One of the pleasures of working at Ultra Consultants is partnering with forward-thinking manufacturing and distribution companies that seek true business transformation. As ERP consultants, we come to feel like we’re part of the organization – working shoulder to shoulder with ERP project teams throughout the country.
While every client engagement is unique with a distinct set of operational, market and customer demands, organizations share common goals as they seek to maximize the benefits of ERP across the enterprise.
Summarized below are just three “stories from the field” illustrating how the benefits of ERP cut across the enterprise.
1 – Modern ERP technology leads to increased productivity tools for the next generation of workers.
It’s well documented that today’s manufacturing and distribution companies will experience dramatic loss of human capital as skilled, knowledgeable employees retire. The Manufacturing Institute http://www.themanufacturinginstitute.org/Research/Research.aspx reported that the U.S. manufacturing sector is disproportionately experiencing the ramifications of an aging workforce. As skilled baby boomers retire, they take their knowledge with them.
In one recent example, a metal fabricator saw its proprietary knowledge slipping away because of retiring expertise and lack of knowledge transfer to millennial workers. Managers told us that the company might lose its ability to innovate and drive manufacturing competitiveness.
The metal fabricator found it difficult to attract and engage young workers when its ERP system was still AS-400 based, with antiquated “green screens” from another era. In fact, a new hire quit on his very first day after struggling with a legacy, user-unfriendly ERP solution that demanded programming expertise.
Ultra helped the organization select and leverage modern technology that automates and streamlines its quality processes, inventory management, manufacturing process planning, shop floor control and other areas. As a result, the fabricator was essentially “preserving tribal knowledge” by standardizing on a modern solution. The new solution provided a modern interface customized by user or role, and offered a Windows-like graphical user interface, touch screen functionality, anywhere/anytime access via the Cloud, and other modern features to make everybody’s job more efficient.
2 – Today’s ERP lets a food processor experience the business benefits of standardized tools and processes.
Here’s a scenario we often see as we assess the “current state” during business process mapping: a typical manufacturing company will have upwards of 200 to 300 processes, many of which are handled outside an ERP system via spreadsheets, heavily customized standalone solutions or even manual paper-based systems.
As an example, a food processor we recently teamed with could not see “one version of the truth” of their inventory. Production workers tracked inventory levels by simply eyeballing raw materials and work in progress, and by relying on multiple versions of an inventory spreadsheet. There was no clear sense when materials were received or available on the production lines or when the company needed inventory replenishment. The issue was so bad, the organization routinely stopped production when it ran out of key ingredients.
For this food processor, the promise of a modern ERP solution that integrates and makes data instantly available throughout the enterprise was key. The company gained “one version of the truth” with accurate, instant access to inventory management data to minimize disruptions, streamline ordering/replenishment and improve business decisions.
3 – Modern feature-set of today’s ERP solutions scale to support growth, new distribution channels, e-commerce, global markets and more.
As a final example of the benefits of ERP seen in recent engagements, a processing company we partnered with could not scale their operations due to a legacy ERP system developed more than a decade ago. Leadership planned for aggressive expansion into new markets and distribution channels, but found that the outdated system and standalone spreadsheets used to run the company did not scale or provide e-commerce or multi-language functionality.
After becoming well-versed in the company’s processes, our team conducted an ERP requirements definition to identify criteria the new enterprise software should address, including the e-commerce and multi-language functionalities.
After the team analyzed the current state and defined the future state through Ultra’s comprehensive ERP readiness assessment, the processor had the confidence it needed to objectively evaluate software options and navigate the competitive vendor landscape. The processor ultimately selected the best enterprise software for the company – one that let it scale to manage expansion and growth.
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- Ultra’s case study library provides additional examples of success stories from the field.
- A timely white paper entitled “Maximizing ROI in Your ERP Project” helps you maximize the benefits of ERP throughout the enterprise.
- Ready to realize the benefits of ERP? Contact us to create your own ERP success story.