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How ERP for the Manufacturing Industry Can Help Reduce Software Workarounds

How ERP for the Manufacturing Industry Can Help Reduce Software Workarounds


Explore Manufacturing ERP

How ERP for the Manufacturing Industry Can Help Reduce Software Workarounds

31 Aug 2023

Aptean Staff Writer
Factory worker in hardhat using touchscreen device.

Software workarounds are pervasive in the manufacturing industry, especially in organizations that still rely on cumbersome legacy systems and old-school processes. To this day, many manufacturers tend to circumvent issues they can’t solve easily.

That’s in large part because they can’t keep up with technological advancements—which, speaking of, was called out as a major challenge for the manufacturing sector in 2024 by one of the panelists at a recent manufacturing forecast event.

Is your business constantly fighting fires? Always being behind is a frustrating and costly experience; you need to understand how workarounds could hurt your production processes and how innovative enterprise resource planning (ERP) software for the manufacturing industry can help improve your business processes.

If you’re ready to level-up your manufacturing operations and do away with these time-consuming, inefficient workarounds, it’s essential that you implement industry-specific ERP software designed to support the highly specialized processes that propel your lines and organization as a whole forward.

Software Workarounds Are Rampant in Manufacturing Industries

You’re committing to a software workaround if you’re creating a plan or method to bypass a problem without completely solving it—like sticking duct tape on a leaking pipe underneath your sink, when hiring a plumber was really your best option.

Most manufacturers tend to resort to these less efficient workflows as a normal, standard practice when they need to align operational processes to fit with a legacy software system. Others do it because the software they’re using no longer meets their continually evolving needs.

Below are some common examples of workarounds in manufacturing:

  • Manual exporting of data and working in spreadsheets

  • Manual encoding of shop floor data that could be automated from other systems

  • Adding customizations to the software that doesn’t match your current processes

  • Maintaining legacy systems that are outdated or outgrown

  • Using pen-and-paper methods to manage processes

While software workarounds tend to “work,” they’ll gradually become more of a detriment to your operations, even if you don’t immediately recognize them. It’s because they create small inefficiencies that add up and often go unnoticed. If your organization starts embracing those temporary fixes as the “new standard,” you’re much more likely to compromise efficiency, productivity and data accuracy.

Late shipments driving away loyal customers, expedited deliveries resulting in higher costs, mismanaged inventory resulting in a critical shortage—these can be the consequences you have to deal with.

Moreover, the aforementioned negative effect on data accuracy means that costly decision-making mistakes are inevitable. When it comes to compliance, security, audit tracking, employee safety or other regulatory issues, workarounds should be a major concern for manufacturing companies.

On top of those potential profit losses, your employees also take a hit, as workarounds make them less productive. They may end up having to work extra hours, which will affect their personal lives and overall well-being.

To help you avoid workarounds and the problems they cause, you need to plan your digital transformation path and consider implementing an ERP for manufacturing to help streamline your processes.

Purpose-Built ERP for the Manufacturing Industry Helps Minimize Workarounds

In a recent Business Record article, Laura Philips from Pella said the company is investing heavily in strategies to advance and deploy technology, “Manufacturing technology looks vastly different than it did just 5 to 10 years ago, and it plays a pivotal role in shaping our industry.”

Similarly, to keep up with the competition and to continue reducing software workarounds, you need a purpose-built ERP system that is designed to handle the industry-specific processes of your organization: manage procurement, inventory, production, quality control, sales, accounting, reporting and distribution—providing your organization with a unified platform and single source of truth.

The specialized features of ERP for the manufacturing industry help you reduce inefficiencies across the board, including those that result from workarounds. With a manufacturing-specific ERP solution, you won’t have to pay for major customizations because it has purpose-built features for your unique business operation ready out-of-the-box.

“One of the key factors contributing to the selection of Aptean Industrial Manufacturing ERP, Made2Manage Edition is that the software is supported directly by Aptean, which makes for a much closer relationship.

Robert BergerDirector of ITBoston Centerless

ERP for the Manufacturing Industry in Action

Let's take a look at a few examples of how manufacturing ERP software can avoid workarounds, streamline processes and improve efficiency, no matter what manufacturing industry you operate in.

Boston Centerless

That’s one of the reasons that Boston Centerless, an industry leader in supplying precision ground bar materials and grinding services, deployed Aptean Industrial Manufacturing ERP Made2Manage Edition. The company specializes in extremely close tolerances, so its leadership decided to implement a robust discrete manufacturing ERP to replace a legacy system that didn’t provide the level of analysis needed in such an exacting manufacturing environment.

With the implementation of Aptean's manufacturing ERP, Boston Centerless was able to increase on-time delivery from 88% to 98%. The company was also able to reduce the time from order receipt to the production floor from three days down to one.

“One of the key factors contributing to the selection of Aptean Industrial Manufacturing ERP Made2Manage Edition is that the software is supported directly by Aptean, which makes for a much closer relationship,” said Robert Berger, director of IT at Boston Centerless. “When I call for support, the vast majority of the time, I get a technician on the phone immediately. Sometimes, the technician solves the problem on the spot, and in other cases, they need to research the problem and get back to me. In any case, the issue is resolved much faster than it would have been with our previous ERP software provider.”

Portable Pipe Hangers

Portable Pipe Hangers is another manufacturing company that was able to streamline its operations and accelerate its growth with a highly scalable solution from Aptean. Before moving to a cloud-based ERP solution, the company was using an on-premise ERP solution that required multiple steps just to access the system.

The company migrated to a cloud-based Aptean ERP, giving employees flexible and easy access to important data.

"It's definitely worth the money, and I’d recommend moving to the cloud,” said Jason Fulton, IT manager at Portable Pipe Hangers. “Our system flows very smoothly, and Aptean is continually improving the solution and evolving it the right way. Make the leap now and get ahead of the game."

MindsInSync, Inc.

The team at MindsInSync, Inc. realized the need to implement an ERP system with built-in electronic data interchange (EDI) to accommodate their growing business needs and meet the transaction processing demands of a well-known, big-box retail chain. MindsInSync decided to invest in Aptean Apparel ERP Exenta Edition.

“In this day and age, if you’re out of sync with real time data, you’re making bad decisions. The world is moving so fast. Aptean Apparel ERP Exenta Edition was the key for being able to make quicker, smarter decisions.” said Iain Scorgie, CEO, MindsInSync.

R.L. Schreiber

Manufacturer and distributor, R.L. Schreiber has been a long-time partner of Aptean, but its IT director, Yorck Haase realized that the company need to maximize the full potential of Aptean Food & Beverage ERP. Using the software, Haase and his team were able to create a single source of information from all departments ensuring data integrity. Haase determined that the company can utilize the system’s other features including analytics and data visualizations to provide considerable levels of detail in reporting.

“It’s one thing to know the technology; it’s another to understand their needs and deliver on them,” Haase said in an interview with Toggle Magazine.

“In this day and age, if you’re out of sync with real time data, you’re making bad decisions. The world is moving so fast. Aptean Apparel ERP, Exenta Edition was the key for being able to make quicker, smarter decisions.”

Iain ScorgieCEOMindsInSync, Inc.

ERP Has Tailored Functionalities That Give Manufacturers an Edge

Industry-specific manufacturing ERP has tailored functionalities to help companies like yours reduce those aforementioned pesky software workarounds. With this specialized technology, you can leverage automation and have a unified source of data across your organization—plus much more.

When evaluating which is the right manufacturing ERP software for your business, make sure it has these features to help your organization.

  • Quoting and Estimating – improve the speed and accuracy of your quotes and estimates, protect your profit margin and provide visibility to historical data on raw material prices and previous job quotes.

  • Shop Floor Management – increase productivity by connecting all your employees via a single solution, giving them complete visibility across operational areas. Digitizing processes also eliminates inefficient pen and paper processes like cumbersome drawings.

  • Financial Management – automate and optimize all your financial processes, allowing your finance team to automatically convert your quotes into sales orders for processing.

  • Production Scheduling – increase your team’s flexibility to adapt scheduling and processes based on changing demand levels and organize shop floor processes improving your team’s overall performance.

  • Inventory Control – minimize excess and obsolete stocks and prevents stockouts which creates a better cashflow.

  • Supply Chain Management – achieve greater supply chain flexibility and resilience, allowing you to adjust production plans to minimize the impact of a disruptive event.

  • Analytics and Business Intelligence (BI) – leverage real-time data analytics so you can visualize and create data-driven reports on any device, anywhere.

Every manufacturing business has its own unique challenges; that’s why it’s important to assess your digital transformation strategy so you can choose the right ERP for the manufacturing industry to overcome challenges and improve key processes.

Aptean Offers Industry-Specific ERP To Help You Significantly Minimize Software Workarounds

Selecting the right ERP solution for your manufacturing business is essential, especially if you want to reduce inefficient software workarounds across your organization. If you plan to implement a manufacturing ERP, you need to clearly identify your specific business needs and the pain points that you want to address.

When evaluating ERPs, keep in mind that there are vendors in the market that offer “one-size-fits-all" systems, but for a highly specialized manufacturing operation, such software could require costly customizations and create even more workarounds in the long run.

Choose an ERP vendor with decades of solid industry experience who can understand your business needs—like Aptean. Our solutions can help future-proof your business, improving visibility, efficiency and overall business performance.

Our tailored ERP solutions are designed for the unique challenges of the following industries:

While software workarounds can serve your company for short periods, they ultimately make manufacturing operations inefficient—and eventually ineffective.

To avoid this, implement an ERP for the manufacturing industry to help streamline operations; an ERP vendor like Aptean can then guide you on your path to digital transformation and provide you with the exact solution strategy you need for your business growth.

Are you ready to reduce software workarounds? Request a personalized demo today to learn more about Aptean manufacturing ERPs or contact our team of manufacturing software experts.

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