Increasing manufacturing agility in a changing world A look at the benefits of ERP within the manufacturing industry

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1 Increasing manufacturing agility in a changing world A look at the benefits of ERP within the manufacturing industry

2 2014 has been a strong year for UK manufacturing. In November 2014 it was reported that UK manufacturing growth was at a three-month high, with the acceleration being led by domestic demand and predictions are that exports, too, are set to turn a corner in the new year. Industry watchers noting the increase in output and other indicators have observed an accompanying upsurge in confidence within the manufacturer community. Many manufacturers are now expanding their workforce for the first time in a long while and planning investment in plant, machinery and support systems in order to capitalise on the upturn. Manufacturing remains a fiercely competitive industry. In a global marketplace, customer expectations are rising while margins are falling due to increasing raw material costs, undercutting by countries with a lower cost base and regulation requirements. To build a profitable, sustainable business, UK manufacturers need to harness the advantages that information technology can bring. Eliminating time-consuming paper-based processes, increasing automation, creating a joined-up business, improving forecasting and planning, anticipating customer demand, generating real-time management information these are all ways in which manufacturers can sharpen their competitive edge at home and abroad. To build a profitable, sustainable business, UK manufacturers need to harness the advantages that information technology can bring Selecting Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software represents a major step forward in getting manufacturing businesses where they need to be. At Datel, we ve been working with manufacturers in sectors ranging from chemicals to industrial products to food & drink since 1981, helping them to survive and thrive in often challenging economic circumstances. Here, we introduce some of the highlights of selecting an ERP solution to manage the end-to-end manufacturing process with efficiency and agility against a backdrop of fluctuating market conditions. The recovery in British manufacturing continued apace in the last quarter, with faster growth in domestic orders and output. Total order book growth edged up on last quarter s nineteen-year high, whilst domestic orders rose at their fastest pace since Numbers employed in the manufacturing sector also continued to rise strongly. Firms are upbeat about the next quarter, with expectations for total new orders growth at their strongest since 1977, and export orders set to rebound. CBI survey of 481 manufacturing firms, July 2014 (www.cbi.org.uk) The UK manufacturing sector made a bright start to the final quarter of 2014, with rates of expansion in production and new business accelerating sharply. Purchasing Managers Index, CIPS, November 2014 (www.cips.org)

3 Improving the bottom-line Historically, Sage software primarily addressed the needs of finance and payroll and that perception still persists. However, Sage s ERP solutions today are scalable, adaptable and easy to implement solutions that span the entire business. Manufacturing functionality is an integral element of Sage s ERP solutions, enabling businesses to automate complex processes and provide the information needed to manage the business more effectively; track supply chain activities in detail, maintain productivity, and build customer satisfaction that encourages loyalty. Selecting the right solution for your business The environment, while upbeat for UK manufacturers, is not going to become less challenging any time soon. With ageing infrastructure, customer demands, rising costs, regulations and pressure on profit margins, businesses need to find an ERP solution that is right for them which can support growth and provide a competitive edge. Before selecting an ERP solution it is important to define the main objectives of your project and think about the long term plans for the business. Understanding what you want to achieve will help Datel to address the problems you face and suggest the right ERP solution for you. Typical project objectives include: Managing the factory floor more effectively Integrating the different plant processes and business solutions to prevent the same information in different systems not only helps to manage the production process but it gives an overview of actual capacity of the factory and a real-time understanding of the whole production process. Mangers can receive the information from the factory floor which will improve scheduling and increase resource utilisation. Improving response times through collaboration Most manufacturers are faced with a conflict between the need to be efficient in production and the need to be responsive to customers. By tying manufacturing to other areas of the business, such as sales and marketing, projections of what customers are actually asking for can be made, improving customer service and allowing greater responsiveness to customer requirements. Streamlining decision making The ability for manufacturers to use consolidated data to generate powerful insight is key to overall business performance. Customisable dashboards and real-time reports arm decision makers with information to make improved decisions about planning, forecasting, production scheduling, supply chain management and more.

4 Addressing quality control and traceability For many manufacturers quality control and traceability sit outside their ERP solution and find that trying to meet industry and government regulations can be challenging. By managing batch and serial traceability within their ERP solution builds compliance to regulations, enables better management of customer needs and improves quality control. Integrating production schedule management With production scheduling, labour intensive tasks become easier, more efficient and accurate by using criteria such as shifts, hours or other time formats that fit production cycles to improve efficiency. Manufacturers are able to prioritise tasks and make the workforce leaner ensuring that production is running efficiently. A Sage solution for every business It s not just in the here and now that your business benefits from a more streamline and effective ERP solution, a Sage solution will provide improved processes that can be tailored to specific business requirements whatever your business size and growth plans. There is a thriving community of over 80,000 UK manufacturing organisations using Sage software to run their business, so you can be confident of purchasing a solution that will be supported and developed for years to come. Sage ERP solutions bring decision makers closer to internal processes through better insight, improved productivity and real time information that is critical to the business. Sage 200 allowed us to utilise the material requirements planning functionality, which brought improved bill of materials, stock and works orders functionality, too. It also allowed us to successfully integrate products such as Preactor production planning and scheduling software, which we use heavily in our planning. Barry Leahey, Sales and Marketing Director Playdale Playgrounds Ltd In the past, we had to visually check that there were sufficient components in stock to fulfil a works order. Now all the information on components is maintained on the system and matches reality; we ve never had a situation where the system says we have components but the shelves are bare. Having reliable stock information has greatly improved the accuracy of our purchasing decisions. We order in new stock only if it s genuinely needed, rather than just in case ; this obviously helps the bottom-line. Robert King, Finance Director Gamesman Limited

5 Clearer management of information is a major benefit of Sage ERP X3. We have much greater visibility of what s happening in the business. We have also achieved greater control of our workflow using the predefined workflow within Sage ERP X3 and have simplified daily operations by removing manual intervention. Routines such as the daily distribution to our customers of materials safety datasheets are automated and have improved dramatically; they happen at the click of a button. In another example, entering new formulations our bill of materials onto the system, which previously required ten processes, is now completed in just three steps. Martin Wallen, Managing Director, Firwood Paints Ltd To find out more about ERP solutions from Sage contact Datel on or About Datel Datel is Sage s leading Business Partner in the UK and is one of Sage s Strategic Partners. We pride ourselves on customer service and specialise in providing implementation, consultancy and support for Sage 200, Sage ERP 1000 and Sage ERP X3. Datel has a wealth of knowledge and experience in working with manufacturing businesses and currently supports over 200 UK Manufacturers on Sage solutions Copyright 2014 Datel Computing Limited

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