The Ultimate Guide to Discrete Manufacturing ERP Systems

Discrete manufacturing ERP systems help manufacturers maintain control and visibility for every step of their processes. These platforms intake different types of data and information, from inventory to customer information, keeping it central, accessible, and searchable. Reporting and analytics have never been easier when information updates in real-time. With one integrated source of information, discrete manufacturing ERP systems cut down on redundancy and errors while promoting integration and efficiency. 

With added productivity, there are many benefits–vital in an industry like discrete manufacturing, where output is king. A discrete manufacturing system cuts down on costs and allows for quick adaptation to markets. It also encourages and supports future business growth. These are just a few of the advantages of ERP systems.

Even with all of the possible reasons to adopt discrete manufacturing ERP systems, making the switch to this kind of technology can be an enormous task. We are here to help demystify the process. We’re here to share how you can best optimize an ERP system for your needs. 

The question is not if you should invest in an ERP, but rather, what information you need to make that investment pay off as quickly as possible. Read on for the answers to your questions. If you find yourself looking for more information, we are always here to share our expertise. Get in touch today.

Choosing an ERP System for Discrete Manufacturing

Finding the right discrete manufacturing ERP system is the usual starting point in this journey. And it’s one of the more significant decisions you will face in implementing an ERP.

There are basic features every ERP system for discrete manufacturing should have in place. These include product life-cycle management, materials requirement planning, barcode scanning, production scheduling, and supply chain tools. After that, it comes down to your company’s requirements. Every business has its challenges, and your chosen ERP should work to solve your specific pain points. Customization and integration can also be beneficial. They can ensure that your system works for your purposes and that it integrates with other software your company uses.

It’s also a good idea to learn more about the solution provider. Working with an ERP provider that is well-versed in the manufacturing industry is wise. Manufacturing ERPs are a lot different from generalized ERPs. Select a company that understands your needs and will work hard to meet them.

Read More: Choosing and Implementing an ERP System for Discrete Manufacturing

Implementing an ERP System for Discrete Manufacturing

The ERP implementation process is a complex set of steps inside an already detailed operation. That’s why it’s so important to get implementation right the first time. It avoids wasting time, money, and other resources.

Implementing an ERP system is not just about installing the software. Implementing an ERP system for discrete manufacturing begins long before a user will ever access the program. After you choose your ERP, implementation starts by taking a close look at your business, identifying a team to handle implementation, and creating a plan, including:

  • budgeting
  • training
  • communication with clients, users, and stakeholders, and
  • a projected timeline

Migrating data is typically the next step, which involves cleaning and verifying all data, figuring out what to do with legacy information, backing it all up, transfer, testing, and verifying again.

Once your company implements the ERP, you should plan for an additional period of evaluation.

Mixed-Mode Manufacturing ERP System Recommendations

Often, mixed-mode manufacturers do not work strictly in discrete processes. They may use flow-type processes as well. This means mixed-mode manufacturing ERP system recommendations typically look a bit different than that of solely discrete manufacturing ERPs.

When you are sourcing a mixed-mode ERP, look for one with functionalities that allow planning and scheduling, inventory management, production management, and quality management, all of which support multiple manufacturing modes and sites, so you have the flexibility you need.

The ability to customize, add, and remove ERP modules, will also go a long way in making your system a good fit for an ever-changing mixed-mode manufacturer.

Read More: Mixed-Mode Manufacturing ERP System Recommendations

Why You Should Choose Infor as Your Manufacturing ERP System

To make your ERP decision easier, we recommend Infor as your manufacturing ERP system. Infor is highly industry-specific, meaning that when you invest in Infor’s manufacturing ERP system, you get a platform that is designed perfectly for the manufacturing sector and your company’s needs.

Infor’s ERP system for manufacturers is not a general ERP that you will need to rebuild to suit your purposes. Instead, it comes stocked with the functionalities you need, like lean production tools, shop floor scheduling, and other manufacturing solutions. The advanced planning and scheduling module make your processes that much more effective. It’s intuitive, offers mobile access, and is always available with full phone support. In short, this is the discrete manufacturing ERP solution of your dreams, and it is ready and available for you now.

Read More: Why You Should Choose Infor as Your Manufacturing ERP System

Benefits of ERP Software for the Manufacturing Industry

There are a lot of benefits to ERP software for the manufacturing industry. Any system that brings more organization, more visibility, and more efficiency to your work is bound to be advantageous.

Automation – Having accurate, up-to-date, centralized information at your fingertips means everyone in the company can use it to automate business processes that were previously prone to error, repetition, and delays. You can take that time and the people involved and put it all to good use on more complex tasks.

Market Condition Decisions – ERP systems and their associated data analytics ensure your discrete manufacturing company can stay on top of market conditions, with forecasting and insights that make sense. With visibility into all of your processes, departments, customers, and data, this helps inform strategic decision-making.

Cost Savings – An ERP will help you reduce costs, taking care of manual, time-consuming processes, improving productivity to minimize personnel and labor costs, and ensuring lower error rates and product issues. Inventory control and market forecasting handle supply and demand challenges. Production planning ensures your warehousing is under control.

All of these benefits add up to higher customer satisfaction, enhanced customer service, and a more substantial competitive presence.

Read More: Benefits of ERP Software for the Manufacturing Industry

Features to Look for in a Manufacturing ERP System

Choosing an ERP built for manufacturing is one easy way to make sure that you have the requirements you need in the system. Just to be sure that your ERP will suit your company, double-check for features such as these:

Requirement and Production Management/Planning – Use historic and day-to-day data to predict your manufacturing requirements. You will be able to use the ERP to manage your production planning, scheduling, inventory control, and other processes.

Inventory Management – Understand what is coming in and out of your company and its sites.

Quality Control – Quality management tools ensure your products are meeting or exceeding your standards. It alerts you if something falls below the target.

Customer Relationship Management – A sound CRM system rounds out your manufacturing ERP. Instead of having to invest in a separate CRM platform, you can use the data that exists in the ERP. It will keep your clients happy with all that you offer, and it will do so intelligently and proactively.

Read More: Features to Look for in a Manufacturing ERP System

How an ERP System Helps with Supply Chain Management

In manufacturing, a robust and predictable supply chain is of the utmost importance. A discrete manufacturing ERP system can play a significant role in ensuring that your supply chain is the best it can be.

ERPs provide real, accurate data so you can plan, respond, and deliver based on the right information. And, because this information is so centralized, every department and every person involved in your supply chain can access the details they need to get their job done.

With enhanced insight comes optimized procurement, streamlined operations, consistent delivery, and reliable logistics.

Read More: How an ERP System Helps with Supply Chain Management

Why an ERP System Makes a Great Predictive Analytics Tool

Discrete manufacturing ERP systems might be the closest thing you can get to a crystal ball that can predict the future. ERPs are an excellent predictive analytics tool. It helps a company understand how to handle inventory, scheduling, and delivery without underestimation or overestimation.

All of the information an ERP tracks and collects offers insight and the potential to automate analytics in an intelligent, informed way. With real-time visibility into your business, your orders, and your market demands, your ERP can use actual data to run predictive analytics.

Your ERP can let you know when you need to make adjustments to meet your goals, ease your mind when it comes to decision-making, and bring you more productivity, profits, and loyalty.
Read More: Why an ERP System Makes a Great Predictive Analytics Tool

Automation Training: Maximize The Efficiency of Your ERP System

Automation is an exciting possibility when you invest in discrete manufacturing ERP systems. To make the most of your ERP and its automation capabilities, ensure your workforce is trained to use the ERP’s features, including automation.

Sometimes workers are concerned about the word automation, fearing that they will lose their jobs to systems and machines that can do the same work. Automation training helps overcome that fear, so your personnel understands that ERPs and automation will optimize their roles, not overtake them.

Many of your staff members will see their work changed through ERP and automation. Whether they are the ones inputting data and using the results, impacted by an improved supply chain, or working directly with customers, training paves the way to good morale and productivity for your employees.

Read More: Automation Training: Maximize The Efficiency of Your ERP System

Why You Should Move Your Manufacturing ERP to the Cloud

In the decision between an on-premise ERP or one that operates in the cloud, we believe the cloud comes out on top.

A cloud-based ERP comes with a lot of benefits. First, you will find that your ERP is easy to update and maintain, with a vendor responsible for handling the details and no need to invest in hardware. That also helps reduce costs, along with the fact that you will only pay for the resources you need and use.

If your manufacturing company has any plans to move into new markets, a cloud-based ERP will support that shift, with easy localization no matter where you go. Add in robust data security, fast implementation, and accessible vendor support, and you have a clear winner of a solution.

Read More: Why You Should Move Your Manufacturing ERP to the Cloud

Which ERP System is the Best for Manufacturing Organizations?

Because manufacturing organizations have different needs, compliance rules, and pain points compared to other industries, we believe the ERP solution is simple — choose an ERP that is made for manufacturers.

Some industries can get away with using a generalized ERP or taking another industry ERP and tweaking it a bit. But for manufacturers, your requirements are unique and specific enough that it makes sense to use a system built for your purposes. When your company’s success relies on insight into supply chain management, process control, and shop floor scheduling, you will be happy you went with an ERP that understands what these things are and why they matter.

Read More: Which ERP System is the Best for Manufacturing Organizations?

What Your Manufacturing ERP Consultant Should Know

A manufacturing ERP consultant can demystify and expedite a lot of the ERP selection, implementation, and training process for your company if you work with the right consultant. Not every consultant will have what it takes to match your company with the system you need. And not every consultant will be a good match for your company.

To help you find the right consultant, we suggest you watch for these qualities and skillsets:

  • Industry Knowledge – Your ERP consultant needs to know about manufacturing, manufacturing ERPs, and what companies like yours require for success.
  • Individualized Business Expertise – They may not know everything about your company now. Still, your chosen manufacturing ERP consultant should be ready to dive deep, figure out your challenges and needs, and find a solution that fits perfectly.
  • Tech Know-How – Because a manufacturing ERP is a tech system, your consultant should be a tech pro, working on customizing and adapting your ERP.

Read More: What Your Manufacturing ERP Consultant Should Know

Industry Challenges and Solutions for the Capital Equipment Industry

Manufacturers need the capital equipment industry, and they need it to thrive. However, specific challenges face the capital equipment industry, namely shifting to a product-as-a-service model, and training staff to handle this shift.

Technology, including ERPs, can help the capital equipment industry succeed through this evolution. With automation, the industry can move ahead with production schedules, work centers, dispatching, and other shop floor activities, as quickly as needed.

For staff, once training is complete, it’s easy to put this into action with service and repair technology through an ERP. From tracking every order and every staff member to managing repairs and scheduling maintenance work, an ERP gets it done.

Read More: Industry Challenges and Solutions for the Capital Equipment Industry

How an ERP System Reduces Costs for Discrete Manufacturing

Every company wants to find a way to run as lean as possible. With a manufacturing ERP, your business can reduce operational costs and administrative costs, while increasing on-time deliveries. ERPs promote efficiency, which goes hand in hand with savings.

It happens in a few ways. First, an ERP takes the complexities of your business and streamlines them into a lean machine. It cuts out silos and redundancies by putting all of the data you need in one place.

That data includes inventory information, which, with an ERP, is up to date and accurate. And it’s ready to forecast future needs and avoid waste. Intelligent analytics, such as those that allow for inventory forecasting, is another excellent cost-cutting method, sure to show reliable results.

Read More: How an ERP System Reduces Costs for Discrete Manufacturing

Bring Transparency to Your Manufacturing Processes with an ERP System

In today’s world, your clients want insight into your supply chain and manufacturing process. It’s not just the customers who want those details, either. Insurers, industry regulators, and other key stakeholders care about how your products are made and from where your supplies originate. It’s all a part of being ethical, responsible, and forthright. These are qualities key to a manufacturing company that wants to stay competitive.

Discrete manufacturing ERP systems introduce a high level of traceability to your manufacturing processes. Everything from the materials and components used in your products to storage conditions, test results, and personnel involved is tracked. In the event of any questions or concerns about your processes, the ERP has the detailed information you need to provide answers.

If your company does run into any issues, this up-to-date, centralized data ensures you can work back to the source of the problem, understand where it came from, and put in preventative measures.

Read More: Bring Transparency to Your Manufacturing Process with An ERP System

Engineer to Order (ETO) ERP System Brings Innovative Solutions to Manufacturers

In an ETO environment, the supply chain is vital. ETO manufacturers only keep what they need to fill orders as they arrive, which means any gaps in the chain are a big problem, yet stock overages may never be used. An ETO ERP takes the guesswork out of this type of system, thanks to real-time insights to aid in planning, scheduling, and purchasing.

An ETO ERP lets the automated system manage production flow, helps you keep control over product development and re-versioning, and ensures that your quotes are accurate and updated with every change. Materials requirement planning makes the most of what you have without overstocking or under-stocking. And the ERP will use your data to adjust production schedules based on any number of factors intelligently. With an ERP, you can take control of your engineer to order the environment and stay ahead of the game.

Read More: Engineer to Order (ETO) ERP System Brings Innovative Solutions to Manufacturers

Overview of Customer Management with Infor CloudSuite ERP

Your customers and your relationship with them are as valuable as any other aspect of manufacturing. Every interaction with a customer is a potential opportunity to make a sale, increase loyalty, or get a referral to another person who will become a client, too. Using Infor Cloudsuite ERP’s customer relationship management (CRM) software, you can harness every one of those opportunities.

The CRM system gives your company access to customer information every time you need it, showing customer interactions in sales, marketing, customer service, and support. These rich customer profiles allow your staff to engage with your clients in a meaningful way, addressing their needs without wasting time. Your customers will notice the difference. And so will you when you see the impact on customer satisfaction.

Read More: Overview of Customer Management with Infor CloudSuite ERP

Improve Manufacturing Productivity and Efficiency with an ERP System

Employee productivity and efficiency is the key to developing a lean manufacturing environment. The more you can get done with less labor time, and the more you can use labor time to accomplish business objectives and operations with the most meaningful rewards, the better the results.

An ERP improves both productivity and efficiency by streamlining communication and collaboration. In conventional systems, you may have several departments, with many employees all working toward different goals, using their versions of data and information. When you put this data together, it might not look alike, even though it should. With an ERP, however, everyone is using the same, accurate, up-to-date data from the start. There is no risk of redundancy or error. ERPs also promote standardized processes.

When your teams share information and follow the same processes, they are free to innovate, collaborate, and cut down on time it takes to get things done.

Read More: Improved Manufacturing Productivity and Efficiency with an ERP System

Be Better Prepared for Customer Demand with Infor CloudSuite ERP

Customer demand is a challenge in every subset of the manufacturing industry, from electronics to metal fabrication and beyond. Everyone wants access to the latest and greatest products without having to wait. And they expect your business to provide. An ERP, with its predictive analytics and keen data-based insights, can help your company understand how to meet customer needs without losing profit, overstocking, or coming up short.

Read More: Be Better Prepared for Customer Demand with Infor CloudSuite ERP

We understand that customer demand shifts rapidly, based on many factors. Your ERP will account for those factors and keep working on forecasting accurately so that you can be as prepared as possible.

Decision Resources Inc. can help you with any aspect of your discrete manufacturing ERP system needs. Call us today at 412-562-9660 or email

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