The typical manufacturing enterprise involves a tremendous amount of data, all of it with implications for management of the business. To that end, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is often an important tool to keep this information in a centralized application, allowing business leaders to capture and manage expenses and revenue. ERP is used in an Engineer to Order (ETO) environment, however, must function a lot differently from ERP used in other types of manufacturing.
While the concept of ERP originally stemmed from the Materials Requirement Planning (MRP) standard within the automotive industry, Engineer to Order manufacturers operate in a manner that differs greatly from the automotive manufacturers for which MRP and ERP were created. The former are not repetitive manufacturers, which introduces a new level of complexity into everyday activities.
For instance, the costs associated with Engineer to Order do not focus solely on materials and activities that occur on the manufacturing floor alone. These costs also include the fiscal impact of change orders, engineering, customer interactions and even the cost associated with securing the contract or the customer in the first place. The Engineer to Order environment has its own unique challenges and must have an ERP solution designed to meet those challenges.
If an ERP solution is implemented within the Engineer to Order environment without the necessary tools to manage its unique processes, executive management of the Engineer to Order manufacturer will lack the proper methods to effectively manage cost and revenue per individual project or customer. Project costs can’t be captured in real-time to ensure cost over-runs are mitigated. Likewise, the preferred level of project management functionality to effectively manage time, cost, cash and risk is non-existent.
With ERP designed specifically for the Engineer to Order manufacturer, business leaders have access to powerful project management functionality that is built into the platform as a native and embedded feature. It also provides deep CAD, contract management and risk management tools integration, as well as seamless operation with the company’s customer relationship management (CRM) solution.
The support of close collaboration inherent in the Engineer to Order project is critical for success in the long term and separate solutions for ERP, CRM, manufacturing and engineering will prove redundant and inefficient. Instead, a single ERP environment designed to support the free exchange of data from one discipline to the next will ensure the profitable completion of projects while also making customer satisfaction a priority.
IFS is one company focused on delivering the right ERP solutions to meet the needs of the Engineer to Order manufacturer. The company’s component-based ERP suite is built solidly on SOA technology to deliver the agility and flexibility manufacturers need to focus on their core competencies and produce the right solutions to meet their needs.
The company’s full suite ERP software includes powerful, embedded project management functionality that allows management to closely control variables of the Engineer to Order environment including cost, cash, resources, time and risk. With the deep industry knowledge and horizontal solutions for deep integration that IFS brings to the organization, only one solution is needed to ensure a seamless focus on the needs of Engineer to Order business.
Edited by Jamie Epstein