We have all done it. We've all said something was "good enough." It isn't great, it isn't bad; it's just okay. Whether it is your house, your car, your job, etc.... we often find that settling for things is easier than pursuing another option. And we are right, it is often easier. But is it the best way to go about evaluation and decision making. No it isn't.
The same holds true with ERP software. When asked, leaders of many manufacturing companies I recently talked with tell me that their ERP software is "just okay." They know that it doesn't meet a majority of their needs but they aren't compelled enough to change. The reasons vary as infinitely as the companies themselves. For some, not changing is due to cash flow - or lack there of. For others, business is slowing down and committing to a new ERP system isn't a top priority. For a different group, the opposite is true; business is picking up speed again and now there is no time to put effort into a change. Still others feel the pain from their last ERP implementation many years ago and assume that doing nothing is simply easier than changing.
Whatever your reason is to settle for "just okay" think of this: in other aspects of your manufacturing facility is settling an option? If product rolled off your machines, conveyors, or assembly tables that was obviously flawed, would you still send them to your client? If an employee was consistently late or offered little value would you still employ them? The truth is we put more stock in the quality of our products and employees than we do in investing in the proper tools to assist in the process. ERP is one of those important tools that is often neglected and it shouldn't be.
ERP systems should make the job of running a manufacturing company easier by accurately meeting your business process and manufacturing needs. Your ERP system should allow you to do more with less! It should help identify areas within your processes where time and money can be saved. It should increase communication across all departments within the company. A great ERP should also automate information obtained from the shop floor and eliminate redundant data entry.
But it is more than just basic ERP functionality. An ERP system should also be able to provide relevant information to its users in a timely manner, with valid data. If a facility manager can't get information like "total down time and its main reason for the last 30 days" or "most profitable and least profitable produced part - based on actual costing - within the last 2 weeks" then the ERP system isn't doing enough for you. Your ERP system should tell you when tools/dies/machines are up for maintenance based on actual usage before they require repair, rather than after they fail. A good ERP system should be an enhancement to the manufacturing process, not a hindrance. By obtaining valuable and accurate information in a timely manner, ERP should help manufacturers produce better product because it identifies areas of improvement or success.
So, I invite you to take a few minutes and think about how your ERP system is helping your company and how it might help your become more competitive. Evaluate your ERP and ask is it "good enough" and then decide to demand great!
Want more information on how a great ERP can help your facility? Download our whitepaper "How The Small Get Mighty"