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Why a Discrete Manufacturing ERP Should Be the First Step in Your Digital Transformation Strategy

Why a Discrete Manufacturing ERP Should Be the First Step in Your Digital Transformation Strategy


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Why a Discrete Manufacturing ERP Should Be the First Step in Your Digital Transformation Strategy

1 Dec 2021

Jim Tuttle
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Digital transformation is a term that gets thrown around a lot. But for discrete manufacturers, it’s shifted from being a phrase to consider in the future to a key priority for business development in 2022 and beyond.

In our experience, the biggest barrier to digital transformation isn’t appreciating its importance; it’s knowing where to start. And for many organizations, a valuable first step is to invest in discrete manufacturing ERP software. Why? Let’s find out…

Digital Transformation in Manufacturing: What’s The Urgency?

You’ve heard of the saying ‘a rolling stone gathers no moss’? Well the stone of digital transformation is definitely rolling in the industrial manufacturing industry.

Aptean recently surveyed more than 100 discrete manufacturers in North America to learn how they’re using technology within their businesses, and almost all the organizations we spoke to are on the path to digital transformation. Just under a quarter (22%) have early plans but no roadmap. A third (33%) are putting their roadmap partially in place. And more than a third (34%) have a digital transformation roadmap in place across all departments.

With digitization a key priority for most industrial manufacturers, those organizations that fail to invest in technologies for automating operations and synchronizing smart processes are going to fall behind. Because it’s not just performance improvement that digital software delivers; it’s the real-time data insights needed to react to real-world conditions and make profit-driving decisions.

How Can Discrete Manufacturing ERP Support Digital Transformation?

One of the major obstacles that discrete manufacturers encounter in their digital transformation journey is knowing where to start. There are so many solutions available, which ones will deliver the greatest value?

For many organizations, an ERP system for industrial manufacturing is a solid investment because its functions are wide-ranging. It can solve multiple planning and production issues, all of which will impact manufacturing productivity.

Here’s an example of the difference ERP technology can make: a third (34%) of discrete manufacturers are currently finding upstream supply chain disruption their biggest challenge, according to Aptean research.

Discrete manufacturing ERP software improves supply chain management, by giving organizations greater visibility over the availability of components from preferred suppliers, and their lead times. This way, organizations can source alternative parts if delays are likely, to keep production flowing and avoid disappointing customers.


of discrete manufacturers are currently finding upstream supply chain disruption their biggest challenge

Discrete manufacturing ERP solves other key business challenges, too. For instance, our survey revealed only 44% of industrial manufacturers have automated their bill of materials (BOM) process. This means that most organizations are still manually creating each BOM when a quote gets approved; a system which is both time-consuming and vulnerable to mistakes.

Automatically creating a bill of materials using ERP for industrial manufacturing isn’t just quicker and more accurate; ERP software’s integrated capabilities mean BOM data can drive better decision-making in other parts of the business as well. For example, every time components are allocated to an approved job, this can be reflected in the total number of available parts currently in-stock.

By combining order and available stock information, discrete manufacturers can improve inventory control and materials requirement planning, by accurately forecasting which components are going to be required to meet customer demands---rather than only realizing there are parts shortages when inventory is running critically low. 

Does Your Choice of ERP for Industrial Manufacturing Matter?

In short, yes. We’ve already shared some examples of the everyday problems that can be solved with ERP software, but only discrete manufacturing ERP has the built-in functionality to meet all of these challenges.

General manufacturing ERP software includes value-add features such as inventory management, supply chain management, accounting/finance and business intelligence tools, but most solutions on the market either don’t offer specialist functions for discrete manufacturers, or discrete-specific modules are only available as a bolt-on. If something is an afterthought, it’s unlikely to be as transformative as an industry-designed ERP for industrial manufacturing.

Discrete manufacturing ERP systems that have been created to meet the exact needs of industrial manufacturers are usually built by companies who understand the demands of this sector, like Aptean.

We’re not trying to create generic, catch-all solutions; we are hyper-focused on helping discrete manufacturers to run quicker, accelerate growth and reduce waste. And the discrete manufacturing ERP technology we’ve developed returns on investment quickly as a result.

Why Do Manufacturers Choose Aptean Discrete Manufacturing ERP?

Aptean Industrial Manufacturing ERP software is a popular choice among manufacturers due to our strong track record in the industry. In a fast-moving, highly precise lean manufacturing environment, real-time visibility and decision-making facilities are imperative. We empower industrial manufacturers to create digital transformation strategies around our ERP software, to drive bottom line change.

For example, The Metalworking Group has improved its on-time delivery rate from 75% to 86% in less than a year by using Aptean’s Industrial Manufacturing ERP software to increase shop floor visibility and efficiency. The company’s CEO told us: “from a scheduling standpoint, from where we were before Aptean to where we are now, it’s night and day.” Read The Metalworking Group’s success story in full.

Whether you’re in the early planning stages or you have a clear digital transformation roadmap, let Aptean ERP technology enhance your strategy.

Book your free Aptean Discrete Manufacturing ERP demo to kick-start digital transformation across your business.

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