Almost all small manufacturing firms start with Excel. It’s simple, customizable and easy to use. It can also be limiting as a company grows.
The manual entry and formula updates in Excel are not only inefficient, but also less reliable due to potential human error. Tying together and analyzing data between departments is also difficult, if not impossible. This requires more manual processing, often by busy department gatekeepers, and attempting to use said data to optimize workflow between departments becomes a quagmire.
Is it any wonder COOs, CFOs and IT Directors begin to research MRP / ERP software solutions as a company grows? Everyone can see the value of sales staff, inventory personnel, accountants, and shipping employees accessing the same real-time data.
A single source of interconnected data allows the modern manufacturer to streamline operations by building in useful functionality, such as emailing automated reports on a schedule or notifying key employees about incoming supply shipments or supply issues.
If your manufacturing firm is outgrowing Excel, schedule a time to talk with us about your ERP and MRP software options. We are experienced consultants with both manufacturing and software. Together we can get your business operations on the right technology track for expansion and growth.
Check out what manufacturing companies are saying about Parallel Solutions and then give us a call at 440-498-9920.
The moment of implementation. This is where all of the hard work done in the pre-planning and planning stages pays off. This is also when all the work that someone avoided or did poorly reveals itself.
While no amount of planning, however detailed, can completely mitigate every single bump in the implementation road, a company with the right project managers, a solid business process model and dedicated ERP resources will experience a mostly smooth implementation. If that same firm also addresses a few potential problems, then Go Live should Go Well.
Here are 4 potential problems to anticipate:
IT Integration Snafus:
There are two areas to review -- correct customization of add ons and importing of cleanly scrubbed data. The broader cause of both these issues is often poor collaboration between IT and department heads. If company leaders believe the ERP project is an IT project instead of a business project, then leadership, engagement and collaboration can fall apart just when it’s needed most. There is no part of the new ERP system that won’t affect top leadership and the bottom line. The IT team needs proper support, input and guidance, prior to and during roll out.
Drained Human Resources:
Too much on everyone’s plate is a recipe for disaster. Therefore, leadership has to make efforts to beef up human resources -- not the department, but people, sitewide, committed to making implementation a success. Leadership and influential staff in all departments need to be available to put in extra time during implementation. Since conversion usually happens over a weekend, having a plan to feed, reward and provide breaks for involved employees is important.
Management and the employees themselves can underestimate the importance of training. There must be lots of opportunities for employees to work through typical transactions and also troubleshoot with the software ahead of conversion. Management can encourage employees to pursue this critical step in a timely manner by incorporating training as an employee responsibility included in the annual review process.
Time is money, but saving time by cutting testing phases is not a wise move. Testing ensures the software works as needed, it catches process issues and glitches, and it ensures the system meets all business needs. Reducing testing can leave problems undetected and decrease functionality as people “make due” with ignored issues.
An experienced vendor and partner will help their clients manage these potential problems and help ensure smooth implementation. If you are thinking about using a new ERP system to improve your efficiency, decision-making, and customer outcomes, give Parallel Solutions a call at 440-498-9920.
Mary Jo O'Neill