For most manufacturers, there are many concerns that go into trying to make the production process more efficient. With that in mind, companies typically undertake efforts to automate and streamline those elements with varying levels of success. However, companies that adopt modern ERP systems seem far more likely to succeed on this front simply because of the number of controls they will be able to put in place to get a holistic view of their production processes.

The value of ERP systems was illustrated in a poll conducted last year by the National Retail Federation, which found that 25 percent of companies (not necessarily manufacturers) that felt they suffered lower-than-expected holiday sales did so as a result of poor inventory control. Another 11 percent said it was due to poor planning, and 5 percent cited merchandising mistakes as their big impediment. All of these issues can be smoothed over with a transition to modern ERP.

Where to begin?
When trying to make production processes more efficient, it's important for manufacturers to consider ERP platforms that will help them streamline multiple levels of their business. For instance, those that examine the planning of production (including the supply chain that brings materials into the facility in the first place), the process of making materials itself, and then the distribution of those products, can identify and quickly address whatever weaknesses they find.

Along similar lines, it's vital to adopt ERP software that is going to provide significant flexibility to meet a manufacturer's needs, not only in the short term but down the road as well, according to Cloud Computing News. For example, companies that adopted ERP as recently as five years ago might not have imagined the need for mobile management options to integrate with those platforms, but now most businesses on the cutting edge of adoption see mobile as important to a robust management system.

Ready for anything
The important thing to keep in mind about ERP these days is that the options out there are ever-changing, as are the challenges modern manufacturers face, according to CIO Review. With this in mind, those in charge of making the decisions about how and when to transition to new ERP software need to ensure they carefully plan how the next transition will go.  Beyond that, they must also consider whether that next step will allow both their processes and the ERP platform itself to keep growing together in the future. A willingness and ability to look at all options to improve processes – not just in production but also in time collection and barcoding efforts – can be crucial to staying ahead of the curve.

Along similar lines, it's vital for any CIO or other decision-makers to make sure their chosen next-gen ERP software meshes as easily as possible with the data they have been collecting for years on legacy systems. This shouldn't be difficult to achieve in most cases, but it can take time to ramp up to full integration and rely solely on the new platform, so preparing all involved for that transition is likewise a good idea.