Consistency is key in any business, being able to fulfil the demands of your customers and provide a reliable service is what most businesses are built on, regardless of industry.
Keeping everything in control can be an exceptionally complicated task, in particular when you are working from an assemble-to-order (ATO) platform such as an industrial machinery manufacturer, where inventory, supply and demand need to work together seamlessly to prevent potential issues.
As a result of this dependence on interdependency, many small to medium-sized ATO businesses have started following the lead of their larger competitors by utilising Configuration Software, often integrated into an Enterprise Resource Planning system (ERP) as a crucial aspect of their day-to-day operation.
'Enterprise resource planning' refers to specialised process management software that streamlines the practices of an organisation via a suite of integrated applications. These applications have been designed to work as one, managing and automating a number of functions, including (but certainly not limited to) product planning, manufacturing and sales. This software sits at the heart of many large businesses, which could completely fall apart without it. Now, smaller companies are starting to discover the benefits, thanks to the proliferation of more low-cost solutions.
If you're working toward a lean, assemble-to-order business environment, the right configuration software can be an invaluable tool. With any ATO manufacturing environment, the basic parts of the product are required to be either under production or in stock at all times, ready to be assembled as ordered. So you can get your highly customised products to your customers as soon as possible. This is where a reliable and powerful ERP software solution can really come into its own.
Good ERP software will offer all this and more, thereby increasing efficiency and keeping inventory costs to a minimum. It can be used to improve the entire production process, by continuously monitoring available inventory and sharing this information with throughout the company: from the head office to the warehouse.
The 'right' configuration software will depend very much on your industry. Taking the example of an industrial machinery manufacturer where assemble-to-order practices are remarkably common - the software will need to allow users to create or configure highly customised and individualised products.
When your business is working to an assemble-to-order model, every facet of the ordering process needs to be immaculately precise, particularly when dealing with complicated and endlessly configurable industrial machinery. As such, your business will require a system that is 100% reliable and flexible enough to scale up in parallel to your business, taking into account any changes or progressions that might arise as the industry evolves and your business grows.
There are plenty of flexible and scalable options on the market, but WinMan ERP offers one of the most practical and cost-effective solutions for SMEs. Utilised by a diverse range of manufacturing and distribution companies, it is the ideal choice for companies looking to improve operational processes and move to a lean strategy.
Although it takes time and resources to implement ERP, with any successful deployment you'll undoubtedly see a major ROI before long. It could fundamentally change the way your business operates and whilst it might be a big change (particularly if you're used to using outdated legacy software), it's a change that is always worth making!