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How to Optimize your ERP in Manufacturing with Tablet PC: Part I

rugged tablet pc erp supply chain forkliftEnterprise resource planning (ERP) can help manufacturers reduce costs and streamline work processes. Used in conjunction with a rugged tablet PC, ERP also provides real-time visibility throughout your operation. It’s just what you need to keep your competitive edge razor sharp, so you can keep pace with fluctuating markets, narrowing margins and pickier customers.

Nearly all manufacturers have instituted some form of ERP, but the Aberdeen Group’s 2012 ERP Benchmark Study revealed not all that many are actually realizing the benefits available. In most cases, customization is the key to success. Your ERP solution should enhance performance now but also smoothly support future growth and change.

According to Aberdeen, the primary benefits of ERP are:

  • Reduced costs.
  • Improved customer response.
  • Faster, better-informed decision making.
  • Interoperability.
  • Ability to manage expected growth.

Rugged tablet PCs have proven to be the preferred implementation tool because they allow instant access to data, communication and collaboration among employees and business units. That’s nothing less than critical for organizations with multiple, far-flung locations.

Defining success.

The value or enterprise resource planning extends far beyond standardizing procedures. If you aren’t functioning optimally now, growth will only exacerbate the situation, making gaps even more apparent and magnifying negative consequences. Instead, ERP enables you to gather detailed data about your operation to achieve the results noted earlier. Best in Class manufacturers report:

  • 20% inventory reductions
  • 94% on-schedule production.
  • 97$ inventory accuracy.
  • 90% on-time, complete delivery.
  • Shorter billing cycles, averaging 3.37 days to close.

Aberdeen noted that large companies suffer most from delays caused by sluggish interoperability and the sheer volume of data captured, whereas smaller firms are most acutely affected by rising costs.

The true value of ERP is comprehensive, enterprise-wide capability to function at peak and react quickly to sidestep or correct problems and capture emerging opportunities. So, ultimately, you’ll want to be in a position to modify your ERP solution to meet changing business needs, institute continuous improvement teams and integrate your manufacturing operations with product design.

To get there, you need to focus on:

  • Improving efficiency, productivity and consistency by streamlining and speeding manufacturing processes, standardizing business processes and optimizing current capacity.
  • Improving interoperability and collaboration by linking global operations.
  • Facilitating faster, better-informed decisions at all levels by providing timely information to front-line employees.

Mobile technology such as a ruggedized tablet supports all that by connecting workers regardless of location with one another and the data they need to perform their job in standardized ways.

Strategic implementation produces the best results.

Aberdeen suggests there are three key components that assure your ERP choices produce desired improvements:

  • Careful selection of the ERP solution itself, again with an eye toward current needs but also ability to flow and change with your company.
  • Formal monitoring as implementation progresses, to evaluate where it’s working and where it’s not so you can make appropriate alterations to ensure continuous improvement.
  • Training. Employees will ignore ERP if it’s difficult or confusing, or they don’t see clearly how it will help them. Best in Class manufacturers interweave training with daily work, which causes less disruption and demonstrates a more obvious correlation between ERP and personally-valuable work flow improvements.

In our next article, we’ll talk specifics about how you can put ERP into action – strategically and with a rugged tablet PC in hand – to ensure the strongest return on your investment.


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