Five Trends Impacting Small and Medium-Sized Manufacturers

Topics: SMBs, Manufacturing Innovation, Compliance & Regulations, Strategy, Small Business, Manufacturing

Posted on Feb 12, 2015 1:38:14 PM by Exact MAX

getty-full-getty-2956-179462535The manufacturing industry is always in a state of flux, and for the last few years the pace of change has been intense. If predictions hold true, the pace of change for the upcoming years will be almost mind-boggling, due to the influence of these five global industry trends.


1. Supply chain disruptions

With global supply chains, manufacturers need to keep an eye on political and economic situations all over the world. Even local weather conditions can disrupt a global supply chain – think of the tsunamis in Japan and the Philippines, Hurricane Sandy in the U.S. and the wind storms in China. Each of these events caused far-reaching problems for global supply chains

Supply chain management software can help by enabling manufacturing companies to model the effect on production of alternative sources of supply in the event of a disaster, or to assess the cost impact of using different suppliers during the crisis.

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New Year's Resolution to Get in Shape? Why Not Your Company Too?

Topics: ERP, Strategy, Manufacturing

Posted on Jan 28, 2015 3:20:00 PM by Exact MAX

get-your-company-in-shapeThis is the time of year when people make resolutions to achieve personal goals. One of the most common resolutions is to make this the year to finally get in shape. Maybe this is the year that you make a similar resolution for your business?

As you’re toning your muscles and losing weight, you could be streamlining business processes and losing non-value added actions that detract from your company’s profitability.

Need some inspiration? Try taking these steps to ensure you set the right manufacturing business goals and achieve them in 2015.

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6 New Ways To Use Mobile Technology in Manufacturing

Topics: Mobile ERP

Posted on Dec 3, 2014 10:44:50 AM by Exact MAX

mobile in manufacturingBy now most people realize that mobile devices are a great benefit to any business, even manufacturers. However, most companies haven’t yet explored all the possible ways that mobile technology in manufacturing can improve productivity.

We've already talked about how mobile ERP systems give small and mid-sized manufacturers the capabilities to enter quotes and sales orders, process material transactions, and receive purchase orders while away from the office, but with a little imagination, mobile devices can also play a wider role, especially in quality management and customer service. If you're not yet using mobile ERP, but you still want to explore how to use mobile technology in your manufacturing environment, consider these 6 new ways to use mobile technology.

1. Off-site inspection

Inspections or first piece inspections at vendor sites can be expensive, and while necessary, they may slow down production. Inspectors can use their mobile device’s built in camera to snap pictures of inspected items. This may be especially helpful for components where color or finish may be critical. Attaching the photo to the inspection report provides a record of levels of acceptability that can be used as a guideline for future delivery or as a proof point during disputes.

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5 Ways to Position Your Company for Success in 2015

Topics: Planning & Change Management

Posted on Nov 6, 2014 10:41:00 AM by Exact MAX

2015-ahead-email-imageThe end of 2014 is fast approaching. Companies everywhere are taking stock of their operations and are evaluating their successes and failures as they set new goals to reach next year. If you're looking to propel your company to the top of your industry in 2015, rev up your old business model and adopt these 5 steps to position your company for success in the new year.

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Five Trends Shaping the Future of ERP

Topics: ERP

Posted on Oct 28, 2014 9:00:00 AM by Exact MAX

getty-full-getty-2956-142028846-jpgERP is constantly evolving as technology and manufacturing techniques change, and the pace of change will continue and even speed up as users’ expectations increase based on these emerging trends.


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Attracting Youth to Manufacturing

Topics: ERP

Posted on Oct 16, 2014 11:28:57 AM by Exact MAX

youth-manufacturingThe ability to make things was once a greatly admired skill, and manufacturing jobs were both respected and well paying. During the years when manufacturers were outsourcing everything possible, manufacturing lost its place in the ranking of desirable careers, and young people turned toward careers in other fields. As the existing baby boomer generation of skilled workers approaches retirement, young people continue to shun manufacturing, leaving the resurgent manufacturing industry facing a scarcity of workers to replace these retirees. However, we can take steps to make manufacturing attractive to young people.

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Top 4 Reasons ERP Implementations Fail

Topics: Implementation

Posted on Oct 8, 2014 9:00:00 AM by Exact MAX

fail-stampERP implementations are complex projects, so they can succeed or fail based on a variety of complex factors. However, driving to the root cause of ERP failures often points to one of these problems. Help ensure a successful ERP implementation by avoiding these common problems. 

Neglecting to assign dedicated resources

One of the biggest problems ERP implementations face is the assumption that the implementation team will complete the project in their “spare” time. Most employees today are already overburdened. There is no spare time. Adding the necessary implementation tasks to an already full schedule is a recipe for project failure. Either tasks will not be done on time, they will be done poorly, or they will not be done at all. The best-case scenario with any one of these outcomes is that the project will be late. The worst-case scenario is that the project will fail utterly. 

Never attempt an ERP project without at least some people who are dedicated to the project full time. If that means hiring temps to cover their normal jobs, it is worth the expense to ensure project success.

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Finding the Balance Between Lean Methodologies and Exceptional Customer Service

Topics: ERP, Front Office, Lean Manufacturing

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


One of the most important tenets of lean methodologies is one that many people overlook. It isn’t a fun-to-say word translated Japanese and it doesn’t result in reduced inventories or increased throughput. In fact, it may increase inventory and reduce throughput if you do it right. But even the most die-hard lean practitioner agrees that this is a key principle:

Focus on those activities that create value in the mind of the customer. 

Customers may provide you with a forecast, but they still expect you to respond quickly when actual demand looks nothing like the forecast they gave you. All they know is they want it, and they want it now. Customers may tell you they love your product, except could they have special labels or unique colors or extra testing or…The list goes on in an endless litany familiar to anyone who deals with customers. And for a business to be successful, the answer must always be yes.

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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: Manufacturing Innovation, 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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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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