According to the October Manufacturing PMI, the manufacturing industry is expanding, but at a slower-than-desirable rate. Faced with uncertainty regarding medium- and long-term demand, manufacturing executives are, at best, cautiously optimistic. What’s clear is that these businesses must do everything possible to find efficiencies on the shop floor. Fortunately, ERP software and technology can help with that goal.
In that regard, Global Shop Solutions, an ERP software provider, is focused on helping its customers simplify their manufacturing operations to deliver a quality part on time, every time. And those customers have responded by clearly stating their top reasons for continuing to use the company’s ERP software and technology.
- Moving parts though the shop faster
- Consistently scheduling and delivering on time
- Achieving 99 percent quality ratings
- Knowing accurate job costs
- Controlling labor costs
- Giving great customer service
- Gaining a competitive edge with technology
However, some manufacturers haven’t yet adopted an ERP system, and, therefore, some of them don’t stand a chance of finding efficiencies because their scheduling is a complete mess. They’re using spreadsheets and whiteboards, and their handwritten work orders are too often incorrect. To add insult to injury, bills of materials take days or weeks to flesh out. How many operators are standing around because they don’t have clear direction of what to do next?
And then there are other problems related to materials that don’t arrive at the right jobs at the right times and frequent inventory stockouts that lead to jobs being put on hold. In an unorganized shop – usually one that hasn’t embraced digitalization – poor quality control results in a buildup of scrap and excessive rework. Communication is completely lacking between departments, and there is a clear lack of data visibility on the shop floor.
On the flip side, it’s much easier for everyone in a shop when they’re working off the same information from one integrated system. They schedule more efficiently and accurately, giving them insights into their true capacity. These shops have the tools to correct quality issues in real time, and they can ensure operators always know what to work on and what’s next. They can avoid stockouts with automated purchasing of materials, build the most complex bill of materials in minutes rather than days and much more.
This video demonstrates how Cleveland Punch & Die Co. has benefitted from adopting an ERP system.
The easy flow of parts from the beginning steps to finishing steps creates a more productive atmosphere, which is difficult to accomplish with manual processes. Global Shop Solutions’ ERP system allows users to move parts through the plant faster because basing information on true capacity allows for more accurate and efficient schedules. Instead of standing around waiting for direction on what to work on next, operators are completely in the know about what’s expected of them.
The right ERP solution also provides insights into inventory needs, which means everyone in the shop will have access to the materials they need to complete a task. If there are quality issues that need to be addressed, there is also a process for doing that in real time.
One factor more important to a project manager than anything else is getting an order to the customer on time and as promised. With Global Shop Solutions’ ERP system, users can correctly estimate their lead times and know their capacity for machines, work centers and personnel. They can identify production bottlenecks in real time and remediate the issue with fact-based decisions. They can also get instant insights into how planning a new job into the current schedule will affect existing jobs. Finally, the ERP system is a huge help in giving users insights into all job statuses in real time.
Promoting quality, accuracy
Using the right ERP solution can even help users gain crucial industry certifications that can help them land more contracts. That’s because an ERP system provides tools for a consistent, near-perfect quality control process. This allows engineers and operators the ability to work off the correct document versions at all times. Rather than being told by a customer that a part is wrong, they can identify bad parts as they are made, which can be viewed in a single dashboard for ease of use.
Furthermore, every part can be traced with 100 percent accuracy while it is moving through the shop. Compliance auditors’ jobs get easier, too, as the ERP system allows for easily producing quality documentation.
Watch this video to learn in 90 seconds how an ERP system can improve a company’s job costing process.
If operators are logging scrap and doing rework by hand, implementing an ERP system allows them to log all purchasing, inventory and manufacturing rejects easily and accurately. If there is a problem determining the cost of quality with any precision, the ERP system allows users to realize the true cost of quality by part, job and overall.
The shop that has trouble tracing parts might also have troubles tracking the cost of projects. For these shops, it’s unfortunate but likely that they are collecting direct labor times in a handwritten process, experiencing excessive labor costs but don’t know why and are, ultimately, taking days to a week to determine the final cost of a job. Poor data visibility leads to guesswork and actual costs are consistently 10 percent higher than expected. These shops have no way to determine how accurate their margins are, and they lose jobs to competitors that have implemented ERP systems because they can make job costing a real-time process rather than relying on historical data.
When implementing an ERP system, labor can be tracked to the penny on every job and job sequence. Users easily identify and eliminate wasteful indirect time and can estimate and quote with great precision. They can track material costs in real time and compare actual versus estimated costs while the job is in progress. Large projects can be tracked and costs can be built with accuracy, even if the job is months long.
There’s no denying that consumer behavior has changed, which has led to increased demands for personalization and impeccable customer service. Fortunately, ERP allows users to go beyond upholding promises by anticipating customer needs and having the information they need, fast and accurately. This is possible because the ERP system allows the user to access all customers in a single dashboard, see their history and drill down on information about them, all on a single screen.
If a critical event occurs, the customer can be alerted via tools in the ERP system. Instead of having customers wait for hours or days on an answer to a critical question, the ERP system offers quick access to their information for immediate responses. There is even the option for a customer portal so they can access information about their orders in real time.
Overall, the beauty of a high-functioning ERP system is in its automated processes, which negate laborious manual processes as well as human error. Rather than focus on mundane tasks, the ERP system takes those on, allowing the user to focus on improving business. Even better, these automated tasks can be customized to the user’s liking.
Furthermore, Global Shop Solutions’ ERP system can connect to televisions throughout the shop floor to display the status of jobs in real time. Tablets are also integral and can be used at each work center, making the collection of data easier and more accurate. The customization extends to using RFID labels and handheld scanners for moving materials through the shop with more accuracy.
ERP system users can finally jettison their manual spreadsheets and utilize the solution’s data management tools for more accuracy. And all systems – from expense collection to machines and tooling – are integrated into the ERP system in a way that suits the individual user.