How to Optimize Manufacturing Systems & Processes

Topics: Manufacturing, Efficiency, Process, System

Posted on Dec 2, 2016 8:00:00 AM by Julie Johnson

manufacturer cut costs Having spent the last decade working as an IT professional who supports ERP and related systems for manufacturers, I've helped hundreds of companies achieve manufacturing success. I’ve noticed the most successful manufacturers are those who have the following three straightforward objectives:

  1. Cut costs
  2. Increase revenue
  3. Offer a competitive and quality product

Sounds simple, but truly executing on all three levels takes skill and fine-tuning. To cut costs, organizations typically look to the production floor, engineers and supply chain. In addition, “continuous improvement” is an oft-heard buzzword that organizations work hard to implement. If your systems aren't completely optimized, chances are it's costing you time and money.

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How to Improve Supply Chain Visibility

Topics: ERP, Supply Chain, Manufacturing Operations, SCM

Posted on Nov 14, 2016 11:45:00 AM by Exact MAX

manufacturing 2.pngSimplify SCM by improving visibility across complex supply chains.

One result of globalization has been an increase in supply chain complexity. Execution and responsiveness within complex global logistics systems requires the orchestration of the “three flows of commerce” (goods, information and funds) across a large number of trading partners and wide geographic areas. As a result, lead times are extended and become less predictable (or more variable), resulting in pressure to increase inventories. Industry Week notes, "even minor supply chain disruptions, such as a port delay, a vendor losing an order, or a container not passing inspection, can have significant impact on the supply chain.”

So, how do you deal with increasing complexity and greater variability in your supply chain?

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The Complete Guide to ERP is Here!

Topics: manufacturing erp, erp system, Manufacturing software, Enterprise Resource Planning

Posted on Oct 27, 2016 10:00:00 AM by Exact MAX

Everything a Manufacturing Professional Needs to Know about Enterprise Resource Planning


Over the last two months, we’ve been breaking ERP ebook.jpgdown the basics of ERP solutions to provide you with everything you need to know about selecting, implementing, or changing your enterprise resource planning process.

There are many benefits of ERP for the manufacturing industry, but sometimes it can feel overwhelming to research different software options, or to even understand where to start the process. To make it as easy as possible, we compiled the most important ERP basics into one resource: The Complete Guide to ERP. This new eBook provides everything that a manufacturing professional needs to know about enterprise resource planning.

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ERP Use Concepts to Manage Your Supply Chain

Topics: Keys to ERP

Posted on Oct 16, 2016 11:00:00 AM by Rick Elder

Three Philosophies You Need to Know

erp-use-concepts.pngWhile there are many different philosophies in operations management today, the most significant stem from one of three predominant schools of thought.

Those three schools are:

  1. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
  2. Lean Manufacturing (LM)
  3. Theory of Constraints (TOC)

As foundations for ways of thinking, the above three philosophies offer implications for how your supply chain is managed and how your manufacturing business operates. Let's take a look at the key components of ERP, LM and TOC and explore how you can leverege each one, to create a truly agile manufacturing business. 

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Building a Business Case for ERP

Topics: ERP

Posted on Aug 29, 2016 6:00:00 AM by Exact MAX

How to justify cost and demonstrate the ROI of an ERP Initiative

Building_a_business_case_ERP.jpgOne of the most difficult (and most important) steps involved in an ERP initiative is building a business case. It’s not easy to convince the people with the authority to write the checks that they should invest in a new system, especially when this often involves changes to business processes that may have worked just fine for many years without failure.

There are a few key steps that will help you establish a convincing case for investing in a new system and put your company on the path to realizing greater profits and a return on investment (ROI) that is worth the risk involved.

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Know Your Manufacturing Environment

Topics: Keys to ERP

Posted on Aug 25, 2016 7:30:00 AM by Rick Elder

How to Define Success in Your Manufacturing Environment


Know_your_manufacturing_environment.jpgDeclaring the manufacturing environment for each product family sets the strategy for that family. It also identifies the proper set of tactics that must be paid attention to if you are to succeed.

There are four primary manufacturing environments. All four are defined by comparing the difference between customer lead-time (i.e., the amount of time a customer will wait for the product) and the cumulative manufacturing lead-time (i.e., the amount of time it takes to procure material and produce the product through all levels of assembly). It is the “intersection” of these times that determines the location of inventory and the schedule to replenish that inventory with respect to the bill of material.  Let’s start with Make to Stock.

Make to Stock (MTS) 

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How to Select the Right ERP Software

Topics: ERP

Posted on Aug 18, 2016 3:07:49 PM by Exact MAX

Tips for getting ERP right the first time - or how to fix it if you think you got it wrong.


You already know that manufacturers can benefit significantly from using ERP software. However, not all ERP solutions were created equally and an ERP solution that’s a perfect match for one manufacturing company may not be a good fit for another. It is important to give careful consideration to both the selection of the software itself, and to the vendor as well.


Whether your company currently uses spreadsheets and you want to implement your first ERP system, or the ERP system you currently have no longer meets your needs, you’re undoubtedly performing your due diligence… downloading brochures and reading article upon article on how to select a (new) system as well as evaluating the websites and materials of a number of different vendors.The implementation phase is the crucial transition period that takes you from the initial purchase of your ERP software to the point where you fully incorporate it throughout all departments and utilize it across your organization. To maximize benefits and minimize disruption, your ERP implementation needs to be thoroughly planned with a great deal of care, and commitment to the project needs to be consistent across the entire organization.

This is as it should be. Implementing an ERP system is no small matter, and it can be a dizzying exercise. Consultant materials will provide advice, of course, but they often contain all sorts of statistics about failure and over-budget rates that can be paralyzing. This is understandable. They want you to believe you couldn’t possibly succeed without their services and, for some companies, this might be true.

Then you have the glowing descriptions provided by the vendors. The features and benefits described can be hard to tell apart, and their systems seem to do everything but make coffee. The truth is, most ERP systems are alike—on the surface anyway. But as the renowned architect Mies van der Rohe said, “God is in the details.” Figuring out the details will ensure that you get ERP right the first time -- or figure out where you went wrong.


Be clear about why you want an ERP system.

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How is ERP Implemented?

Topics: Implementation, ERP

Posted on Aug 11, 2016 11:39:11 AM by Exact MAX

Preparing for the implementation process and establishing a dedicated ERP team


Few projects have as much potential for improving operations as implementing a new ERP system. Implementation requires change and any change can be disruptive and overwhelming if not managed properly, so it’s important to make sure that you don’t overlook the topic of implementation during the research phase of your ERP initiative.

The implementation phase is the crucial transition period that takes you from the initial purchase of your ERP software to the point where you fully incorporate it throughout all departments and utilize it across your organization. To maximize benefits and minimize disruption, your ERP implementation needs to be thoroughly planned with a great deal of care, and commitment to the project needs to be consistent across the entire organization.


Dedicate the right resources by assembling a cross-functional ERP Implementation Team

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Who Should Use ERP?

Topics: ERP

Posted on Aug 8, 2016 2:30:02 PM by Exact MAX

Industries, manufacturing models, and company sizes that benefit most from using ERP Software


ERP software will offer a high rate of return for any company that implements it, regardless of their manufacturing model or industry. Have you noticed companies in your industry that seem to have noticeably streamlined processes, are able to get orders out faster, consistently satisfy their customers, and generally excel against the competition? Their secret is likely their ERP implementation.

It doesn’t matter what manufacturing model or models your organization has employed. The right ERP software will scale to fit different manufacturing models and different size companies, enabling you to grow and succeed as your needs change over time.

For those of you still thinking, “but my manufacturing company is too small to use ERP. We don’t need it yet...”

What size company benefits the most from ERP?

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What is a Manufacturing Control System?

Topics: Keys to ERP

Posted on Aug 4, 2016 5:30:00 AM by Rick Elder

MCS is the Heart of Your ERP System


What_is_MCS.pngA Manufacturing Control System (MCS) model visually expresses the design of any ERP system. Each component of the model represents an area of concern - for example inventory, purchasing and bill of materials (BOM). Many of the components of an MCS are directly reflected in different areas of functionality of an ERP system. Let's take a look at an Operational MCS, and we'll explain how it's organized.

Remember, MCS is the model on which your ERP system is built.

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