jeudi 3 avril 2014

3 Successful Strategies That Ensure ERP Success for Mid-sized Manufacturing Companies

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Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems can streamline processes, improve customer relations, and promote an overall more productive environment for mid-sized manufacturing companies. These systems are designed to address problems of scattered or fragmented information in business. ERP systems help automate an entire business, with separate modules designed to fit specific industry needs. In many cases, ERP modules provide the critical link for integrating all functional and service areas within a manufacturing enterprise as well as its upstream and downstream business partners. Here are a few strategies that can help mid-sized manufacturing companies maximize their success in an ERP implementation.

Involve Management and Stakeholders 
Top management should be involved in the planning stages to provide input to the ERP vendor, discussing the various functions that may require a means of electronic or automated involvement. In this type of setting, managers can hash out any complaints with existing processes, and vendors can offer solutions for how their product can improve on those processes by integrating individual modules throughout the functional and service process areas.

Stakeholders such as project managers and functional leads can provide their feedback on their needs for ERP modules that may help reduce downtime and increase the productivity of a streamlined process. ERP modules for managing financials on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis can tie into requirements for shipping, manufacturing, and engineering to minimize redundant work that different departments or individuals provide.

Reengineer as Needed 
Manufacturing companies may need to reengineer their process efforts to pave the way for streamlining business operations to meet their customers’ and suppliers’ demands and requirements for customization, timeliness, quantity, and quality. These activities may require that department managers identify and improve the methods in which they deliver and perform critical operations to reduce the amount of time spent on operations that provide no value and expend time performing redundant work such as doubling up on data entry.

Mapping information flows related to business and operational processes and procedures can help determine the level of reengineering effort that may be necessary to integrate an ERP module. Detailed analysis of interactions with external customers and suppliers can help ERP developers pay attention to those whom internal functions and transactions would affect. Any reengineering performed as a result of mapping information flows can reduce paperwork, improve department functions, and combine tasks to save time and reduce the amount of labor input required.

Assess Needs
By analyzing the needs of each department, ERP vendors can customize a solution that will meet every need in the organization. This analysis can be performed by an internal team tasked with performing an audit of every department’s functions and processes or by an independent third-party consultant. The results of the reengineering efforts can help develop the configuration for the ERP packages. These packages can fit directly into each department, and any employees who need training on how to use them should be trained prior to the full integration so that they will be well prepared to begin using them as soon as possible. These strategies will help a manufacturing company prepare for movement into automated and integrated processes that will save time and increase its competitiveness.

About the Author
 AnthonyAnthony Ortega has extensive IT support and systems engineering experience in government environments. A solutions-focused professional, he has led staff; worked in network operations support, information assurance, and change management; managed project software and licenses; and provided quality assurance. He has also developed coursework for VoIP, unified communications, and cloud computing for online colleges. Anthony is working on his Ph.D. dissertation in Organizations and Management, with a specialty in IT Management. He is an analyst withStudio B.

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