How to Know When Your Company needs ERP Software 

Knowing when your manufacturing business needs an ERP system can be a bit tricky. There's multiple variables to consider when thinking about a wholesale change to the way your company runs your business. That said, in most cases, even small to midsize organizations can stand to benefit from the many advantages that an ERP software solution can bestow on your company. Here's some of the ways to know that your manufacturing operation is ready to implement an ERP solution: 

Your Legacy Systems are not Efficient

If you're experiencing a disconnect between your various departments, including departments that use their own set of processes that have been refined to meet the specific needs of currently employed individuals, your company may be missing the efficiencies of connected departments and systems that an ERP software solution can bring. Unifying processes across departments also has tangible benefits. 

Rise in Customer Complaints / Customer Service Quality Declining

An increasingly larger number of customer complaints is often a sign that it might be time for your manufacturing business to implement an ERP system. Additionally, an ERP software solution like Apollo ERP can help decrease response times in reaction to rising or falling customer demand or changing manufacturing specifications from your customers. It can also help reduce the frequency and severity of late shipments. 

Unproductive Staff

If your company is currently bogged down by too many manual processes which could be easily automated, it's possible that an ERP solution is the key to increasing your overall productivity. Eliminate constant double-checks or internal calls to check inventory of various raw materials, ingredients or parts. The biggest question to ask yourself is, is a significant percentage of your staff using work-arounds to the systems and software you currently have in place, or are they using the optimized and streamlined systems in-place to achieve maximum efficiency and ultimately profitability. 

Working Capital is Too High

An effective ERP software package can not only detect, but also help to eliminate the causes of operational costs rising at a faster rate than your revenue. This means that an integrated ERP solution can free up working capital and allow your business to grow faster and achieve a better bottom line. 

Your Employees and Managers Don't Trust The Numbers

If your employees can't trust or access the data that your internal systems are providing them, they're unlikely to make the correct business decisions. 

Lack of Visibility Into Crucial Business Data

Do you or your managers know where waste is occurring in every department including Admin, Sales,  Customer Service, Manufacturing & Distribution? Are certain products, ingredients or parts expired? Do you know when you need to order various parts or machines in anticipation of rising customer demand? Can you quickly determine who your most profitable customers or products are? If you can't answer YES to all of these questions with a reasonable amount of confidence and are further worried about how much work it would take to derive the data to answer these questions, an ERP solution can help with that. 

Spreadsheets Run Your Business

Believe it or not, multi-million dollar businesses still run on spreadsheets. This is hugely problematic for many of these manufacturers as they are often not easily linked to any other data sources in the organization, not shareable or so complicated that only one or two select employees become gate-keepers, and therefore bottlenecks for data locked away in increasingly bulky and vulnerable silos of information.  

Running Too Many Different Software Systems to Accomplish Various Business Functions

  • Your accounting department running off a stand-alone accounting package
  • Your sales team is using a separate and unconnected CRM system
  • Inventories are being tracked in Access or Excel
  • Expedient software solutions your company implemented are no longer cutting it, unable to do advanced job costing or forecasting.

Inventory Counts are Never Correct and Always a Surprise

If your inventory counts never quite add up to what you're expecting, then maybe it's time to revisit the idea of implementing an ERP system. A lack of a connected ERP solution can also result in your organization to be unable to measure variances over time in the business including marketing and admin overheads, transportation costs, warehousing costs, incidental expenses, plant & equipment depreciation, materials, labour costs, etc. 

Your Year End Reporting Takes a Month or More to Accomplish

ERP can tame your accounting department's monthly and yearly data tasks so that they don't take an inordinate amount of time and effort. 

Your Manufacturing Business is not Able to Keep up With Changing Regulations

Whether it's tax rules, other industry compliance regulations, federal and regional rules, environmental and safety regulations, it can be difficult to keep up with a changing marketplace for any manufacturer. An effective ERP system makes implementing these kinds of changes on an organization wide basis much easier than before. 

IT Management Has Become Too Costly and Onerous

Here's some signs that your IT infrastructure may need an overhaul by way of a new ERP system that can fix many of these problems:

  • Your software tools have become a patchwork of disconnected systems
  • Your company is far too reliant on poorly supported legacy business software
  • System and software updates often break custom code written for cross-compatibility
  • Key business documents (images, process instructions, product specifications, descriptions, drawings, machine specs) are not held centrally and version managed.