ERP for Manufacturing – Do I need one?

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Written By: Lukas Burzynski

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software is essential for any business that wants to grow. Nearly all companies, regardless of size, can benefit from an ERP solution. This is especially true for the manufacturing industry, where managing your daily business processes is what can make-or-break your organization. 

ERP for Manufacturing solutions can bring all your core practices into one. It’s invaluable to be able to quickly share your production-related data not only with internal employees, but also external sources (like distributors and vendors) that are vital to your process. To streamline your entire operation, these solutions make it simple to optimize your processes. With visible insights into your financials, supply chain, production, inventory, and services, ERP solutions are the next wave of digital transformation within the manufacturing industry.

How do I know it’s time to transform my business?

Companies everywhere are saying:

  • I outgrew my homemade or 3rd party system
  • I need better processes for collecting and analyzing my data
  • I feel one step behind my competition that have actionable business insights
  • I struggle with demand forecasting based on recent market trends
  • I have current systems that feel disconnected and don’t communicate with each other
  • I need to reduce costs and enable a greater ROI

None of these problems will get fixed by doing nothing. ERP solutions can solve all of these problems and allow your company to continue transforming. The time is now to upgrade your business processes, and as the market overflows with different products, you must choose the right solution for you.

The Ideal Candidate for Manufacturers: Microsoft Dynamics 365

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a comprehensive, cloud-based collection of solutions that can help your business thrive in the Manufacturing industry. With the ability to seamlessly integrate with Microsoft Office 365, Power BI, and Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement (CRM), the Dynamics ERP solutions empower manufacturers with the following benefits:

  • Unified processes from quote to cash
  • Accelerated innovation and time to market
  • Integrated manufacturing and project management
  • Choice and flexibility with hybrid cloud
  • Peace of mind and compliance with cloud security
  • Global scalability with Microsoft Azure available in over 140 countries
  • Guided user experience and faster time-to-value
  • One common data model across applications
  • Real-time analytics to drive intelligent actions
  • Predictable implementations and updates
  • Access to business apps on nearly any device anywhere

Depending on the scale of their overall operations, manufacturers can benefit from one of two Microsoft Dynamics 365 solutions: Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Supply Chain Management, or Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central

erp for manufacturing finance and supply chain management process details

Finance and Supply Chain Management

Optimized for midsize to large enterprises, Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Supply Chain Management streamlines business processes and complex financial structures in the following areas:

  • Financials
  • Supply chain
  • Manufacturing production
  • Integrated CAD (computer-aided design) and PLM (product lifecycle management)
  • Project management
  • Service management
  • Plan-to-product

Specific ERP for manufacturing capabilities in Finance and Supply Chain Management include:

  • Production
      • Workspaces
      • Material and capacity planning
      • Production scheduling and sequencing
      • Resource management
      • Subcontracting
      • Production Bill of Materials (BOM, formulas, recipes)
      • Product configuring
      • Routing
      • Production orders
      • Production reporting
      • Inventory dimensions for process manufacturing
      • Potency management
      • Lean manufacturing
      • Production costing
      • Job card device page
      • Product change management
      • Shop floor control
      • Inventory management
  • Supply Chain Management
    • Inventory management
    • Multi-site warehouse management
    • Tracking and tracing
    • Demand forecasting
    • Shipping carrier interface
    • Returns management
    • Material handling
    • Product management of goods and services
    • Quality management
    • Intercompany
    • Master planning, including order promising (available to promise/capable to promise)
  • Procurement and Sourcing
    • eProcurement
    • Indirect procurement (catalog and non-catalog)
    • Category management
    • Purchasing policies and signing limits
    • Direct procurement
    • Trade agreements (vendor)
    • Vendor management
    • Vendor self-service portal
    • Vendor rebate management
    • Broker and royalty contract management
    • Workspaces
    • Procurement reporting
    • Procurement workflows

erp for manufacturing content with smart industry focus

Business Central

On the other hand, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central tends to be the go-to solution for small to midsize manufacturers. Designed for organizations who have outgrown entry-level accounting software, Business Central incorporates the following functionality:

  • Financial management and accounting
  • Supply chain, manufacturing, and operations
  • Sales and service
  • Project management
  • Business intelligence and reporting

ERP for manufacturing capabilities in Business Central include:

  •  Connected Manufacturing Operations
    • Production orders
    • Production bill of materials
    • Version management
    • Machine centers
    • Basic supply planning
    • Demand forecasting
    • Basic capacity planning
    • Finite loading
    • Sales and inventory forecasting
    • Agile manufacturing
  • Connected Warehouse Management
    • Order promising
    • Calendars
    • Campaign pricing
    • Cycle counting
    • Put away
    • Warehouse receipt
    • Warehouse shipment
    • Standard cost worksheet
    • Warehouse management systems
    • Internal picks and put aways
    • Automated data capture system
    • Bin setup

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