Do you run an SME that needs first-class ERP/MRP software?
Small manufacturing businesses have less financial power and resources to spare to implement and train staff to use the ERP. When choosing an affordable ERP system, manufacturers much consider the up-front cost, the ongoing costs, support charges and the total cost in both time and money to implement the ERP successfully.
In this article, we'll be looking at:
- What does a small manufacturing business need from an ERP/MRP
- Why the needs of a small manufacturing business are different to those of a large one
- How to assess if an ERP/MRP is affordable
What is the difference between ERP & MRP?
Enterprise Resource Planning software helps you to manage everyday business activities from accounting and procurement to project management, risk management and compliance. It also enables you to improve your supply chain operations significantly.
Meanwhile, Material Requirements Planning (MRP) software solutions help you to calculate precisely what materials you require, at what time, and in what quantities. Inventory and purchasing management is also considered a core functionality of MRP.
Small manufacturing businesses often require a mix of ERP & MRP software, taking functionality from each to create a hybrid system.
- Softwares too large or complex become hard to use and difficult to train.
- Too small or targeted software doesn't provide enough functionality to manage a complete production process.
- Combining multiple software with exports or APIs can not only cost in time spent but ongoing subscription and support charges.
The perfect small business MRP/ERP system combines both but must remain simple enough that it can be bought and implemented quickly and without expensive training and set-up.
SME software should be:
- Purpose-built for flexibility and usability
- Able to scale up and down quickly to meet the demand of the business
- Flexible with functionality to make the system as complex as required.
ERP to help small manufacturing businesses monitor all elements of a job's status.
ERP transforms small businesses, often replacing spreadsheets and outdated bespoke systems, providing organisation, live data and control.
A dashboard should give manufacturing SMEs a snapshot of business performance, detailing:
- Quantity of live actions
- Quantity of overdue actions
Features of our ERP/MRP software built specifically for small manufacturing businesses include:
Contacts and Diary
Store contact information, link it to customer and supplier profiles, view past communications, and set work actions internally for colleagues.
Customers and Suppliers
Store customer and supplier contact information, past jobs or orders, credit limits, payment history and raised documents such as quotes, sales orders, purchase orders and invoices.
Quotes and estimates
Cost correctly with defined costs for materials, machine use, labour and production processes to ensure profit. Cost quickly by using pre-populated drop-downs to reduce manual entry, editing enquiry templates you created, and reusing or editing past quotes with similar requirements.
Store all your sales orders in one place and attach all the documents and information relating to them for future searching and traceability.
Raise and send works orders digitally to the shop floor. Basic functionality will provide the task information. Extended functionality will allow staff to clock on to jobs so you can record operational time and collect cost data for live and reliable profit figures per job and works order.
Control your inventory to view stock levels and value. Use minimum stock levels to ensure crucial materials are always held, and auto-generating purchase order features to place material orders when jobs are set to live with insufficient material quantities. It is important that your inventory can store single materials and components with multi-level material requirements.
View capacity levels for machines or staff and forecast live lead times with current workloads.
Human resource management
Record time cards, assign shifts, record sick days, and log annual leave.
Delivery and receipt management
Raise, send and track delivery notes and sync with the invoice sending system. Monitor purchase orders and track supplier performance against expected dates of arrival.
Raise invoices and send them directly from the system. Set customer credit limits and prevent orders from being placed that will take customers passed the agreed threshold
We believe a small manufacturing business needs these features from an MRP/ERP to create, manage and sustain an efficient and profitable production process.
Other features often found in ERP systems but rarely required by small manufacturing businesses are:
- Sales and marketing
- Accounting and bookkeeping
- Data analysis and reports
- API integrations
- Fleet/transport management
The four factors of affordable ERP/MRP
Cost to buy
The first and easiest cost to identify is how much the software costs to buy. ERP/MRP is generally sold using two models. The one-time purchase is usually a large expense, and the subscription model supplies software for an affordable recurring fee.
Cost to support
Is there a support fee included in the cost to buy? You'll want access to support if your business is using ERP/MRP to manage its production process.
Cost to implement
Often there is an implementation or set-up charge according to the size of the system you want to implement. System configuration and data imports are standard set-up actions, and you may always require bespoke development if available.
Cost to train
You will need to train those using the system, which departments change from business to business. You must budget for time-off to learn and the expected length until staff can use the system effectively.
Statii has been created specifically for small manufacturing businesses. Concentrating on creating an affordable ERP software, not only in monetary value but providing ease of use, value for money and customer service, so that the entire process of implementing an ERP/MRP system is affordable to small manufacturing businesses.