Making Confident Business Decisions with Real-Time Data
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In this special blog series, ERP for Small and Midsize Manufacturers, we’ll discuss how SMBs are gaining an edge in the Manufacturing industry through ERP software. From flexible deployment options to mission-critical functionality, you’ll learn what to look for to extend the value and shelf life of your next ERP system.
As an SMB manufacturer, you probably have deep expertise in your particular niche. You are well-versed with your market and know where you fit into the mix. Likewise, you know your company, its strengths and its weaknesses. But as good as your instincts may be, when it comes down to the numbers, there’s nothing like cold hard facts to drive your decision-making. If you’re not completely certain of how much inventory you need to get through the month, if sales quotes are the result of sophisticated guesswork and if spreadsheets feel like they are taking over your life – then, you’ll want to read this.
Once fully and properly implemented, an ERP system can offer small and mid-sized manufacturers unprecedented insights into their daily operations. From operational hiccups to raw material inventories, ERP data allows company leaders to monitor performance across key functions in real time and make confident decisions in a timely manner. Here are three key areas where you’ll see your investment pay off.
For SMBs, the ability to project accurate promise dates is critical. But when busy periods or scheduling changes occur, the risk of inefficiency and error can sky-rocket on the shop floor. Instead of manually dispatching work center updates, your ERP system makes it easy to implement a schedule change as soon as it happens and to shift work station priorities instantly. From there, managers can monitor jobs and be alerted to processes that may be trending unusually, so operations can pivot to address any issues. This kind of real-time visibility is essential to developing the agility today’s customers expect from reliable manufacturers.
Monitoring shop floor activities electronically supports a manufacturer’s ability to accurately project needed inventory levels. Having a window into real-time scheduling allows the front office to see the order in which inventory will be consumed. Rather than relying on an exported (read: obsolete) spreadsheet of production activities representing a subset of inventory needs, purchasing decisions can be based on comprehensive real-time production plans. For instance, this also allows purchasers to consider when the same parts may be needed for multiple jobs and whether bulk pricing should be pursued.
In today’s competitive market, no manufacturer can afford to break its promises. Gaining insights into the real-life conditions of your shop floor can give SMBs a reality check on the types of projects and timelines that can be confidently managed. It can also ensure you get the job done in both your best- and worst-case scenarios. Your ERP system can help draw up “what-if” numbers for fluctuating conditions and define bottlenecks that are likely to present a challenge. Then, with all the facts in mind, you can draw up a promise date that is achievable and a quote that is attractive even when circumstances are stacked against you.