Most of us in the manufacturing industry use ERP in the same way we did yesterday and will probably continue to use it in this way tomorrow. Remember when you first looked at manufacturing ERP systems and watched those wonderful demonstrations with all the colorful reports and alerts that all but tapped your shoulder when some event triggered in your manufacturing ERP system? It might be time to dig out the manual and start getting more from your manufacturing ERP data. 

1. Reporting Estimated and Accumulated Job Costing

Is it important to watch the cost of every job? Whenever materials are added to the job or an employee records time working on a job, the cost of the job is incremented. The accumulated job cost is always ready to be compared to the estimated cost of the job. How would you like to see this reported in your manufacturing ERP? A manager dashboard, emailed reports to all who worked on the job? The factory floor organizer might want to see the sum of all jobs. A production manager might be interested in one particular job, and an area supervisor might only look at a particular operation within jobs.

2. Mapping Manufacturing Production Data

Manufacturing ERP systems can show production data using Gantt charts with a different color for operations or equipment and the length of the bar indicating the time required. The chart will show production as currently scheduled and can be reorganized if necessary. Maybe there are holes in the schedule and you want to ensure an expensive tool is always in use. Maybe there is a particular order that needs to be expedited. After moving the Gantt bars, save the rearrangement and the schedule is updated for all authorized users to see.

In a process manufacturing environment, one might want to watch the status of production in real time. The oven might have just been repaired and we want to watch the temperature as compared to the needed recipe temperature. There might be a critical change in chemistry after adding a reagent and increasing pump pressure. If it changes properly, well; but if there is a problem, there could be only a brief window of time to make a correction.

3. Transparent Order Data for Customers

You could provide a portal or integrated access for your customers. They might want to see their orders moving through production. The manufacturing ERP data is already there. The only requirement is to limit the customer access to different datasets and modules of your system. As long as long as they can see their order will be produced and distributed on time, they are happy customers.

4. Use Training Data to Inform Production Assignments

It may be important to limit the production personnel working on a product to only those with specific training, an example being in the medical device manufacturing industry. Set an alert to compare training data by employee whenever people log in to work on that product. If anyone without sufficient training is scheduled for that job, the production manager is instantly notified. Or, for even more control, prohibit that employee from entering work for that product.

These are only a few ideas. Look at your requirements and put your manufacturing ERP data to work as the powerful tool it already is.