ERP Challenges Facing Manufacturers

Hannah Gierosky
March 6, 2017 | 10:30 AM

erp challenges manufacturers.pngWhile Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems are used in a myriad of industries, the manufacturing realm seems to have more challenges than others. Perhaps it’s the complicated nature of manufacturing or the specific demands of the industry, but either way, a majority of manufactures face the following ERP challenges: implementation cost and maintaining a qualified support staff.

The Challenge: Cost

ERP software is an area that can create a lot of challenges for manufacturing organizations, especially when compared to other industries. But one challenge that seems to affect manufacturing organizations at a higher rate than other companies is going over budget on an ERP project.  

A study by Panorama Consulting found that 63% of manufacturing companies exceed their ERP budgets, and their overages tend to be higher than the average overrun in all industries. Overages aside, manufacturing ERP projects tend to have a higher overall budget as well. Part of this trend is due to the complex nature of manufacturing ERP systems, which require customizations and integrations.

The Solution

While any ERP implementation is likely to require a customization or two, having too many customizations to your system can be a sign that you chose the wrong platform. One way to ensure that you select the right platform for your manufacturing needs is to partner with a trained ERP team to assist in your software selection process. After an evaluation of your business, the partner team will be able to suggest a platform that will meet all of your organization’s needs.

Partnering with an experienced team, while an additional expense upfront, can help prevent unnecessary spending in the future. Following expert advice in selecting an ERP software that is properly suited for your organization will save you money on customizations in the long run.

Also, keep in mind that the software itself should be just one part of the project budget. Integrations and customizations require expertise in order to be implemented correctly, so don’t forget to factor in implementation assistance into the budget.   

The Challenge: Finding Qualified People

Depending on which ERP platform you choose, having access to qualified support staff can be perceived as an issue. This belief often comes from organizations who consider their ERP technology, while meeting their business requirements, as older and drawing from an aging workforce. This belief is, more often than not, simply not true.

The Solution

In this case, the solution to this perceived notion is research. Take JD Edwards for example. While a truly powerful system, some manufacturers may view it as old. But JD Edwards has released a number of changes in the past few years that appeal to both decades-long JDE evangelists and new recruits alike.

The Alta UI, for example, was a big step in modernizing the JDE user experience. This simplified user interface appeals to the younger employees who expect a sleek, modern UI. Additionally, the Mobile Applications Framework allows for more app development in JD Edwards EnterpriseOne. This encourages a move toward a more mobile, updated environment.

IBM i users have similar concerns as well. Luckily, modernizing the IBM i system is a very real option that can allow your organization to maintain legacy data access while bringing the interface into the 21st century. From updating the green screen to exposing “locked-in” data and business logic, modernizing the IBM i is a great way to maintain reliable backend processes while appealing to a younger workforce.

Partnering with a Qualified Team

The underlying theme with these solutions? Partnering with a qualified team. Entrusting your ERP project with a team of experts allows you to achieve the best possible results without taking away from everyday business processes.

Do you need a hand with an ERP project? Contact our team.

Need more information? Contact Us!

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