Modernizing their ERP system is at the top of the to-do list for many companies. Manufacturers rightly see ERP systems as a critical component of their innovative strength. How do you keep this central data hub up to date? Companies have to bring their ERP systems into shape to survive national and international competition, according to a study by Technology | PAC. The focus is on two requirements for the future viability of companies: the use of artificial intelligence and increasing data quality. AI is one of the keys to your competitiveness. Every second company with more than 100 employees is convinced of this.
In the meantime, manufacturers are gaining practical experience with AI solutions – for example, AI-supported knowledge management in service based on data from the ERP system. The success of such AI projects and the Industrial Internet of Things largely depends on the data quality. Therefore, it is high time to become active here. The PAC study also confirms this. A large majority of medium-sized companies believe that those who continuously work on the quality of their data increase the efficiency of their processes. However, not the conviction is decisive, but the implementation.
Start With A Clear Goal In Mind
All too quickly, an ERP team gets tangled up in long lists of various features that should be optimized. It quickly overlooks the essentials: Processes and improvements should be at the beginning and the center of every ERP modernization. For the project to succeed, it is essential to always keep an eye on the big picture.
Anyone who starts with the approach “First, let’s do what is urgently needed, and then we’ll see what happens next” runs the risk of ending up at a dead end. Companies should therefore be able to address potential future requirements such as agile business intelligence options, mobile CRM, or document management at an early stage and solve them flexibly.
The project responsibility for an ERP modernization cannot be delegated exclusively to the IT department. Instead, management must provide the project team with clear guidelines on the company’s future and strategy, fill it with capable employees and provide them with the necessary resources. One of the most critical resources here is time. ERP project manager part-time alongside the actual job? This can not go well. If a company cannot provide its staff for the duration of the ERP modernization, an external, experienced project manager is recommended.
External support is also available for the further steps – advice or programming. Many companies are afraid of long project times with tons of consulting days concerning external service providers. Not everything has to happen on site. Smaller project steps, adjustments, or assistance can be quickly and easily via remote consulting. This saves travel expenses, and the project team progresses faster.
Don’t Skimp On The Basics
Digitization thrives on consistent processes and the quality of the information that converges in the ERP system as the central hub. Therefore, options for integrating special applications, such as export control or quality management, must be available. Just as crucial for the manufacturing industry: the connection of machines and mobile devices to advance the Industrial Internet of Things. So that nothing stands in the way of international business, the topic of internationalization must be carefully thought through.
However, multilingualism alone is by no means a guarantee for a successful international assignment. Compliance with local legal regulations and customs also belongs in a country version. In addition, an operational master data management must ensure that essential data is synchronized promptly and correctly. If a new branch needs to be connected quickly, a compatible and flexible one should a loud model may be available.
Master ERP Modernization Step By Step
Not every company is planning a complete overhaul of its ERP system. Many only want to add individual modules or functions to their ERP software. The areas of warehouse management and goods logistics, in particular, are often the top priority. Here, the mobile recording and forwarding of transaction data ensure more consistent processes.
The example of the Munich central mint shows that an expansion has a noticeable effect. If a batch is transferred from one container to the other, the ERP system immediately receives information via scanner as to where it is now – without a routing slip. “This enables us to analyze our processes holistically and to optimize them continuously.”
Heading For New Shores With New Technologies
Many manufacturers are introducing intelligent solutions to prepare for the future of Industry 4.0 successfully. For this, they need a functional integration like the metal processing specialist. These, in turn, continuously report status information back to the ERP system – after each work step and each completion of an order. “With Pro Alpha, we know at all times which order is in which status at which processing station.”
From Update To Upgrade
An upgrade to a new version of the ERP software is often a significant digitization step. The provider of electronic price displays for gas stations, PMW, has already completed this. “An update was necessary for new functionalities and further expansion of our ERP landscape.”
In the first step, the company defined all the requirements and expectations of the future ERP solution together with the ERP provider. Then things happened quickly: the partners signed the updated contract in the summer. The new software was installed in November. The changeover took place as planned over a long weekend. The update was completed after just under a year.