.
Thrive in a world of mass customization with Infor LN. More than 4,500 manufacturers trust LN to help improve, accelerate, and streamline the most complex manufacturing processes anywhere. When your manufacturing operation requires detailed tracking of millions of parts from thousands of sources worldwide from as-designed to as-maintained, you can rely on Infor LN.
The Enterprise 21 ERP system is a fully-integrated ERP system for small and mid-market manufacturing and distribution organizations. Designed to facilitate industry best practices, Enterprise 21 includes comprehensive software functionality to manage the enterprise’s complete business operations.
Cloudsuite Industrial SyteLine is a single system of business process modules covering: Customer Relationship Management, Sales Order Management, Product and Process Engineering, Resource Planning, Supply Chain Planning and execution, multi-mode manufacturing execution, Quality Management, Aftermarket Service Management, Financial Management, Enterprise Performance Management, Reporting and Analysis, Human Capital Management, Technology Web/ Dot Net / SQL (Embedded Development Framework), MS Office Solutions Integration.
Epicor Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software includes solutions for customer relationship management (CRM), manufacturing operations, supply chain management (SCM), human capital management (HCM) and more. Highly flexible and scalable, Epicor ERP systems can be deployed to fit your unique operational needs, resources, and budget, including on-site installation, hosted, or as a SaaS or Cloud application. You simply determine the deployment model that is right for your organization.
Infor CloudSuite Industrial (Syteline) helps manufacturers and distributors of all types improve productivity and respond faster to change. From selling and sourcing to production and fulfillment, this robust enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution provides organization-wide visibility. Organizations of all shapes and sizes from small to those larger companies with highly complex supply chains are able to cut costs and ensure on-time production and delivery by using Infor CloudSuite Industrial to automate and manage key business processes, implement highly efficient process flows, and better match supply with demand.
Infor M3 offers ultimate flexibility in operations, technology, and scale. As a multi-site, multi-country, and multi-company solution, M3 empowers your organization to adapt to changing business needs. It provides flexibility in managing mixed-mode and complex environments, with the agility to make quick adjustments at any time. Written in Java, M3 also gives you platform independence and choice.
Kenandy's ERP empowers business innovation. Built on the Salesforce App Cloud, Kenandy has redefined enterprise resource planning by allowing companies to map their business processes and implement applications remarkably fast. With the automation of operational systems including global financials, procure-to-pay, planning and production, quote-to-cash and trade promotion management, Kenandy customers have the freedom to focus on driving innovation and growth. For more information, visit: www.kenandy.com.
abas ERP provides a fully integrated ERP solution ideally suited to mid-size manufacturing and distribution companies that increases productivity, reduces costs and grows opportunities. Key modules of the software include: Sales Management CRMAdvanced Planning and Scheduling / APSPurchasingProduction Planning and Control (PPC)Materials ManagementService ProcessingFinancials and AccountingBusiness Intelligence and AnalyticsDocument Management Mobile ProcessesEDI and High-Performance LogisticsProcess Control and Workflow ManagementMulti-Company AccountingMulti-SiteProject ManagementIn addition to a robust standard feature set, abas ERP makes it simple across the board to adapt your system to your own business processes. And the best part? With abas, when you customize your system, you can still upgrade hassle free. abas ERP’s multi-tiered architecture, which separates your customizations from the business and database layers of the system, allows for smooth upgrades from older versions of the software. The independent components eliminate the need for rewriting previously developed custom programs, screens, and reports.
Complete: One cloud for your entire business. Oracle ERP Cloud is a complete, integrated and modern cloud application suite that manages accounting, procurement and projects enterprisewide. Equip your workforce with a modern ERP and empower them toward higher levels of productivity.
Like a computer or a phone that has an operating system to support its applications, a business needs its own system to tie together its customer, product, accounting and personnel information. This is what CBOS provides: an all-in-one business solution that is available anytime, anywhere. CBOS offers a hosted, cloud-based, mobile, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution with user-defined roles, multiple levels of security for data storage and user access. The CBOS platform provides information that can be accessed by all departments and eliminates individual solutions for each department and the repetitive, error-prone input of data. Offered economically on a monthly billed basis, the CBOS platform provides your company with a single solution to help you grow, and puts you in the driver’s seat to manage your organization, customer data, product or service offerings and personnel information.
SAP Business One is designed to meet the needs of SMEs and subsidiaries of large enterprises. Businesses that adopt SAP Business One, very quickly see measurable benefits of using an integrated ERP application.
Expandable ERP supplies a complete business foundation for manufacturers with expanding business operations. The system helps establish auditable, regulatory-compliant business processes so companies are prepared to make the transition from emerging company to profitable, high-volume manufacturer. The Expandable system unifies the company around a single database where all transactions are recorded using sound business rules and logic. The entire company can work as one in real time to produce high quality products on time at expected margins. What makes Expandable unique is the ability to implement its fully integrated ERP system early in a company’s growth cycle, providing customers the means to grow all the way to the billion dollar mark without changing systems. To assure customer success, Expandable employs the direct support model where all implementations are performed entirely by direct employees of Expandable Software, Inc. The direct model produces successful implementations performed by knowledgeable people who have experience helping growing companies install the integrated business processes necessary for long-term success.
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software by Oneir Solutions Inc make mid size and growing businesses more competitive. In particular, businesses that operate with remote locations and have sales reps on-the-road…no matter where they are or how many.
Rootstock Software® provides the breadth and depth of solutions that today’s discrete manufacturers and wholesale distributors need to operate and grow their business. Whether a small operation with five users, or a large organization with many sites and hundreds of users, Rootstock offers a solution for all sizes and types of discrete manufacturers and supports the manufacturing system requirements of Build to Order, Build to Stock and even Engineer to Order Manufacturers – whether standard cost or moving average cost and in both a single and multi plant environment. Rootstock also offers a solution for all sizes and types of distributors and supports the requirements of Ship from Stock, Configure/Kit to Order, PreBuilt Kits and Special Order Distributors – whether standard cost or moving average cost and in both a single distribution center (DC) and multiple distribution center (DC) environment.
Need more than accounting tools? Manage every aspect of your small-midsize business with SAP Business One! Gain greater control over your SME or subsidiary with SAP Business One, business management software designed to grow with you. Trusted by over 47,000 companies in 150 countries, this single solution streamlines your key processes – from accounting and CRM to supply chain management and purchasing.
NetSuite ERP delivers the proven, comprehensive financial management capabilities required to grow a changing, complex business. NetSuite ERP takes your business beyond traditional accounting software by streamlining operations across your entire organization and providing you with the real-time visibility you need to make better, faster decisions.
Sage ERP X3 revives midsize companies’ growth and profitability with fast, simple, flexible ERP software. It helps you drive efficiency across financial and operational processes and give all employees the insight they need, when they need it. And more, accessible online and on mobile devices, Sage ERP X3 turns your business into a more responsive organization, locally and globally.
Epicor Mattec MES helps you reduce scrap, waste and machine downtime, improve cycle times, Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE), plant productivity and automatic part qualification, and schedule production effectively. Mattec MES helps you identify resource inefficiencies, allowing you do more with your existing resources.
Drive innovation and automate your core processes with SAP Business All-in-One. These comprehensive, industry-specific ERP solutions can help manage every aspect of your fast-growing small and midsize business – from financials and HR to sales and procurement.
How to Compare Manufacturing ERP Software
The worldwide market for manufacturing Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software is valued at $7.3B in 2016, growing to $7.9B in 2018, attaining a compound annual growth rate of 2.5%. Cloud-based ERP systems are the fastest growing segment, projected to reach a 5.5% growth rate per year through 2018 according to International Data Corporation.
Why do organizations need and use Manufacturing ERP software?
- Improve inventory management and costs
- Increase the efficiency of shop floor operations and get more done
- Improve inbound supplier quality and measure how that improves production efficiency
- Use supplier data to improve supplier selection and evaluate their performance to goals
- Gain new customers by providing more complete, accurate quotes and delivery dates
- Improve overall product quality
- Find out which areas of manufacturing operations need attention before a problem occurs
- Increase production capacity with existing machines and staff as part of capacity planning
- Update production schedules in real-time instead of only a few times a month
- Measure Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE)
- Increase the level of compliance through automated reporting
- Increase customer satisfaction by meeting delivery dates
- Reduce order errors by building the right product & delivering on schedule
Manufacturing ERP Vendors
Start with your company’s goals and objectives, and take into account any future businesses your company plans on launching in the next five years when starting your search for a Manufacturing ERP system. It’s important to choose one that can scale with your business needs as you grow. Many companies are moving into early new businesses today and are looking for a Manufacturing ERP system that can keep pace and scale with their expansion goals.
Bottom line: When you are selecting a Manufacturing ERP provider, think of them more as a partner in building your business first and a software vendor second. Evaluating each with this mindset will lead to a good fit with your current and future needs.
Key Features To Consider When Evaluating Manufacturing ERP Software Options
Integrated Financial Reporting
Activity on the production floor needs to be translated into financial results, making integrated financial reporting the most important feature in a Manufacturing ERP system., Being able to track how changes in production planning, scheduling and the continual improvements in workflows translate into costs savings and additional revenue are a must-have in any Manufacturing ERP system. Look for ERP systems that have job costing, advanced cost allocations, integration Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, Payroll, bank reconciliation and fixed asset accounting. The best ERP systems will support these foundational features while providing financial reporting that captures how improvements on the production floor translate into reduced costs, higher quality and increased revenue. The majority of Manufacturing ERP systems today support General Ledger (GL), fixed assets, cost- and accrual accounting-based workflows, budgeting and project accounting, often all integrated to a common system of record or database.
Broad Base Manufacturing Resource Planning Support
At a minimum, a Manufacturing ERP system needs to include support Requirements Planning, Master Production Schedule (MPS), Capacity Planning, Bill of Materials, Shop Floor Control and Project Management. Taken together these functional areas of a Manufacturing ERP system make it possible to operate a production center efficiently, tracking performance back to financial reporting. Advanced ERP systems have these modules integrated into a common database or system of record. Requirements Planning is essential for creating and tracking production and inventory control plans while taking into account material requirements, lead times, and dependencies in supply chain visibility and supplier delivery performance.
A Proven Manufacturing Execution System
Every Manufacturing ERP system will either have the workflows included that provide Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) support or have entirely different applications or modules for this area. MES manages the daily scheduling on the production floor, taking into account MPS workflows and Bill of Materials requirements, factoring in the skill sets of machine operators’ skill sets. Best-in-class MES can take all these factors into account and drastically reduce the time required to produce a given product. Also, MES supports production and labor tracking, module or work cell performance, Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) and material optimizations. These modules or features also support manufacturing analytics and can provide insights into how an overall production center is running, when integrated into MPS systems and workflows.
Supply Chain Management That Scales To Your Needs
Suppliers and the supply chains they comprise are the most important relationships to any manufacturer. In evaluating Manufacturing ERP systems, be sure to look for vendors that support demand planning, logistics and transportation management, procurement and sourcing, quality management, supply chain planning and execution drop shipments. Additional features you’ll need include warehouse management (often larger ERP vendors have this as a stand-alone module), distributed order management, enhanced purchase order management, sales & operations planning, asset management and compliance management. Going with a single manufacturing ERP vendor for this and other areas of your IT strategy will provide a single system of record to capture, report and plan using the modules mentioned. Manufacturers can gain a competitive advantage over time by having insights into each of these areas about competitors.
Manufacturing Analytics And Reporting
One of the fastest-moving areas of innovation in Manufacturing ERP systems today is the intuitive design of current and next-generation manufacturing analytics and reporting.Having the option of selecting visualizations from a wide variety of potential formats to see how supplier quality is impacting overall production performance is now possible. Advanced analytics and reporting can also now track how production efficiency impacts revenue potential now in the future. For the first time it’s possible to see how sales forecasts directly impact production scheduling on the factory floor and how those decisions impact sales and profits. Predictive analytics based on manufacturing data is revolutionizing production centers globally today and this area continues to change quickly. Be sure to benchmark vendors of interest on this feature.
Product Lifecycle Management
The faster the product lifecycles of a given manufacturer, the more important it is to have an excellent Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) system. PLM systems orchestrate all aspects of designing, developing, production, selling, servicing and redesigning products. Rapid product lifecycles across many manufacturing industries are making PLM systems a must-have to stay competitive in increasingly turbulent, fast-moving markets. Key modules or features in PLM include project management to the production floor and process level; distributed quality management and tracks inbound inspection through finished good quality audits; Product Data Management (PDM); Bill of Materials integration across financial reporting systems including costing and production planning; and support for change management programs. Additional key modules are cost tracking, document management, and services tracking and reporting.
Expertise In Your Area of Manufacturing
Given how broad manufacturing is, it’s imperative to find manufacturing ERP vendors with references in your specific industry. Be sure to ask for contact information at vendors’ customer references and contact them. Ideally it’s a good idea to go and visit as well to see how the ERP system is helping to run the entire production operation. When interviewing the customer references provided by the manufacturing ERP vendors you’re interested in working with, be sure to ask how close or far off the initial professional services costs were to what was charged and if the initial implementation goals were met or not.
The four key advantages of implementing a Manufacturing ERP system in your company are listed below:
Advantages of Manufacturing ERP Systems
Gain Accounting Visibility From the Shop Floor To The Top Floor
The most significant benefit of having a Manufacturing ERP system is the visibility it provides into how shop-floor operations impact financial results. Tracking MPS, MES, supply chain, quality and production scheduling decisions’ impact on financial performance is possible when the financial and production applications are part of an integrated system. Also, being able to track how customer ship dates are managed and the impact on when they pay and Accounts Receivables close is also essential for keeping down the Days Sales Outstanding (DSO) of any manufacturing business. A good Manufacturing ERP system will have a strong set of financial reporting applications or features that integrate across all of production operations, extending to Customer Relationship Management (CRM) modules or integration points.
Improved Capacity Planning And Scheduling
Getting beyond Microsoft Excel spreadsheets to plan production capacity and keep schedules current is the goal of many manufacturers who install their first ERP system. Advanced manufacturers often use ERP workflows to balance capacity planning and scheduling based on forecasts and orders. Balancing inbound customer demand and meeting order shipments dates makes capacity planning and scheduling a must-have in any Manufacturing ERP system. Also, the latest generation of ERP systems has analytics and business intelligence capability that makes it possible to track and predict capacity planning and scheduling improvements over time.
Greater Pricing Accuracy and Profitability
By integrating cost-based and accrual-based accounting workflows into the core areas of a Manufacturing ERP system, it’s possible to see exactly how pricing decisions impact long-term profits and the ability to compete. Often manufacturers have limited if any visibility into how pricing is impacting their ability to produce, yet with an integrated manufacturing ERP system this becomes possible thanks to the single system of record used for creating the system. In the past, many manufacturers tried to tie back supplier selection and quality to pricing and profitability and ended up having to make a few assumptions at best. Now with integrated manufacturing ERP systems, this level of financial reporting and more is now possible to any size manufacturing business.
Improve supplier quality and delivery performance
Too often quality gets isolated in its area of the manufacturing or production floor. What’s needed in all manufacturing company is an enterprise-wide view of quality so that each department can see how its decisions impact overall quality and compliance performance. An integrated manufacturing ERP system makes it possible to gain insights into quality and compliance and then propagate that knowledge and information across all departments, making quality a shared goal instead of just one department. Best-in-class manufacturing ERP systems have the ability to deliver these insights and galvanize a company around shared quality goals.
How to Evaluate Manufacturing ERP Systems
Selecting a Manufacturing ERP system for your company needs to reflect how different your production operations are from any other manufacturing business. Knowing which Manufacturing ERP providers excel in your industry will help to gain greater insight and context into who needs to be on your short list. There are over 250 Manufacturing ERP providers selling systems today. Fortunately, SelectHub is here to help.
What’s wrong with how you are managing manufacturing operations today?
- What manual workarounds are you relying on today to get work done that your Manufacturing g ERP system needs to automate?
- Are you relying on Microsoft Excel to handle production planning and scheduling?
- Is your existing financial reporting system integrated with production and inventory control systems so you can see how manufacturing decisions impact profitability?
- If you have a Manufacturing ERP solution in place, ask yourself why you are looking to make a change.
- Who uses the current Manufacturing ERP system?
- Which departments are everyday users, and which are only using your Manufacturing ERP system occasionally?
- What are your Manufacturing ERP system’s users trying to achieve by using the solution, and how well can they carry out their goals?
- Is the system not cost-effective for your current users? Are you paying too much in monthly or annual fees for unused features?
- Is the Manufacturing ERP system too difficult to use today? Is it challenging to learn?
- Was the Manufacturing ERP system designed when your company had a different business model than it does today?
- What’s the information and insight you need to run your business that your existing Manufacturing ERP system doesn’t provide today?
- Does your existing Manufacturing ERP system support analytics and business intelligence (BI) reporting?
What kind of Manufacturing ERP system will you need?
- What manufacturing workflows aren’t being addressed by your current Manufacturing ERP system today?
- Does your Manufacturing ERP system support quality management and compliance reporting company-wide or just in the quality department?
- How much time does your company spend on generating compliance reporting?
- What workflows and production processes most differentiate your company and make it unique?
- Define the five production processes that most need improvement in your business today
- How complex are your existing products and are there plans to add more configurable, customizable products in the future?
- What’s the typical lead time for your company to produce its most common and most complex product? How can this be improved?
- Is inventory management and control automated or manually-based right now?
- Is it possible to close the General Ledger and financial reporting every month?
How will the Manufacturing ERP system perform once deployed?
- Is your company considering an on-premise or cloud-based Manufacturing ERP system?
- Who will be responsible for keeping the Manufacturing ERP system up-to-date and be its administrator?
- What devices will the Manufacturing ERP system need to run on throughout your company?
- Are you considering having the Manufacturing ERP system accessible from the production floor to share Bill of Materials (BOM) across manufacturing teams?
- How customizable do you need the individual screens, applications, and platforms to be to support your business?
- Will the Manufacturing ERP system be able to manage the wide variety of data reports needed to run your business today? How about in a year from now?
- Can the Manufacturing ERP system generate reports that are easily comprehensible for executives of your organization?
- How will the Manufacturing ERP system integrate with your current technology?
- How well will it replace the functionalities of any existing ERP systems you have?
- What support or training will the vendor provide during and after installation?
Manufacturing ERP Software Provider Needs Assessment / Requirements Gathering
Every business has a unique set of needs, so the first step in a software selection project is to create a checklist of what your company needs most from a Manufacturing ERP system. There are hundreds of criteria to choose from, but the framework can be broken up into five main categories:
Financial and Operations Reporting From The Shop Floor To The Top Floor
Being able to track how production and manufacturing decisions impact the overall financial performance of a company is critical to staying profitable and growing. The most important needs assessment item manufacturing companies need to look at is how each Manufacturing ERP vendor is providing financial reporting and analysis from the shop or production floor to the top floor. This involves taking the massive amount of data generated on the production floor daily, interpreting it and then generating financial metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) that reflect the financial health of a manufacturing business. Specific features to look for in this area include Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, General Ledger, order entry, job costing, and support for credit card processing, support for multicurrency if your company is operating in multiple regions, and consolidated financial reporting. Also the financial reporting aspects of any Manufacturing ERP system needs to support EFT direct deposit, Payroll, Document Management, Fixed Asset Accounting and support for compliance and quality management support across workflows.
Integrated Master Production Schedules And Execution System
Being able to track how individual orders are progressing through production, seeing how variations in order quantity and complexity impact production costs and efficiencies and modifying the relative resource loads by each production cell are all possible when Master Production Schedules and Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) weren’t integrated well if at all. This led to a significant amount of manual work to compensate for the two systems not being integrated with each other. The result was production systems that often didn’t have the latest build plans or work instructions, or the latest production scheduling information down to the cell level in time to staff them with the best possible teams. Today the best-in-class Manufacturing ERP systems have these two workflows integrated and based on a common database, further making data integration and reporting more streamlined and accurate.
Advanced, Flexible Role-based Workflow Designs
Role-based workflows are the new normal in Manufacturing ERP systems with many providing templates and guides for getting started. This is especially useful for manufacturers who are transitioning from legacy, home-grown ERP systems to the latest generation of Manufacturing ERP systems and platforms. Being able to define and implement entirely new products into production, having quality assurance checkpoints throughout the process, and creating alerts and notifications unique to the processes most important to production is all possible with role-based workflow design. In advanced Manufacturing ERP systems there is often support for Business Process Management (BPM), advanced mobile devices support and company-wide social collaboration and communication.
Intuitive, Easily Learned And Customized User Interfaces
Manufacturing ERP systems must be easy to use and configure to operators on the production floor, yet agile and intuitive enough to summarize metrics and KPIs to the senior management level. For operators, there’s the need to have work instructions clearly and graphically communicated so each step in the production process is clear and attainable. For senior management the need for dashboards that scale to support current and future analytics, business intelligence and key financial metrics are also essential. As ERP vendors across all industries strive to improve the user experience and user interfaces of their applications, Manufacturing ERP system providers have the added challenge of making the individualized screen by application match the unique information needs of each person using a given system. With the continued adoption of cloud platforms, this is becoming increasingly common to find in Manufacturing ERP systems as browser-based app designs allow for faster customization overall.
Exploring Implementation Options
Cloud-based ERP systems are the fastest growing segment of the global Manufacturing ERP market today. IDC predicts that the worldwide market for manufacturing Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software is valued at $7.3B in 2016, growing to $7.9B in 2018, attaining a compound annual growth rate of 2.5%. Cloud-based ERP systems are the fastest growing segment, projected to reach a 5.5% growth rate per year through 2018 according to International Data Corporation.
Implementing cloud-based Manufacturing ERP systems are relatively simple and straightforward and include educating users about how they can best use the system to do their jobs. They are also more easily customized to the unique needs production teams and better at aligning to complex workflows in manufacturing organizations compared to their legacy on-premise counterparts. Integrating cloud-based ERP systems with third party legacy systems are where implementation options including Application Programmer Interfaces (API) become a priority. Often cloud-based ERP providers will rely on third-party services firms to also provide integration software and support. Evaluate Manufacturing ERP providers’ expertise in integrating cloud-based platforms with on-premise legacy systems. It’s a good idea to find out the extent of integration expertise at the operating system, server, database integration and support for legacy ERP systems as well.
Questions to Ask During Manufacturing ERP Demos
Please provide an overview of how I can track what’s going on in manufacturing daily and how it impacts our financial statements.
The most important criteria for evaluating any ERP provider is whether they have previous experience with your industry’s specific requirements and unique needs. Be sure to ask for examples of customers who are live today using their software to solve comparable industry challenges. If at all possible, go and visit customer references and walk the factory floor to see how their specific implementation of a Manufacturing ERP system is performing. Also ask to see how the technicians working on the shop floor use the workflows and screens to complete tasks and move products on to the next cell or area of production. Based on all of these activities a vendor should be able to produce a workflow that reflects how their customers are using their systems to streamline shop floor activity and reflect those gains on the financial statements of the company itself. All of these workflows should also be auditable and reflect transaction history over time.
Can you provide an example of discrete, mixed mode and Engineer-To-Order (ETO) workflows all within the same manufacturing location?
Manufacturers are continually striving to create new projects into products, taking the unique and differentiated customized product configurations and turning them into product lines. At the same time, manufacturers need to support mixed-mode manufacturing strategies, all from the same plant floor. Ask to see workflows that provide for mixed mode and highly customized or Engineer-To-Order (ETO) production sequences using standard and non-standard inventory items. This will tell you how well the ERP vendor(s) you are speaking with can scale across multiple manufacturing processes and strategies.
How quickly can a new product be defined in your ERP system from the Bill of Materials level through work instructions?
For many manufacturers competing in complex, fast-moving markets, they need to quickly create new Bill of Materials (BOM) and define workflows to the work instruction level. The greater the compliance in a given industry, for example aerospace and defense, the more important this becomes. Ask to see how this workflow is handled for make-to-stock, mixed mode and highly customized ETO-based products. In addition to finding out if the vendor(s) you’re speaking with can handle this level of unified workflow for defining products, it will also help to see how well the BOM functions are integrated across the entire production floor. While many ERP vendors are capable of doing this, it’s interesting to see how easy or difficult the overall process is. Only by seeing a demo and asking these questions will that come out.
How can the manufacturing teams make use of the ERP system?
There are many uses of ERP information across the manufacturing floor of a business. Look to see if the ERP providers you are evaluating mention Bill of Materials (BOM) management, quality ratings by suppliers, inventory position by part, production scheduling, manufacturing execution system (MES) support and backlog management.
Why do sales teams need to have reports from the Manufacturing ERP system?
Sales can easily run reports to find out which customers’ orders shipped, are in backlog and which are just getting done by production. Having this information at their fingertips give them the ability to serve customers more effectively, while upselling new products and services. In advanced Manufacturing ERP systems, sales management can see what pricing programs are working the best and also collaborate with marketing on new selling strategies, immediately seeing what’s working or not.
Will it grow with my business?
If you’re investing in an ERP solution, you don’t want it to be obsolete in a year. Plan to implement software that will last at least ten years. ERP should be scalable. Find out what the limitations are on the scale and reporting capability of your system so you can make an adequate decision about whether the software is right for you.
Leading Manufacturing ERP Vendors
There are over 250 ERP providers serving over a dozen sub-industries in discrete, mix-mode and process manufacturing industries. Leading vendors include the following:
Epicor ERP—Epicor ERP is designed to operate either as an on-premise or cloud-based manufacturing ERP system. The company has a long history in retailing and complex manufacturing and their product designs emphasis on ease of use with streamlined user interfaces and intuitive collaboration workflows.
IQMS – One of the most advanced providers of Manufacturing ERP systems, IQMS’ product strategy integrates Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) And Manufacturing Execution System (MES) applications into a unified system of record that enables manufacturers to support new and emerging workflows. EnterpriseIQ is the company’s leading product and is widely used in small, medium- and enterprise-size manufacturing operations.
Microsoft Dynamics NAV – Formerly Microsoft Dynamics Navision, Microsoft NAV has established itself as a leader in small and midsize manufacturing. What’s unique about the product is its ease of use and support for complex manufacturing processes. What’s significant about this product is the greater control it provides over supply chain planning and execution and integration of production and financial data. Microsoft Dynamics NAV is also known for its rapid deployment timeframes as well.
Plex Systems – The undisputed Cloud ERP leader, Plex powers modern manufacturing with the first ERP cloud built from the plant floor up. There are over 600 companies running their manufacturing operations on the Plex Manufacturing Cloud today. The Plex Manufacturing Cloud has proven its ability to automate manufacturing from the shop floor to the top floor. The Plex Manufacturing Cloud is designed to connect suppliers, optimize materials ordering and management, and integrate with accounting and business systems to deliver manufacturing intelligence across any size production operation.
SAP Business One – Designed specifically for the needs small and midsized manufacturing companies, SAP Business One excels at role-based access to critical data, applications, and analytical tools. SAP also excels at managing the complex processes of procurement, manufacturing execution, service, sales, finance, and HR. SAP is one of the most trusted and proven ERP providers worldwide.
Choosing a Manufacturing ERP system provider is a task that should be given serious consideration. This Manufacturing ERP system comparison is meant to be used as a starting point to guide IT professionals who are tasked with making this decision.