In today’s competitive landscape, process manufacturers experience constant regulatory challenges, pressure to be innovative, and expectations for growth. An ERP software solution can provide increased efficiency, productivity, and profitability. However, your ERP software should also be industry specific particularly suited to your industry and business practices, manufacturing processes, strategic goals, and budget. There are other rationales for selecting ERP software specific to process manufacturing rather than a generic, “one-size-fits-all” version. 

ERP software for batch process manufacturers provides a single-source business management system that can link departments, collect and maintain data in a centralized database, and make a process manufacturing operation visible in real-time. With integrated business intelligence (BI), ERP software can also manage and interpret critical data for analysis, reporting, and decision-making.

1. Industry-specific features

You use complex recipes and formulas to create the goods you produce and sell. So, your process manufacturing ERP solution’s specialized functionalities should include, among others: secure storage for formulas/recipes, new formula/recipe testing, contingencies for batch consistency, co- and by-product creation and management, inventory management, and quality control (QC) testing and reporting. QC functionalities should support current good manufacturing practice (cGMP), create customized Certificates of Analysis (COAs), provide full tracking and tracing, and help meet and manage regulatory compliance for your company. Industry specific ERP software is designed to align with your production processes and business model.

2. Minimal need for customization

An industry-specific ERP software solution provides core functionalities for process manufacturers “off-the-shelf.” ERP software not specific to your industry may require extensive, costly customization, with the probability of operational glitches and performance disappointments. Core features that should always be provided without customization include: formulation / bills of material (BOMs) / recipe management, Material Requirements Planning (MRP), advanced scheduling, lot traceability and attribute management, along with accounting functionalities, purchase orders, order entry and other features specific to the needs of your business. However, if your ERP provider is also the developer of the ERP software, that provider should be flexible and knowledgeable enough to handle any customizations unique to your business to maintain your competitive advantage.

3. Smoother implementation

By selecting an ERP software solution specific to your industry, you’ll be working with a provider that 1) may have developed the ERP software itself, and/or 2) deals exclusively with the industry-specific software, and/or 3) has a specialization within the purview of process manufacturing. This knowledge, coupled with the experience of working with a client base having needs similar to yours, increases the chances your provider will deliver a smooth and carefully planned ERP implementation. The provider should have the knowledge to properly set-up and configure the ERP software, troubleshoot any potential system problems, anticipate any delays to the project’s timeline, and train your staff.

In today’s competitive landscape, process manufacturers experience constant regulatory challenges, pressure to be innovative, and expectations for growth.

4. Industry support staff

With an industry specific provider, support personnel work exclusively in your industry. They speak your language. These ERP support professionals are intimately familiar with how process manufacturing works, where the challenges lie, and the pressures you are facing in meeting compliance. Because they have been thoroughly trained, they also fully understand the design and functionalities of the ERP software their company has developed.

5. Auxiliary technical resource of users

Your ERP provider and its support staff have probably developed relationships with other process-manufacturing customers. These ERP software users and technology professionals comprise a strong user base serving as an auxiliary technical resource for the ERP provider’s support staff. They talk about the ERP software and how it works for their particular process manufacturer. They also participate together in user forums and at conferences. Having the ability to leverage your peer’s experience and knowledge about the ERP software’s performance, in the process manufacturing business exclusively, make this user base an invaluable resource for your company.

An industry-specific ERP solution offers you and your company process manufacturing functionalities, requires fewer customizations, facilitates smoother implementations, utilizes industry-experienced support staff, and access to the provider as an auxiliary technical resource for users. When choosing ERP software, look closely at providers focused in your industry, speaking your language.