Technology in manufacturing can trace its roots back to the famous Ford Motors assembly lines as well as computer aided manufacturing first employed in the 1960s. Since then, sophisticated tools and innovative developments have imparted greater functionality, efficacy and cost reduction potential to manufacturers worldwide. Perhaps the most powerful of these are enterprise resource planning solutions constructed to support every aspect of business operations including procurement of materials, assembly, fulfillment, quality control and inventory management. For companies that produce electronics, computers, mobile devices and similar technologies, ERP tools that offer a systematic approach to administering the entire process offer several advantages.
Import Management for Better Procurement Control
The assembly of electronic products and computer equipment frequently relies on components sourced from suppliers outside the country in which manufacturing facilities are located. However, importing parts is never a simple affair, with many considerations beyond merely locating the best components as inputs into the final product. Procurement costs, supply management and regulatory compliance are also huge considerations. ERP solutions geared towards electronics and technology goods production must include import management tools that can store and track critical pieces of information such as shipment statuses, methods and costs. This data feeds into manufacturing and pricing, and an integrated system that includes procurement controls makes it much easier to manage the whole process.
ERP Systems Customizable to your Manufacturing Operations
Manufacturing isn’t one-size-fits-all, and it must be individually tooled to fit the business needs of each producer. Along with traditional repetitive manufacturing processes, other common methodologies include make-to-stock, make-to-order, assemble-to-order and configure-to-order. The power of an ERP system to improve efficiency and reduce costs lies in how customizable it is to the specific manufacturing approaches of an organization. Key benefits include the improvement of order fill rates by the administration of several aspects of production. This includes the ability to monitor equipment to anticipate its needed maintenance and fine-tune production schedules to compensate, along with greater control over the use of materials and ensuring assembly procedures are accurate and adhere to high-quality standards.
Warehouse Management Tools
Enterprises in several different industries are eyeing automated warehousing to improve their production and fulfillment processes. TechRepublic reported in January 2016 about Amazon’s incorporation of it in their picking and shipping processes. The international e-commerce giant benefits from partial automation with the use of Kiva robots, which were integrated after it acquired Kiva Systems in 2012. They’re responsible for bringing shelves of merchandise to human workers, handling the receiving, depalletizing, storage and transport while employers pick the items to be shipped. As Amazon searches for ways to include picking as part of a fully automated warehouse, it must also consider ways in which new innovations can surpass the speed of human workers without sacrificing accuracy.
While manufacturers have different factors and environments to consider, the quest to make warehouse operations more efficient also continues. Thankfully, enterprise resource planning systems have been developed that integrate automated warehousing processes, creating optimized end-to-end solutions. Rather than shoehorn current operations into the system’s demands, these flexible tools can be configured to support a variety of different pick methodologies, including by order or by area or using cart, zone, wave or pick queue processing. In addition, their warehouse management tools include modules to handle quality control, receiving, shipping, transportation management and other fulfillment tasks.
Leveraging an ERP Solution for Your Enterprise
Flexibility is the key to any enterprise resource management system that promises efficiency, cost savings, and robust functionality. Since import management, manufacturing management, and automated warehousing are vital parts of your operations, any advantage you gain can lead to better profit margins, quality, and customer satisfaction. The right ERP solution should be scalable and programmable to your enterprise’s specific needs to afford you these and other powerful benefits.