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Blog - Erp

 

Why Customers Want ERP-Ready Manufacturers

Posted Thu, February 12, 2015 by Julie Short

Usually, when manufacturing clients come to us wanting to explore ERP packages, it's because they are interested in cutting costs, or want to keep a closer eye on supply chains and other details. But what about the other side of the bottom-line equation? Did you know that investing in the right ERP can help you gain more customers, too?

Although buyers might not ask your company for or about an ERP directly, that doesn't mean they don't want you to have one. That's because manufacturers that are taking advantage of enterprise resource planning can do more, do it more quickly, and at better prices. In other words, they become the kinds of businesses your best customers want to work with and order from.

To see why that might be, consider three important advantages from your customer’s point of view:

Speed is critical in choosing a manufacturer. In today's market, speed is every bit as important as price and quality. Margins might be tighter, but so are schedules. If you can reliably deliver products based on aggressive schedules, you become virtually priceless to buyers. That means they'll come back to you time and time again, and may even pay a premium to do so.

Cost competitiveness is changing everything. Of course, margins are getting tighter across every type of manufacturing market. By having more control over your supply chain, and real-time information about input prices, you can produce better, more accurate quotes for your customers. Staying competitive and profitable at the same time is always a winning strategy.

They want a manufacturer who can adjust to new conditions quickly. When delivery dates, quantities, and locations change, it's the manufacturer that is equipped with a strong ERP that's ready to step in and meet buyer needs. Your customers want a manufacturer they can count on… when you're taking advantage of the right ERP, it's easy to be the supplier of choice.

You already know that success in manufacturing is all about delivering the right product and service at the right price, and on the customer's schedule. A strong ERP platform helps you achieve all of those, which leads to increased customer loyalty and helps your profitability on every account.

To learn more about our ERP systems – and to see case studies that show how we have helped manufacturing companies just like yours – call or e-mail a member of our team and request a free consultation. It won't take long for us to show you why you shouldn't ignore this technology.

Posted in : ERP | 
Tags : erp , manufacturer


Why ERP Packages Have Gotten Even Better Lately

Posted Wed, September 24, 2014 by Julie Short

While ERP packages that help manufacturers get better information at every step in the design and production process aren't new, their capabilities have grown significantly in recent years. In fact, any manufacturer that isn't using a strong ERP in 2013 is facing a serious competitive disadvantage.

There are a number of reasons that statement is true, but one change has significantly affected the way that ERP platforms operate: cloud computing.

Why is cloud computing such an important addition to ERP development? It allows for true, real-time communication and collaboration not just between departments, but even between vendors and entire companies. Because any part of an order can be updated instantaneously, different groups can adapt to one another seamlessly. And they can do it without long meetings, telephone calls, reports, and other bottlenecks.

What kinds of information might you want real-time? Here are just a few of the best examples:

  • The number (and contents) of current estimates and proposals that could be accepted at any time
  • Raw material prices for key inputs into your products, including quotes from suppliers
  • Delivery schedules for secondary components that you need to receive for product delivery
  • Transportation and logistical schedules and updates from trucking companies
  • Employee availability and current labor costs per-project

The list could go on and on, but the point is that you want to keep tabs on every factor that could affect the delivery scheduler bottom-line, and you want to know what's happening now, without having to make phone calls or bring managers into your office for continual updates. That's especially true if you're facing a situation where needs and priorities are changing quickly.

Real-time information – combined with industrial-grade efficiency – is always going to give a manufacturer an important competitive advantage. The more you know about your business, changing customer needs, supplier activities and timelines, current material costs and estimates, etc., the easier it is to maximize your profitability in any situation. That's why the ERP/cloud computing combination is one that can literally transform the way manufacturing companies operate.

Want to learn more about ERP solutions and how they offer real-time insight into your business? Contact us today and ask for a free demonstration so you can see the possibilities for yourself.

Posted in : ERP | 
Tags : erp


5 Ways for Small Businesses to Streamline Inventory Management

Posted Wed, April 23, 2014 by Julie Short

Staying buttoned up and accountable with your business is crucial – and especially so in regards to your inventory. Inefficiencies or inaccuracies in inventory management can waste money for your company and lead to unsatisfactory customer experiences. We’ve rounded up five of our most effective ways to streamline your inventory management system – all of which are straightforward to implement and will work in the long-term.


1. Accept and utilize new technology.


Inventory management software can help you – you guessed it – streamline your inventory management system. Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, for example, can successfully take charge of planning and tracking inventory – almost as well as (or even better than) a new employee could. This type of software can be customized to your business to handle sales tracking, purchasing, and the myriad other aspects of inventory.


2. Focus your energy.


Inventory itself is hard to get a handle on – so focus your energy on the following categories in order to keep track of it. Replenishment; safety; and prevention and anticipation of extra or obsolete stock.


3. Use a cross-functional team.


Most of the time, many different departments within an organization will be involved with inventory.  It makes sense then, to use a cross-functional team to plan out your inventory: everyone will be on the same page, and you might hear from departments that aren’t getting their needs met.  Plus, you’ll be able to ensure that the stock you order coordinates with a given marketing campaign or smaller team’s efforts.


4. Focus on the supply chain.


We said earlier to focus on replenishment, safety, and avoiding obsolete stock – but you should also be paying close attention to your supply chain. Review all the different parts in your supply chain and make sure they are all working efficiently... one cog can throw off the whole inventory wheel. If you don’t already have one, implement a distribution strategy to improve customer service and delivery time. Don’t forget to keep track of the location of your inventory - everything from raw materials to finished goods. You can use spreadsheets to keep tabs on this, but customized inventory management or ERP software will take the headache – and a lot of wasted time – out of the equation.


5. Reduce inventory.


You can also streamline your inventory system by carrying fewer items. Reduction might not be right for everyone, but there’s something to be said for curation over just collection. When you have larger numbers of fewer items overall, you’ll find that it’s easier to predict quantities and to lower your amount of safety stock. If you want to offload some of your existing stock without just waiting to use or sell it, you can try returning it; reselling to other companies; giving it to your employees; or selling to customers at a reduced price.


Your inventory might be considerable in volume, but there’s no need for it to be more of a burden than it’s worth. Get in touch with us to learn more about the crazy-good things a solid inventory management system can do for your company.

 

Posted in : Business Strategy , ERP | 
Tags : inventory , ERP


(ERP) Enterprise Resource Planning and Your Business: Learn the Basics

Posted Wed, March 19, 2014 by Julie Short

"Our business doesn't need something as complicated as ERP."
It isn't a surprise to hear such a statement from a company. Many business owners believe that ERP (enterprise resource planning) is a very technical and complicated process that will only result in a clunky computing environment and extra costs that strain limited budgets. But the truth is that ERP isn't that complicated once you understand it for what it is: a back office management software strategy that can help consolidate business functions into a unified process.


ERP 101: What is enterprise resource planning?
ERP is an integrated software system that has been used by businesses for over a generation. The term itself was introduced in the 1990s by the Gartner Group. But it was actually a software suite strategy developed in the 1950s for inventory management and to create plans for materials requirements.


The manufacturing industry benefited from ERP as a replacement from the past MRP (manufacturing resource planning) software. ERP was more robust, even during the 1990s, as it streamlined the entire production process from the design phase to the financial costs calculation stage. As technology evolved, so too did ERP software. Businesses from every industry saw a way to incorporate ERP into their business software strategies to help manage their human resources and accounting processes.


How does ERP work?
ERP consists of individual software modules featuring technical capabilities to handle automated back office tasks. These modules have integrated application functions suited for the activities that you want it to perform. The common ERP modules used in most small and large businesses today are:
•    Material purchasing
•    Human resource management
•    Distribution services
•    Inventory control
•    Manufacturing processes
•    Accounting services
•    Marketing and sales


Each module works from one relational database system. This database management system has a dashboard, analysis tools, user interface, and access and security features. It can easily integrate with other computing features like web-based applications, word processing and email clients.


The main function of ERP is to allow for real-time data collection and sharing throughout every department of your operations. All of the data is placed within this central database management system and can be accessed through the different ERP modules used in the other departments of your business: accounting, customer services, sales, and warehousing.


Benefits of ERP
What makes ERP so ideal for businesses is that you don't have to purchase every module. You can pick and choose the module you want based on your business needs.


Let’s say you are looking to automate your accounting tasks. An ERP accounting module can give you some of the following functions:
•    configure pricing for products
•    gather more complete and accurate accounting data
•    manage employee payrolls


Other departments of your business will be allowed to access this information for their operations. Your warehousing department can go through their ERP system and ensure customers paid orders through accounting before shipments are sent out. Customer service can change customer payment information with accounting in moments as the sales department ensures that product pricing corresponds with any special deals currently being offered.


Software vendors offer ERP software module applications based on the size of your business. The ERP software market is divided by tiers: ERP Tier I is suited for large corporations, ERP Tier II is for mid-size companies, and ERP Tier III is for small businesses. Compare software vendors from each tier to see what ERP solutions match your business needs and fit into the company budget.

 

Posted in : ERP | 
Tags : erp , web applications


How Cloud-Based HR Solutions Offer Advantages throughout Your Company

Posted Wed, March 5, 2014 by Julie Short

CIO reports that 900 of the companies named on the Fortune 1000 list will soon be moving to cloud-based systems to take care of their HR needs.


What’s driving this move to host HR systems in the cloud? In some instances, it’s the simple fact that in-house legacy systems have become obsolete. In other cases, it’s the desire to eliminate the significant hardware costs associated with an in-house system.


For many companies, moving HR to the cloud also provides a wealth of advantages that can be leveraged throughout all levels of management within the organization—and on the front lines.


The IT Case for Cloud-Based HR Systems
From an IT perspective, one of the most appealing features of a cloud-based HR system is the freedom provided by being bound only by a licensing agreement instead of a capital-intensive equipment purchase. If the cloud-based system selected doesn’t meet your company’s needs, your IT department doesn’t have to worry about finding a new system that’s compatible with existing hardware. Instead, it only needs to investigate how to migrate to a new remote provider smoothly.


Housing the HR system off-site also moves the burden of data backup and equipment upkeep to the cloud provider.


Finally, through cloud computing, IT departments are able to offer HR staff throughout the company a familiar, modern user interface. On the surface, that may not seem like a compelling reason to migrate HR to the cloud, but as Josh Bersin of Forbes points out, the interface issue is actually “the number one driver of change” in this arena. It makes a lot of sense: a familiar interface not only increases the chances that HR pros will utilize the system; it also makes it easier for IT to train users and communicate about how the system operates.


Advantages within the HR Department
One of the major advantages of a cloud-based system within the HR department is data standardization. That was certainly the case for HB Fuller, a company that employed over 4000 people but couldn’t gather company-wide data about them in a single, usable form until it began to migrate away from its legacy HR system in 2008.


Rather than relying on disparate systems to gather HR data and make decisions, a pervasive, cloud-based system allows HR staff to get the answers they need from a single online portal. Such a system makes it easy for HR team members to centrally track and process requests for time off, make policy manual changes visible throughout the organization, administer payroll, schedule training, and analyze data.


Mobile access is another advantage for HR staff. Since a cloud-based system is accessible from any device that can access the Internet, HR pros armed with smartphones or tablets can solve problems outside the office or offer instant feedback to other staff in the field.


Advantages for Frontline Staff
For frontline staff, the advantages of a HR system sitting in the cloud are both immediate and practical. Staff members can easily access policies, update forms, request to use vacation time, and track their working hours.


If you’re interested in switching over to an accessible, intuitive HR system, contact the experts at Web Revelation today. We’ll set you up with a system that lets you do your job more efficiently – no frustration or complicated training necessary.

 

Posted in : Business Strategy , ERP | 
Tags : ERP , HR


How to Grow Your Manufacturing Company Without Adding People or Equipment

Posted Mon, July 8, 2013 by Julie Short

Conventional wisdom says that growing your manufacturing operation requires bigger inputs – usually in the form of capital, labor, or new equipment. But, what if there was a way you could make your business "bigger," growing your profits right along with it, without any of those investments?

That's not an impossible scenario. By installing or upgrading an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software package, you essentially get a bigger business than the one you have now, if only because you're getting more from the labor, cash, and equipment you already own.

In other words, an ERP system (which puts critical information about production schedules, input costs, supply  chain data, and more at your fingertips) makes every other part of your manufacturing operation more efficient. That means you can better manage costs, calendars, and even new customer opportunities in real-time.

Imagine having access to more detailed information about:

People and materials. When delivery deadlines are tight, you want to know which employees you need, where key inputs are located, and what kinds of potential problems might hold up delivery dates. Within ERP, you have full visibility of every important factor, so you can deal with any issues – even those relating to costs – before they become limiting problems.

Work and delivery schedules. In manufacturing, the "when" is just as important as the "where" or "how." That's why our advanced ERP systems feature detailed scheduling and forecasting options, so you can combine them with budgets, input lists, and other tools to make sure that times, locations, and finances all add up the way they should.

Bottlenecks and cost factors. Often, unexpected production bottlenecks end up being an anchor on your bottom-line performance, forcing you to give discounts and make other concessions because of delayed delivery dates. With the right ERP, you can anticipate virtually any kind of delay (sometimes even at the estimation and  proposal stage) to ensure on-time delivery or adjust your budget for accelerated production.

In any business, and especially manufacturing, you always get the biggest return on investment from optimizing what you already have, rather than purchasing more inputs. That's why our clients love ERP solutions that let them squeeze more efficiency from their operations without big investments and equipment, industrial space, etc.

To see firsthand how the right ERP can transform your manufacturing company – and your bottom line – call or e-mail a member of our team today and ask for a no-obligation demo of our packages.

Posted in : ERP | 
Tags : manufacturer , erp


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