Why Manufacturers are Moving Forward with ERP

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I was not surprised to see an article this morning from the TEC or Technology Evaluation Center titled TEC Research Shows Manufacturers Still Biggest ERP Shoppers.   Manufacturers continue to drive our economy and to remain competitive mid-market companies have to run lean and provide a good value with their finished goods.  Based on the TEC article the biggest concerns for manufacturers are on the following chart.  These results make a lot of sense to me and are in good order of what I find when meeting with manufacturers. 

TEC Research Shows Manufacturers Still Biggest ERP Shoppers
"Per the TEC Top 10 ERP Functional Priorities Requested by Manufacturing Firms (as a percentage of all projects), October 2011–March 2012 (Click image to expand)"


Most manufacturer prospects we work with do not have good financials since manufacturing drives a good portion of financials and is often in  disparate systems or in chaos .  Think about it, you have information coming from many sub-modules and accounts and probably need a good chart of accounts (COA).  If your system is not designed for manufacturing nor has a good COA structure, then how can you get good financials?

Inventory costs are a huge concern for manufacturers and vendor relationships are paramount.  A good ERP system allows purchasing managers the ability to track vendor contracts,  lead times (actual vs promised), quality of the materials, and most of all keep carrying costs down by purchasing just in time with the help of MRP (material requirements planning).   One of our consultants once said that the purchasing manager and purchase receiving on the dock were the most important roles in keeping a manufacturer’s inventory correct. 

Inventory tracking is another key component of a manufacturer.  Of course garbage in is garbage out therefore training staff on data input is key to the success of an ERP selection and implementation.  Entering transactions accurately and in a timely manner still has to be done to get accurate inventory counts in your ERP system.  There is no reason for a sales or production manager to run around a warehouse looking for inventory prior to committing to a sales order or work order. 

Advanced Planning and Scheduling or APS can often times be handled with good MRP management.  Or if a company is large enough and can commit someone to the tool, PlanetTogether is a great APS product that CIS recommends to our customers. 

Sales Order Management can have many nuances, for  instance,  whether complex customer pricing is needed, or if the customer base is business to business with a lot of repeat customers or business to consumer?  Most of our customers are business to business that sell wholesale to distributors and complex pricing and commissions are extremely important. 

Our company, Custom Information Services (CIS) has had a niche market in the sales and implementation of ERP software for Manufactures since around 1996.   Our customer base has some smart folks running local manufacturing companies.   They understand that having a strong inventory, production, and distribution model keeps them ahead of their competition.   Having an ERP package like Dynamics GP also makes it so much easier to hire and train staff.  Our customers don’t have to rely on someone having business processes kept only in their head… 

Custom Information Services or CIS is a Microsoft Dynamics reseller in North Texas.   If you would like more information on our product and service offerings for manufacturers, please contact me through email at nphillippi@customis.com or by phone at 817-640-0016 x 109.

by Custom Information Services, Texas Microsoft Dynamics GP Partner

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