I’m going to let you in on two carefully guarded secrets, the things that most software providers won’t tell you.
Implementing new business management, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software is not for the faint of heart.
No out-of-the-box software program will meet 100% of your needs.
These two facts are especially true when it comes to manufacturing software, which tends to be more complex than garden variety software programs. Why am I telling you this? First, because I want to be totally upfront with you. Second, because I want to impress upon you the importance of selecting the right solution, right out of the gate.
Let’s first take a high level view of the two basic types of manufacturing: discrete and process. Most, if not all, manufacturing software systems can handle discrete manufacturing. But the number of systems that can handle process manufacturing is limited.
Now let’s drill down a level to the next set of variables: Made to Stock (MTS), Made to Order (MTO), and Engineered to Order (ETO). Here again you’ll find more software programs that can handle MTS and fewer that can handle MTO or ETO.
And last but not least, there’s your Bill of Material (BOM). How deep and how variable is your BOM? The answer to that question will also determine which software solution is the best fit for your shop.
These are just some of the critical variables that Strategic Systems Group (SSG) takes into account when we dive into your business processes and ultimately recommend one solution from among the many that we could potentially implement for you. Those three words, among the many, lead me to another important consideration, namely that it’s not just a question of choosing the right the product, it’s also a question of choosing the right partner to work with.
Very few (if any) partners in the manufacturing space can boast the broad range of software solutions that SSG has successfully implemented for our clients over the years. We know the INs and OUTs of ERP from the front office to the back office and from your BOMs to your shop floor routing.
We also carefully evaluate when it does or does not make sense to migrate to new software. Sometimes the best course of action is to stick with your current ERP system and simply enhance the functionality of that system with the judicial use of custom development. In other situations, it’s better to migrate to a new system because the cost of upgrading your current software is prohibitive, or if all you’d be doing is automating existing inefficient business processes.
While I’m on the subject of choosing the right partner, I’d like to make one further point. Many software providers implement solutions horizontally across a broad range of industry sectors, whereas SSG focuses exclusively on the manufacturing and distribution sectors. And we’ve remained true to that focus since 1991, which means that we have 26 years of manufacturing experience. We’ve been immersed in manufacturing software solutions for our clients every day for the last 26 years. Perhaps this would be a good time for you to take a look at the history of SSG.
Before I leave you, I’d like to go back to the second secret I shared with you at the very beginning of this article. And that is: No out-of-the-box software program will meet 100% of your needs. There’s a difference between a best fit and a 100% fit. The former is always possible. The latter is a myth. Even the best fit will only take you to within 5-10 yards of the finish line. Those last 5-10 yards generally require some custom development due to the unique needs of every manufacturer.