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The process manufacturing market is changing — as noted by research firm IDC, digital transformation is now critical to streamline operations and meet evolving market demands. For manufacturing organizations to realize the advantages of digital-first initiatives, however, they must deploy the right solutions in the right way to meet the right needs.
Many companies already leverage process manufacturing ERP software to help streamline the monitoring and management of production lines and outputs — but rapid advancements in this software vertical over the past few years have significantly enhanced the capabilities and capacities of many enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions.
This leads to a potential paradox: As growing business demands strain the capacity of legacy software solutions, organizations must select next-gen tools capable of meeting current needs and empowering future outcomes.
But in a rapidly-diversifying ERP market, how do process manufacturers find their best fit? Here are five best practices to help select ideal solutions.
Identify Key Outcomes
Process manufacturing organizations face unique challenges. Unlike discrete manufacturers, it’s not possible for process manufacturers to reverse key operations — once product batches are complete, they must be sold or stored.
This speaks to the need for planning prioritization; companies need process manufacturing software that helps them identify key outcomes and ensure production times and volumes align with demand curves. By identifying both strengths and shortfalls, organizations can ensure new software solutions help meet operational outcomes.
Prioritize Critical Metrics
Inventory management. Process cycle time. Emerging environmental and safety standards. These are just a few of the critical metrics that manufacturers must account for when selecting for new software. While many new solutions provide generalized improvements for manufacturing organizations, deriving maximum value from new ERP software means prioritizing critical metrics and selecting tools designed to meet specific needs.
Consider the challenge of inventory management. Ideally, process manufacturers want just enough inventory to meet current demand and account for minor fluctuations. Legacy ERP solutions, however, often deliver a generalized picture of existing inventory which can potentially lead to costly over- or under-stock scenarios. Here, ERP software capable of real-time inventory management is critical to stay ahead of the curve.
Account for Accounting Issues
Money matters. While many manufacturing ERP software tools are designed to streamline operations and increase process output, some don’t account for key accounting concerns.
When starting the search for new process manufacturing ERP tools, consider their ability to capture and deliver cost data on-demand for each week, month or quarter.
Assess Operational Timelines
Process manufacturers are under increasing pressure to deliver new and improved products every year, even as operational and safety standards increase. This often leads to a disconnect between expectations and actual timelines; while existing processes may be enough to meet current output targets, what happens when companies deploy new process recipes or must account for emerging safety regulations?
Best-fit process manufacturing software doesn’t just provide an overview of existing operations — it helps businesses make the shift to lean, flexible processes and keep pace with the competition.
No matter how powerful, ERP software won’t deliver results if it’s complex and cumbersome to use. Data silos, manual processes and lacking support often conspire to negatively impact employee adoption, in turn reducing total efficacy.
Here, cloud-based solutions can help bridge the gap between expectations and outcomes by removing data barriers and delivering on-demand analysis and results.
Finding the Best Fit
Bottom line? Powerful process manufacturing software can help bridge the gap between expectations and outcomes. When it’s time to upgrade, consider key outcomes, critical metrics, accounting issues, operational timelines and ease-of-use to find your best fit.
IWI Consulting Group is a Sage certified consultant in Toronto. It’s our mission to help Canadian manufacturing organizations optimize their process and planning outcomes with best-fit Sage ERP software.
Our success is built on our reputation. We’re not just an ERP consultant in Canada — we believe that deep understanding of clients’ needs and expectations, combined with industry knowledge and technology expertise delivers a competitive edge you can measure.