Tag: manufacturing

18
Sep

How ERP functions change the world for SME manufacturers

The manufacturing industry seems deemed to grow forever.

It is, therefore, no surprise that manufacturers require incredibly efficient organisation of all their daily business processes. Solo coordinators often fail at the task of keeping up, and whole committees rarely do any better. Enter enterprise resource planning (ERP).

If you’re looking for a way to up any aspect of your company’s game, there’s a good chance this versatile, understandably popular software is your ticket.

According to statistics, manufacturing stock rose 0.4% to a record high of £81.5 million last year, and stocks were up in 9 of 21 industries, representing 58% of total manufacturing stock. Meanwhile, unfilled orders were up 3.5% to £92.8 million last year – the fourth consecutive yearly gain.

To keep unfilled orders down and stock levels at a healthy turnover rate, more and more manufacturing companies are using ERP and taking advantage of its many benefits. It’s no wonder that the global ERP software market is expected to reach £41.69 billion by 2020.

Not convinced of the vital role of ERP in manufacturing industries? Consider the following eight advantages of an ERP system for your company:

Next-level automation

Perhaps the most significant benefit that a solution involving manufacturing ERP functions offers is automation. Process automation speeds up overall production and drastically reduces errors. When your company transitions from manual manufacturing to automated, you rely less on humans, and the process becomes more straightforward and accurate, which in turn improves customer experience and boosts your profits.

Streamlined operations

As manufacturers grow, operations grow more and more complex. Custom manufacturing ERP software provides real-time information you can use. Imagine the level of productivity you could achieve by letting ERP guide users through complex processes. Eliminating data re-entry, and improving production, order completion, and delivery are just a few of the perks. Modern ERP systems also offer integration capabilities, making it easy to centralise information so all employees who need access to data can get it from one place and update each other as needed.

Cost reduction

Thanks to the automated, streamlined processes they make possible, manufacturing ERP features for SMEs help manufacturers reduce operational costs. Additionally, ERP implementation in the manufacturing industry is known to increase worker productivity, in turn minimising labour costs. The ability to efficiently track stock levels and integrate it with production planning eliminates excess stock and storage costs. Also, lower error rates curtail your losses even more.

Product quality assurance

Knowledge is power, which means observing fault in a product facilitates the production of higher quality items. An effective ERP solution can be incorporated with a quality control module which helps manufacturers standardise their products. Manufacturing ERP modules also help to detect those areas where quality issues are occurring in the first place and identify appropriate measures for putting an end to them. Better products mean higher sales and genuine customer loyalty.

Better flexibility

Manufacturing ERP functions offer you the opportunity to seize control of your stock, precisely plan out and streamline production schedules, and coordinate distribution channels. Thank your ERP-conducted system for consistently on-time product delivery – a critical performance metric for any manufacturer. Think of it as yoga for your company: enhanced flexibility goes a long way.

Stronger communication

An ERP system is all about effective communication.

Manufacturing ERP features for SMEs allow firms to share important production-related data with internal employees as well as external stakeholders like suppliers, distributors, or even end-customers. This improved ability to communicate and collaborate allows department heads to maintain, sustain, and strengthen key business relationships.

Decision-making power

A comprehensive ERP solution provides thorough visibility (and therefore insights) into every department, rendering it easy for your company to make it quick, and informed decisions on the spot. Access to key performance metrics such as overall sales, or sales margin, helps you optimise day-to-day operations and stay close to your goals whenever called for.

Increased customer satisfaction

When you put the pieces all together (which is precisely what manufacturing ERP functions do), it becomes clear very fast that the combination of accurate production planning, increased stock control, streamlined processes, and coordination of distribution has a significant positive impact on delivery times. Punctual delivery is integral to maintaining your customers’ happiness, which in turn makes them want to leave glowing reviews.

To ERP, or not to ERP?

Many SME manufacturers ask themselves if they really need the features an ERP offers. Integrating an ERP is a major investment for any manufacturer, so many small and medium-sized businesses feel they might be too small to take the leap. But, the fact of the matter is, in order to compete against larger companies, small businesses need to outdo their competition. Small and mid-sized manufacturers who use the right ERP can actually operate like enterprise-scale businesses, leveraging the power of the software to streamline their processes, increase their productivity and throughput, and reduce costs.

What are the advantages of an ERP system?

At a base level, an ERP can integrate all the core processes you need to run your manufacturing business into one seamless system: engineering, purchasing, production, inventory management, human resource management, customer relations management, accounting, sales and more.

Imagine having easy access to truly useful, real-time information about how your business is functioning, the status of individual jobs, and an accurate forecast for your margins. Manufacturers who have installed an ERP built for the manufacturing industry, have not only been able to increase their sales, but they also have higher customer satisfaction rates too.

Still, it can be difficult for many SMEs to outline the specific benefits an ERP system will deliver to help accomplish their goals. Here are just a few benefits of getting the most out of manufacturing ERP functions:

  • Transparency: all relevant data can be shared, accessed and updated by all departments, eliminating the need to re-enter or export data.
  • Productivity: a custom manufacturing ERP can handle the demands of high-variable, multi-stage production with fewer errors, increased productivity, and reduced HR expenses.
  • Decision-making: real-time data generated by the system can provide an overall picture of your operations useful for marketing, management, and accounting purposes, enabling your company to make crucial decisions on time.

The right time for ERP implementation

You can ask yourself a couple of simple questions to see if an ERP would help you:

  • Do you have 100% clarity on your stock? Can you order just-in-time for high-variable jobs?
  • Is your sales team able to build accurate quotes on the fly that your shop can produce profitably?
  • Do you know the status and anticipated delivery date of every job on your floor and in your backlog?

If your goal is to save time, achieve quicker response times when dealing with customer queries, boost your ability to plan ahead, reduce waste, and best of all, reduce stress, then it may be time to work those manufacturing ERP functions into your strategy.

Interested in finding out more? You can get in contact with us here, or call us on 0191 500 8150 to speak to a Business Software Consultant.

13
Sep

What’s driving your ERP project?

Most project teams from mid-market and distribution organisations are challenged by an ERP selection project.

This is because an ERP project cuts across each area of the business, impacting functional areas from finance, accounting and supply chain, to shop floor, production, inventory, quality management, shipping and more. Manufacturers and distributors have already gone through lean initiatives, cutting away excess and thereby are operating with lean staff.

While it’s tempting to consider these initiatives as pure ‘technology or projects’, that perspective is not effective and often results in an implementation that fails to meet expectations. IT may lead the project and certainly has a major role, but ERP projects touch almost every area of the business. The new system will naturally bring some change to how business is done, so it’s important that business process owners are heavily involved.

Thus, when a project team is considering an ERP selection project, it’s imperative that the selection process be based on a solid foundation of industry expertise, vendor research and an intimate knowledge of the business, all aligned with the goal of improved business performance.

Software decision drivers: aligning selection with the needs of the business

At its most fundamental, establishing strategic software decision drivers during a selection project involves matching the future state of requirements a business must achieve to drive business process transformation against the system features a technology solution offers.

Monpellier’s ERP consultant team has guided organisations on this very approach. This set of software decision drivers will vary for every organisation dependent on what is the best match for the specific functional areas of the business.

Six categories of software decision drivers

Manufacturers and distributors should take into consideration the following software decision drivers when entering an ERP project:

Features and functionality

  • Does the software meet the future state needs of the business?
  • Will users find the software intuitive and easy to use?
  • Does the software have advanced industry functionality to support dynamic business needs?

Vendor synergy

  • Does the vendor understand the specifics of the business?
  • Is the vendor aligned with the specific requirements of the organisation?

Solution agility and viability

  • Is the vendor invested in this product solution?
  • Will the software be part of its service offering for the long-term?

Technology alignment

  • Does the platform fit within the team’s technology roadmap?
  • Is the vendor following industry standards for current future integrations?

Total cost of ownership

  • Are licensing fees, maintenance and subscription costs understood?
  • Are fees for services/support and integrations included?

Implementation considerations

  • Does the vendor’s implementation methodology align with the organisation?
  • Is the project plan comprehensive with adequate detail?
  • How are risks and issues managed?

When the focus is business process improvement, and not solely technology, the project team has a better chance of conducting an effective technology evaluation that is designed to meet future state needs. That’s the power of a strategic approach to software decision drivers.

In a perfect world, once you implement ERP software, you don’t have to worry about your centralised business system again. The realist is that an ERP system needs upgrading like any other piece of software. Chances are good that you aren’t driving the same car you did 5 years ago and I highly doubt that you are even using the same smartphone you had 2 years ago. The fact is that technology is not just changing, it’s constantly improving.

That means software built even a few years ago starts to age and new versions are needed to take advantage of the incredible new opportunities today. For instance, ERP systems are moving towards mobile solutions to augment the core package. That wasn’t possible even 3 years ago.

Plan your future updates to your ERP system – today

Whether you are investigating the benefits of ERP software for the first time of have a system in place, it is best to plan for periodic upgrades in software. Just like you schedule tune-ups for your car, tune-ups are also good for ERP software.

The thing about upgrades is, while they bring a host of improvements, fixes and new features, it can take time before employees using the system are totally familiar with what’s new. There can also be slight downtime to the system while the ERP upgrade commits to your system. That’s why its extraordinarily important that you have a plan in place for updates.

Generally, creating a plan for downtime – how to minimise it – and training on new features is essential. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, but communicating the expected changes and how it will impact day-to-day operations needs is key. All that could be rolled up into a simple company-wide email or phased in with specialised support from your ERP implementation partner.

Additional benefits of ERP upgrades

Upgrades are also like spring cleaning for your data. Before installing the upgrade, you should perform a backup of the existing data. You might also sort out old data, archive old records, and optimise the configuration of the database server to get the best performance from your system.

All of this preparation is important to keep your ERP software running smoothly and at optimal speed. Once your upgrade is complete, you have an ERP system that works even better than it did before.

Also, ERP system security improvements are generally parts of updates. You don’t need me telling you how many data breaches have happened, you can flip on the news and you’ll likely hear about a new cyber attack. ERP systems house an incredible amount of data that powers your company. Not everybody can afford to recover from the pain of lapses in security and upgrading your ERP system is one of the tools you have control over.

It all comes down to driving to work in a Model-T car and using a rotary-dial phone which is inefficient in this modern era, and so is using old software.

For more information about ERP upgrades, or if you just simply want to see what solutions are out there, that might fit your business processes better, you can contact us here, or give us a call on 0191 500 8150 and speak to a Business Software Consultant.

4
Sep

Can ERP systems contribute to your competitive advantage?

With the rapid advancement of technology, SMEs need to transform the way they manage their business in order to stay competitive.

According to a survey conducted by Oxford Economics, 64% of SMEs are leveraging technology to outperform their peers; everything from social media, mobile friendly software, cloud computing and big data.

Indeed many businesses that use enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications are transforming their business to stay ahead of competition with improved visibility, efficient operation, and the ability to capture vast amounts of data – data on things like sales, production, and inventory management.

The challenge remains finding a way to analyse this data more efficiently to gain actionable insight and outperform the competition. That’s where applications like Sage and Pegasus comes in. In order to make sense of business data, SMEs are taking advantage of reporting and advanced in-memory analytics that ERP systems have to offer; increasing visibility and enabling fast and accurate analysis. What’s more is that they are doing this faster, easier and with more accuracy.

SMEs now have the option to leverage business information into valuable insight through an ERP solution. Every business hopes to receive some turnaround on their ERP investment. The name of the game is to make more money and trump your competitors, but in an era where just about everyone has an ERP system, standing out against the competition can be tough. If you’re looking to gain a competitive advantage in your respective industry, the right ERP software can help.

Pick the right ERP system for your company

Despite the fact that many ERP solutions cover a lot of the same core functions, there are some differences to take note of that differ from industry to industry. It is crucial for your newly implemented ERP software to be industry specific to ensure that you are getting the most bang for your buck. If you were in the business of manufacturing, you would never tell a professional service firm how to do business. The same goes for ERP systems.

Just because everyone else is working from the cloud doesn’t mean that it’s best for your business, and vice versa. Picking the right ERP software has everything to do with picking the right partner so that your organisation has the constant support and training that you need to be sure your needs are met.

Don’t waste money on customisations that won’t help you grow

While it may be tempting to go ahead and customise every aspect of your new system, first consider these system customisations are really going to make a difference in how you do business. Customising little things that don’t give you an advantage isn’t as necessary as using your customisations to fit areas that do. That being said, don’t be completely stingy with customisations either.

There is great value to be found in customising ERP. If your business has come up with a unique process that allows you to outshine your competitors, that is when you should customise your ERP to fit your model. Thoughtfully differentiating between the two will save you a great deal of time and money in the long run.

Take advantage of your ERP’s predictive capabilities

The use of real time analytics can be a great advantage for businesses using ERP software. This automated software enhances preventative maintenance and detects potential failure before the problem arises. Something that competitors without advanced ERP systems will continue to struggle with.

Your ERP’s predictive capabilities can allow users to pinpoint the location of potential errors so that you can eliminate the problem right off the bat. Thanks to many ERP collaborations, err can be essentially eliminated thanks to smart technology. Don’t get set behind by silly errors and mistakes, and use ERP to keep you ahead of the competition.

Improve planning, scheduling and execution

ERP systems like Sage and Pegasus have highly advanced manufacturing and planning modules that support the entire range of products from beginning to end. Execution modules give decision makers full access to data collection options and quality measures, while the scheduling module provides easy to read visuals of master schedules so that your planners can make accurate ‘what-if’ scenarios accordingly.

Meeting demand and rerouting potentially conflicting schedules only enhances conflict and error prevention, helping you to focus on the bigger picture. In a world where good and bad reviews can make or break a company via the internet in just a click of a button, it’s important to make sure that your ERP software works for you and not against you. Standing out against your competitors can be easy with ERP.

Gaining an advantage over your competition is as easy as finding the right ERP software and implementing it in a way that serves you best. For more information on how Sage and Pegasus could be the next best step to help your company gain a competitive advantage, either contact us here, or call 0191 500 8150 to speak to a Business Software Consultant.

14
Aug

How a professionally installed EPOS can help you get more

You’d be hard pressed to find a business these days without a dedicated EPOS system.

They’ve almost completely replaced traditional tills, but many businesses still don’t know how to make the most of them, or which EPOS system is the right fit for them and their customers.

When choosing a new EPOS system or upgrading from an older one, it’s important to look at what different systems are available and explore the many different ways they can be configured. A professionally installed EPOS system should make your business run smoother than ever before, helping with things like stock control, bookkeeping and the quality and efficiency of your service.

In fact, one of the most overlooked advantages of having a professionally configured EPOS system in place is how much it can benefit your workforce.

Keeping mistakes to a minimum

Whether you run a bar, restaurant or retail store, on of the trickiest things to deal with is human error. It happens to all of us from time to time, especially during long, busy shifts. While EPOS systems can’t actively stop somebody from making a mistake, they can dramatically reduce the chances of a mistake occurring.

A well configured EPOS system will have products laid out logically and neatly in categories and folders, with quick and easy access to items that normally go together – like gin and tonic or a burger with a side of fries. As well as products being easier to find, discounts and complicated offers can also be implemented across all terminals at the same time, so your staff can apply them quickly and easily without any confusion or risk of overcharging the customer.

Giving more ownership and responsibility to staff

With a professionally installed EPOS system, each staff member will have their own log-in for each terminal. This might be accessed through a magnetised key chain or a quick swipe with a card, or even a code they can use to manually log in each time. Such a system can let them start an order on one terminal and pick it up on another, and if something isn’t cashed off leaving you scratching your head at the end of a long shift – you know who to ask.

Increasing productivity

A good EPOS system will help your staff to avoid making mistakes and help you keep better control of stock and orders, but a great EPOS system will actively help your business to be more profitable by enhancing your productivity. For example, you could easily track individual staff members and see how many orders they’re putting through in a given one hour shift.

This might help you better prioritise their placement or organise shift patterns. What’s more, because staff are better able to find and process orders on the fly, their average service time should decrease – good news for your customers who won’t have to wait quite so long to enjoy their purchase.

However, we all know that it isn’t just about making your workforce happy, it is also about saving your business money in the short and long term.

As the way consumers pay constantly evolves, you need an EPOS system than can evolve with them. While a do-it-yourself approach might get you part of the way there, you leave yourself vulnerable to crashes, errors and downtime that can cost your business money. That’s where a professionally installed and maintained EPOS solution can pay dividends…

As technology advances and workplaces become more and more connected, the ways in which businesses handle their EPOS systems is evolving. We’re living in an increasingly cashless society, with card payments overtaking cash payments for the first time last year. From bars and restaurants to high street stores and takeaway, consumers want choice when it comes to parting with their hard earned money, and old POS systems simply won’t cut it.

Why getting the right EPOS system is essential

In 2018, you need to make sure your business is equipped with an EPOS system that cannot just handle card payments, but also contactless NFC features for things like Apple Pay, Android Pay and contactless card transactions. This goes doubly so for businesses who sell at low cost and high volume, like cafes and bars. More EPOS capability means faster transactions and more sales, rapidly increasing the productivity of your staff.

We’ve already touched upon the point that having an up-to-date EPOS system is important if you intend to grow your physical business, but for start-ups or existing businesses looking to modernise, it can be difficult to know where to get started.

The technology available today has made do-it-yourself EPOS systems perfectly viable, and many businesses have seen success using this method through trial and error. But how many startups have the resources to get such a complex system running, and how many have the bounceback ability to recover when something inevitably goes wrong? That’s where getting a professionally installed EPOS system really starts to make sense.

Why you should get your EPOS system professionally installed

A professionally installed EPOS system can be tailored to your individual business needs, whether you’re running a charity shop on the high street or you’re a landlord at the local pub. An initial set up would usually include all the products, pricing, promos and staff profiles you need, allowing you to concentrate on running your business.

They’re often cloud-cased with extensive back up capabilities so you’re always covered if anything goes wrong – particularly if you go with a local EPOS supplier who offer ongoing service and support like Monpellier. If there’s’a power outage or our system stops working for any reason, support will be no more than a quick phone call away.

Remember, an EPOS system should be an asset to your business rather than a burden; less downtime means more productivity and profitability for your business.

Getting a system professionally installed will also make it easier for you and your staff on shift. For example, at Monpellier we learn all we can about our customers before we implement the right point of sale solution for them, so you can be rest assured that your team will have everything you need to record sales and issue bills right from the get go. We’ll even show you how to update and programme the system yourself so you can easily add and remove products as well as change prices on the fly.

When all is said and done, an EPOS system is there to make your business run smoothly and make it easier to manage, both on a day-to-day basis and when managing the bigger picture. If you want to make the most out of your workforce, there’s no better way than getting an EPOS system professionally tailored to the individual needs of your business.

When it comes to choosing the right EPOS ssytem the choice is ultimately yours, but in order to stay ahead of the curve and keep your business running smoothly without interruption, a managed professional installation is definitely the way to go.

Want to get in touch with Monpellier? Whether you’re looking for a completely new EPOS system or just some help and advice on your current EPOS solution, we’re here to help. Call 0191 500 8150 or leave us a message today.

2
Aug

How ERP can revolutionise your manufacturing process

Enterprise resource planning can help organise inventory, prepare for customer demand and improve productivity.

From better inventory management and productivity, to improving quality and lead times, companies with manufacturing operations are constantly looking for ways to improve efficiency. However,  this requires coordination across the entire enterprise from the back office to production.

Without achieving synchronisation across all operations, manufacturers cannot effectively manage fluctuations in demand, increasing competition, and supply chain issues.

Although many manufacturing companies already have multiple software installed to manage their operations, relying on several vendors for different processes can become extremely costly.

Fortunately, there is an alternative that allows all processes to be operated through a single, streamlined solution that listens to your business’ unique needs. With this in mind, here are six ways enterprise resource planning (ERP) software can revolutionise your manufacturing process.

Optimise inventory management

There are two sides to inventory management – materials and product inventory.

Materials management is the processes that go into ensuring an organisation has the appropriate materials to complete the manufacturing process; whereas product inventory includes the products that are produced through the manufacturing process and how they’re transported to customers.

However, if these two equations aren’t synchronised, difficulties might arise with having the appropriate materials at the right time and product levels being incorrect or insufficient to satisfy orders.

By implementing ERP software, processes such as billing of materials, tracking materials and inventory management can be updated automatically – for smaller manufacturers, these are most likely updated manually through spreadsheets; which are prone to human error.

Introducing an ERP system can help reduce these human errors and automate inventory requirements so that materials always arrive when needed, instead of taking up space your business can’t spare.

Prepare for customer demand

When data is tracked manually and historically, it;s difficult to tell what levels of inventory are necessary from one term to another. The business can make an educated guess based on previous data, but this doesn’t account for current changes in the market.

With an estimation about customer trends, it doesn’t account for deviations in customer history, for example, if one of your business’ top clients, goes out of business and you’re working on an estimated guess, the results will be costly.

With a manufacturing ERP system, it will alert your business to these significant changes in customer demand, both from previous data and real-time. This makes it much easier for accurate future customer demands.

Refine human resources

Refining human resource operations with training and attendance tracking can also have a positive impact on your business operations. By integrating human resource management and your ERP system, your business can automate many of the paper-based admin tasks facing your HR department.

This will allow HR to focus on the development of your business workforce, which results in a huge win for saving time and optimising human resources.

A good human resource management system can be crucial to maintaining a lean workforce who, on a daily basis, respond to many challenges. Your business will be rewarded with employees who are more committed, inventive and productive.

Streamline collaboration with customers and suppliers

ERP can optimise business processes and drastically improve response times. This will improve virtual communication across the supply chain and internal communication between unrelated departments. This can have a positive impact on collaborating across your business.

With these close collaborations with partners, it means that specific challenges are met in a timely fashion.

With a quick response to change, it can ultimately improve your customer relationships. This is just one of the ways ERP software can impact as a continuous business improvement tool. By finding important information with satisfaction, your business will be more prompt in leveraging development opportunities.

Automate processes

If a process is definable and repeatable, then chances are it’s better off automated.

ERP systems such as Pegasus Opera and Sage 200c integrate quality control and manufacturing management – purchase invoices matched against goods, job profits can be assessed and stock control managed all from one place; creating a streamlined, cost-effective manufacturing solution.

The time saved through automation can then be reinvested into your business for the other projects that are more pressing.

Improve employee productivity

Businesses that still try to run their manufacturing by using manual processes are more likely to have higher labour costs. The same can be said, however, for some lean manufacturers too. Even in a lean environment, these indirect labour costs can be a potential problem.

A great ERP system can help businesses improve these processes and efficiencies so less labour time is required to complete the same amount of work. Additionally, an ERP can automate manual processes, which frees up more labour hours that can be reinvested into higher-return activities.

In the past, ERP software was a system many manufacturers wanted to make their everyday processes more efficient.

To stay competitive, however, manufacturers need to now invest time and money into ERP software to optimise inventories, be aware of customer demands, automate processes and more. It’s only with these capabilities that a manufacturer can streamline processes and stay in the competition.

As you can see from above, an ERP solution can help your manufacturing operation in a variety of ways, but what about the bottom line? When weighing the pros and cons of a comprehensive ERP implementation, it helps to look at the many ways ERP can save you money.

The following list provides a handful of cost saving benefits of an ERP for manufacturers.

Reduce inventory deviations

Inventory is the key to your company and likely your largest asset, so knowing its accurate levels is imperative. Inventory translates to money, and if you’re relying on disparate systems or manual methods to track the receipt of raw goods, the issuance of ingredients to batch tickets, and the shipment of finished goods, it’s easy for these numbers to lose accuracy.

It’s not uncommon for manufacturers to experience inventory deviations upwards of 20% due to inaccurate data entry in their warehouse inventory practices. This is a humbling realisation when preparing year-end financials for upper management.

An ERP, integrated with a barcode scanning solution, automatically tracks inventory balances, serial numbers, lots and product line information. Inventory data is stored, collected and disseminated through one centralised database within the ERP solution creating accurate inventory levels and reducing deviations. All balances are updated in real-time, allowing you up-to-the-minute, on-screen access to your crucial inventory data.

Customer retention

Customers are the company’s lifeblood, demanding superior products, timely access to inventory, dependable delivery and accurate paperwork. ERP software provides manufacturing functionalities that include various bills of material, quality control, formulation testing and recording, material requirements planning, inventory management and more.

Your ERP can also help you move CRM functionality out of spreadsheets and email programs and into the vital flow of information between the sales department, support representatives, and the rest of the company. With CRM functionality, you can analyse, manage and synchronise sales, marketing and customer care activities across all points of contact, giving teams the tools needed to find new customers, close sales faster, and build lasting, more profitable relationships across all channels. Finally, ERP software records and stores accurate, comprehensive customer data that can be delivered in real-time throughout the purchasing process and on-going relationships.

The result? You’ll close sales faster, prospect more efficiently, and create superior customer satisfaction. This will help your cash flow stay moving in the right direction.

Adjust with regulatory changes

The question isn’t if there will be regulatory change, but when. Rather than allowing these changes to throw your processes into turmoil, having an ERP system that’s attuned to the needs of your industry can help you save money and stay in compliance.

First, you can lean on the industry experts of your ERP provider in helping you implement the changes necessary to understand and comply with changing regulations. Of course, you’d be wise to go with an ERP provider who understands your industry needs and compliance obligations.

How working with Monpellier can help you save money

ERP software solutions providers are many, the key is finding a provider that designs, develops and sells to manufacturers and know the industry well. Monpellier can save you money by providing the experience and insight of experts who understand your specific needs, from regulatory compliance to formulation management and beyond.

Contact us today and let us help your company determine how an ERP solution can save you money. Call us on 0191 500 8150 to speak to one of our friendly Business Software Consultants.

17
Jul

Why use ERP systems?

In a world where businesses and consumers value lightweight, easy-to-use technology, ERP systems can seem outdated and clunky.

Coupled with the startling statistics about how frequently ERP projects fail (for instance, in 2017, 66% of organisations received less that 50% of the measurable benefits they anticipated), many people wonder why companies still use enterprise resource planning software to run their businesses. Despite these concerns, the worldwide ERP market grew 3.8% last year, signalling that the software still holds an important place in business strategies. Here are some of the reasons why businesses still use ERP systems:

Because they work

Sure, ERP implementations are known for being costly, lengthy and likely to fail, but that doesn’t mean businesses should blame the software for these problems. There are myriad reasons for why ERP implementations fail, many of which can be boiled down to either a lack of initial preparedness or miscommunication between vendors and buyers.

When properly installed, however, ERP software provides users with numerous benefits, including complete centralisation of all data and processes, streamlined cross-department operations and useful business analytics and insights. Top-rated ERP software is more robust and customisable than a portfolio of best-of-breed solutions. Unlike other software, when used correctly ERP can power huge enterprises with multiple locations, increasing profits and lowering costs across the enterprise.

Because centralisation is key

For massive enterprises with dispersed offices and hundreds of employees, centralisation is key. Since ERP software can power every aspect of a business – including financials, human resources, product development and distribution – these solutions are needed to keep end-to-end operations running smoothly. While best-of-breed solutions are great for smaller businesses, large companies can’t risk less than stellar integrations or the complexity of handling a variety of disparate tools to run the business. For these companies, ERP software is the only solution.

Because legacy systems are hard to destroy

In a large corporation, even the smallest of changes can take weeks – even months – to go into effect. For companies that have relied on a certain ERP systems for years, changing to a new software can present up-front costs, potentially serious risks and a time-consuming, complicated transition process.

For many businesses, the costs of changing to a new system outweigh the costs of maintaining an existing system. For this reason, many companies still use on-premise ERP software despite the major shift toward cloud solutions. The difficulty in retiring outdated legacy systems remain a major reason why traditional ERP systems will never be completely phased out.

Because of innovation in the ERP space

Compared to other software segments, ERP has been relatively slow to adopt new technologies. While mobile, social and cloud trends are standard in most solutions, ERP vendors are still figuring out how to best incorporate these elements into their solutions. While innovation in the ERP space has been slow, it is also steady. With each passing year, companies are finding that ERP solutions are embracing these trends. For instance, Sage and Pegasus are quick to jump onto trends, and integrating said changes into their ERP software solutions.

Another major innovation has been the creation of ERP solutions for mid-market companies. ERP vendors leverage cloud technologies to produce ERP solutions that are more flexible and wallet friendly than previous iterations. By reducing costs and taking advantage of the cloud’s anytime, anywhere accessibility, these vendors make it easier for midsize companies to utilise ERP systems. In coming years, we will likely see more vendors competing in the midmarket ERP space, and therefore more companies who are able to use the new wave of mobile and cloud friendly enterprise resource planning systems.

Since ERP software impacts every aspect of a manufacturing or distribution company, selecting the best ERP software for your business will impact all departments, as well as the extended enterprise.

Unfortunately, many ERP selection teams get pulled into a variety of directions, finding it difficult to apply the needed resources for effective ERP selection. This scenario occurs frequently, especially within mid-market manufacturing and distribution companies who lack a dedicated IT department.

Whether a company has outgrown its legacy system, is burdened with an unstable technical environment or is looking to better handle expansion into new markets or regions, the effectiveness of ERP selection has everything to do with the success of the eventual implementation.

Taking inventory: the first step towards effective ERP selection

We’ve found that establishing a cross-functional selection team is important, as is gaining internal consensus and participation from all parties. Another important aspect of effective ERP selection is taking a hard look at the current state of business processes, as well as the desired future and state. This means that teams must take their time and get a full sense of how the new ERP implementation can improve the way a business operates. Before vendor demos, organisations must focus on where they want to be, as well as developing a clear sense of where they currently are.

At Monpellier, we believe that ERP selection is a great way to drive real business process improvements and develop a clearer vision of future company goals. In general, we find the following guidelines useful for ERP teams:

  • Look at the entire functional organisation. Will ERP cut across shop floor, shipping, accounting, the front office, inventory, quality and production? What’s the desired end state in these areas?
  • How are operations running now? What’s the vision for each department in future years?
  • Identify what the organisation does well. How will the new ERP system impact those areas?
  • Identify opportunities for improvement. How specifically will the new ERP system support this desired vision?
  • Look at existing reports and metrics. How can business decisions be improved to help overall business performance?

Selecting the right ERP vendor

We also strongly believe that businesses should focus on ERP vendors who tailor their systems to a vertical industry. In particular, manufacturers and distributors are wise to team up with an ERP vendor that has proven success in the company’s specific industry. For example, if your company is an aerospace supplier, you should seek out ERP vendors that address that specific industry, and learn more about success stories within the aerospace supplier field.

Distributors are also wise to seek out ERP systems that are tailor-made to their specific requirements. In general, companies should be sure that any potential ERP vendors address critical industry requirements including regulatory mandates, customer requirements and other key considerations.

For an effective ERP selection process, your vendor should also demonstrate a presence in the industry by providing you with recent references and a product direction statement that explains how the vendor plans to be an industry leader. There is no reason to force-fit an ERP solution into an industry for which it was not designed. Instead, take the time to assess which ERP systems have the features and functions that address your industry’s specific manufacturing challenges.

Many companies find it useful to shortlist the ERP software systems that most easily accommodate distinctive processes. Similarly, you should look for a flexible solution that fits with your existing systems. You may find it useful to talk to other suppliers, customers and ERP professionals that specialise in your specific industry. Get opinions and feedback on ERP software and how it works with businesses of similar size and requirements.

Successful ERP: a matter of focus

The most successful ERP evaluations and selections occur when a manufacturer or distributor is fully engaged in the process. In these effective ERP selection processes, the team puts the focus on transforming their business processes and achieving sustained business performance improvements. Effective ERP selections happen when the team takes the time at the outset to determine who within the organisation will participate, locates appropriate vendor and external resources and builds a solid plan.

Yet evaluation and selection is only one part of the ERP journey. We encourage the entire ERP selection team to see their project as more than implementing an ERP system. Instead, the project becomes an opportunity to implement business process improvements.

Want more information on ERP software, or want to discover how we can help you help your business? Get in contact with us here, or call us on 0191 500 8150 to speak to one of our friendly Business Software Consultants.

 

10
Jul

How ERP solutions address problems of an SME

In today’s globalised world, SMEs in manufacturing are grappling with many challenges to remain competitive and relevant.

With limited time, resources, skills and budget, there is a growing need to demonstrate and derive value from every investment made.

Many SMEs in manufacturing may not know the value of technology in addressing some of these challenges. Those that do usually worry about the enormous costs of acquiring and running these technologies. Poor decision making in IT investments can have a critical impact on the profitability and sustainability of any business.

In reality, some of these businesses may be making money. So why do they need to invest in automating processes? If as a business owner you want to save time, accelerate your response time to problems and customer queries, plan ahead with real-time data, mitigate wastage and keep the frown lines off your brow, then you definitely need to automate your business processes. A good way to do this for SME manufacturers is deploying an ERP solution.

While some might be informed on the concept of ERP software and what it can do for them, there is definitely a section of business owners who would like to start with the most basic question…

What is ERP?

Let us take a step back and look at all the processes that are central to running a business such as purchasing, production, marketing, invoicing, managing inventory, human resource management, customer relations management, accounting and more.

At the basic level, ERP integrates all of these processes into one seamless system giving you real-time information which is a necessity to survive cut-throat midmarket competition. It also means boosting your sales and customer satisfaction rate by having real-time data and avoiding delays spent scouting for scattered records.

Further, it increases business intelligence support for quick, dynamic decisions and adjustments whenever necessary. Having too many software solutions for different processes can add to the bureaucracy of management in the crucial growing years. ERP systems help to centralise all of these processes.

Did you know that SME businesses hold over 95% of the market and regulate 70% of employment? However, only 50% of businesses survive in the market and the rest just don’t remain in the competition and are shut down.

The recent era of advanced technology has drawn the attention of customers towards better quality and more innovative plus customer-centric products. Therefore, more and more manufacturers are now moving towards ERP implementation for automating their business.

With an ERP, small businesses can focus on core business operations and its productivity that helps to improve profit margins and reduce operational costs. A competitive edge is achieved by streamlining and automating day-to-day activities. Let’s take a look at the five most common problems an SME faces, and how an ERP solution can help to address them.

Problem 1: Manual Data Processing

Small businesses rely on manual data entries and get stuck in manual data logging methods. Manual entries may lead to data redundancy and time wastage. Also, human negligence results in unsuccessful data keeping.

But an ERP integrates all information into a single system which provides business immediate access to key data like financials, sales forecasts, purchase activities and inventory levels, thus, providing a holistic view of your business operations.

With an ERP, you get increased accuracy, information empowerment and improvement in the overall health of your business.

Problem 2: Intense Competition

Competition is everywhere and businesses – small or big – are under it’s impact. Due to unavailability of all resources and tools and unplanned strategies in the business process, small businesses lack this advantage. They need specialised tools to deal with big businesses and maintain a place in the marketplace.

An ERP provides important information related to reduction in operational and administrative costs. Also, an ERP helps to monitor and control business operations to execute business plans effectively.

With an ERP, you get better decision making, streamlining of overall business activities, improvement in quality, customer retention and cost reduction.

Problem 3: Inaccurate Scheduling

For every manufacturing business, effective scheduling is the most important key to inculcate better scheduling when data is the tool. In absence of real-time data, a lot of time is spent in preparing schedules for the shop floor which are erroneous too.

With an ERP, you get real-time analysis of demand and supply of the materials, efficient production plans based on demand, supply, resource availability, various lead times, and accurate procurement plans eliminating the chance of over or under supply.

Problem 4: Poor Customer Service

Taking care of customer satisfaction is a prime factor to develop a long-lasting business. Showing customers a caring approach could help you in your business growth, but what if you fail your deliveries or do not respond back to customer queries?

Your business will lose customers and eventually you will notice a reduction in your sales. ERP helps in providing instant access to get your sales staff which helps them in making true commitments that can be fulfilled in the specified time genre.

With an ERP, you get instant information access for your customers about accurate updates and deliveries of the product item, resolution to all customer queries by gaining real-time access to the data and information regarding cancellations of refund procedures.

Problem 5: Meeting Quality and Statutory Guidelines

For every business, meeting quality and statutory guidelines is necessary. A compliant business can keep the risk of fines, penalties and lawsuits to function smoothly. However, the small businesses find it difficult to meet the regulatory needs.

An ERP helps by providing visibility to the entire product flow, starting from material receipt, production process to the supply of finished goods, helping manufacturers to track the product across the supply chain.

With an ERP, you get quick report generation of all materials and their details, bi-directional traceability of products starting from raw material. Intermediates to finished goods, easy tracking of faulty materials and production tracking on multiple parameters.

With and without ERP

Features Traditional Methods ERP Implementations
Ease of Integration

No integration, seeks out each and

every business activity individually.

Integrates all business activities

in a systematic manner.

Business Intelligence

Scrambling your mind to bring out a

decision with no surety of its aptness.

Allows making informed and

data-centric decisions.

Database Management

Data managed unsystematically through

the use of manual data logging methods.

Data is kept in systematic records

which are easily accessible with real

time visibility.

Flexibility

No flexibility, sticks to old primitive

methods.

Accepts to all new changing trends,

challenges and laws.

Ease of Communication

Lacks communications and develops

misunderstanding between departments.

Collaborated workforce becomes the

new identity of businesses that run

on ERP.

Cost Effectiveness

Manual data handling can lead to surplus

or deficit inventory level which can cause

increase in overhead costs.

ERP maintains optimum inventory

levels that help in controlling costs.

Security

The possibility of data theft,

manipulations or misuse is quite high.

Enhanced security features with role

based permissions ensure complete

security.

Reporting

Manual data analysis can lead to wrong

planning which results in degraded

business performance.

Effective reports can be created and

analysed in order to create effective

future strategies.

Supply Chain

Manual methods can lead to compliance

and unmanaged supply chain cycle.

Improvises supply chain management

by integrating all business processes.

Tips to create a successful plan and eliminate business challenges

  • Take your business decisions wisely considering all the pros and cons of the output.
  • Be consistent and stick to your business routines.
  • Implement an ERP software to manage all your day to day operations.
  • Make innovation your company value.
  • Manage your employees at every level.
  • Regularly share information within all the departments.
  • Understand market requirements and gather information accordingly to create strategy.
  • Never ignore the sales performance calculations.
  • Analyse the past pitfalls and plan a strategy to never repeat them again.

Old ways will never open new doors”

To grow your business, implement an ERP and ditch those primitive business methods that deliver the same output.

We, at Monpellier, understand all your business needs and help you integrate all your business processes under one platform. We can help you meet all the challenging trends through faster innovation, better compliance, effective planning, controlled costs, reduced wastage and more.

So, what are you waiting for? Get in contact with us here today to organise a free business consultation and demonstration, or give us a call on 0191 500 8150 to speak to a Business Software Consultant.

5
Jun

How to choose the right ERP provider for your manufacturing business

Choosing an ERP is a critical decision.

It will impact your team’s day-to-day works as well as your company’s long-term growth potential and viability. Unfortunately, it’s a decision that far too many companies get wrong.

The good new is, like a lot of business decisions, there’s a relatively straightforward process you can follow to ensure you find the right solution. Here are five steps every company should take when choosing an ERP.

Step 1: Form your selection panel

Kickoff: you know you’re ready for an ERP, it’s time to build your team.

Assemble your A-Team

From the very beginning, selecting an ERP will require input from your key people – this can’t be stressed enough. There are two big reasons to put your best people on this project: first, ERP selection requires an accurate and complete understanding of your company; and second, you’re going to need all major stakeholders to ‘buy-in’ early on – otherwise, pockets of your company might be resistant to the changes an ERP system brings, possibly undermining success.

Look outside of the C-suite

Yes, the CEO might have the final say, but it’s important to include team members that represent the full scope of your ERP needs, and understand how you’ll be using the new tools once installed. Since an ERP system is about improving daily workflow, consider including the people who will be on the system everyday. Also think about adding different types of voices to the mix; there is no value in adding people that are just going to play follow the leader.

How big should this team be?

They say too many cooks make for a salty soup. It’s usually true with soup, as well as with forming a selection committee. Since the new ERP will impact a lot of departments, try to include someone from each group, or someone who can speak for each group. But ideally, don’t let your team get bigger than a pit crew – four to six people is about the right number. If necessary, sub-committees can be formed to ensure that all departments are consulted.

Step 2: Evaluate needs

With the right team in place, it’s time for a self-evaluation.

What do you need exactly?

To find the right ERP, you need to truly understand who your company is and what you really need. Over a couple of meetings with your selection team, start digging into your processes and practices. Identify where operations are humming along and where they are lagging. This process can start with a group-wide conversation or brainstorming – whatever suits your panel – so long as it ends with a clear list of concrete needs.

Write your needs as actionable items

The best sentence for absolute clarity is ‘we need to improve ____ by ____.’ Maybe you need to improve profitability by cutting down on raw material costs. Maybe you need to reduce errors by clarifying procedures. Whatever the case, by phrasing it into an actionable sentence, you’ll find it’s easier to communicate your needs, internally and externally.

Start thinking about cost, value, fit and ROI

An ERP purchase should be justified with a projected ROI. Different ERPs will package pricing and payments in different ways – so it’s important to keep value and fit in mind, along with cost. A tool that costs less and doesn’t have the features you need is more expensive in the long run, so there is less value. An expensive system that you’ll only use 40% of isn’t a fit either. Value and fit are every bit as important as cost.

Step 3: Identify available solutions

With your needs clearly defined, it’s time to see what’s out there.

There are a lot of ERP systems, so choose carefully

No ERP can be everything for everyone – and you wouldn’t want that ERP anyway. Anything built for everyone is built for no one. Just ask anyone who has ever bought one size fits all trousers. There’s also a tonne of ERPs on the market, and you can’t dig into all of them. Start by whittling the list down to ERPs that focus on your industry. An ERP built for retail or shipping isn’t going to do a manufacturing company like yours much good.

Find the right fit for you

Sorting through which ERPs to investigate and which ones to eliminate really comes down to your needs assessment. That list of your specific needs is your guide at this point in the process. Use those actionable ‘we need to improve ____ by ____’ sentences to compare the offerings of various solutions. If they can’t solve your main challenge, move on.

Each ERP system will come with its own set of proprietary features or modules designed with a certain type of company in mind. For instance, the needs of a 2000-employee make-to-inventory repeat plant will be very different from the needs of a 200-employee engineer-to-order custom manufacturer. The ERP that suits one will not likely suit the other. Finding the one that fits you becomes clearer and clearer throughout the process.

Start thinking of this as partner – not just solution – selection

This is important. You know from your own business that finding the right long-term partner is more beneficial than just finding a short-term, one-off customer. It’s the same with ERPs. You want to find the company and the people that are going to be there with you the whole way. The ERP relationship doesn’t end at ‘it’s a deal’. This is a new tool for your whole operation, and if you find the right ERP provider, they will help grow your business.

Step 4: Schedule conversations

Time to see what they can really do.

Who to invite?

The typical spread of ERP providers to invite goes something like this: a vendor based on a colleague’s referral, a vendor based on size or reputation, a vendor your team found through needs/fit assessment, and maybe a vendor based on price. With this range of choices, one or two are likely to stand out, and different members of your team will react to different companies.

Have questions ready for each ERP provider

Better-suited ERP providers will be able to give better answers to questions that specifically address your needs. Given the complexity of ERP solutions and the delicate matter of implementation, it’s extremely important to vet the true competencies of each company. Grill each company thoroughly. The good ones will welcome it and prove they are a worthy partner. The less-good ones will try to pivot or sell you an alternative.

Good thing you’re prepared

Because of the work your A-Team has put in, you have a strong grasp of your needs. This will help steer the conversation during demos and product pitches. You;re now an informed panel that knows what it wants to hear, and knows how to pick good providers out from the pack.

Step 5: Shortlist, check references

Now narrow it down, and verify

The finalists

When it comes to ERP selection, you need to narrow it down to a winner while you still have momentum. With a razor, take your shortlist and shave it down to two or three vendors. Don’t find yourself stuck near the end with too many choices. If paralysis by analysis sets in, it will nix all your hard work.

Check references

Companies don’t just install an ERP, they experience the change it brings. So, there’s no better people to get feedback from than existing customers. From your shortlisted vendors, get references for manufacturers similar to you. If you’re a custom manufacturer, be sure to speak with another custom manufacturer. If inventory is a big part of your assembly operation, then find another company with similar inventory management needs. And if a reference is close by, consider paying them a friendly visit.

Gather the A-Team one last time

Look back on what you just accomplished. Pretty amazing. Your best people came together to help with a critical decision for the future of your company. You learnt, you laughed (at least once or twice we’re sure) and you listened to each other. Now nearing the end, give everyone a chance to say their final thoughts and reflect on the experience.

Now make a decision

Each company will have its own way of doing this, How you decide to seal the deal on ERP selection will depend on your established procedures and what feels right nearing the end of selection. The team has provided valuable input. You have reflected. Now you can be confident. That’s a nice feeling.

And here’s the bonus: you have just given your company a huge head start on successful ERP implementation. The next steps – kick off, install, implementation and go live – will be met with less resistance and a lot more anticipation. It’s a job well done, and you’re more than ready for the next steps. Celebrate as you see fit, and announce the good news to the whole company.

So, what next?

If you are ready to take the first step in your ERP selection process, we are here to help. Contact us here or give us a call on 0191 500 8150 to speak to a Business Software Consultant.

12
Apr

How ERP software can cut costs in your supply chain

Effectively managing and getting the most out of your supply chain is vital, and ERP software will help you achieve this.

When you’re running your own business, it’s important to cut overheads where you can. Of course, you should always be looking to cut costs without cutting corners – and luckily, there’s a simple way to do just that.

One of the first things you should do to save money is to invest in ERP software. Yes, we’re aware that that does sound a little paradoxical, as ERP can be a large initial investment – perhaps the largest you will have made so far. By learning how to use it to its full potential though, you can massively cut costs in your supply chain.

But first, we think its important for you to understand the role of ERP in Supply Chain Management.

The integration of Supply Chain Management and ERP allows manufacturing and distribution businesses the ability to gain greater visibility into all operations while increasing speed, efficiency and overall customer satisfaction.

Here’s everything you need to know:

Defining the supply chain

A supply chain is your business’s lifeline to products and materials. To have a strong successful business, you’re going to need to have a supply chain that delivers in the best way. Therefore, your chain needs to be made up of the strongest possible links, or rather, the strongest possible businesses.

If your supply chain isn’t suiting the needs of your business, how can you turn things around? With great ERP software, of course. By incorporating ERP into everyday processes, you can negotiate better deals, improve communication with the businesses in your supply chain and effectively manage your inventory and eliminate waste.

Effective communication

One of the simplest but most effective ways an ERP software system will cut your costs is by improving communications with you and your suppliers. Being able to communicate in real-time and being able to access up to date information around the clock will allow you to keep an eye on supply and demand.

It doesn’t matter which of your suppliers you are dealing with, or the scale of your supply operations. You’ll be amazed at how much of a difference it does make once the software is up and running.

Eliminating waste

Managing your inventory properly is key to saving money. ERP will allow you to assess your inventory levels so your costs remain low. Why are these particular costs so important? Well, inventory costs make a big contribution to a company’s profit margin.

After all, the more stock you have to keep in storage, the more money you will spend on that storage. We mentioned how ERP software can aid with communication and that comes into play here too. By being able to communicate and collaborate with suppliers, you’ll be able to free up unused inventory space and negotiate better supply deals.

ERP will transform much more than your supply chain

As well as helping you to cut costs in your supply chain, ERP software can work wonders across other areas of your business too. It can greatly improve the productivity of your workforce, by freeing up time they spend on repetitive tasks, leaving them free to innovate and work on the things that matter.

ERP also allows you to conduct in-depth analysis, as well as cash flow forecasting. You can trade in multiple locations and countries with complete ease too. All of this will lead to massive financial rewards, both in the long and short term.

If the above isn’t enough to persuade you to get on top of your ERP game, then here are the different ways that ERP software can increase your business profits and efficiency while reducing costs and wastes.

Automatic Purchasing

Continually monitoring inventory levels takes up too much time. Newer ERP systems with Supply Chain Management functionality feature automate purchasing. This means that the ERP software can be programmed to automatically place orders with vendors when inventory levels drop below a certain level. A critical part of any supply chain strategy is being able to preemptively maintain inventory levels. Automatic purchasing will free up employees to concentrate on other important duties.

Standardise

Process standardisation is central to the success of any supply chain strategy. Having a standardised ERP system will increase efficiency while saving time and money. Another benefit is that employees will share a standardised system of tools, which will increase accuracy, encourage teamwork and reduce miscommunication.

Increase Transparency

Waste, mistakes and even fraud are permanent supply chain strategy problems that can be fixed with the right ERP system. One of the biggest problems of inventory management is reconciling the software numbers with physical inventory count. There are always products or units that are forgotten about or simply disappear. Increasing internal Supply Chain Management transparency is critical to reducing unexplained inventory and financial losses.

Gain Data Insight

Decision making for your supply chain strategy depends on accurate and timely data and information. Having real-time reports available at all times will provide valuable insight into the supply chain health of your manufacturing business. ERP software allows both users and management to be able to instantly access inventory, purchasing and production data for critical decision-making purposes.

Real-Time Inventory Management

Traditional inventory management involves the overuse of spreadsheets and hand checked lists. However, modern ERP software offers inventory features that provide real-time visibility of exact inventory levels. In addition to this, traditional inventory management software has limited scalability, while modern ERP software has unlimited flexibility that will match your business’ growth and unique needs.

Monitor Vendor Performance

A smoothly running supply chain system depends on outstanding vendor performance. Therefore, vendor performance needs to be monitored and rated through robust metrics available through ERP systems. With a few clicks of a mouse, management can review vendor cycle times and error rates. This data is invaluable during vendor re-negotiations.

Raise Cost Awareness

There are many uncontrollable factors and variables with supply chain management. As a result, different managers along the supply chain often are unaware of each other’s expenses. Having centralised financial data pinpoints exactly when and where the organisation spends money. This will encourage cost related communication and strategies for consolidating expenses and streamlining processes.

Improve Returns Management

Every solid supply chain strategy needs an efficient returns management system. Manufacturers must be able to effectively handle returns so they can quickly re-process or re-manufacture returned products or units. Many manufacturers understandably focus on continually moving new products out the door and therefore, returns often fail to get the attention they deserve. Being able to better manage returns will reduce waste and identify consistent  product problem factors.

Streamline Accounting

ERP systems are often integrated with different business areas, such as HR, management and finances. An ERP system will reduce excessive paperwork and invoice mix-ups. In addition to this, ERP systems are integrated with Electronic Data Interchange and Electronic Funds Transfers, which will drastically reduce payment processing administration and associated wait times.

There are many success stories of implementing ERP systems to improve Supply Chain Management, and unfortunately much-hyped failures as well. However, if most projects follow some simple guidelines, companies can increase the chance of success, deliver on time, and proudly involve the relevant group of users who utilise the system to maximum gain. Some benefits to look forward to include:

  • Improved efficiencies, lower costs and improve productivity
  • Ability to provide better services to customers, and therefore increase customer retention
  • Increased ability to  manage resources through a streamlined process, and in some cases, an automated workflow
  • Leveraging IT to enhance the speed of tasks and increase production
  • Ability to cope with business changes in the future and to adapt to changing rules and regulations, therefore enabling the organisation to compete more effectively

When it comes to Supply Chain Management, businesses need to interact with numerous suppliers and partners in order to obtain the raw materials and resources needed to bring finished goods to market. ERP plays a vital role in combating inefficiency; reducing waste and ensuring that workers are better able to direct their efforts. The integration of both systems may pose some unique challenges. It is in your company’s best interest to ensure that you and your staff fully understand the role of ERP within the Supply Chain Management process.

If you are wanting to implement a new ERP system, or see how an ERP system can help assist your business’ needs, then contact us here, or call us on 0191 500 8150 to speak to a Business Software Consultant.

10
Apr

How ERP software can revolutionise your manufacturing processes

Enterprise resource planning can help organise inventory, prepare for customer demand and improve productivity.

From better inventory management and productivity, to improving quality and lead times, companies with manufacturing operations are constantly looking for ways to improve efficiency. However, this requires coordination across the entire enterprise, from back office to production.

Without achieving synchronisation across all operations, manufacturers cannot effectively manage fluctuations in demand, increasing competition, and supply chain issues.

Although many manufacturing companies already have multiple software’s installed to manage their operations, relying on several vendors for different processes can become extremely costly.

Fortunately, there is an alternative that allows all processes to be operated through a single, streamlined solution that listens to your business’ unique needs. With this in mind, here are six ways enterprise resource planning (ERP) software can revolutionise your manufacturing process.

Optimise Inventory Management

There are two sides to inventory management – materials and product inventory.

Materials management is the process that foes into ensuring an organisation has the appropriate materials to complete the manufacturing process; whereas product inventory includes the products that are produced through the manufacturing process and how they’re transported to customers.

However, if these two equations aren’t synchronised, difficulties might arise with having the appropriate materials at the right time and product levels being incorrect or insufficient to satisfy orders.

By implementing ERP software, processes such as billing of materials, tracking materials and inventory management can be updated automatically – for smaller manufacturers, these are most likely updated manually through spreadsheets; which are prone to human error.

Introducing an ERP system can help reduce these human errors and automate inventory requirements so that materials always arrive when needed, instead of taking up space your business can’t spare.

Prepare for Customer Demand

When data is tracked manually and historically, it’s difficult to tell what levels of inventory are necessary from one term to another. The business can make an educated guess based on previous data, but this doesn’t account for current changes in the market.

With an estimation about customer trends, it doesn’t account for deviations in customer history, for example, if one of your business’ top clients, foes out of business and you’re working on an estimated guess, the results will be costly.

With a manufacturing ERP system, it will alert your business to these significant changes in customer demand, both from previous data and real-time. This makes it much easier for accurate future customer demands.

Refine Human Resources

Refining human resource operations with training and attendance tracking can also have a positive impact on your business operations. By integrating human resource management and your ERP system, your business can automate many of the paper-based admin tasks facing your HR department.

This will allow HR to focus on the development of your business workforce, which results in a huge win for saving time and optimising human resources.

A good human resource management system can be crucial to maintaining a lean workforce who, on a daily basis, respond to many challenges. Your business will be rewarded with employees who are more committed, inventive and productive.

Streamline Collaboration with Customers and Suppliers

ERP can optimise business processes and drastically improve response times. This will improve virtual communication across the supply chain and internal communication between unrelated departments. This can have a positive impact on collaborating across your business.

These close collaborations with partners can mean that specific challenges are met in a timely fashion.

With a quick response to change, it can ultimately improve your customer relationship, which is just one of the ways ERP software can impact as a continuous business improvement tool. By finding important information with satisfaction, your business will be more prompt in leveraging development opportunities.

Automate Processes

If a process is definable and repeatable, then chances are it’s better off automated.

ERP systems such as Pegasus Opera 3 integrates quality control and manufacturing management – purchase invoices matched against goods, job profits can be assessed and stock control managed all from one place; creating a streamlined, cost-effective manufacturing solution.

The time saved through automation can then be reinvested into your business for other projects that are more pressing.

Improve Employee Productivity

Businesses that still try to run their manufacturing by using manual processes are more likely to have high labour costs. The same can be said, however, for some lean manufacturers too. Even in a lean environment, these indirect labour costs can be a potential problem.

A great ERP system can help businesses improve these processes and efficiencies so less labour time is required to complete the same amount of work. Additionally, an ERP that can automate manual process, freeing up more labour hours that can be reinvested into higher return activities.

In the past, ERP software was a system many manufacturers wanted to make their everyday processes more efficient.

To stay competitive, however, manufacturers need to now invest time and money into ERP software to optimise inventories, be aware of customer demands, automate processes and more. It’s only with these capabilities that a manufacturer can streamline processes and stay in competition.

However, something else that could be putting you off investing in an ERP system could be the fact that people aren’t 100% sure how they can save money when it appears that there is such a large upfront cost to begin with.

It’s a question many small or expanding businesses ask and what it really boils down to is this: how do I know if my business really needs an ERP system – and, more importantly, will it be worth the cost?

ERP systems aren’t a light investment choice to make. Whether you need one depends on your business – something for another blog post! Whether it will be worth the cost is another matter entirely. Improving business performance is a top cited reason by those looking to invest in an ERP system for the first time according to a 2015 survey by Panorama Consulting.

But how do you calculate whether an ERP system is worth the investment?

Return on investment – in practical terms.

The real consideration to any business looking to implement an ERP system is the return on investment. To calculate this, you need to establish what your current issues and goals are and then quantify what improvements to functions in support of those goals are.

Without a consultation, we can’t help you establish or quantify these at this stage. However, we can give you a clearer picture of how an ERP system works to save money across the most common areas that are assisted by streamlined and automated functions: operating costs, admin costs, inventory costs, obsolete inventory and cycle time.

Operation Costs

  • Making allocation of work more efficient: an ERP system provides overall visibility of jobs and resources, instead of looking at these by department or function only.
  • Manufacturing and material planning: ERP solutions can provide a single view of the allocation of materials and resources for production planning. Normally manufacturing businesses struggle to gain an overview of materials and resources or they need to look at three different systems to establish the current state of play.
  • Process performance: without an ERP system there will be processes in place that may not be working but there will be no visibility of this.

Admin Costs

  • All customer information in one place on one customer record: usually accounts, services and CRM all hold information but there is no link between them without an ERP system in place. This can double, treble or even quadruple the amount of time taken to get the information and the number of admin staff needed.
  • No chasing paperwork, with all jobs recorded in real-time: without ERP software, job data is typically recorded on sheets and entered into a service system managed by the service department. However, all of this then needs to be re-entered for invoicing purposes – leading to wasted time, lost paperwork and frustrated staff who can think of much better ways of spending their time.
  • Real-time view of data to answer customer queries: usually in businesses that haven’t made the move to ERP, the customer services operator would have to route through numerous systems or data sources to answer simple customer queries. With the information in once place, time spent dealing with customers is reduced – meaning higher profits and happier customers.
  • Simple report mechanism, all in one place: without ERP getting reports for management, service meetings and accounts etc. will be laborious as you have to go into one system and then cross reference this with another to establish issues and trends.
  • Ease of scheduling and employee management for both processes and HR: without enterprise software in place, employee information will be sat in various systems and scheduling, jobs and holidays etc. will be on different systems that don’t join up. So, your service department may have the employee booked in for jobs because they couldn’t see that HR have marked the employee away as on holiday.

Management Costs

  • Real-time reporting and dashboards providing up to the minute analysis of the business or department: typically in businesses without real-time reporting, teams can spend hours at the end of the week gathering information, much of which is a few weeks out of date.
  • Triggers and alerts to highlight exceptions: without this, management only know about operational difficulties after they have accumulated to become a major risk to the business.
  • Project overviews and statuses: management that make do without this only get a view of true project costs after the project is completed and hours of manual data collation has taken place.
  • Employee information and performance: without an ERP system, it is difficult for management to get a full understanding of their workforce, efficiency and training requirements. Everything is in different systems, meaning that information can slip through the net, or take too long to collate.

Inventory Management

  • Reduces over and under stocking: without ERP solutions, the business may have a view of stock holding but will find it difficult to differentiate between good and bad stock, allocated stock and repaired stock.
  • Allows for the forecasting of stock requirement: without this there will be no predictive analytics that look at seasonal trends, year-on-year figures or other variants that affect predictive stock ordering.
  • Reports on wastage, returns, swap outs, replacements and items to be returned to the manufacturer: this is very important if you don;t want to be left with a warehouse black hole, with no understanding of the stock that is in it and whether it needs writing off, repairing or returning to the manufacturer.
  • Gives location visibility for picking, etc: most businesses without an enterprise system in place can waste hours searching for stock.
  • Provides stock valuation: without this the business would not have a full understanding of its stock position and how the value of their stock holding reflects on the business as a whole – reflecting on warehousing costs and cash flow.

Calculating the costs and time savings

Interviewing your staff in each department can assist in establishing how much time they feel they waste when they encounter any of the above issues. However, sometimes what your employees say and what they do in reality are very different. You need to be confident that you are asking the right questions and making the right observations.

A good ERP partner can guide you here, by listening to the requirements o the business and often taking you a few steps back to look at the ideal situation, not just what you think is possible based on pre-conceived ideas. They should listen to all the stakeholders and employees and offer suggestions based on their experience of implementing systems in different markets. From there, a good ERP partner can build a picture of the best solution and its design and present you with a written document as part of your proposal.

With this, you should be able to assess the return on investment based on what can be achieved and the likely costs. It’s important to remember that every company’s needs and likely return on investment is different.

One final thought – its not just the software

However, in order to ensure a successful ERP implementation, you need to avoid these five business factors:

  • setting unrealistic expectations at the outset
  • not managing organisational change
  • not including key stakeholders in the implementation
  • poor project management
  • not addressing business benefits

The ability to adapt quickly to the changing demands of your business are also key and an agile approach is now deemed the gold standard. That’s why we believe in lifetime application management of your ERP implementation, to ensure that it truly reflects your business needs both now and in the future.

For more information regarding ERP systems, take a look here, or to book a free demo and consultation with one of our Business Software Specialists to see how we can help you help your business, contact us here or call us on 0191 500 8150.