ERP Takes Center Stage

By Christian Perry Print this article Print

Differing requirements for efficiency, knowledge and security spawn a variety of technology approaches from these manufacturers.


ERP Takes Center Stage

Manufacturing companies might face similar challenges, but the way they apply technology to meet those challenges can vary wildly due to unique requirements and environments. However, many manufacturers have certain applications that are considered “mission critical,” with data that is handled in real time or near-real time, says Cindy Jutras, a principal analyst at Mint Jutras, a research-based consulting firm.

“Think about an automated production line producing hundreds of gallons of product per minute,” Jutras says. “If the properties of the product start to stray out of spec, thousands, or even millions, of gallons of unusable product—waste—can be produced in a matter of minutes. So automated data collection and the appropriate technology to 'read’ the results and automatically shut down a line is critical to these types of manufacturers.”

Enter ERP, which is a consideration for manufacturing companies across all verticals. Jutras says it has now become harder to tell where ERP ends and other applications begin, since the footprint of ERP has expanded over the past few decades.

In a recent study, Jutras found that manufacturers are deriving serious benefits from ERP implementations, including reductions in operating cost, inventory cost and obsolete inventory. She also has discovered that, while ERP applications can help to cut costs and improve business transparency, many manufacturers aren’t using ERP technology to its fullest extent.

“Until now, top-level decision-makers have been somewhat sheltered from IT,” Jutras says. “While they use data contained in enterprise applications for decision making, they are seldom directly connected. They generally rely on surrogates or subordinates to query the data base and collect and massage data.

“But with the accelerating pace of both business and change today, this will no longer be fast or efficient enough. The biggest challenge most of my survey participants face today is in managing change.”

This article was originally published on 2012-03-28
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