When selecting the best manufacturing ERP software companies, you have to consider whether you deal in process or discrete manufacturing, and find a system that specialises in your specific requirements. Other factors that affect your decision include the size of your business, its processes, its complexity and its desired outcomes. You also need to decide whether it should be hosted on-site or via the Cloud, and whether information should be tracked manually or automatically.
You’re in need of business management software for manufacturing. You decide to invest in ERP software to manage data, but which solution to go for? There are hundreds of different products for a wide variety of clients, and it's vital to know which is the right solution for your needs. This helpful guide will show you the essentials of what you need to think about when selecting the manufacturing software that suits you.
What is Manufacturing ERP Software?
ERP stands for Enterprise Resource Planning. Basically, it's software, usually a suite of integrated applications, that can collect, store, manage and interpret data for a variety of needs.
In manufacturing, ERP is needed for the planning and execution of manufacturing projects by tracking suppliers, materials and production costs, as well as supporting relationships with customers.
The Benefits of Manufacturing ERP Software
ERP Software provides manufacturers with a single, centralised and integrated software system. This kind of software helps the efficiency of the company and improves management of the manufacturing process by streamlining the processes and workflows, and reducing redundant processes and data entry.
The processes it establishes are consistent and based on good manufacturing processes. ERP provides greater insight into costs and time-management, which makes operations less wasteful, and can produce documentation for the compliance regulations that a lot of manufacturers are subject to.
Of course, what you need your software to do will decide which ERP you want to invest in. It may be tempting to buy flashy or big-brand software, but it’s no use if it doesn’t do exactly what you need.
Types of Manufacturing
There are two main types of manufacturing: process manufacturing and discrete manufacturing.
Process manufacturing is related to formulas and manufacturing recipes, in other words, building things that can’t be taken apart. On the other hand, discrete manufacturing produces distinct items, things that can be taken apart.
Process manufacturing produces things that are indistinct, such as food, chemicals or paints, whilst discrete manufacturing makes things that are easily identifiable, such as electronic equipment, automobiles etc. There are plenty of important distinctions, with different inventories and bills of materials. For example, process manufacturers require formulas, containers, labels etc. for their bill of materials, and work in units of measurement such as pounds, gallons and litres, whilst discrete manufacturers work in ‘per item’. It’s important to understand what type of manufacturing you need, as ERP tailored to different types of manufacturing will not be compatible.
If your software is tailored to discrete manufacturing, then it won’t also be compatible with process manufacturing, as most discrete packages won’t be built to convert different units of measurement, and may not be able to use the same conversion factor on a bill of material.
What to Look For
Your decision should be based on the effectiveness of the software, not the effectiveness of the sales engineers. Software demonstrations will usually only highlight its best aspects, and use only a small quantity of company data and workflows, so be sure to pay close attention during demos. There are four main aspects of your business you need to consider when selecting ERP, as all of these will affect the functionality of your software:
• the size of your business,
• its processes,
• its complexity
• its desired outcomes
Manufacturers ought to think about whether a cloud deployment model would suit them. Cloud computing provides quick implementations, and has a lower total cost of ownership, which is appealing to emerging businesses. However, smaller businesses may be more interested in keeping their ERP, and so would require a package with simpler, more elementary deployment. Security of a cloud system would also be a concern for larger and more at-risk industries such as aerospace.
Another thing to consider is whether information such as inventory in spreadsheets should be tracked manually or with an automated system. Small manufacturers should consider a reliable automated system, as keeping on top of information manually can be a waste of time, and risks serious errors.
If you are a manufacturer with specialist needs, you may not be able to rely on a general system. Certain organisations will require industry-specific functions such as scrap management for a system used by an aerospace manufacturer.
Process manufacturers might have trouble with their bill of materials functionality, and will therefore need a system including a robust inventory control feature that lends itself to different kinds of units of measurement.
Some buyers only require a single application to improve their production, such as Manufacturing Resource Planning software. MRP is a method for the effective planning of all the resources of a manufacturing company, and may be useful for a small manufacturing industry that needs the production of each customer’s order to be scheduled.
A business that operates from different locations, such as a business with a subsidiary manufacturing division, will need all of its departments to remain in sync. Therefore, your smaller division will need a smaller system that is compatible with the system of whatever the company’s main headquarters uses.
A two-tier ERP will achieve this, as it has the capacity to run two integrated ERP systems simultaneously.
Though you may think your manufacturing business functions just like any other, every company’s size, processes, complexity and desired outcomes are all unique, and therefore require different ERP systems. This is why there is such a huge diversity of solutions available. It can be a labyrinth to traverse on your own, which is why the Software Advisory Service is here to help. Click here to complete your details and request an ERP shortlist.