This article is published by Skoda Minotti’s Manufacturing and Distribution Group.

In previous blogs, we have addressed challenges pertaining to various manufacturing topics, such as logistics strategies, data analytics and improving warehouse efficiency. What you might not be aware of is the ability to provide solutions to these challenges, and many more, all under one system.

As discussed in a previous blog, ERP (or enterprise resource planning) is a system that integrates software, departments and functions across your company. A valuable aspect of ERP technology is that companies can pick and choose what they want in an “à la carte” manner. You can choose whatever is needed, whether that be software that works on customer management, production or operations, or a software that focuses on the accounting aspects of your business.

Specifically, when considering logistics, data analytics and improvements to warehouse efficiency, you should consider selecting ERP product management software. Product management software encompasses four key areas of any manufacturing business: inventory management, warehouse management, order management and production management. With this software you have the ability to use data analytics from a historical perspective as well as logistics planning. Most would agree that this technology can be extremely beneficial for any company; however, implementing this software has pros and cons that you should know about.

Pros:

  1. Cutting Costs: One thing every company aims to do is cut costs. With ERP product management software, this is made easier. Automating certain roles and actions can help decrease the time it takes to do something. Also, by using the data generated from the software, you can determine where your operations can become leaner. This software allows you to see everything that is going on in your business from a production or operations standpoint. By doing so, you will be able to pinpoint areas that can be trimmed to make your business a well-oiled machine.
  2. Efficiency Tracking: As mentioned above, data analytics can greatly transform your business and help you make any number of leaps toward your goals. Your manufacturing business can achieve this by utilizing efficiency tracking in a product management software. This software can enable you to look at labor efficiency, warehouse efficiency, margins of the products you are manufacturing and other data points. In other words, you will be able to see the big picture of your business operations.
  1. Flow of Production: If it hasn’t been stressed above, a product management software can cut costs and help track your efficiency—all of which helps with the flow of production. In addition to helping you look at historical data, ERP software also helps you schedule production and forecast where you want your business to be in the future. By utilizing historical numbers, the data points generated from this software and logistics planning, your businesses can grow and thrive, all while stepping into the world of modern manufacturing.

Cons:

  1. Cost of a System: The first thought when considering whether to implement an ERP system is the cost of the system, and how it can impact your business. Sure, all the “pros” of product management software mentioned above are nice, but you pay for these perks. Costs include the system itself, implementation, licenses for your users and training your employees to use the software, which leads us to the next point.
  2. Intense Training: Any new software leads to process change, and that will require training to get your employees up to speed. A new product management software is a big change for most businesses, and for it to be worth the price and disruption it causes, you need to ensure your employees are properly equipped to use it. This will require valuable time from the business – from management on down – to implement and train for this new system.
  3. Business Disruption: If it wasn’t made clear in the previous point about intense training, implementing a new system into your daily operations is going to disrupt the business. It will require time, money and attention to be pulled away from the things you need to be doing. The hope is that if done correctly, the disruption is minimal, but you should be aware of this when considering ERP product management software.

As with everything, you must weigh the pros and cons, but our hope is that this list can get you closer to making a decision. Do you have questions about the implementation of a product management software that can help improve your manufacturing operations? Contact Ben Cook at 440-449-6800, or email Ben.

2019 Survey of Northeast Ohio Manufacturing and Distribution