If you’re looking for a way to make your shop better, you’ve probably heard of ERP software. You’ve also probably heard that it helps with efficiency and that it helps get more jobs out on time. But that doesn’t really tell you what it is. It doesn’t have to be hard to get a straight answer on what ERP software for manufacturers is and how it can help your shop. Let’s start with what ERP software is.

What is ERP Software?

According to Gartner, ERP software is “defined as the ability to deliver an integrated suite of business applications.” While this definition gives a broad overview, it doesn’t help explain what ERP software can do for a manufacturer. In that case, ERP software is a series of virtual tools that can improve a shop and its efficiency.

To put it more simply, ERP software allows manufacturers to track information from quoting and estimating, folks on the floor, scheduling, shipping, quality, and more. The software acts as a framework to collect this information and put it into reports so users can more easily draw conclusions from all this data. Once information is in the software, it goes everywhere it needs to go, so there’s no need for double entry.

ERP software for manufacturers shares information as soon as the data is in the system. If a shop chooses to have folks on the floor put in job tracking data as it happens, management can make decisions at a moment’s notice with current and correct information, including whether they can take a rush job or not.

Schedulers can see how all their jobs fit together on the floor and easily track jobs that are running late. Folks on the floor can see upcoming jobs and if there are any changes to the schedule. Workers in quality can see how the shop’s quality is improving. Workers in shipping know what’s coming next and when it needs to go out. Putting all this together means everyone in your shop knows what they need to do throughout the day, even if it changes.

How Does ERP Software Help My Shop?

ERP software for manufacturers

ERP software can have a tremendous impact on your shop. The best way to see how ERP software can help your shop is through examples of how it’s helped other shops. Below are four different shops and their experiences with ERP software.

Web Seal, a custom fab shop that makes and distributes seals, has loved the improved communication in their shop. As Donna Mihalik, Vice President and New Business Development said, “Every business, no matter how large or small you are, if you have more than 3 people, you have communications challenges. Being able to have everybody on the same page with the same information in the same place is absolutely key. And that’s what E2 has done for us that we appreciate the most.” Since their jobs are custom, they need to make sure everyone knows exactly what’s expected. They use ERP software to keep that communication easy and up-to-date.

At Rehtek Machine Company, they’ve been using ERP software for over 20 years. This job shop specializes in machined parts for the aerospace and defense industries. ERP software has had a huge impact throughout their shop. It’s hard for them to narrow down the best thing about it. As Steve Reh, the owner, said, “You need to implement this. It will grow your business. It’s a platform to grow off of.” Reh has seen how ERP software has helped his shop grow and become more efficient. ERP software has become indispensable to his shop.

At JC Precision Milling, a precision CNC shop, ERP software has helped them send their jobs out early. It also makes it a snap to see where their jobs are on the shop floor. As Amy August, Senior Administrator and Demand Chain Manager, said, “It’s nice to hear from our customers how happy they are that we’re actually making sure that their jobs are getting done early, and we can track where they are within the whole shop, you know, just with a few clicks of a button instead of having to run out there and try to locate everything.”

Using ERP software has made it easy to schedule jobs and find jobs that are currently on the floor. At JC Precision Milling, they don’t have to physically go on the shop floor and track down a job; they can get on their computer or phone and see where a job is at any time.

At Jonal Laboratories, having the correct information is critical. Jonal Laboratories creates compounds and turns them into seals in the aerospace industry. As Jordan Keegan, Operations Support Supervisor, shared, “Having information at your fingertips is really key. And it makes everybody speak the same language.” They used to hold meetings just to exchange information. Now that they’re using ERP software, they can find any information they need and save the meetings for important things. ERP software gives them up-to-the-minute information and saves them from meeting all the time.

ERP software for manufacturers is a tool that can help your shop become more efficient, communicate better, and streamline your processes. It can also help improve more specific departments like scheduling, estimating, quality, and more. If your shop is currently using spreadsheets to track everything, ERP software can make a huge difference in your shop. Instead of having to find a spreadsheet to get information and being locked out of it while someone else is using it, ERP software makes information easy to find. Reports in the software give you deeper insights. And you won’t get locked out of the program just because someone else is using it too. ERP software for manufacturers is the next big step in making your shop run better. Are you ready to take it?

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