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.