Many larger manufacturers have implemented Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems to manage and optimize various functions within their organizations, and have adopted best practices therein to streamline workflows and create efficiencies. Every company is unique, however, so how can you know whether the ERP system’s best practices are right for your job shop? Here are some questions you’ll want to answer to determine if there’s an opportunity for these tools to benefit your organization.
Do I Need To Change Everything I’m Doing?
You might assume that taking advantage of best practices within an ERP is “mandatory.” From that, you might be concerned that you’ll be forced to give up processes that are working for you—processes that could very well be helping you maintain a competitive advantage.
Best practices are tools that act as a template or guide, pointing you toward what the industry as a whole has found to be most efficient and effective—but you don’t have to dispose of a process if it’s working for you. If you have a current practice that allows you to be more agile or respond more quickly to customer needs, you’ll likely be able to integrate that (with the help of an ERP consultant) into the system.
What are your job shop’s biggest challenges? Is it managing inventory? Has scheduling become a major headache? Are you struggling to get quotes out in a timely manner? It’s important to identify which process(es) are helping your company excel and which need to be improved. You can use the specific functionality within ERP to target areas within your company that are proving to be trouble spots, while preserving other processes that are working well for you. An ERP provider will work closely with you to integrate what’s already proven effective for your organization and help determine which ERP processes should be adopted.
Are My Current Practices Going To Help Me Achieve Sustainable Growth?
Forecasting industry trends and innovations for the next 5–10 years is a guessing game at best. One thing is certain, however: technology will continue to evolve at a rapid pace, and companies will continue to look for ways to leverage all it has to offer. Maybe your current practices and systems are serving your company well enough...for now. But if what you want is to stay competitive in the long term, you’ll need to be strategically set to adopt and take utmost advantage of new technologies, new markets and new ways of doing business. An ERP system that scales with you is the best way to do that, and you’ll get there even faster when you leverage the best practices that are part of the system; these tools are developed based on the experiences (and successes) of hundreds or thousands of organizations across a number of industries that have gone through what you’re going through.
Are My Competitors Using Best Practices?
No matter how specialized your business, you have competition in the marketplace. As ERPs become more common among job shops, there’s a good chance your peers could be benefitting from the best practices and capabilities they offer. If competitors are efficiently managing their raw material costs, production schedules, delivery dates, inventory, invoicing and more as a result of implementing an ERP system’s best practices, they could be gaining significant ground—and leaving you behind.
Is an ERP System Right for My Company?
Weigh the value of what an ERP system brings to your operation, and consider the long-term benefits, including taking advantage of best practices that have given others in your industry a foundation on which they’ve grown. Remember, there’s is no prescribed proper size of company that’s appropriate for an ERP: small or enterprise-level, integrating and optimizing processes is key to sustainable growth. Talk with one of our Wipfli experts to understand more about the flexibility you have in implementing all or only parts of an ERP system.