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How to Measure and Improve Your Manufacturing Process Control

5/18/22 10:00 AM


Choose the right tools

At Visual South, we have decades of experience implementing ERP software. I personally have been with Visual South for 20 years, and spend a lot of time working with manufacturing companies. Some of our customers are looking to get the most out of their Infor ERP, while others don’t have a solution and need help evaluating which ERP platform is the best fit for their company. Regardless of where they’re at in their ERP journey, I have found that just about all of these companies are working to have better manufacturing process control. How they do that is highly dependent on the tools they use to manage their business.

Measure what you can manage

In the case of a company without an ERP solution, there are a limited number of things that can be measured, but they are still somewhat valuable. Some examples of what most companies can measure with simplified tools are:

  • Monthly profitability: A lot of companies will tell me something along the lines of, “We know we are making money because we are taking in more than we are spending, but beyond that, we have no idea.” Taking this macro-level approach is fairly easy to measure—you simply need to know your revenue and expenses to determine if you’re profitable.
  • Widgets shipped per day/week/month: Shipment numbers are easy to measure because you can see the products going out the door, and are invoicing for them.

There are many more examples of what to measure when you don’t have an ERP solution. All of these “simplified” metrics aren’t bad, but they don’t provide any detail or granularity as to what is really happening. Without a solution to help you measure your efficiency and operations, companies can’t answer questions about why they are making more money than they are taking in. Should profits be much better? Are the current orders helping profitability, or hurting it? An ERP solution will help you measure all of this and more; it is critical to have those numbers if you want to achieve a high level of manufacturing process control.

How to improve

The way to improve your control is to implement better tools of analysis that can provide you with the measurements you need to understand how your business is truly performing. Typically, companies do this by implementing an ERP solution. The ERP solution provides a unified way of executing business processes. If implemented correctly, it provides data that feeds the big picture (“Are we profitable?”), as well as the very detailed (“Are we profitable on the work order that is being manufactured right now for Acme Corporation and is shipping in two weeks?”). ERP helps solve problems by leveraging its functionality instead of building another spreadsheet, or hiring more people to manage manual processes.

I know this may sound a little self-serving since I represent ERP solutions, but it really isn’t. On a daily basis, I see companies use more spreadsheets and manual processes until they are trapped into hiring more people to manage it all. Once a manufacturer implements an ERP, they typically wish they had done it sooner. Processes are built based on the tools you have to support them; change the tool and you can change the process!            

If you need guidance

Visual South typically works with companies that manufacture something. These companies are experts in their product, but not experts in implementing ERP. That is why they come to us. Our team can guide you through a successful implementation of ERP solutions for your company, and be a valued resource for years to come.

Most companies don’t evaluate ERP on a regular basis. If you are looking for ERP and not sure where to start, how about talking to an expert who is not a sales person? Click here to learn more about Jack Shannon, and sign up for a free phone consultation to discuss your situation.

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Bryan Foshee

Written by Bryan Foshee

Bryan is the Vice President at Visual South and has been working with the company since 2002. Prior to that, he was a consultant and implemented SAP in manufacturing, distribution, and service industries.