Manufacturing ERP Software in 2020: The Digital Manufacturer

Written By: Michael Huang
Date: September 30, 2019

The 21st century has introduced a lot of technological innovation and businesses have felt the positive effect. New digital transformation manufacturing options have been strong and diverse.

Some (but not enough) manufacturers have taken advantage. The advances in manufacturing ERP software have improved not only productivity but opened businesses to a whole new world of possibilities. Navigating the various options are among the top ERP predictions and trends for 2020.

The contrast of small vs. large manufacturing ERP systems

As consultants, we see a trend contrasting large vs. smaller manufacturers. Large manufactures tend to be earlier adopters of modern manufacturing ERP systems. This sometimes has to do with access to funding and resources. However, consider that over 90% of the businesses in the US have 500 or less employees (and considered small to midsize). Many companies in this segment who focus on manufacturing are immersed in keeping the production floor staffed and humming.

Manufacturing efficiencies (and likely increased output) are yet to be tapped. Software pricing varies from affordable to pricey. This sometimes has to do with the complexity and needs of the manufacturer. SAP S/4HANA and Oracle ERP Cloud will likely be priced significantly higher than IQMS, and qualified independent consultant is an invaluable resource in helping you determining fit and cost. There is no shortage of good-to-great manufacturing ERP software options.

The origin of manufacturing ERP systems

Many manufacturing organizations use every tool and body they have, but don’t configure their ERP software to make their organization run better. Tracing the history of manufacturing ERP software, we can see that early attempts at creating better tools started in the 1940’s with the creation of calculating machines.

Over time, companies started building more complex machines that helped the manufacturing process. Early versions of manufacturing software were limited to providing on-premise services and solutions. So, what exactly has advanced manufacturing ERP software and why should it be considered a dream come true?

The possibilities of today’s manufacturing ERP systems

Today we see cloud-based manufacturing ERP solutions that add dimensional options like quality control and artificial intelligence, for example. This can be a game changer, especially valuable in regulated industries such as medical and food manufacturing.

We often see many manufactures with capacity issues resulting from older systems which limit customization, no real-time reporting, etc. Modern manufacturing ERP software provides a plethora of choices for users such as being able to integrate supply chains by managing the inflow and outflow of materials on a global scale. This type of progress frees up staff who can then focus on higher-value work.

Other impressive features include the ability to improve production scheduling. Advances in this feature allow organizations to keep track of inventory so it doesn’t become excess inventory and it also helps manage the scheduling of staff and machines. By incorporating new manufacturing ERP software, companies can find ways to not only help manage their procurement, but also have found new ways of tracing the location of goods while improving the overall customer experience.

Consider how three-dimensional printing and predictive applications are emerging technologies that not so long ago weren’t thought possible. These advances in technology have opened a new world to many companies and many more are hopping on board to utilize benefits that are offered through new manufacturing software. Many of the top ERP systems in the market enable these and other potential improvements.

Conclusion: The future of manufacturing ERP systems is bright

Modern manufacturing ERP systems have become instrumental by providing new ways to automate and speed up processes. What will the future hold for manufacturing ERP software? Will advances lead to less of a need for actual human workers? Will 4D printing have the same staggering impact that is occurring as 3D printing evolves? The internet of things (IoT) and the connection to advanced interconnectivity between shop floor and consumer will change how business is transacted.

At Third Stage Consulting we are passionate about how modern manufacturing software can bolster individual company growth, profits, efficiency and a more customer-centric experience. We are here to answer any questions you have, so please feel free to contact us to brainstorm ideas on how you can make your manufacturing ERP systems initiative more successful!

Michael Huang

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