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What do manufacturers and distributors want from their ERP system? The answers, according to a recent survey to our customers, include warehouse management, automation, and business intelligence.

Warehouse management

The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken and challenged many parts of the business, including supply chains.

Many manufacturing organizations are shortening their supply chain to make them simpler and faster. Traditional manufacturing supply chains often include five to six hops between the manufacturer before it reaches the shelf of the retailer.

Some manufacturers are trying to shorten their supply chains by selling direct to retailers. Many are trying to make their warehouses more efficient. What are your fastest-selling widgets? These are the ones worth moving to the front of your warehouse to reduce the time it takes warehouse staff to pick them.

In an Amazon warehouse, an item can be moved numerous times within a warehouse in a day, week, or month depending on how well it’s selling. Fast-selling products go to the front of a warehouse so they’re easier to pick. Slow sellers may be sent to the back of the warehouse, a quarter of a mile away.

Your ERP software should include a warehouse management system, that provides your organization at least 80% of what it needs for managing your warehouse, packing, shipping, and inventory.

For the remaining 20% optimization, you would probably need to talk to an Independent Software Vendor (ISV), which specialize in ERP product functions including reporting, warehouses and distribution, payments, and technologies including artificial intelligence and machine learning, robotic process automation, and the Internet of Things.

The most advanced warehouse management can do things including “pick to light” (warehouse pickers are guided by lights on the floor to the right shelf and product) and “pick to sound” (guided by headphones).

Document automation

Document automation technology is becoming more popular because it can save manufacturers time and money. Since the pandemic, more automation of documents must be done out of the office. For example, a customer may complain to a customer service representative about a faulty part in a product. Customer service reps typically used to be next to the shop floor. If a customer complains about a faulty part, the customer rep can take a picture of the alleged faulty part and show it to the engineer on the shop floor, who will advise on how to fix it. Now, however, many customer service reps are working from home. How can you automate this process through workflow and triggers, to help customers get their issue resolved faster?

Business intelligence

Business intelligence can also help manufacturing companies pinpoint faults faster by analyzing more customer data.

A guitar manufacturer may offer customers warranties in case a guitar string breaks. The manufacturer can use business intelligence software to analyze failure rates for guitar strings. A high rate may indicate a fault in the manufacturing process or a problem with its design or engineering. When complaints about the guitar string reach a certain level an executive can be automatically alerted via a dashboard display.

In manufacturing electronics, and other industries, business intelligence is all about answering questions on the mass of information that comes into an ERP system. How well is an item selling? In what regions?

Business intelligence has gone through a resurgence due to artificial intelligence. It has also been incorporated into document automation.

Conclusion

If you’ve questions about any of these technologies, contact us. SYSPRO and its ISV Extended Solutions Partners can help your organization automate processes in your warehouse and supply chain and improve your performance. We can help you map out your business strategy for the next three to five years, so you’re proactive in your IT spending rather than being reactive. We’ll help you stay a few steps ahead of your competitors from your warehouse to the shop floor.