Cloud computing, business intelligence, mobility, and social integration are all making their mark on the technology businesses use every day, trends that are quickly establishing themselves in the ERP world as well. It’s important that manufacturers are paying attention. This is especially true for especially those midmarket companies who are constantly looking for new ways to expand their business and increase their competitive advantage. Here are the top trends in ERP for midmarket manufacturing companies need to be paying attention to.
The Cloud: Manufacturers are continually warming up to the idea of cloud business applications. In fact, according to Gartner, 47% of manufacturers will have piloted or will be using cloud based applications rather than using on premise solutions. Why? Because there are significant advantages in utilizing cloud technology for manufacturers, such as:
- Lower initial costs.
- Faster implementation.
- Seamless upgrades and greater control over IT expenses.
- Users who operate outside of the office has access to the system at all times.
- The cloud makes the addition of new capabilities fast, easy, and affordable.
- Scalability makes growth management easier.
- Increased productivity.
Business intelligence: Manufacturers store more information than organizations in any other sector, but they also struggle to quickly access that date and use it strategically. Business intelligence and ERP integration has become an important part of giving manufacturing companies the visibility they need into this information so they can make fast, smart decisions based on real-time analytics. In fact, companies who utilize business intelligence tools that integrate with their ERP system, such as Sage Intelligence Reporting, see an average productivity increase of 25%! Below is a quick example of what that means for a business like yours.
Assume that a company has 4 people who are paid $40/hour who spend roughly 3 hours a day dealing with manual reporting. If this company could increase reporting productivity by 25%, they could save:
- $120 /day
- $28,800/ year!
What could you do with that extra $28,800? Surely you could think of something
Mobility: We live in a mobile world, and your sales team and managers need to access information no matter where they are to provide the world class customer service required to stand out in the increasingly competitive manufacturing landscape. Mobility also ensures that there are no inaccuracies between the shop floor, the main office, or your mobile employees. The ability to access ERP systems remotely boosts productivity, enables instant data input, and improves communication.
Social ERP: Thanks to the power of social media, modern ERP systems have begun to incorporate a social element to help increase collaboration both inside and outside of the company. Whether the system actually pulling in information from, or linking to, social networking sites like LinkedIn and twitter, or enabling internal networking capabilities, social tools allow users to better understand their customers as well as encourage and simplify collaboration internally and across the supply chain.
While these trends in ERP for midmarket manufacturing companies have made a lot of things faster and simpler, ERP selection continues to be a long, tedious, and extremely important process, with plenty of ways to make mistakes. Be sure to consider the following points as you begin to evaluate your ERP options and avoid making these common and easily avoidable ERP selection mistakes.
- Choose a vendor and product with proven expertise in your industry.
- Make sure the system you choose aligns with your overall company technology strategy
- Make sure the software meets your functionality requirements both from an industry standpoint and those required internally
- Carefully consider the choice between cloud and premise
- Always ask for and use vendor references
- Do not forget to think about total cost of ownership and return on investment