Complex project-based manufacturers have one common goal – delivering projects on time and under budget. To do this successfully, they need the ability to continually monitor each project throughout its lifecycle while keeping tabs on cash flow, profitability, and even what happens beyond delivery to the customer. Unfortunately, this is not always easily accomplished, especially in today’s complex manufacturing environment.
According to a research report by Aberdeen Group, “ERP in Complex Manufacturing: Improving Collaboration and Visibility”, more and more complex manufacturers are shifting to ERP solutions like Microsoft Dynamics AX and industry solutions like Columbus Advanced Project Management and Columbus Visual Project Planning to help. These ERP solutions offer a more collaborative environment and greater real-time project visibility, which are critical to controlling costs, scope, scheduling, and change requests.
Using these solutions, manufacturers experience:
- Improved Order Visibility – Providing accurate expectations to customers up front and managing them from beginning to project order delivery is vital. Having an advanced integrated ERP system in place can provide this capability to improve visibility into the project status as it relates to costs, timeline and resource availability and provide greater control for all involved.
- Better Reaction to Changes – Without processes for project control and change management, a project can quickly drift from its original scope toward budget and schedule overruns. An ERP toolset geared toward complex manufacturing allows manufacturers to handle changes as painlessly and efficiently as possible leading to project success and profit.
- Efficient Resource Scheduling – Tracking resource loads and schedules in a timely way is another essential component to project-based manufacturing success. Top manufacturers use systems that not only enable them to track these loads and schedules, but also to compare multiple projects so that they can reprioritize production schedules based on material availability and deliverable dates.
- Reduced Stock Levels – Complex manufacturers typically have long lead times where components are not all ordered upfront. Microsoft Dynamics AX enables greater visibility into inventory at every step of the manufacturing chain enabling manufacturers to reduce the amount of inventory they need to carry.
- Improved Delivery Performance – The ability to deliver within estimated dates is essential for manufacturers. According to the Aberdeen study, companies using comprehensive ERP solutions perform at 97% complete and on-time shipments while achieving twice the reduction in inventory, far exceeding the industry average. This and all of the factors mentioned above allow complex manufacturers to create realistic expectations and improve overall performance delivery.
As you can see, with a comprehensive ERP solution, complex project-focused manufactures can tackle even today’s tough challenges while keeping customers happy and improving profitability. To learn how other manufacturers have improved their project visibility and bottom-line with Columbus manufacturing solutions, click here to view a real-world scenario.
By Norman Carmichael, Manufacturing Practice Director at Columbus. Columbus is an award-winning Microsoft Dynamics ERP Partner, serving companies around the globe in the food, retail and manufacturing sectors.