Manufacturing businesses were already complicated before the pandemic – or at least more complex than resellers. The recent events, social distancing and the difficulties of traveling and transportation have complicated things even more.
Most manufacturers had to re-imagine the way they used to work, adopt new technologies, embrace remote work, improve team collaboration, optimize processes, and enhance productivity.
For these reasons, ERP systems – which were already important for the smooth functioning of production firms – have become even more important. But what are ERP systems and how do they help manufacturing businesses specifically?
ERP systems: what are they?
ERP stands for Enterprise Resource Planning. ERP software is a robust tool that allows entrepreneurs to manage different categories of information within their company in order to achieve a 360-degree overview of their business.
Simply put, ERP systems are a centralized database that provides information about different functions within the company, such as sales, inventory, personnel’s work shifts, and payroll.
In the past, there used to be two ways to go about managing this information for manufacturing businesses:
Adopting a robust ERP system: an expensive, complicated tool, with different functions, often on-premises, requiring a long implementation time, and a slow learning curve; this tool is most suitable for large manufacturing organisations, ready to spend both time and money to implement such software;
Excel: using good old Microsoft Excel templates for small business owners, makers, and crafters, to keep track of inventory
But is Excel the best option? What happens when small manufacturers start to scale and need more automation to be able to optimize manufacturing processes and make quick decisions based on real-time data? The smart manufacturing revolution brings modern manufacturing ERP software specifically designed for such needs, offering features like real-time inventory management, smart auto-booking engine, integrations with popular e-commerce software, accounting tools and more.
Why should you adopt an ERP system for your manufacturing business?
With manufacturing ERP software you can manage your daily activities, sales, accounting, and inventory in one place, from a single visual dashboard. When you save time on one activity you can dedicate it to others: the ones that generate income (selling, promoting, and manufacturing itself).
Streamlining your operations, inventory, and sales orders helps you scale your business in a sustainable way, keeping things organized and focusing on what matters most: growing your business.
As collaborating and working in teams becomes harder due to the recent events that have disrupted the world, manufacturing ERP software comes to the rescue. When your data is spread through different databases, maybe even used by different team members, it’s very useful to have a central dashboard as a point of reference to guide and monitor your workflows.
Furthermore, when every employee can access this information remotely, without being physically present in the same warehouse or lab, the importance of having the right system in place becomes even higher. Managers, sales teams, and the employees on the shop floor can keep their operations synchronized and data updated, but they need access to the same information. ERP software helps everyone stay on top of their job, taking mistakes or missed deadlines out of the equation.
The use of software within a business is also important when it comes to creating and sharing reports. Reports are usually automatically generated, the different team members or collaborators are granted access, and you can always export those reports in different formats to store or share them.
ERP systems however, are capable of improving reporting even more: not only can they gather all data in one place, but they are also capable of integrating and interpreting them to provide outcomes that keep all the different aspects into account, such as multiple inventory locations, different e-commerce channels, marketplaces, accounting systems and so on.
Forecasting is one of those things that you can’t do manually. If you need to make predictions of any kind, you need a software that gathers data, and based on that, is capable of providing reliable forecasting.
Why would you need forecasting? It helps you make rational decisions when it’s time to choose where to invest money (e.g. new processes, machinery, or teams), when you need to understand the stock and raw materials necessary for the next season, how to mitigate waste, and so on. ERP systems can easily help with accurate forecasting, as it considers multiple databases integrated together.
Other than automating processes, the software tools you use within your company also store important data for you. Security is therefore another, and one of the most important benefits of modern ERP systems.
You shouldn’t store data locally on your computer, as you’d risk losing it if your computer is damaged, stolen, or hacked. Cloud-based ERP software is constantly maintained and updated, and your data isn’t only safely saved and stored, but also encrypted to protect your privacy and security.
When you have many different aspects you need to monitor within your business, your best ally is a software that can gather all the information in one place, so you can have real-time insights to base your decisions on. ERP systems are becoming a must for modern manufacturing businesses looking to scale in the digital world.