Taking a Smart Look at Data - October 2015 Manufacturing Outlook

Topics: Manufacturing, Trends, Data Analysis

Posted on Nov 24, 2015 12:00:00 PM by Joy Budnik

manufacturing, data, ERPThis month, Bloomberg Business released two articles* on the state of manufacturing in the U.S. based on October reports. 

The headlines read:

“Manufacturing in U.S. Stagnated in October on Weak Exports”

“Manufacturing in U.S. Climbs for First Time in Three Months”

Looking at these headlines, it’s hard to draw a conclusion.  And therein lies a uniquely modern challenge: How do we use data to draw meaningful insights?

Let’s go through steps to get the most out of your data.

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5 Simple Steps To Improve the Quality of your ERP Data

Topics: ERP Reporting

Posted on Oct 28, 2015 1:07:39 PM by Exact MAX

We're guessing that one of your top goals as a manufacturer is to make sure your company's operations run smoothly. Right? The good news is that an effective ERP system can help you do just that.

An ERP system provides consistent information and data that can be used for analysis and reporting, which in turn supports better, faster decision-making Picture1and ensures the most reliable cost and profit breakdowns. Here are a few tips to help you both improve the quality of your ERP data and get the most out of it.

1. Simplify input

Whenever possible, simplify input into the system by using automated data collection or turning off unneeded prompts and fields. Ensure that your process requires transactions to be entered as close as possible to the location and time where the actual activity occurred to minimize the likelihood of forgotten or incorrect entries.

2. Keep your system secure

This might seem like a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised how many companies forget this step. Enforce strong passwords and periodic password changes to help keep your system secure.  This precaution helps ensure that only authorized people process transactions and can help reduce input errors.

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Building Your Workforce: How to Connect with Millennials

Posted on Oct 20, 2015 10:00:00 AM by Exact MAX

getty-full-getty-2956-494234223Not long ago, manufacturing was a hot career path. Salaries were reasonably high and there was plenty of work to be had. Then came the digital revolution and waves of outsourcing. Manufacturing jobs grew scarcer, and salaries were no longer as generous. Many people left manufacturing for greener pastures, and manufacturing became a less hailed profession.

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3 Steps to Take When Your ERP System Reaches Its End of Life

Posted on Oct 12, 2015 10:00:00 AM by Exact MAX

When your ERP vendor announces your software has reached its end of life (EOL), you may feel a momentary sense of panic. Your ERP system is such an essential part of your business that it may be hard to imagine what you would do without it.  Not to worry!  It's possible to make ERP EOL a non-event, with little or no negative impact on your day-to-day operations. Handled strategically, ERP EOL could be a golden opportunity to make changes that result in improved efficiency and reduced costs overall.  Take a deep breath, sit back and read on to discover our step by step guide for deciding how to manage software EOL. 

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How to Get Involved on Manufacturing Day

Topics: Manufacturing

Posted on Sep 25, 2015 9:30:00 AM by Exact MAX

To some, every day may feel manufacturing day, but it's also a yearly celebration of modern manufacturing meant to attract and inspire the next generation of manufacturers. Only a week away, the 4th Annual Manufacturing Day (MFG Day) will take place on October 2, 2015.

What is Manufacturing Day?

Manufacturing Day is an annual event that takes place on the first Friday of October. All across the country, organizations open their doors to showcase the potential of modern manufacturing and foster interest in manufacturing careers. In just 3 years, National Manufacturing Day has achieved more than 1,600 manufacturing plant tours and events with an estimated 100,000+ attending, according to NIST.

So how can you or your company get involved? Here are a few ideas:

1. Host an Event

If you're interested in hosting an event this year or in future years, check out MFG Day's website for a number of resources to help with your planning, including guides, toolkits, logos, marketing flyers and more. By hosting an event, you not only can showcase the amazing work your company is doing, but also educate students, community and policymakers on how integral manufacturing is to our economy. You could also consider teaming up with other manufacturers in your area to host a larger-scale event such as a job fair or educational fair.

Examples of MFG Day Events:

  • Plant tours
  • Manufacturing community events and expos
  • Job fairs
  • Educational fairs
  • Celebrations of the manufacturing community
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Top 6 Excuses for Not Implementing ERP (And Why You Shouldn't Make Them)

Posted on Aug 28, 2015 10:30:00 AM by Exact MAX

shield-417828_640As a small or mid-sized manufacturer, you likely have a lot on your plate. You might be feeling squeezed by larger competitors, or you could be struggling to maintain margins while keeping up your pledge to offer superior customer service. And with limited resources to take on new projects, it's easy to look for plausible reasons to avoid taking on new projects—especially one as sweeping as implementing a new ERP system.

While the reasons not to implement ERP might sound perfectly reasonable on the surface, the reality is that running a company without ERP can really hurt. Here's why.

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5 ERP Myths Debunked

Topics: Implementation, ERP, Best of Breed, SMBs

Posted on Aug 14, 2015 9:00:00 AM by Exact MAX

myth-or-factERP has been around for nearly 50 years. Thousands of companies have successfully implemented it during that time, but the same myths come back time and again. Here is the reality behind persistent ERP myths.

Myth 1: Small Companies Don’t Need ERP

Many small and even mid-sized companies still believe that ERP is too complicated for them and that they can run their businesses efficiently without the benefit of an ERP system. While it is possible to run a business with just spreadsheets and hand-written lists, it is incredibly time consuming and error prone—not to mention expensive. The reality is that with an ERP system designed specifically for small businesses, implementing ERP makes business processes more efficient and saves time and effort. With ERP, a small company can compete successfully with larger companies because of the insight and efficiency that ERP brings. There's not reason to shy away from ERP if you're a small to medium-sized (SMB) manufacturer. 

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5 Steps to Great Navigation & A Website That Sells

Topics: Front Office, Small Business, Manufacturing

Posted on Aug 5, 2015 1:00:00 PM by Anthony Trejo

web-store-paymentMy most recent web project made me realize once again how many moving parts there are when creating a website. Choosing a domain name, CMS and hosting seems trivial once the actual design and coding of the site begins. Everything seems ready to start working into the actual design, looking at palette colors, company logos and images. Yet before then, a very crucial part comes up: website navigation and user experience.

Yes, your company does manufacture great products. And I am sure that we all want to put everything out there - from product catalogs and order forms to press releases.  But, how do we choose the optimal navigation for our website? How do we lead our user through its journey to product discovery and purchase? That has to do with simplicity. And simplicity is not easy.  This time we will cover desktop websites only, leaving mobile sites for the next time.

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7 Ways to Achieve Manufacturing Success with ERP [Infographic]

Topics: ERP, Strategy, Infographic

Posted on Jul 30, 2015 9:30:00 AM by Exact MAX

7-ways-to-achieve-manufacturing-success-with-erp-previewManufacturing is complicated, with many competing priorities vying for the lion’s share of attention. Each priority is like a “house” on HBO's Game of Thrones, and it isn’t easy to tame even one house, never mind all of them. But tame them you must, if you want to rule the throne of manufacturing.

Here are few tips for bringing your 7 ERP houses into alignment.

1. House of Compliance

Most industries must conform to government regulations, and there are harsh penalties for failure. In Q1 2015 alone, there were more than 417 FDA recalls, a 5 percent increase from the prior year. The cost of a single recall can reach $600 million, according to Aberdeen Research. A hit like that can put an end to your hopes of leading the industry, so make sure your ERP system has strong and true lot and serial traceability.

2. House of Plenty

It's a fine balance between too much and too little when it comes to inventory. You need enough to keep the plant fed, but not so much that you drain your coffers and stuff your warehouses. Best-in-class companies track forecast accuracy so they can react quickly to changes in demand. If you want to win the throne, you need to be one of the 85 percent of manufacturers who report better visibility and real-time access to inventory insight from a complete ERP system.

3. House of Innovation

The world moves at a faster pace than ever before, and rapid product innovation is the doorway to gaining market share. If innovation is the door, engineering change order (ECO) management is the key that unlocks that door. Data integration that streamlines business processes is a key driver of product innovation, according to 59 percent of respondents in a recent survey.

4. House of Hierarchy

Designing for manufacturing flexibility helps enable mass customization and supports outsourcing of complex processes, and that means you need accurate bills of materials. According to Aberdeen Research, 42 percent of manufacturers consider maintaining bill of material accuracy a growing challenge. When selecting an ERP system, pay careful attention to the BOM functionality, or you may find yourself at the mercy of a monster from beyond the wall.

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The 11 Core Elements of an ERP System [Infographic]

Topics: ERP, Infographic

Posted on Jul 21, 2015 10:00:00 AM by Exact MAX

Let's Play "ERP Operation" & Dissect the Perfect ERP Solution

Manufacturing ERP Core Elements - Infographic Preview

Many people call a company’s ERP system its “backbone”. It certainly is the backbone, but it’s also the heart, soul and lifeblood of a company.

Here are some of the top reasons why...

1. One Centralized Location for All Your Information

Like your brain, your ERP system is the memory and consciousness of your company. It stores history of every customer and supplier interaction, as well as what happened on the shop floor. It knows where all your inventory is, and it knows when orders are due to ship. Whether you decide to run your ERP on premise or in the cloud, you need a central location for knowledge.

2. Integrated Reporting and Analytics

Integrated reporting and KPIs are like your company’s eyes. They show you which processes are working and which are out of kilter. Tracking performance is the first step in improving performance.

3. Data Import

We take nourishment from food, and your ERP system runs on data. Look for one that makes it easy to import data from other sources so you can nourish your entire business.

4. Customer Relationship Management

CRM is the ear of your organization, helping you to understand what your customers need and want. Maybe that’s why 69 percent of leading manufacturers use both CRM and ERP.

5. Materials Requirements Planning

MRP is the heart of every ERP system, helping to keep materials flowing smoothly so your operation runs efficiently.

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About This Blog

Insights, opinions and news relating to the world of manufacturing and ERP software. Read the full introduction here.

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