How to make impactful decisions in your small business

making great business decisions with ERP

The power of automation in decision making

For small to medium manufacturers in the UK, automation through Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems isn't just a technological upgrade; it’s a comprehensive solution enhancing decision-making across all business facets. 

This blog will explore how automation in an ERP system empowers various departments, incorporating aspects like purchasing, production, project management and beyond.

🚚 Making supplier choices easier 

Invitations to tender and bid management

Think of a situation where you need to find a supplier for materials. You'll probably want to get the best deal, right? That's where 'invitations to tender' come in – it's like asking various suppliers to make their best offer.

Normally, managing these bids can be a headache. With an ERP system, it's a breeze. The system helps organise and compare these offers, so you can easily choose the best one without getting bogged down in details.

📦 Keeping track of materials and orders 

Material requirements planning (MRP) and purchase tracking

Now, let's talk about keeping your inventory just right – not too much, not too little. 

This is where Material Requirements Planning (MRP) comes into play. It's all about making sure you have the right materials, in the right amount, at the right time. An ERP system automates this process. It keeps track of what you need to order and when you need to order it. 

This way, you’re always prepared, and you avoid situations where you're either waiting for materials or have too much stock taking up space.

On-time delivery (OTD) and order quality delivery (OQD) management

Good stock control isn't just about having the materials; it's also about getting them on time and in good condition. That's what OTD and OQD are all about. OTD means ensuring that materials arrive when they're supposed to, and OQD focuses on them arriving in the right quality. 

Automated purchase tracking in an ERP system helps you keep an eye on these aspects, making sure suppliers keep up their end of the bargain. This leads to smoother operations and fewer surprises.

🏭 Keeping production on track 

Job planning and workload management

Imagine your production process as a complex puzzle, with each piece representing a different task or job. Automation is like having an expert puzzle-solver. It helps plan out each piece (or job) and manage the workload efficiently. This means figuring out which tasks need to be done, who's going to do them, and when they should be completed. 

An ERP system with automation ensures that all these tasks are organised and scheduled effectively, so your production line runs like a well-oiled machine, without any hiccups.

Subcontracting and gantt scheduling

Sometimes, you might need to outsource certain jobs to other companies. Managing these outsourced tasks can get tricky, especially when trying to keep everything in sync with your own production schedule. Here's where automation steps in. It helps in overseeing these subcontracting processes, making sure that outsourced tasks are completed on time and meet your quality standards.

Now, imagine trying to visualise your entire production schedule on a timeline. That's what Gantt charts do. They're like visual calendars for your production process. In an ERP system, these Gantt charts are automated, helping you see at a glance what needs to be done, when, and in what order. 

⏱️ On-time, quality outputs 

Streamlined financial and progress reporting

In project management, think of ERP systems as your control tower. They give you a clear overview of your project's financial health and how fast (or slow) things are moving. This includes managing different types of projects (like the main project and its sub-projects, often called mother/daughter projects) and making sure every part of your project is on track.

Quality control and traceability

Quality is king in manufacturing. Here, automation becomes your quality detective. It tracks every product’s journey (through serial and batch numbers) and keeps an eye out for any missteps (non-conformance). This tracking is essential for ensuring your products meet quality standards and for making any necessary improvements along the way.

🌐 Master your stock management

Stock management across locations

In supply chain and logistics, automation is like a GPS for your stock. It tracks inventory across different locations, including stocks at subcontractors or customer sites. This ensures you always know where your products are and how much you have, preventing stock issues before they happen.

Aftersales and customer service efficiency

After selling a product, the job isn’t done. Automation helps manage aftersales services efficiently, like keeping track of spare parts or handling customer service calls. This enhances customer satisfaction and loyalty, as they get quick and effective service post-purchase.

Ready to automate your business?

Incorporating automation through ERP systems in small to medium manufacturing businesses is more than just a technology upgrade; it’s a strategic decision that influences every aspect of the business. 

From procurement to production to supply chain management, automation empowers SME's to make informed, efficient, and impactful decisions, paving the way for sustainable growth and success.