Using the right tool for the right job is always important. We don’t have to look far in our professional or personal experience to know just how easy a job can be with the right tool and how difficult it can be with the wrong tool. This is particularly true with ERP solutions.
ERP is a tool that almost every business uses to manage the day-to-day and strategic functions of their operations. Whether their industry is retail, distribution, manufacturing, or services-based, companies rely on ERP as the foundation for operational control and visibility.
ERP solutions have evolved to service almost every imaginable business type. Every business has choices of the right and wrong ERP solutions for the job at hand. These are referred to as industry-specific ERPs. Industry-specific ERP systems optimize a business’s ability to stay adaptive, competitive, and sustainable. They are the right tool for the right job.
Identifying the Right ERP Solution for the Job
Manufacturing ERP is one type of industry-specific ERP solution. How can you judge if an ERP is well suited for a manufacturing business? The most basic approach is to identify the unique needs of your manufacturing business and ensure that the ERP systems you are considering can address those needs. Below is a list of ten manufacturing types and some of the unique requirements each one has:
- Aerospace and Defense (A&D) Manufacturing ERP – From specific compliance requirements, including AS9100, to support industry-specific costing, A&F manufacturing ERP systems are designed to deliver compliance, cost, and quality control consistent with the industry’s standards.
- Assembly Manufacturing ERP– Manufacturers who rely on assembly-specific processes need software that can streamline their business flexibly. Essential features for the assembly manufacturing industry include dispatch lists, labor reporting, sub-assembly support, and line clearance security.
- Automotive Manufacturing ERP – The automotive manufacturing process is one of the most compliance-centric. In selecting an automotive manufacturing ERP system, choose a vendor who is an active, long-standing Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) member with extensive knowledge of automotive standards to best address unique industry requirements.
- Food & Beverage Manufacturing ERP – From monitoring and controlling product quality to ingredient traceability, shelf-life tracking, and recipe management, look for food & beverage manufacturing ERP providers with decades of experience solving challenges for manufacturers in this industry.
- General, Contract & Multi-Process Manufacturing ERP – This is one of the most demanding industries to provide an industry-specific ERP solution for, as it requires the flexibility to support multiple manufacturing strategies and approaches. In any evaluation, it’s best to consider those manufacturing ERP systems that support build-to-order, make-to-order, configure-to-order, and make-to-stock. Industry-specific ERP systems in this industry also need to support process, discrete and repetitive manufacturing to keep up with how often production strategies change for contract manufacturing customers.
- Medical Manufacturing ERP – Medical device manufacturers are among the most highly regulated industries. An integrated ERP, MES, Quality Management, and Compliance system that share the same database deliver time, cost, and speed advantages for medical device manufacturers. A major benefit of having an integrated ERP system is that responding to compliance and audit requests from the FDA and other regulatory agencies can be automated easily, saving hundreds of hours a year in creating reports. Add to that the fine-tuned nature of lot and serial tracking, traceability, and integrated quality and compliance management, and the value of an industry-specific ERP system in this industry becomes clear.
- Packaging Manufacturing ERP – The goal of packaging-specific manufacturing ERP software is to streamline and scale the process of creating, assigning, and tracking lot and serial traceability. Packaging Manufacturing ERP is specifically designed for UPC labeling, pack-outs, external and internal document control, and BOM flexibility across a distributed base of manufacturing centers at scale.
- Plastics & Rubber Manufacturing ERP – The plastics and rubber production industry has a specific and unique series of process and production requirements that must be balanced to deliver excellent product quality at a competitive price. From mold management, cavitation fill rates to the viscosity of the plastic filament used in machines, plastics, and rubber manufacturing show how complex manufacturing has become. Look for plastics and rubber manufacturing ERP systems whose DNA or core design is based on the main requirements of this industry.
- Process-Specific Manufacturing ERP – Real-time data is core to process-specific manufacturing ERP solutions. Process-based industries need real-time production and process monitoring data to course correct and gain the visibility and control they need over costs to stay on top of the financial outcomes of their business. Process-specific manufacturing ERP systems also need to flex between production strategies or workflows quickly, another reason to look for ERP systems that are purpose-built for this industry.
- Stamping Manufacturing ERP – This industry’s most competitive ERP systems support blanking to finished part coatings and every step in between (including support of your die and tool maintenance). Stamping manufacturing also relies on finite scheduling to select the optimal machines to stamp specific parts. As with all industry-specific ERP systems, stamping manufacturing’s unique requirements need to be built into the core of any ERP system to match the clock speed or cadence a manufacturer operates at every day in this industry.
If the ERP solution you are considering provides solutions to meet the manufacturing types and business needs, as noted in this summary above, you are on the right track to creating a short list of vendors and solutions that are the right tool for the right job.
Once you have narrowed down the list of ERP solutions that are a proven fit for your manufacturing business, the next level of investment in identifying the exact fit for your business will be more productive, less time-consuming, and highly likely to identify not only the right tool for the job but the perfect tool for the job!