So, you’re looking to implement a new enterprise system on your shop floor. You go to Google, you go to colleagues and wander around vendor websites for what seems like an eternity. 500 different options and phone calls with salespeople later, you’re no closer to figuring out which ERP system will give you the most success for the most reasonable investment. And with web-based SaaS ERP systems slowly gaining momentum on the market, more and more options have emerged for a discerning manufacturer that are faster to install, easier to implement and often times easier on the wallet. But are you even sure if a cloud-based discrete manufacturing ERP is the right choice for you? The truth is, the search engines and word-of-mouth won’t always find the perfect manufacturing ERP for your business, and you can’t get caught up in all the sales talk and rush your decision. However, there are some basic discrete manufacturing ERP requirements that you should be looking for when selecting your new software, which we’ve listed out here.
Once you’ve gone through the specific requirements the right discrete manufacturing ERP needs to have, download our ERP selection guide using the form above to get the lowdown on the top ERP vendors and their key features, so you can start filtering down your list of possible systems!
Scheduling allows you to use your production lines as efficiently as possible. This also means less wear and tear on your equipment, and less money spent on upkeep and replacement of machinery. The most successful discrete manufacturing ERP will have sophisticated scheduling modules that can be integrated quickly and smoothly into your current production processes, while also finding new ways to streamline them.
Supply Chain Visibility
As a discrete manufacturer, you deal with specific parts that must be built from either raw materials or products bought from other manufacturers. The modern supply chain can be dense, spread out over multiple borders, and pass through many hands before it ever reaches a consumer. The multiplication of links can often make the supply chain weaker, and less communicative. Recalls may never make it back to the source, or businesses may not be able to achieve consistent quality from suppliers. However, with a specialized discrete manufacturing ERP system, it’s entirely possible to achieve newfound transparency in your supply chain. Bar code checks, scanning systems and universal tracking across facilities are all available on the ERP market, and can radically transform the way you deal with and operate within your supply chain
When receiving product and shipping it out make up such a critical core of your business, the right inventory management strategy is crucial to discrete manufacturing success. Good inventory strategy will look to lean out not only the amount of product you have sitting around your warehouse, but also the goods being unnecessarily shipped out only to be returned. Excess inventory and shipment can cost you a good chunk of change in storage, carrying costs and the employees you need to care for the inventory. By gathering all of your inventory and shipment data into a single source of truth, a discrete manufacturing ERP system can make it infinitely easier to track where product is, where it needs to be, and how demand might fluctuate over time so that you can plan your warehouse needs accordingly.
Your Unique Business Requirements For Discrete Manufacturing ERP
It should go without saying, but it’s a fact that many organizations new to ERP software seem to overlook. Your business will already have a unique set of systems and specifications in place, whether it’s as broad as your employee structure or as specific as detailed workflows, like the way your facility operates a certain packaging line. There’s no one specific discrete manufacturing ERP that will be the best fit for every single business—and it’s better that way. Discrete manufacturers may all may be making something specific, in some capacity, but they all have different methods of making their product (or they wouldn’t be in business). In the same way, no one ERP system can fit this wide range of processes.
What’s more, cloud-based ERP software means that companies can roll out changes and updates to their systems faster than ever before, but you cannot count on a vendor ‘upgrading’ to suit your business needs. You can also not just go for the cheapest or most convenient option, expecting that easy customizations can be made to get your discrete manufacturing ERP up to speed. Customizations are usually complex, require in depth knowledge of software and will require outside expertise if you don’t have a consultant or in-house employee who can carry out the work. They should usually be reserved for necessary changes and workflows that are totally necessary and would not be supported by a best-fit system already.
A thorough and successful business process modelling will identify every single task and workflow that will be related in any capacity to the ERP system, and then define specific requirements that the discrete manufacturing ERP will need to support them.
Discrete manufacturing ERP can be extremely powerful, pulling together all of the loose strands of your operations and making the whole unit stronger. However, this kind of synchronicity can’t happen if you’re not selecting an ERP with the right traits for your business. Don’t get caught up in the sales speak and the flashy demos. Make sure that you fully understand what you need out of discrete manufacturing ERP in general, and what specific features you need for your business processes. Only after you can truly map out your entire business, and the role that ERP will play in it, can you begin selecting the right discrete manufacturing ERP.
If you are looking for help during the discrete manufacturing ERP selection process, contact an expert at Datix today! You can also download our comprehensive ERP selection guide using the form at the top of the article for quick access to a rundown of all of the most popular ERP systems on the market today.