8 Real-life Examples of How Manufacturing ERP Helped Businesses

Making the right decision when it comes to selecting an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system for your business can be challenging. However, the benefits of ERP, such as a unified database and streamlined integration across departments, are numerous. Implementing the right ERP can lead to significant returns on investment through improved business intelligence and increased efficiency.

For manufacturers, specific functionality tailored to their industry is crucial. This is where Manufacturing ERP comes into play, offering modules that cater to both business and manufacturing operations. To help you understand the value that different ERP features can bring, we present eight compelling use cases illustrating how various companies have benefited from implementing Manufacturing ERP.

Use Case #1 – Integration for a Medical Device Manufacturer

Before: A small medical device manufacturer was on the verge of closing a major fundraising deal that would double its staff size. Currently using QuickBooks and manual methods, handling business operations and generating reports for regulatory bodies like the FDA was challenging.

Requirements: They needed an integrated system to manage inventory and production, automate purchase orders and vendor management, and enable their sales team to submit orders within the same system.

After: With the implementation of their Manufacturing ERP, redundant processes were eliminated, and efficiency improved with seamless integration. The ERP's powerful reporting tools made it easy for them to provide the necessary reports to the FDA. Sales could now create quotes that seamlessly converted into sales orders, which then transformed into production orders for a streamlined process.

The ERP system optimized and automated production tasks, enabling them to handle increased production demands for the new project. Real-time visibility into stock levels, re-order points, cycle counts, and demand planning ensured on-time deliveries. The system also improved vendor relationships through enhanced communication and performance tracking.

Use Case #2 – Job Cost and MRP for a Make-to-Order Industrial Machinery Company

Before: A company in the industrial machinery sector struggled to determine job costs quickly and maintain sufficient stock levels to meet production demands. Their shop floor staff manually tracked their work hours, resulting in inaccuracies. All financial transactions were managed using spreadsheets, leading to inefficiencies.

Requirements: They sought an ERP system that could provide job cost and material requirements planning (MRP) capabilities.

After: The ERP system transformed their shop floor operations, connecting to machinery to monitor employee performance and improve workflow. Shop floor operators could now efficiently track job start and stop times, as well as machine downtime, all without leaving their desks. Managers gained better visibility into productivity by operator and machine.

The robust financial management system in their ERP handled transactions efficiently, speeding up month-end closings and providing accurate business insights, including cash flow forecasts. Armed with precise data, management made informed decisions to enhance planning and growth.

Use Case #3 – Full Integration for a Midsized Manufacturer

Before: A midsized manufacturer grappled with managing a growing business using an outdated DOS-based system. The system lacked features for tracking production, work orders, barcoding, and inventory management, leading to inefficiencies and disjointed processes.

Requirements: They needed an ERP system that could integrate all their processes and provide a comprehensive solution.

After: Their Manufacturing ERP system brought transformation by effectively tracking, controlling, and documenting the product journey from raw materials to finished goods. This newfound visibility extended to quantities of materials used, items produced, and quality test outcomes, all without human intervention. Job costs were now visible, thanks to real-time tracking of items as they moved through the shop.

The ERP system unified all processes, ensuring everyone worked with the same information. Barcodes were scanned during various stages, reducing errors and improving inventory visibility. The user-friendly interface made it easy for employees to adapt to the new system.

Use Case #4 – Streamlining Workflow for a Small Electronics Manufacturer

Before: A small electronics manufacturer's current software primarily focused on financials, lacking manufacturing functionality. They sought a software system to improve workflow and connect all their departments.

Requirements: They needed an ERP system that could plan for production, manage the supply chain, and efficiently track inventory. Additionally, they sought a system to simplify their quality checklist process.

After: The Manufacturing ERP system provided seamless connectivity and streamlined workflow, enabling fast pivoting as business needs changed. Supply chain management functionality analyzed demand and anticipated potential issues. The system effectively handled quality checks, ensuring compliance with industry, regulatory, and customer requirements.

Use Case #5 – Better Tracking Capabilities for a Contract Manufacturer

Before: A contract manufacturer relied entirely on Excel-based systems, leading to challenges in tracking materials, inventory, labor, and work orders. They needed to generate quotes quickly, improve operational control, and manage shop floor workflow effectively.

Requirements: They were in search of a Manufacturing ERP system that could automate and track all their processes, reducing paperwork and increasing efficiency.

After: With the Manufacturing ERP system in place, all processes were automated and monitored, resulting in increased efficiency and improved workflow. The system generated and assigned shop floor tasks to staff, allowing for better identification of workflow improvements. Accurate bill of materials functionality helped create precise resource lists for accurate job quoting.

Detailed purchasing data enabled them to make better decisions, comparing vendor pricing and identifying cost-saving opportunities. Customizable reports empowered managers to make informed decisions, while accounting and inventory synchronization ensured optimal material levels.

Use Case #6 – Project Customization for a High-End Upholstery Manufacturer

Before: A high-end upholstery manufacturer focused on made-to-order production faced challenges with their current ERP system, which lacked the capability to handle project customizations. They needed to plan production based on materials, labor, and machinery costs, from procurement to delivery.

Requirements: They sought an ERP system that could provide product configurator functionality to accommodate customer requests for quotes and custom orders.

After: With the Manufacturing ERP system's product configurator, the company quickly responded to customer requests and accommodated custom orders. Each configuration received a unique item code, simplifying tracking and repeat orders. The system automatically created sales quotes, orders, bills of materials (BOMs), and routings.

Shop floor managers tracked productivity by operator and machine in real-time, comparing machine capacity with actual production to determine delivery times. The ERP system's end-to-end processes facilitated seamless material procurement and better vendor performance visibility.

Use Case #7 – Quick Implementation of Full-Suite Cloud-Based ERP for a Fast-Growing Company

Before: A fast-growing company with pending orders aimed to double its revenue. With only an accounting system in place, they urgently needed an ERP system to handle their diverse processes, including MRP, MES, order tracking, planning, scheduling, sourcing, financial management, CRM, quality management, and warehouse management. Additionally, they required multi-currency and language capabilities and an e-commerce tool for online sales.

Requirements: They sought a cloud-based Manufacturing ERP system for its quick implementation time and wide range of functionalities.

After: The company chose a cloud-based Manufacturing ERP that provided quick implementation, allowing them to access business-critical applications from anywhere, anytime. Their processes were optimized, with seamless tracking, planning, scheduling, and sourcing within the system. Real-time shop floor insights enabled immediate reactions to production issues, incorporating best practices for improved workflow.

The ERP system's financial management module efficiently handled cash flow, budget control, and job cost tracking. Being a multi-national company, they now processed payroll in multiple currencies and languages, while inventory tracking, sales, and customer follow-ups were made accessible on the go with a mobile app. Quality processes connected with manufacturing and distribution for better control and traceability, while e-commerce functionality streamlined their online sales and reduced sitting stock.

Use Case #8 – Enhanced Data for Business Decisions in a Metal Fabrication Company

Before: A metal fabrication company relied on QuickBooks and SmartSheet but faced challenges in receiving and sharing information with the shop floor. Determining material costs was difficult, impacting their quoting accuracy. With plans to expand staff, they required a system suited to a more extensive operation, providing real-time data on production status and estimated completion time for management.

Requirements: They needed a Manufacturing ERP system that could improve data sharing, material cost calculation, and real-time production data access.

After: Their Manufacturing ERP system bridged the gap between accounting and dynamic manufacturing processes, streamlining cash flow management, budget control, and job cost tracking. Supply chain demand data was used to create schedules for production, purchasing, and inventory, and shop floor managers utilized the system to identify variances, calculate costs, and improve overall operations while minimizing waste.

Comprehensive reports provided management with real-time information on production status and estimated completion times, empowering better decision-making. With the ERP system's implementation, the company was well-equipped to handle their growing business with accurate data and improved operational efficiency.

In conclusion, these eight manufacturing ERP use cases demonstrate the various benefits that ERP systems can bring to businesses in the manufacturing sector. By addressing specific industry needs and streamlining processes, manufacturing ERP can play a vital role in enhancing productivity, efficiency, and overall business performance. Choosing the right ERP solution tailored to your company's unique requirements can undoubtedly yield a significant return on investment and drive your business to new heights of success.

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