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By its very nature, the manufacturing industry is highly complex, which makes innovation essential to a manufacturer’s ability to sustain its business and compete successfully. Customers have varying service requirements, and businesses change and grow. In order to keep up with the demands of the industry, the manufacturer must be flexible and efficient.
So how can an independent manufacturer leverage its particular strength in a competitive environment? And how can it ensure that the varying demands of operational requirements and the details of business are managed efficiently?
A cloud-based Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system that integrates business process workflow, inventory, customer service, quoting, invoicing, accounting and analytics, all using one software system is the basis for efficiency and growth.
The ability to tie everything together to see the entire picture creates manpower, time and financial efficiency, and elevates the level of service to meet today’s customer expectations. Here are just a few of the ways ERP systems enable independent manufacturers to succeed:
Providing accurate cost estimates: Minimizing data entry is key in reducing errors. An end-to-end sales management tool that allows quotes, specifications, and other details to be entered once and then carried through the entire process allows for an accurate estimate and, ultimately, an accurate product to be delivered.
Efficient project management: As customer and project data is entered, it can then progress through all phases of the project, rather than having to be rekeyed at each stage. This not only speeds up processes, but it also reduces errors. With every function integrated in a single system, employees can plan their schedules more precisely. Shop floor personnel know what new jobs are coming up, team members can see the job status of a particular project and their part in it, and anyone can answer customer inquiries about a particular job.
Minimizing costs and shortening cycles: Reports can help analyze and understand important business activities. Manufacturing variances can be identified and help monitor the accuracy of bills of material. Overall, an operation can continually tighten standards, reduce costs, and improve efficiency, leading to shorter cycles.
Delivering products on time: Reducing administrative time by utilizing an automated system helps keep jobs on time. Taking time off the very beginning of the job by having to enter information only once and not transferring actual pieces of paper from one stage to the next cuts the lead time for a job.
Maintaining a positive cash flow: Seeing the true business picture allows inventory to be maintained at appropriate levels so that an excess of cash does not end up committed to inventory. It also provides transparency into how much a job will cost to produce. The impact of pricing and sales increases relative to expenditures can be accurately predicted, and this is imperative in hyper-competitive industries.
Providing excellent customer service: Customer service today requires giving customers the information they need in a timely manner. A fully integrated system allows any employee to check the status of a job and answer a customer’s questions. Customers get the information they need when they need it. Likewise, the company is able to provide strong service without having to devote specific staff or time to the task, which improves efficiency.
It is becoming critical for manufacturers to be equipped with a high-quality, state-of-the-art, fully integrated ERP software package to be become more automated and streamlined. A system that allows each user to be more efficient and productive will prove to be an invaluable asset and help increase company profits.
ERP software is fully integrated and data is generally stored in a secure, central location, eliminating the need for data to be entered more than once over multiple software packages that cannot communicate. A system of this ability, with total integration and automation from quoting to invoicing, ensures that any company’s most unique business processes can be handled with ease. When routine business processes can be handled efficiently with a lean staff, resources can then be allocated to making the business more competitive. In today’s environment this isn’t an option; it’s a necessity.
Learn more about the benefits of integrated ERP and how it can help you simplify business processes by downloading Achieving Greater Manufacturing Productivity With an Integrated ERP whitepaper.
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