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Manufacturers face many challenges in an increasingly globalized world. Lowered trade barriers, cheaper imports, and changing tastes among businesses and consumers are all just part of the cascade of challenges that manufacturers face on a daily basis. IWI Consulting Group would like to offer you a special white paper entitled ERP: A Strategic Growth Driver for Manufacturing Firms. In this paper, we address the many challenges faced by manufacturers and explore how software such as Sage ERP X3 can help you overcome these challenges. The Only Constant Is Change All businesses face changes on a daily basis. From fickle consumer tastes to changing ways of accessing information, the world changes at an ever-faster clip. Manufacturers are not immune to the increasing pace of change. Manufacturing today is a far cry from the way it was 30 years ago – or even a few years ago. You don’t have to look far back into the past to see how global, regional, and local changes have impacted the manufacturing industry. It is important for manufacturers to accept, rather than resist, change. Change is happening at every level of the organization. To embrace change is to realize the potential inherent in many of […]

Manufacturing is all about efficiencies. The more efficient your operation, the more profitable it can be. To improve efficiencies throughout your company, using a manufacturing ERP software package such as Sage X3 can enhance efficiencies throughout the supply chain, production, finance and more. One way in which you can improve efficiency is by better data management. There’s an old saying in computers, “Garbage in – garbage out.” It means that the quality of the outputs is only as good as the quality of the inputs into the computer system. You’ve seen this yourself in the manufacturing process. High-grade raw materials entered into the start of the manufacturing process results in a better product. Better products result in higher customer satisfaction and eventually, high demand as word spreads that your company produces the best quality products in the industry. Well, the same may be said for data. Your Sage X3 system can yield accurate, insightful reports – or it may yield incorrect data, depending on the inputs. To ensure you get the most from your manufacturing ERP software, put into place the following best practices for data management. Quality in – quality out in all things, including Sage X3. Data Management […]

Using Manufacturing ERP Software to Meet the Next Revolution Manufacturing ERP software paves the way for companies to enter into this new fourth era of manufacturing. Yes, we’re entering a brave new world of manufacturing, powered by technology, driven by data, and serving a global community. The Industrial Revolution kicked off manufacturing as we know it today, but we are now entering uncharted territory. The first wave of manufacturing was, of course, that famous revolution that saw innovations in manufacturing everything from clothing to shoes. New steam and water-powered engines fueling vast weaving machines made manufacturing faster, producing less expensive goods for public consumption. The second wave of manufacturing was ushered in by Henry Ford, who positioned the assembly line as the new method of manufacturing consumer goods quickly and inexpensively. Now we are leaving the third wave of manufacturing and entering the fourth. The third brought us automated systems: information technology, computerized processing, and robotic assembly lines that transformed how manufacturers build products. The fourth wave or revolution of manufacturing uses cyber-physical systems to bring goods to customers with more precision and accuracy than ever before. It’s an exciting time for manufacturers throughout North America and, indeed, throughout the […]

ERP for manufacturing, such as Sage ERP X3, yields many benefits for the manufacturing industry. Some of these benefits are obvious, such as the availability of data, the ease with which you can run reports, and other time-saving benefits. What might not be as readily apparent is the cost-savings that manufacturers can achieve with ERP for manufacturing and distribution. Sage contracted with the esteemed Forrester Research Group to analyze such savings. Although Forrester did not focus entirely on the manufacturing sector, they did discover among their many interviews with companies using Sage X3 that manufacturers derived significant benefits. Here are just a few. ERP for Manufacturing Provides Cost-Savings ERP for manufacturing enables you to add many modules specifically tailored to your industry. One such module from Sage X3 helps you standardize purchasing protocols and processes to achieve the best discounts on goods and supplies. The entire purchasing process saw a reduction in the cost of labor, according to the Forrester research. Because Sage ERP X3 saved considerable time and effort, it reduced the cost of labor by approximately 4% annually. Less time was spent on tasks since many were automated. Inventory Materials and Labor Savings While it is likely that your […]

Pay some, receive more; that’s the surprising way in which ERP for manufacturing reduces costs. When you invest in an ERP system, you’ll reap benefits that far outweigh the initial costs. One benefit your manufacturing firm can derive from an ERP system implementation is a reduction in costs. A study from the Aberdeen Group invited 81 discrete manufacturers to share information about their ERP use and implementation. Some of the questions asked in the study yielded insights into how an ERP system can reduce costs. These five cost reductions may surprise you, but if they intrigue you, it’s time to look into what an ERP system can do for your company. The Surprising Ways ERP for Manufacturing Reduces Costs It helps to understand some of the overall benefits of an ERP system before diving into how it can reduce costs. An ERP system improves visibility through real-time data sharing across the company. Reports that may have taken days, weeks, or months to reach your desk from across the company can now be accessed instantly. This real-time data sharing enables business leaders to make swifter decisions, proactively manage business operations, and reduce costs. ERP for manufacturing helps reduce costs for manufacturers […]

Decisions, decisions. It seems that no matter how sure you are in your business knowledge, it helps to have more information on hand before making business decisions. Nowhere is this more important than in manufacturing, where better decisions can help your business anticipate orders and increase production efficiencies. A new study published by the Aberdeen Group examined the business practices of 81 discrete manufacturers who responded to the Group’s invitation to participate in the survey. What Aberdeen discovered is that manufacturers with access to company-wide data made better decisions, which in turn led to higher profits, happier customers, and growing companies. Increased Visibility in Manufacturing ERP Software Leads to Better Decisions You can only make business decisions based on the information that you have. The increased visibility provided by manufacturing ERP software makes it easier to make business decisions because all of the data is available. The Leaders included in this study found that information derived from their ERP systems helped them in the following ways: Real-time visibility from quote to cash: Insight into every aspect of the ordering process, from cost quotations to receipt of payment, enables better business forecasting. Information shared: ERP systems enable automatic notification of system issues, […]

“Going mobile” with your enterprise software may be one of your top concerns this year. It certainly reflects one of the most important trends in manufacturing. According to an IDG survey conducted on behalf of Sage; among manufacturers, the top concerns are integrating new technology with legacy systems, automating business processes to better manage cash flow, and using mobile technology to make sales and customer service more efficient. In fact, fully 72 percent of respondents indicated they’ve shifted their priorities to include integrating mobile channels and ecommerce to improve sales and customer service. It’s a big priority, and an important one in an era in which real-time anywhere access via mobile devices has become commonplace. Going Mobile: The Challenges for Enterprise Software A Wasp Barcode Survey of small to midsized businesses indicated that if business owners had unlimited cash to invest in technology, 10 percent would choose implementing a cloud-computing solution. This is probably to address enterprise software needs for mobile access. Cloud computing technology has made real-time anywhere access a reality for enterprise software. Gone are the days when your team was tied to their terminals to answer customer calls, take orders, or respond to customer queries. Today’s sales […]

One of the key transformations in today’s manufacturing environment is the expansion of the enterprise to include more partnerships, closer customer relationships, and greater geographic focus. Manufacturers are looking for additional distribution channels and global production. Even if you are not expanding, you may be seeing increased international competition and price pressures in your traditional markets. Global business is fast, aggressive and complex. Are you ready to compete in this market? In order to compete, you will need to be agile, efficient, and flexible. You will need to overcome the challenges that global manufacturing raise. You will also need the right systems in place to support your business. The extended business model requires that enterprise systems are interconnected between customers, suppliers, and subcontractors to ensure free-flowing information. Your business systems need to support data sharing, financial reporting, and traceability. Global markets offer revenue and profitability benefits No matter what your size, globalization offers opportunities for revenue growth. Most economic growth is occurring in developing countries and, in many industries, that means an untapped market for your products. By expanding geographically, you are able to focus on growth in your existing product lines. The most effective way to move into a […]

As mobile devices gain more capabilities and become more cost-effective, they are a driving force for change on the manufacturing floor. Mobile interfaces have enabled manufacturers to add new services and cut costs. Advancements in technology have allowed for greater innovation and efficiency. Workforce mobility is a top priority among manufacturing companies. In fact, best-in-class manufacturers and distributors are 119% more likely to provide mobile access to their business systems than their counterparts. (See How Do Your Business Systems Compare to Best-in-Class?) Mobility is impacting all areas of the manufacturing process including order management, inventory management, material and asset tracking, labor tracking, and field sales and service. Mobility is a key enabler of lean automation by increasing productivity, accuracy, and communication. It enables mobile business intelligence through more devices on the factory floor collecting, transmitting, and using data. Integrating mobile technology in your manufacturing solution will bring significant benefits to your business. Better Business Intelligence: Using mobile devices to capture real-time data on the manufacturing floor enables business managers to make better decisions with more accurate data. They are able to manage any process from any location, making decision-making more agile, as managers are not tied to an office but […]

Last week, we talked about the new crop of challenges that have arisen in manufacturing management and strategies to address them. (Navigate the Challenges in Manufacturing.) We saw that marketplace changes have required that your business model change to remain competitive. Now let’s look at how your enterprise software should support you in this industry transformation. Technology and market conditions are changing faster than ever. The transition from an industrial marketplace to an information-intensive one has brought dramatic changes. Decisions have become more complex with the growth in technology, increased regulations regarding safety and sustainability, the blurring of industry boundaries, and the globalization of businesses. In order to remain competitive in this changing marketplace, many manufacturers have reacted with flatter organizations that are more decentralized, enabling them to be more flexible and agile. Functions within businesses have been blurred with more collaboration and decentralization on processes and decisions. Your enterprise software should help you manage change. Your enterprise software should help you manage change rather than impede change. A big part of that response is whether your business management software can easily adapt to change and even help you adjust easily. Technology should provide you with the flexibility and adaptability […]