ERP for Engineer-to-Order Manufacturing
When most people think of manufacturing, they envision a bustling factory floor with machines constructing and assembling an enormous quantity of goods. However, not all manufacturers follow repetitive tasks to crank out a bunch of identical products. Some plants, particularly in industrial machinery and aerospace and defense industries, work closely with customers to create items tailored to their specific needs. These businesses specialize in engineer-to-order (ETO) manufacturing.
Developing custom, intricate products comes with a great deal of complexity. Operations must get done right the first time to prevent cost and time overruns. Not every enterprise resource planning (ERP) software solution can handle the specific challenges of ETO manufacturing. To help you find the best ERP system to manage your ETO manufacturing processes, we’ve detailed a couple essential features.
Product Lifecycle Management
With ETO manufacturing, you don’t just receive the customer’s request and deliver a finished product within a few months. The production cycle could take several months, even years, of complex processes and going back and forth with your client. During this time, you’ll experience multiple engineering changes and perform concurrent tasks. You don’t want production to get mired by all these changes and complexities.
That’s where product lifecycle management (PLM) systems come into play. PLM solutions manage the entire lifecycle of a product from cradle to grave, helping you keep track of all the data and documents involved in each project. Epicor’s PLM module is tightly integrated with over 12 computer-aided design (CAD) systems and various electronic design automation (EDA) systems. Modifications to CAD and other documents are stored in a change history for reliable engineering change order management. This gives users a single solution to locate critical information, answer customer questions or view recent updates.
But you don’t want to run your PLM system separately from your ERP. Having a PLM module fully integrated with your ERP can give you a central repository for product information. Your ERP and PLM should communicate with each other to coordinate all the resources and tasks necessary to execute the project. Without these systems working together, you’ll be forced to waste time entering data into both systems, increasing the risk of human error. Furthermore, your employees won’t have real-time information at their fingertips to answer any customer questions or view recent changes. With PLM built into your ERP solution, you can increase efficiency and improve visibility to reduce cycle times.
The way you define and acquire materials could have a significant impact on cycle times and costs. ETO manufacturers create tailored products that often require difficult-to-source raw materials, parts and components. These materials are often expensive and are purchased with long lead times. Furthermore, designers often release the bill of materials (BOM) in stages. Users must manage a large spread of part numbers for items they only build for one order.
To handle this complexity, ETO manufacturers need an ERP solution with sophisticated BOM management. Epicor ERP is uniquely equipped to provide alternate BOMs and routings per plant. The software can support multilevel BOM management, giving users a visual display where they can easily view the structure of a product as well as its multilevel components and subcomponents with drag-and-drop tools. Within the BOM structure, you can monitor costs for materials, labor, subcontracting and more. You can also link product specific documentation for instant access.
Additionally, detailed routings improve the efficiency of planning, scheduling and costing. Changes are automatically relayed to the plant floor, where users have online visibility of the latest routing production notes and resource requirements. Multiple routings and material substitutions can be maintained under a single part number. A robust ERP solution provides the transparency to efficiently manage the costs and acquirement of materials and components.
The right ERP software can help you develop more dynamic, streamlined ETO operations. For over 45 years, Epicor has designed ERP solutions with various manufacturing industries and processes in mind. Epicor ERP includes comprehensive modules and advanced features that can simplify ETO manufacturing and strengthen your bottom line.
But we know that most ETO manufacturers don’t have the time or staff to implement and maintain an ERP solution on their own. Datix is here to lift that burden from your shoulders. Our certified consultants will manage your implementation from start to finish and provide ongoing support. We offer a wide range of services and solutions to maximize the value of your software and expand its lifetime. Datix has over 20 years of experience executing ERP projects for a myriad of manufacturers and distributors. An Epicor Gold Partner, you can count on us to deliver a reliable ERP solution to support your unique ETO manufacturing needs.
Start transforming your business through software. Learn more about Epicor by contacting one of our ERP experts today!