• There are no suggestions because the search field is empty.

ERP for Metal Fabricators – Biggest Trend We See with Our Clients

10/30/23 11:30 AM


An increased focus on visibility

More and more of our customers want to have visibility of variables affecting manufacturing. They need clear information about capacity and on-time delivery, potential capacity or supply chain issues, and job costs. Our customers are getting this visibility by leveraging the Infor ERP application’s manufacturing industry purpose-built functional abilities.


The trend to push for more visibility is particularly apparent with our metal fabrication customers. Because many metal fabricators are in a “to order” environment, primarily handling one-off or custom jobs, costing is especially important. The high degree of job variability means there are no true job standards. We have written a few blogs that take a deeper dive in to costing if you would like to check them out:

An Exhaustive ERP Cost Breakdown

4 Factors That Affect Your Production Costs

Standard Cost vs. Actual Cost in a Work Order Driven Manufacturing Company

Additionally, being able to give proper delivery dates, and then execute the engineering, material requirement procurement, and production to meet those dates is critical for metal fabricators. So ultimately, the critical pillars in a “to order” manufacturing environment are production scheduling and job costing. Those two areas and the additional areas below are where we’re seeing huge trends relating to ERP for the metal fabrication industry.

Production scheduling focus

The Visual South team is known for helping organizations build the proper environment to schedule well, and one of the big trends we’re seeing is a heightened focus on improving scheduling. We all know everybody schedules production in some form or fashion, regardless of whether they use ERP tools, but some schedule better than others.

Scheduling all starts with having proper engineering masters. We ensure our customers have the proper data to drive the material requirements, and associated lead times that are needed by the Infor ERP scheduling tools. The Visual South team also helps our customers refine their routings, ensuring that proper setup, run rates, and outside service cycle times are in place. The proper foundation is paramount for successful planning and scheduling with ERP systems in the metal fabrication industry. In some cases, our customers come to us thinking they need to hire someone specifically for scheduling in their ERP. In some cases, this is true, in others it may not be. If you would like to learn more, check out this blog that helps you think through if you need to hire a scheduler

Scheduling visibility

We then work with our customers on the variety of planning options they have to maximize their current capacity and increase shop throughput dollars. Infor’s highly advanced scheduling tools are leveraged to give complete visibility into the best date available. Our clients can give their customers an accurate delivery date, knowing what variables (such as specific material constraints or capacity) affect that date. The Infor ERP tools also specifically identify capacity constraints, the severity of the constraints, and the related jobs and customer orders being affected.

Material constraints and availability visibility

Infor ERP provides visibility of material requirement, best times to order, alternate vendors when the prime vendor may not have the product, and alternative parts. But more importantly, the ability to have real-time visibility of critical materials affecting delivery dates throughout the entire organization lets everyone, from sales to production, understand issues without requiring a single meeting or email.

Capacity and resource utilization visibility

Infor ERP provides capacity visibility of specific resource utilization, as well as visibility of resources that are the most highly constrained and have a direct effect on work orders. As we have often discussed, Infor ERP scheduling algorithms look at both resource availability and matching material availability. Just because you have material does not mean you can produce product. You have to have matching capacity as well. For a fantastic, thorough explanation of manufacturing capacity planning and concrete steps on how to get started, check out this blog

Want to improve your production scheduling abilities? Check out how we can help with our Scheduling Workshop.


Costing visibility

Another trend we are seeing with our metal fabrication customers is fine tuning costing because accuracy in this area is a direct by product of scheduling well. So, visibility of costs and trusting costs are critical. To schedule well in a “to order” environment, we discussed needing proper engineering masters and run rates. Having those items in place will also help improve costing accuracy.

But there’s more…you need to collect real-time labor against jobs to relieve the schedule, and this activity also gives you accurate labor costs. You also want to either purchase materials directly to the job, or properly issue materials to the job. Scheduling looks at these material components, but you get accurate material costs with these transactions, too.

Shop floor control and modernization

The final core and relatable trend we are seeing in our customers is modernizing their shop floors. This modernization trend directly correlates to increased visibility of all shop floor activities and transactions. The trend of shop floor control modernization by using more mobile devices, provides for improved scheduling and costing due to having technical infrastructure for mobile and browser-based labor and material transactions. Additional benefits include an ability to have electronic and paperless dispatches, routings, and supervisor dashboards. Infor ERP customers are leveraging Infor Factory Track or VISUAL Shop Floor Mobile as critical tools for shop floor control and modernization.


Start the process

Visual South helps manufacturers leverage their Infor ERP applications better. Providing visibility into real-time business activities is a huge trend relating to ERP for the metal fabrication industry and beyond. If you want to discuss ways you can gain improved visibility of scheduling determinants and real-time costing, then please let us know. A great way to start the process is to simply reach out and have a free 30-minute consultation. Schedule your free assessment here.

New Call-to-action

Tim O'Brien

Written by Tim O'Brien

Tim has over 20 years of successful experience helping companies improve their processes and operations using enterprise software solutions. Those enterprise solutions include Enterprise Resource Planning for manufacturers, Service Management for service oriented companies, and Enterprise Asset Management in the process manufacturing industry.