Some background before we begin
There are ERP solutions out there for every type of manufacturing company. One of the niches Visual South works with are project-based manufacturers, who have similar needs to other manufacturing companies, but also some exceptionally specific ways of doing business. These companies work in a world of “projects” and their ERP solution needs to support this requirement.
Project-based manufacturing software: Top ERP functionality
If you think about most discrete manufacturers, they use work orders, job orders, or other methods for defining and authorizing the manufacture of a product. Project manufacturers need functionality to support all of these tasks, but not in a one-off fashion such as creating a single work order. One project will often contain many work orders. Our ERP solutions allow manufacturers to look at things from an overall project perspective. The project may require them to capture the costs or charge their customer for items that are not manufacturing activities. For example, there may be quite a bit of engineering that takes place on the front-end of a project that needs to be tracked and billed. These engineering activities must be efficiently captured in the ERP as part of the larger project.
The method Infor’s ERP uses for this type of tracking is called Work Breakdown Structure (WBS). At a high level, the WBS allows tracking of tasks and activities associated with a project, both from a completion and cost standpoint. Having this capability in your project-based manufacturing software makes it much easier to see the “forest,” which is the overall project, and drill down into the “trees,” which are the tasks, activities, work orders, etc.
In some cases, project-based manufacturers also need to plan and manage materials that are specific to a project. Our solutions allow project-specific inventory, whether that inventory is owned by the company itself or supplied by the customer (which is the government, in some cases). Additionally, our solutions allow for project-specific material planning.
Another important area of ERP functionality is quality because many customers of project-based manufacturers operate in the defense industry and are subject to stringent standards. Infor’s ERP Quality solutions enable functionality to support strict quality standards, such as incoming and in-process inspections, non-conformances, corrective actions, and gage calibration management.
Find the right fit
Visual South works with project-based manufacturing companies all over the country. If you are looking for ERP, your discussions with solution providers should make you feel comfortable that they understand your industry. To find the right fit for your company, make sure the project-based manufacturing software has the functionality outlined above as a starting point. Prior to contacting vendors, we suggest having a conversation with someone who is not in ERP sales, but has decades of experience in the industry. Click here to learn more about Jack Shannon, and sign up for a free phone consultation to discuss your situation.