Key Manufacturing ERP Features

PostedOn: 2016-10-05 12:00:22

Key manufacturing ERP features can vary tremendously from one manufacturing facility to another. But these will likely work well for many manufacturers: 

  • Ability to compare operational and financial performance based on any dimension including location, machine, line, product, material, supplier or employee
  • User-configurable role-based dashboards and workbenches providing summary and drill-down data analysis capabilities
  • Collaboration capabilities, with the ability to easily share internally and externally, generated information files
  • Ability for users to extend data tables and reports without making changes to the underlying codebase
  • Industry-specific last-mile functionality that supports unique manufacturing requirements (repetitive for the automotive industry as an example) and terminology
  • Ability to control access to information based on user role or responsibility

Manufacturers tend to deploy fewer ERP modules than those in other industries and the modules vary significantly from facility to facility, noted Panorama Consulting Solutions analyst Eric Kimberling. Some of the possible modules include:

  • Financials, and usually global financials supporting multi-GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles), internationalization and GRC (governance, risk, and compliance) requirements
  • Customer management (As manufacturers mainly operate in a B2B environment, this will be somewhat different than what you would see in many more consumer-oriented CRM applications)
  • Lean and mixed mode manufacturing
  • Advanced planning and scheduling, including demand planning
  • Enterprise asset management to effectively deal with equipment and tools
  • Supply chain management
  • Service and support management
  • Analytics
  • Business process management
  • Integration with other enterprise applications

Manufacturing ERP Implementation Challenges

Implementation of ERP in a manufacturing environment is not a simple endeavor. While Panorama figures show that the average implementation cost for a manufacturer of $2 million is slightly less than half the cost of more general ERP implementations, they don’t do so well on the budget side.

“Manufacturing ERP implementations are more likely to go over budget and have a higher cost-to-revenue ratio.

According to Korak, some of the biggest challenges in implementation are:

  • Reducing the degree of customization required supporting customer requirements
  • Reducing the amount of time required to install and configure the software (implementation accelerators and data migration tools help here)
  • Providing user training and process support tools that allow users to easily access instructions while working with an application

“Managed change is the biggest issue, as the business has typically been doing things in a certain way for a long time,”

Manufacturing ERP Implementation Tips

Suggested ways to ease manufacturing ERP implementation problems:

  • Build a cross-functional team led by someone with knowledge and experience managing the complexity inherent in enterprise-level, strategic projects, and make sure you have executive-level sponsorship
  • Set proper expectations with all employees and be well versed in how to minimize the negative aspects of change and its effect on the organization
  • Adapt your business processes where needed to be in synch with the new system
  • Choose a phased implementation approach (select departments or functional business areas) rather than the “big bang” approach, to minimize the impact not only on internal staff but external customers and suppliers
  • Don’t skimp on the required time or investment, and diligently monitor and manage “overages”