Articles & E-Books


Five signs it may be time for an ERP update

Apr 09, 2020

More and more enterprise resource planning systems are becoming obsolete with modern technology improvements, and it may be time for stamping manufacturers to review their ERPs and consider an update.

That process is easier than ever, especially with Industry 4.0, allowing manufacturers to make decisions faster.

Here are five signs it may be time for an ERP update.

1. Delayed data

Modern manufacturing ERP software allows users to see necessary reports with the click of a mouse. That means the whole team, whether they are working on-site or remotely, has updated information about sales orders, inventory and production status reports.

Waiting for staff on the production floor or in the office to generate or move along reports is critical time wasted. Decision-making slows. Competitive advantages, like speed to market, could be lost.

An updated ERP should allow users to see the latest, critical information on any mobile device, allowing faster decision-making and ultimately more sales and more satisfied customers.

2. Complex systems

An effective ERP should be easy enough to use that everyone in the organization can do so with minimal training.

If employees are complaining about the system’s complexities and finding workarounds to avoid using it to its full potential, that’s a red flag. So is hiring a programmer to build new capabilities into an ERP, which inevitably makes things more complex.

Today’s ERP software is intuitive and user-friendly. It includes customizable reporting tools, automated work instructions and can merge machine data and financial performance to assess profitability.

Reputable ERP system providers will offer training and support to employees, allowing staff to maximize the system’s potential.

3. Multiple platforms

The modern ERP software eliminates duplicate work, finds efficiencies and minimizes miscommunication. It allows the whole team to pull in the same direction and limits add-on tools that are not part of an efficient ERP system.

Separate customer relationship management tools or other systems not integrated into the ERP are signs it may be time for an upgrade. 

The latest ERP systems unify departments with one technology system.

New ERP technologies can integrate with many existing platforms without difficulty, allowing employers to continue to use systems that they know already work for them, such as QuickBooks. Workflow automation allows users to assess data, make quick decisions and avoid time-consuming keystrokes.

4. Outdated manual processes

An updated ERP system will automate most labor-intensive processes and keep a smooth workflow. Manual monthly financial reports, sales orders via interoffice mail, or general paperwork approvals without a tracking system are examples of old ways of doing business that don’t make sense in a modern manufacturing environment. 

If an ERP isn’t addressing these basic functions, it’s time for an update.

5. Weak support

ERP systems need maintenance, especially aging ones, and reliable vendor support is essential.

An older ERP system that can’t keep up with today’s data needs is a sign that it’s time for an upgrade. The modern business climate will not tolerate extended downtime or security breaches.

The right ERP vendor will help with implementation, training, customized software and be available for ongoing support as needed.

How Wipfli can help

Wipfli’s team can help manufacturers align management and operational information to successful goals with a modern ERP. Learn more on our manufacturing ERP services web page.


Mark Stevens
View Profile