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Are you a Building Materials Manufacturer with an outdated accounting or legacy Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) System?  Are you struggling with challenges such as costing and inventory and wonder if there is a better way to manage both? We have developed a list of the top 5 questions to ask as you evaluate your choices. This list will help you know what to look for in a replacement ERP solution to ensure your decision will be a great fit for your building materials manufacturing business.

  • Does the solution have the full set of features that my business requires? You will want to ensure that your new ERP system provides all the information needed so your business can complete work on time and on budget. These are the functional areas that a modern robust ERP can and should support:
    • Inventory Management
    • Finance
    • Production
    • Sales
    • Purchasing
    • Warehouse Management
  • Is the solution customized for my industry and specific to the needs of building materials manufacturers? There are many generic ERP systems readily available. Choosing one of them often creates the need to spend much time and money to customize it to fit your business. This can include both custom code as well as 3rd party applications and adds expense to ongoing support. Here are some of the industry-specific features to look for:
    • View and maintain costs for labor, freight, outside services, and surcharges
    • Determine additional cuts and material required from scraps
    • Integrate with Eclipse roll forming controllers
    • Control product packaging and bundle/skid management, including Heat/Lot, package width, length, height, and weight
    • Tailored quoting process to support complete job submittal functionality and generate specifications and drawings
  • How does it support costing and inventory? Inventory management directly impacts your overall costs. This will be an area you will want to thoroughly evaluate in an ERP system. For example, RealSTEEL allows you to track inventory using combinations of dimensional and physical attributes. You can link blueprint information, including floor and section, to improve quote and order lines. It also supports a manufacturing execution system (MES) to record actual production, scrap, shears, and break weights.
  • How will it improve my operational efficiencies? Your chosen solution should be quick, intuitive, and accurate for sales quoting and order entry. It should also support multiple outside processing operations and include a shipping dispatch board in order to build, monitor, and maintain loads. You will want customer specifications (packing, loading and tolerances) to track with each order.
  • Is the solution built with modern tools we won’t outgrow? Make sure your ERP system is equipped to take you into the future and isn’t on its last leg of development and support. RealSTEEL is built onMicrosoft Dynamics NAV and all the rich product history and continued development support that goes along with this cutting-edge platform. It includes enhanced functionality, forward-thinking financial management, supply chain capabilities, full integration of Microsoft Office products, and business intelligence. If you are a global business or have aspirations to be one, look for an ERP solution that offers full support of complex operations including multi-company, multi-currency, multi-lingual, and multi-warehouse.

As you evaluate replacements for your accounting or legacy ERP software, make sure to ask yourself the right questions. Your success depends on your ability to optimize processes and master your supply chain through technology. Contact us today to learn more about how RealSTEEL is helping building materials manufacturers across the United States.

Written by Kevin Ameche, RealSTEEL,

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