I’m Frustrated with the Lack of Flexibility of an ERP. What Now?
An ERP is designed to do two things – account for the past and to a certain extent, plan for the future.
Based on the sales orders that come into an ERP, you figure out how much inventory is needed, predict how much product to make, and once everything is made and sold, calculate the amount of money made. An ERP is really, really good at tracking inventory.
Manufacturers and people try all of the time to make an ERP do a lot of other things, too, but at its core, tracking inventory is what it’s good at. The problem arises when people become frustrated that an ERP is not good at all of those other things – it’s not flexible. If you want to track inventory, great. But, if you want to see how the machines are performing, well, you may not find what you’re looking for.
When you think about accounting for the product and planning for the future, it’s not necessarily a bad thing that an ERP system is not flexible. But, for everything else, it can be a problem.
You may think you want to get a brand-new ERP system to help you do all of those other things, but an updated ERP isn’t going to solve your problems. Don’t buy a new ERP, integrating your current ERP with manufacturing analytics can fix the problem.
When you talk about looking at the factory floor, understanding, managing, and working, the factory floor, flexibility is a key requirement. Especially considering that on that factory floor, nothing is ever the same. Integration between an ERP and manufacturing analytics will provide that flexibility needed.
Can Manufacturing Analytics and an ERP Work Together?
Priorities change. Problems happen on the floor that causes you to have to react immediately. In an ERP, it is very hard, if not impossible, to account for those changes because the system is so rigid. If you’re not able to change the schedule and account for what actually happened on the floor that day or week, there is a larger problem at hand. But, how can you obtain insight into what actually happened?
The answer to that question is manufacturing analytics. To put it plainly, an ERP tells you what is supposed to happen whereas manufacturing analytics software tells you what actually happened. You can benefit from integrating the two systems by comparing the plan to the real-time data to figure out where you came up short. Don’t buy a new ERP because there’s really no need to go through the process of getting a new ERP system when you can implement manufacturing analytics relatively simply and get access to the data you need for a complete picture of how your plant is running.
Can Any Manufacturing Sector Can Do This?
How Beneficial is it to Integrate an ERP and Manufacturing Analytics?
There are two big benefits to using both an ERP (yes, the existing one you have is just fine!) and a manufacturing analytics platform:
1. Reduction of manual work and double-entry – No one has to enter production data into the ERP system since it can be directly transferred from the SensrTrx platform and vice versa.
2. Improved accuracy – Since you’re no longer relying on manual data entry, accuracy will undoubtedly improve.
By integrating the two, you can better determine if you’re meeting the takt time goal. “Am I delivering my product on time to my customer?” The ERP knows what you have to make, in a certain amount of time, to meet customer demand. Then, you can take that demand and use SensrTrx Manufacturing Analytics to track against it.
When you use the two together, you can determine the true takt time, not only at the final stage but at every step of the way.
Most companies are highly focused on labor and machine utilization. There are incentives for people to overproduce a product – use the people you have and run the machines as much as possible – you may not need to do that at all. Why? Instead of focusing on maximizing resource utilization, you should optimize for on-time delivery to your customers and takt time. By using an ERP system and manufacturing analytics together, you can.
So, now you’re optimizing to deliver on time to customers and matching customer demand versus optimizing for throughput or total products produced. In the end, that is the strategy that will most likely be most beneficial to your company.
Note: There are some businesses that can sell everything they make and there is a need to optimize for throughput, but you’re still matching customer demand to lead times and expectations so you can deliver as close to on time as possible. An example of that would be a company that sells office furniture, made to order. They can clearly sell everything they can make as there has already been an order made, but may have the issue of being unable to deliver on time due to inefficiencies in the production process.
Don’t Buy a New ERP. Integrating with Manufacturing Analytics is the Solution to Your Frustration
So, what’s the moral of the story, here? An ERP is a massive, complicated system that may be making you incredibly frustrated. It’s great for tracking inventory, but that gap of information leaves the rest of your manufacturing process in the dark. Instead of starting a search for a new ERP, introducing a long implementation process, and spending a lot of money in the process, don’t buy a new ERP and integrate your current system with manufacturing analytics.
Trust us, you’ll thank us later for the insight.