Are you using a magic spreadsheet or an ERP to manage your business?
It continues to surprise me how many manufacturers, especially custom manufacturers, think that they can still get by running their business by using a spreadsheet. Although we can all admit that Excel is an important and powerful business tool, it has it’s time and place—and trying to run an entire manufacturing business from a single ‘magic’ spreadsheet isn’t going to get you anywhere fast.
As a custom manufacturer, you should know that ERPs are essential in today’s complicated manufacturing environment, because ERPs help you to manage and improve every aspect of your business: ERPs give you total visibility over your entire operation, help you deliver more jobs on time, improve your manufacturing processes, give you improved reporting, accounting and planning capabilities, as well as provide you with increased data security—to name just a few things ERPs help you with.
Getting the right ERP will help you stay on top of your business by using real-time data to connect your business from top-floor to shop-floor, helping you to run your shop smoothly and maximize throughput.
Still need more convincing?
Here are the top five signs you need an ERP ASAP:
1. You are not using real-time data to manage your operations
Real-time data is probably something you hear over and over again from ERP providers, but it really is important. If you are running your shop on data that isn’t accurate and up-to-date, you will always be behind the eight ball, so to speak. Knowing which production processes, machines, work centers and product lines are operating at high-quality levels and which aren’t is essential for keeping shop floor operations running smoothly—and something you can only do if you have access to high quality real-time data.
Real-time data lets you know how your shop is actually functioning, and can alert you to a problem or bottleneck on your line, and let you sort it out quickly on the spot. Real-time data can also help you schedule your shop more efficiently, and give you a better estimate of how long a job will actually take your shop to do, making you better equipped to provide an accurate timeline to your customer, and to then deliver on time—leaving you with much happier customers.
2. You are constantly duplicating information
This is a big time waster for lots of manufacturing businesses. Instead of keeping information in one centralized and connected system, various spreadsheets and business systems are used to manage your corporate data. This means that your staff is constantly entering the same information into different spreadsheets and systems.
Not only is this a major time-waster, eating up time your staff could be doing more productive tasks, but it is also an easy way errors can creep into your data. Simple typos and human errors will inevitably occur during data entry, and by constantly re-entering the same information, you’re creating greater chances for errors to be made—and more chances for errors to compounded, as simple typos can be reproduced over and over again.
Another way this type of record keeping hurts manufacturing businesses is not having one single source of truth. If you are using multiple spreadsheets and systems to keep track of your information, which one is accurate?
By using an ERP you gain one centralized and connected system for all of your corporate data and information. You will not only stop wasting precious time re-entering information into various systems, your entire operation will run off of the same, accurate data set.
3. Your inventory control is out of control
Inventory management is all about knowing what stock you have on hand, sitting on the shelf. However, unless your inventory management system is integrated with the rest of your organization, an inventory management system alone can’t effectively optimize your inventory.
An ERP integrates your inventory management with the rest of your operation, making tracking inventory throughout your organization easy. An ERP system gives your staff instant access to a centralized inventory database that’s updated in real-time. This let’s you know exactly what you can or can’t fulfill, what raw materials you actually have on-hand, as well as gives you the confidence that what is recorded in the database actually matches what is sitting on your shelf, making not only production more efficient, but financial reporting easier as well.
An ERP system can save you time and money by eliminating the daunting task of manually processing inventory management. Say goodbye to painstakingly updating spreadsheets, and hello to real-time inventory updates, which means you spend less time doing the time-consuming task of manual input and more time focusing on other parts of your manufacturing business.
4. Your record keeping is out of control
You need your shop to be running at maximum capacity if you want to be profitable and competitive. But if you have poor record keeping and don’t have a handle on your business resources—i.e. what your business has in terms of cash, raw materials, personnel, and production capacity—you’ll have a hard time running at full capacity and maximizing your throughput.
With no overarching system that collects data, reports on your processes and systems, and sees the big picture, how can you accurately know where you stand? Your business resources are what you use to keep your business running, and you should be aware of where you stand at all times.
One of the greatest aspects of ERPs is their ability to provide comprehensive visibility—and improve record keeping. An ERP gives you an overarching view of your operations, letting you know how every aspect of your operation is performing.
And with an ERP what used to take hours of meticulous data collection, and report creation, can be done automatically giving you a comprehensive overview of your operation—as ERPs allow full visibility of all your business processes, and let you measure critical performance metrics, through real-time dashboards. You can use this information to always know where you stand, to optimize production schedules, and to maximize capacity and increase your throughput.
5. You have poor customer service
Let’s face it, your customers are everything. Without happy and satisfied customers your shop can’t exist. You need to keep your customers happy, and keep them coming back to you, to stay in business. A poor customer experience, and poor customer service, can be major roadblocks to your business success.
How exactly can an ERP help you deliver a better customer experience you may ask?
Well for one, an ERP can help you give your customers more accurate quotes and timelines, and help you deliver more jobs on time, making your customers happier, and more likely to use you again for another job. Accurate production planning, enhanced control over inventory, streamlined process scheduling, and coordination of distribution channels enable manufacturers to improve on-time delivery—which is critical to maintaining good customer satisfaction.
A good ERP will also include a CRM or Customer Relationship Management function, that lets you keep all of your records and interactions with a customer in one place. You’ll be able to be more organized and easily know the status of each job you have for a customer. You’ll also be able to handle customer questions and inquiries faster and easier, and provide your customers with quicker and better answers, enhancing your customer service and your relationships with your customers.
An ERP is an essential tool for your manufacturing business. If you don’t have one, want to see an ERP in action? Get a free demo of Genius ERP to see what it can do for you.
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