For manufacturing companies, software functionality is at the core of any ERP software selection project. While there are stand-alone manufacturing software packages available on the market, the best manufacturing solutions are tightly integrated into a centralized ERP system.
The functionality of manufacturing software varies based on the industry focus and the production process utilized. Most ERP and manufacturing solutions are placed into the categories of process manufacturing software, discrete manufacturing software, or mixed-mode manufacturing software. These different manufacturing categories directly relate to the production environment and whether this environment can be classified as continuous process, contract manufacturing, job shop, batch processing, repair and maintenance, repetitive, or work order based.
Manufacturing companies have long used ERP systems to streamline operations, address customization requirements and manage complicated supply chains in order to build profitable, sustainable businesses. ERP software provides integration of every aspect of procurement, production and delivery for manufacturers regardless of whether they are a make-to-stock, make-to-order or engineer-to-order manufacturer. Companies must be particularly careful about choosing an ERP system flexible enough to meet their specific operational processes and functional requirements.
Within the manufacturing industry, contract manufacturing companies need software flexible enough to manufacture a variety of product types and efficient enough to produce low cost, high quality goods in a lean and highly automated environment. Contract manufacturers need to manage multiple customer requirements simultaneously while meeting delivery deadlines, quality specifications and product design requirements.
Strong contract manufacturing software will offer detailed costing information, robust demand planning and production control, integrated financial management, and a strong inventory control for raw materials and finished good inventories. While there are ERP software packages available for this diverse set of requirements, not all ERP solutions can meet the needs of a contract manufacturer.
Process manufacturing companies manufacture products involving ingredients and recipes, including pharmaceutical and nutraceutical products, cosmetics, food and beverages and paints, coatings and inks.
For process manufacturers, ERP software functionality is vital to their regulatory compliance, competitive advantage and overall success. Although functionality varies based on the industry focus and the production process utilized, process manufacturing companies typically use ERP systems to track highly-controlled processes, manage batches of goods, record complex mixtures of formulas and trace ingredients through the various stages of manufacturing.
Our consultants are aware of the potential pitfalls of ERP selection projects and can help hedge against project cost overruns, software that is misaligned with business needs, and lack of return on investment. The ERP team has industry-specific expertise that helps achieve measurable business improvements.
If a company is operating in wholesale distribution environment, distribution software functionality will be at the heart of any ERP evaluation project. While virtually all ERP software solutions have distribution software functionality, not all ERP solutions offer robust enough features to manage complex distribution channels. Panorama’s ERP consultants have extensive expertise in a variety of distribution companies and understand the technology requirements of today’s wholesale distributors.
A wholesale distribution company will be concerned with software functionality that focuses on maintaining optimal inventory levels, facilitating quick movement of goods, providing strong front office functionality for customer service personnel, and delivery flexible reporting for management. The ERP selection process must look beyond simple features and expand into validating if the distribution software functionality offers advanced features such as fully-integrated CRM functionality, a complete warehouse management system, strong financial management, and kitting and assembly capabilities for light manufacturing. In addition, many wholesale distributors clients require strong supply chain management capabilities that can manage advanced planning, merchandise importing, and distribution requirements planning (DRP) for centralized purchasing environments and multi-warehouse distribution channels.
Selecting the right ERP system with the appropriate distribution software functionality will help improve sales performance and organizational efficiencies while reducing costs and improving order and line item fill rates. It will help distribution companies succeed in otherwise challenging business environments.