Does the Future of ERP Rest in the Hands of SMEs?

Topics: ERP, SMBs

Posted on Sep 16, 2014 9:00:00 AM by Exact MAX

sme-manufacturingSmall and medium enterprises (SMEs) are widely believed to be the backbone of the world’s economy. In truth, recent research shows that in nearly every industry, including manufacturing, the size of a business doesn’t predict its job creation capabilities as much as its age does. Early stage startups create jobs simply as a function of being startups, but many jobs are lost to small company failures. However, what small companies absolutely excel at is innovation.

Industry journals regularly publish articles about large major manufacturers overcoming cumbersome internal business processes to bring an innovative new product to market quickly and at a fraction of its usual budget. Most small manufacturers don’t find either the budgets or the time frames particularly stunning, since overcoming obstacles on a shoestring is a core competency for most SMEs. SMEs excel at finding new products and new ways of accomplishing tasks by combining information and ideas from multiple sources and coming up with a completely new category or approach. 

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Will the Internet of Things (IoT) Simplify Your Supply Chain?

Topics: IoT, Supply Chain

Posted on Sep 3, 2014 10:30:00 AM by Exact MAX

Internet of Things.jpg

"Internet of Things" by Wilgengebroed on Flickr - Cropped and sign removed from Internet of things signed by the author.jpg. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

There’s so much hype about the Internet of Things (IoT) that it’s hard to know what’s real and what is highly unlikely to occur. People make jokes about getting phone calls from their refrigerators, but there’s a lot more to IoT than replacing handwritten shopping lists. The Internet of Things could be the best thing ever to happen to supply chains.

Supply chains are increasingly complex, with hundreds or thousands of items and suppliers all over the world. Keeping track of all that movement is difficult, yet in today’s global economy companies prosper or fail based on the efficiency of their supply chains. It’s time to look at better ways to provide visibility and communicate status.

If the Internet of Things can enable your refrigerator to remind you to buy milk on your way home from work, the same technology can just as easily notify your suppliers when critical materials need to be reordered. Using IoT, replenishment material can be requisitioned from central stores or ordered directly from suppliers even more efficiently than using Kanban. Shelves, bins and pallets may soon be smart enough to know when they are running low and resolve the problem before stock outs occur.

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BYOD - To The Shop Floor?

Topics: Shop Floor, Mobile ERP, BYOD

Posted on Aug 27, 2014 9:00:00 AM by Exact MAX

bring-your-own-deviceThe IT team and, in fact, the entire industry are buzzing about BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and what it means to businesses. Users are demanding company systems with the same anywhere, any time access that their personal mobile phones, tablets and devices offer. So far, there has been little or no discussion about using personal devices on the shop floor, but maybe companies should think twice before deciding it doesn’t make sense. Here’s a look at a few pros and cons of the idea. 


The Pros


Mobile devices and applications are readily available and easy to use, so a company could get its projects up and running quickly. There’s no waiting for complex installation processes to get started, and employees don’t have to line up at a single time or reporting station at breaks and lunch to physically get set up with a new system.

If employees have a mobile device with them—wherever they are on the shop floor—it’s fast and easy to request spare parts when a machine breaks down. No long walks to the maintenance department are needed. Checking priorities is also a simple matter, and employees don’t waste time clustered around a single terminal waiting their turn to check jobs in or out.

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Managing Your Brand During and After a Recall

Topics: Recalls, Recall Management

Posted on Aug 21, 2014 9:00:00 AM by Exact MAX

brandingIf the unthinkable should occur, your ERP system has you covered for the mechanics of a recall by identifying affected serial numbers and providing fast, accurate track and trace capabilities so you can easily determine the extent of the issue. But once you have the recall underway, it’s time to take steps to protect your brand to prevent permanent damage to your reputation. Sometimes people are so close to the recall process that they forget that the outside world is watching how the company responds. Here are six important steps that can help prevent damage to your brand if you have a recall. 

1. Don’t delay

It may be tempting, but if the problem really deserves a recall, it probably won’t go away on its own. Minimize the damage by acting quickly. Often companies think that by moving quickly they are opening themselves up competitors, but in many cases, it’s exactly the opposite. Moving fast shows that you are aware of the problem and that you care enough about your customers to take the hit.

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Taking Your Small Business to the Next Level: ERP Financial Management

Topics: ERP, Best of Breed

Posted on Aug 14, 2014 9:00:00 AM by Exact MAX

next-levelReady, Set, Expand Your Company

In the current marketplace, a company must maintain its competitive edge by thinking strategically and tactically. As a critical tool, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) enables your organization to sharpen that competitive edge through the integration of business processes and the optimization of valuable resources. While ERP systems utilize various modules, the financial interface, whether fully integrated or best of breed, will provide your business with accurate, regulatory compliant data in real time that allows you to control spending, capture growth opportunities and streamline your financial operations.

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Balancing ERP Customizations with Ease of Use

Topics: ERP

Posted on Aug 6, 2014 10:30:00 AM by Exact MAX

custom-devMany companies have turned towards customization to build the ERP solution that meets their business needs, but what happens when it comes time to upgrade that software? Upgrading a highly customized ERP solution can become complicated and expensive because of difficulties integrating patches with custom code.

It has become quite clear that companies need to be able to strike a balance between the benefits of customization on one hand and the ease of use offered by prepackaged products on the other. Both have their pros and cons, so each business must figure out what balance between the two works best for them in order to ensure optimum results.

Fortunately, it is now possible to get the ERP solution your organization needs without having to build a completely customized system. Read on to learn three tips that can help make this possible.

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Buy-In and Change Management with New ERP Systems

Topics: ERP Implementation, Change Management

Posted on Jul 30, 2014 9:00:00 AM by Exact MAX

change-managementOne of the most important determinants of any project’s success is buy-in from all stakeholders. You will never be successful trying to change processes, implement new systems or complete any type of major project successfully unless you manage change carefully. Consider adding these activities to your project management tool kit.


One of the most important things you can do to ensure that your new ERP system implementation is a success is to communicate early and often. You may not think that people in certain roles care about the company’s systems, but with an application such as ERP everyone is affected to some degree.

Communicate up front that the company will be selecting and implementing a new ERP system to support the business. Explain the reasons why, even if you think your shop floor people don’t care that your existing system won’t support your company’s growth. They do care, because it will affect the way they do their jobs, how they report their time or material usage, how you measure their performance, and how you record scrap or process shipments. Make sure they know there is a good reason for the disruption that is coming their way.

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Driving Optimum ERP Performance with End-User Education

Topics: ERP Training

Posted on Jul 17, 2014 9:00:00 AM by Exact MAX

erp-trainingBusinesses spend a lot of time considering their options before they decide to implement a new ERP system, making sure they select the product that best meets their business needs.

However, the success of an ERP implementation may depend more on what happens after the purchase decision is made; a lack of end-user education is frequently cited as one of the main issues that keeps businesses from getting the most out of their ERP software. Picking the right product doesn't matter if your people don't know how to use it correctly.

Here are some tips you can use to get better ERP results through end-user education.

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Seeing the Light in Manufacturing

Topics: Manufacturing Facilities

Posted on Jul 8, 2014 12:00:00 PM by Exact MAX

sunriseSince we typically talk about ERP and manufacturing software in our posts, we think it's time to change it up a bit. So today we'd like to talk about something a little different: natural light.

In the manufacturing industry, there is always an emphasis on the "latest and greatest" technological solution that can be used to improve your business in a variety of different ways. Nary a day goes by without a manufacturer researching, purchasing or implementing a new piece of equipment or technology with the intent of making the lives of employees easier, enhancing the overall safety of their facility and more.

In today's modern climate, however, many businesses are turning towards an unexpected solution with regards to all of these benefits and more: natural lighting. Many manufacturing plants are using natural light in innovative new ways on a daily basis that are more than worth exploring.

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5 Ways ERP Drives Innovation

Topics: ERP, Innovation

Posted on Jul 1, 2014 2:00:00 PM by Exact MAX

innovationManufacturing companies know that ERP is essential to running their business effectively, but they sometimes forget that ERP does more than just log transactions and plan orders. Used correctly, your ERP system can drive innovation and help your company to become more competitive. Here’s how.

1. Business Process Improvement

Manufacturing companies have often grown from humble beginnings to their current size, and even though the company may still be mid-size or smaller, the business probably has many processes in place that no longer make sense.

Modern ERP systems use industry-proven best practice business processes to help companies become more efficient. Adopting the built-in business processes makes sense, and you'll find that your team becomes more efficient. With the extra time freed up by the new found efficiency, your team can focus on the two or three key business processes that matter to your customers and differentiate you from your competition. Set your team’s brainpower free to focus on increasing customer service, cutting time from your order cycle or eliminating shipping errors.

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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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