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Manufacturing

Worker using a tablet to check product compliance.

Why manufacturing compliance is good for business

By | ERP, Manufacturing | No Comments

Checking manufactured product.

Time to make the donuts” was the theme of an old advertisement by Dunkin Donuts. You may identify with the baker in the ad when you think of the drudgery to maintain compliance with manufacturing regulations. But just like the baker in the Dunkin Donuts ad, complying with government regulations can reap many benefits. With a strong compliance program run through your Enterprise Planning Resource (ERP) software, you can become a lean, mean manufacturing machine.

Here are some of the benefits of being in compliance:

Compliance improves product quality and consistency

Government compliance regulations can be used to set the bar for the quality of your products. When everyone in the company knows the goal you must attain, everyone will be working toward that goal together. By staying in compliance, your product quality will stay consistently high. Compliance can be used as a means of encouraging your business to be the poster child of best practice. While competitors may be inclined to cut corners, you will have a competitive advantage by maintaining high adherence to regulations.

Compliance facilitates innovation

There’s nothing like an upcoming audit or the possibility of a hefty fine to motivate a company to review and improve its processes. With a strong compliance program, you will be set up to review your processes ahead of an audit and make changes or find new areas to improve. Also, if your manufacturing business is compliant by design, you will be set up to innovate when there are changes in technology, laws, or customer expectations.

Using a tablet to check warehouse compliance.

Compliance makes happy customers

Complying with government regulations is great for customer satisfaction on many levels. First, it will show your customers that you care about keeping them safe. Second, product quality and consistency mentioned above will give customers confidence in knowing what they are buying. In a world of increasing uncertainty, customers gravitate toward brands they trust and that make them feel safe, giving you an edge over your competition.

Finally, a fragmented compliance process can mean that customers need to jump through hoops to get the product and related information they need. A streamlined compliance system will get your customers on their way with product and information in hand.

Happy and healthy customers? Now that’s a company that customers will want to do business with again and again.

Compliance boosts the bottom line

Manufacturers with strong compliance cultures outperform their counterparts. Don’t believe it? According to this Assent study, the top ten companies using compliance software achieved an average total return of 247%, and a 28% compound annual growth rate (CAGR). Over the same five year period, the S&P 500 had a total return of 85%, and a CAGR of only 13%.

ERP streamlines compliance management

Staying in compliance isn’t easy, but with the right Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software and a Quality Management System (QMS), you can set up your company for automatic compliance processes that will become second nature to every employee. Recent trends show an ERP improves 95% of businesses who implement it.

NexTec can help you select the right ERP system for your manufacturing business. Contact us today and start using compliance as a competitive weapon to improve your business and grow profits.

Top 4 pandemic challenges for manufacturers and how to solve them

Top 4 pandemic challenges for manufacturers and how to solve them

By | Acumatica Cloud ERP, Manufacturing | No Comments

Like all other industries, manufacturing faces several challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Here are four challenges to consider, along with some ways to turn challenges into opportunities.

Top 4 pandemic challenges for manufacturers and how to solve themChallenge 1: Access to data while working remotely

To socially distance and keep the virus at bay, many manufacturing employees need to work from home but still have access to the information they need for their daily work. However, a strictly on-premise ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) solution landlocks information and requires employees to be physically present onsite in order to get the data they need. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, that is no longer a sustainable option.

A cloud-based ERP solution enables your workforce to access essential systems from anywhere at any time. Your business operations can continue to run smoothly even when your offices sit empty.

A cloud-based ERP also integrates with collaborative tools, enabling your staff to maintain productivity and work together on projects already in development, ensuring your company does not miss a beat, despite the changed circumstances.

Challenge 2: Supplier management

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on the manufacturing supply chain. Many manufacturers that once relied heavily on imports and parts from suppliers in other countries now find themselves scrambling to find new sources either in-country or from areas less affected by COVID-19.

The World Economic Forum notes on the subject: “In the near term, it is expected that companies will begin seeking out a more diversified supplier base while looking to develop a flexible, but cost-efficient, supply chain. For the longer term, however, companies will need to undertake a more holistic analysis, which may lead to more drastic changes, such as moving supply chains nearby, or to different countries, as well as increasing the digitalizing of supply chains, with a view of creating a more sustainable operation for the future.”

Manufacturers that have moved to a cloud-based ERP system are better able to meet supply chain challenges during a crisis. That is because Cloud ERPs offer modern supply management tools with data and analysis available in real-time that provide a clear view of the status of supplies and the needs across the company. With up-to-date information, you can forecast and reallocate supplies and costs as needed, giving you the agility and flexibility that older ERP systems may not offer.

Challenge 3: Traceability and product recall management

Pandemic or not, manufacturers always face the challenge of product traceability and product recall management. However, in light of increased scrutiny and emphasis on product safety and consumer health, the ability to track products and immediately initiate recalls when problems are detected is essential.

Cloud-based ERP software integrates information from multiple disparate sources into a single source of truth, giving you end-to-end visibility into your products, from raw materials through sale and distribution. That means you can instantly track specific products, initiate a product recall if needed, and oversee all tracking operations from anywhere at any time via the device of your choice.

Challenge 4: Maintaining a 360-degree view of operations

With some staff working remotely, your production teams working in staggered shifts to accommodate social distancing mandates, your product lines shifting to meet new market demands, and your supply chain partners changing rapidly, getting a clear picture of operations is a little like trying to hit a moving target.

The right ERP solution addresses that challenge by pulling all the data you need from multiple sources into one system so that you can easily use it for analysis and reporting. With intuitive dashboards and built-in reporting capabilities, you can quickly get a 360-degree view of your company and gain the insights you need to make good decisions, whether you are dealing with a global pandemic or not.

Acumatica: A Cloud-Based ERP for Manufacturers

Acumatica Cloud ERP – Manufacturing Edition is made specifically for the manufacturing industry. It offers a complete, multi-site manufacturing control and planning system for manufacturers of any type, including make-to-stock, make-to-order, configure-to-order, engineer-to-order, project-centric, job shop, repetitive, and batch manufacturing.

It is a complete manufacturing automation solution that integrates shop floor with sales, accounting, ordering, projects, and inventory in real-time. With Acumatica, you can know exactly where you stand at any moment with real-time reporting and analytics. It also enables real-time collaboration with staff, customers, and suppliers from a single source of truth for your company.

NexTec is proud to be an Acumatica Gold Certified Partner. Since 1994, NexTec Group has been in the business of software, and as a leading reseller of Acumatica, we have helped manufacturers just like you to implement the solution and realize the benefits of Acumatica. Take the Acumatica product tour today and discover how to streamline your manufacturing business.

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Webcast: How Cloud ERP moves your business forward in the new normal

Webcast: How Cloud ERP moves your business forward in the new normal (recorded webcast)

By | Events, Manufacturing, Recorded webcasts | No Comments

Watch our latest webcast to see how the new normal has created the need for Cloud ERP. You will also learn the top Cloud ERP benefits, Cloud deployment options, the ROI the Cloud can have on your business and much more.

Agenda

  • Surviving and thriving in uncertain times
  • Why businesses are making the pivot to the Cloud
  • Cloud definitions
  • Defining Cloud ERP
  • NexTec as your strategic partner

Helpful resources

Contact us

Enterprise resource planning software

The modern manufacturer’s guide to digital technology

By | Manufacturing, Sage X3, SOFTWARE | No Comments

Industry 4.0 is driving innovation and improving manufacturing business processes around the world.Digitalization is often referred to as the fourth industrial revolution, or Industry 4.0.  While digital transformation has come quickly to certain industries, including consumer products, finance, and banking, manufacturing has been slower to adopt the innovations that come with digitalization.

Companies that embrace the opportunities of digital transformation and information technology have the chance to rewrite the playbook within their industry. Digital transformation opens up significant possibilities around business models, business processes, and the work itself.

Below is the modern manufacturer’s guide to digitalization.

Why digitalization matters

The rapid change taking place in varied industries points to the opportunity of digital innovation. Companies are rewriting whole business models to leverage technological opportunities. For some companies, that means entering new industries and market share. Think about the roles companies like DoorDash and Uber have played in the food service and transportation industries, respectively. Consider the impact of microlending in rural areas by new banking companies that are gaining market share in areas where markets previously did not exist.

For manufacturing companies, the old way of doing things will not suffice in a digital world. Companies need to adapt or risk being left behind as competitors or new players encroach on existing markets.

Digital technologies are ubiquitous and felt throughout the manufacturing value chain. R&D, supply chain, operations, warehousing, distribution, and transportation all have seen digital transformation change the way work is done. These technologies do not just disrupt business models; they can also transform how work is completed.

For example, information technology today allows partners throughout the supply chain to interact, using the same real-time data to pinpoint problems and solutions. Remote employees, working on multiple devices and in different time zones, can access data and interact in ways that were not feasible just a few years ago. By allowing designers, suppliers, operations managers, and distribution leaders to work together, dramatic efficiencies can be gained that reduce downtime.

Enterprise resource planning software

The Internet of Things, data analytics, and cloud computing are transforming the way things are made.

Tools and trends in digital manufacturing

Manufacturers are responding to the digital revolution in multiple ways. Each relies on the sharing and distribution of data across departments, and among partners, to better leverage new technologies.

Manufacturers generate petabytes of data about their products, operations, equipment, production processes, and use. The challenge is how to integrate that data effectively to ensure that all employees can leverage the information to make better decisions. The answer is an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system that integrates data across functional areas and allows teams to work together in the same system – from sales to production to distribution and beyond. With Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), companies can share data from the ERP with other businesses, including suppliers, vendors, distributors, and customers.

Data is clearly the key and will continue to be critical as manufacturing industries use it in the following ways:

  • Data analytics. More data are provided by objects in the Internet of Things (IoT), which contain software, sensors, and wireless connectivity. These devices can collect, transmit, and store data and alert people or other devices about issues, repairs, maintenance, or productivity. This collection of data gives manufacturers a clearer sense of the supply chain, and how products are moving through the factory. Multiple people can review data at the same time, and adjustments can be made to deliveries and operations to improve efficiency.
  • Reducing footprint. With a better understanding of processes, companies can reduce the footprint of factories, storage, and distribution facilities. Less footprint means leaner manufacturing and reduced production costs.
  • Digital technology product life cycle.  Transforming product life cycles into a digital format provides greater visibility into products to streamline development. According to McKinsey, digital technology product life cycle management may help to eliminate bottlenecks like rigidly sequenced processes or complex division of responsibility between R&D teams.
  • Better relationships. Data sent by users can be leveraged to improve the way products are built and how manufacturers respond to inquiries. Customers today expect connected relationships with the makers and sellers of products and are more willing to share information.
  • Less complexity. Complexity can slow down processes and introduce lag that drives up costs. With cloud computing, large data sets, and real-time analytics, companies can swiftly pinpoint bottlenecks and reduce complexity in the manufacturing and distribution processes.
  • Professional collaborationManufacturing USA (formerly the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation) is a federal program that brings together industrial, academic, and government partners to help improve competitiveness among US companies. It also provides a robust R&D infrastructure. Similar efforts are underway in Germany and China. The global Industrial Internet Consortium is focused on bringing together partners around the world to create a “securely connected and controlled” industrial Internet of Things “to deliver transformational outcomes.”

Technologies transforming manufacturing

Many technologies are leading the way for digital manufacturing. In addition to the Internet of Things (IoT), here are a few other areas where digital technology is transforming manufacturing.

  • 3D Printing.  By using digital designs and various resins, plastics or metals, 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, can make parts in small lots. In addition, 3D printing and shipping on demand can dramatically reduce downtime and reduce costs. 3D printing helps create better prototypes and reduces the time from concept to production. Some of these 3D parts are also lighter and more durable, creating efficiency gains in manufacturing, aerospace, and transportation. 3D printing can help propel innovation by accelerating the prototype process and allow for faster collaboration and testing.
  • Advanced Materials. New materials are projected as being critical to solving critical societal issues and trends such as energy efficiency, resource shortages, chemical safety, and next-generation consumer devices. These materials may include advanced composites that, to date, have only been used in high-cost applications. However, advances in manufacturing processes and production efficiency may allow the use of these composites in more industries and production methods.
  • Augmented Reality. Advances in computer science, computer vision, and virtual reality have allowed for more accurate work. Using goggles, employees can follow text and graphics to help do complex tasks using real-time information. The tools can assess the timing and accuracy of the work being done and improve the quality and safety on the line. These technologies can help enhance training, improve response times for maintenance, supplies, inventory management, and R&D. These technologies could also be licensed to other companies looking to improve operations and design new and better equipment.
  • Cloud Computing. Connected services, applications, and data access empower employees in different functional areas, on different devices and in different locations to access, discuss, and act on the same information, all in real-time. In addition, the growth of powerful analytics programs means that data collected from disparate systems can be displayed in easily usable formats for better decision-making.
  • Nanotechnology. A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter. Nanotechnology encompasses materials between 1 and 100 nanometers that can be used to make strong, durable, lightweight objects for boats, autos, sporting equipment, eyewear, and medical devices.
  • Robotics. Automated manufacturing has been around for decades and has taken off in the past decade. Some critics believe that robotics actually stifles innovation by eliminating humans from the process of discovery within a particular process or product. In the United States and elsewhere, robotics is not seen as a full-replacement choice, but instead is complementing a human workforce. Known as “cobotics,” this approach is gaining momentum, allowing for innovation in complex manufacturing processes.

Are you ready for the digital manufacturing revolution?

Companies that have yet to venture into digital manufacturing need to consider several critical questions to decide whether the approach is right for their organization. C-suite executives should be asking the following:

  • How will digital technologies disrupt my industry over the next five to 10 years?
  • What new ecosystems will emerge as a result of that digital disruption?
  • Where is the value for our company in digital transformation? How do we maximize that?
  • What new skills, capabilities, platforms, technologies, and employees will our organization need?
  • How will we find, assess, and select those new assets?
  • How do we prioritize and implement new processes, such as the digital technology product life cycle?
  • How close is the digital revolution to the doors of our factories and our board rooms?
  • What investments can we make now to infrastructure and cybersecurity?
  • What partnerships do we need with technology providers, with government or industry organizations, or within our supply chain?
  • Where should we start? What would be a good project to test?

Systems become a critical component of digital manufacturing. Leveraging the interrelated complexity within the organization is important. By bringing together manufacturing, operations, marketing, sales, distribution, payroll, and analytics, an organization will be ready to adapt to the new technologies.

ERP brings together the data from across the organization, providing a coherent and consistent display of information on performance. The right ERP solution is a major step toward digital innovation and can put you miles ahead of the competition.

NexTec Group has over 25 years of experience helping companies select and implement ERP software. Our consultants have deep expertise in manufacturing and can accelerate your digital transformation. For more about how NexTec can help your company embrace Industry 4.0, read our free guide on 10 tips for smarter ERP selection.

Cup manufacturing plant.

Your ERP choice and KPIs for your manufacturing business

By | Acumatica Cloud ERP, ERP, Manufacturing | No Comments
Cup manufacturing plant.

The discrete manufacturing industry is constantly changing to adhere to new product demands.

Tracking manufacturing KPIs allows companies to produce affordable goods without compromising quality.

The discrete manufacturing industry is constantly changing to adhere to new product demands. The enormous competition to produce affordable goods requires companies to track key performance indicators (KPIs).

This can be accomplished most effectively using the right enterprise resource solution (ERP) for your manufacturing business. According to ERP statistics from Datix Inc., 95% of businesses see major improvement after implementing an ERP through collaboration and a reduction in process times.

What are manufacturing KPIs?

KPIs measure the performance in an organization, and are indicators of how well a company s doing in terms of quality and sales. These measurements are typically taken using sophisticated reporting and analysis. Business intelligence (BI) tools such as graphs, charts, and dashboards are frequently used to represent them.

KPIs are used by manufacturers to evaluate success using objectives that are critical to the business. This information enables company leaders to make sound decisions by giving them relevant, real-time data, which is invaluable in today’s highly competitive market.

What KPIs should you track?

The KPIs you track will be based on your business needs. For example, a discrete manufacturing organization may require up-to-date geographic information about materials while they are in-transit due to the sensitive nature of ingredients. Conversely, a B2C company might need to track the status of on-time deliveries since this can improve customer retention rates and positive communications through word-of-mouth.

Examples of discrete manufacturing KPIs

The following KPIs are common to many manufacturing businesses. Keep in mind your business workflows will determine the specific KPIs you should track.

Cycle time

Cycle time is an important KPI because it tracks your product from the beginning to the end of creation, then from a finished product to shipment. This is often referred to as the supply chain cycle time. Tracking this information will help you determine how to increase production speed while retaining quality, and can be easily tracked with the right manufacturing ERP solution.

Automotive manufacturing plant.

Whether you make cups or cars, cycle time is a critical metric.

Inventory deviation

As a manufacturer, you deal with inventory lists on a regular basis. You understand what happens when inventory levels vary from those that have been manually marked. Though you carefully track all materials that leave your plant, the deviation can still occur. You can track this KPI and lower the deviation rate with the right manufacturing ERP solution.

Costs

Tracking all your production costs can be problematic. The cost of every ingredient and production activity must be tracked. A manufacturing ERP solution can show you every cost in the production process, including labor, materials, handling, distribution and more.

Benefits of an ERP solution for discrete manufacturing

ERP systems were originally developed to keep track of processes used in discrete manufacturing. This helps eliminate waste and shortens production time. Recent ERP statistics show the adoption of ERP software for mid-sized businesses was slated to grow at a CAGR of 7.9% between 2014 and 2020.

ERP solutions perform numerous functions, which include:

  • Inventory management
  • Financial management
  • Supply chain management
  • Customer relationship management (CRM)

The right ERP solution will be tailored to meet  manufacturing needs. Customization options are also available to align with different industries.

Acumatica provides key benefits for your discrete manufacturing company. Coordinate business activities with real-time information, and adapt the software to the continuous growth of your business.

Meet schedules and track costs, while integrating production planning with customer management. All financial reports will be made available to help you manage multiple sites when you use the Manufacturing Edition.

Want to obtain the best ROI for your Acumatica investment? Let NexTec help your  manufacturing business get the most out of KPI tracking today.

Want to learn more about using an ERP for your manufacturing business? Contact us today.

Webcast: Acumatica Lunch and Learn for Manufactrurers

Webcast: Acumatica Lunch and Learn for Manufacturers (recorded webcast)

By | Acumatica Cloud ERP, Events, Manufacturing, Recorded webcasts | No Comments

In today’s fast-paced, customer-centric world, manufacturing companies are working harder than ever to keep up with demands and stay ahead of the competition! Acumatica’s Manufacturing Suite can keep you ahead of the curve—and drive results you can count on.

Watch this valuable webinar where you will see a demo of the robust manufacturing capabilities and how it may fit your business.

Agenda

Acumatica Overview

  • Menus, User Interface and Navigation
  • Dashboards

Manufacturing Overview

  • Bill of Materials
  • Production & Scheduling
  • MRP
  • Product Configurator
  • Data Collection
  • Reporting & Inquiries

Helpful Resources

Contact us

2020 Food and Beverage Manufacturing Study

2020 Food & Beverage Manufacturing Industry Survey – Special COVID-19 Edition

By | COVID-19, ERP, Food and Beverage, Manufacturing, Sage X3 | No Comments

2020 Food and Beverage Manufacturing StudySpecial Edition: COVID-19 and the Food & Beverage Industry

NexTec Group recently finished a survey of over 100 Food and Beverage Manufacturers across the US. This year, we wanted to learn how food and beverage manufacturers are responding to the coronavirus crisis and how they are preparing for the “new normal.” 85% of the respondents have experienced supply chain disruptions and a majority indicated that their ERP and CRM software has been highly valuable in managing through these turbulent times.

Download the report to see what else we found out, including

  • The effect the pandemic has had on demand for products and the supply chain
  • What contingency or continuity plans food and beverage manufacturers had in place
  • The actions they have taken or plan to take in response to the pandemic
  • What software and technology manufacturers found most valuable during the pandemic
  • What new software and technology manufacturers plan to use as a result of the pandemic

Download the report

We hope this report provides you with some insight and helps you plan for the future. Should you need any advice on ERP, CRM, or BI software or how to set up your operations to help mitigate issues during a crisis and put your company on the path to a strong, solid future, please contact us using the form on the right.

Take care and stay safe,
Your friends at NexTec Group

Technician wearing an orange hardhat while working with machinery.

5 Ways ERP improves productivity in discrete manufacturing

By | Acumatica Cloud ERP, ERP, Manufacturing | No Comments
Technician wearing an orange hard hat working with machinery.

Manufacturing ERP solutions help companies plan production, manage inventory and optimize supply chains.

For discrete manufacturers, efficiency pays off. Whether it’s managing supply chains, logistics, warehouses, inventory, distribution or finances, efficient operations lead to more productivity, faster turnaround times and satisfied customers.

Discrete manufacturing customers benefit from using an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution that drives efficiency at every turn. Instead of using generic business software tools, consider a manufacturing ERP that gives your company better operational efficiency. Here are 5 ways ERP improves productivity in discrete manufacturing.

Tip #1: Manage your scheduling better

A manufacturing ERP system helps in planning all facets of production. With Acumatica ERP for discrete manufacturing, your business can plan materials and resources, including equipment, capacity, people and skills. Acumatica’s manufacturing ERP software lets you coordinate demand management, forecasting, material planning, master scheduling, and capacity planning. All these functions integrate with finance, HR, procurement and inventory management.

Tip #2: Project costing with improved accuracy

Cost management requires collecting and using data throughout the manufacturing process. Your Acumatica ERP system can collect cost data and embed that information throughout the business. By placing cost information into functions such as bill of material and routing, production management, inventory management, purchase order management, estimating and sales order management, your company can better predict and manage cost-related decisions. This solution lets your track purchases to a specific work order, support substitute operations and materials, and track stock and non-stock materials to be used for a production order.

Tip #3: Keep track of inventory

Inventories are the key to keeping production on track. Inventory management software helps you manage costs, multiple warehouse locations, different valuation methods, and matrixed inventory needs. Acumatica’s inventory management tools include expiration date management, lot and serial numbering, transaction reason codes, two-step transfers, inventory bin and location controls, inventory sub-item management and automated purchase orders. Integrate your inventory management with CRM tools, allowing for sales order discounting and promotion, transparent relationship management and shared contact information.

Technician working on machinery.

The Acumatica ERP helps manage inventory and warehouses for optimal efficiency and better customer service.

Tip #4: Gain control of your supply chain

Whether your business is make-to-order, make-to-stock or engineer-to-order, repetitive or batch manufacturing, having a clear view of your supply chain management is important. Gain transparency throughout your supply chain with a single source of truth via automated business processes, real-time data collection and analysis, financial analysis and business forecasting that help with supplier management and production costs. With Acumatica, the software scales as your business grows, allowing for better supplier relationships and expansion that’s not slowed by technology.

Tip #5: Boost customer satisfaction with better warehouse management

Knowing where orders and finished goods stand is essential for positive customer relationships. Advanced warehouse operations improve receiving, inventory management and order fulfillment functions. Scanning solutions using barcodes and mobile devices lead to less waste, reduced costs and more satisfied customers.

Acumatica’s discrete manufacturing ERP solution is an agile, integrated way to manage your business. At NexTec, we help companies identify, implement and optimize their business software to maximize ROI and keep operations running smoothly. NexTec and Acumatica are the right partners when you want an ERP solution platform that keeps your company connected, efficient and operating at peak levels.

Common manufacturing supply chain problems from COVID-19 (+ Best Practices)

By | COVID-19, ERP, Manufacturing | No Comments
Worker moving large boxes with a machine.

Manufacturers are facing significant supply chain disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted manufacturing companies across industrial sectors. As the crisis shows no signs of easing soon, businesses are beginning to grapple with significant supply chain management issues.

The prevailing challenges and disruptions are reinforcing the value of using enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions to help mitigate supply chain issues. Here is a look at the common manufacturing supply chain problems from COVID-19 (+ best practices).

The scope of concern with supply chains

A survey by the Institute for Supply Management in mid-March highlighted the concerns companies have about the risk to supply chains. Among the findings:

  1. Nearly 75 percent of companies surveyed reported some supply chain disruptions due to the pandemic
  2. 16 percent reported needing to adjust revenue projections by an average of 5.6 percent
  3. 57 percent reported longer lead times from Chinese suppliers, with lead times double compared to 2019
  4. Companies are predicting more severe supply chain disruptions beginning the second quarter of 2020
  5. 44 percent of respondents have no plan to address supply chain disruptions from China

Building supply chain resilience

Recent global supply chain disruptions have prompted industries to rethink their approaches to inventory management. The popular phrase for this is “building supply chain resilience.” Such supply chain models have the following attributes:

  • Forecasting to detect early warning signs of supply chain disruptions and prompt responses to shift production and sourcing accordingly
  • A diversified supplier base
  • Contingency plans to use backup suppliers
  • Understanding your suppliers’ supply chains and identifying issues in those second- and third-degree sources

“Unfortunately, with something like COVID-19, an epidemic that is affecting large swaths of the world and threatening to turn into a pandemic, even the best-laid contingency plans may prove inadequate,” noted Goker Aydin of the Johns Hopkins University Carey Business School in a recent article.

Technician writing on a clipboard next to machinery.

Manufacturers need integrated ERP solutions that improve inventory management to handle COVID-19 disruptions to the supply chain.

How ERP solutions help reduce the risk

Manufacturing ERP software helps manufacturers address supply chain risks with tools that allow for better collaboration, insights and integration with suppliers and partners.

With the Acumatica Cloud ERP, for example, your business can leverage an integrated inventory management solution. Here are some of the core benefits and features of the Acumatica Cloud ERP solutions:

  • Real-Time Visibility. Improve decision-making and customer service with real-time insights into available inventory, goods in transit, inventory costs and reorder quantities. These tools help reduce held inventory and optimize quoting and fulfillment
  • Automated Procurement. Identify the right times to reorder and eliminate manual inventory tracking with streamlined supply chain management tools. Customize your data fields, generate predictive forecasts and access real-time reports for deeper insights into your supply chain
  • Stock Traceability. Acumatica Cloud ERP provides inventory traceability at every stage with tracking based on lot and serial numbers. Granular features allow for subcategories and details such as location data and expiration dates to improve efficiency and reduce waste
  • Reduced Order Times. Automated sales order processing reduces delays and allows for rules-based management of multiple warehouse sites, returns and purchasing
  • Inventory Accounting. Avoid financial errors by connecting your inventory and accounting processes, with updated transactional records and on-demand documentation
  • Single Source of Data. With one source of information, you eliminate data silos and reentry of information, leading to fewer mistakes and better collaboration across the enterprise.

NexTec helps your manufacturing company select the right ERP and business software. Find out how Acumatica stacks up against the leading systems on the market in this free report.

Chalkboard with squares and a checkmark.

How to get compliance tracking right in manufacturing

By | Acumatica Cloud ERP, ERP, Manufacturing | No Comments
Chalkboard with boxes.

Are you still using outdated methods for compliance tracking?

The mere mention of the word “compliance” is enough to send many manufacturing companies scrambling. Just one bad inspection or audit could end up costing thousands of dollars in fines and fixes, potentially derailing your profitability and leaving a scar on your company image.

In a perfect world, a business could continue doing everything they’ve always done to remain in compliance, but seasoned leadership knows it’s not that simple. With ever-changing regulations and technology entering the workplace, companies must continually adapt to ensure they’re in compliance and promoting a safe work environment for all.

There’s no doubt that manufacturing companies must take compliance seriously. But how can you get compliance right the first time if you’re struggling to keep up with health and safety changes while juggling your normal day to day operations?

In today’s age of technology and automation, ERP systems are becoming a viable option for companies to keep a finger on the pulse of changing regulations. By tracking compliance automatically and gaining access to real-time data, companies can move forward with confidence and without the guesswork and labor-intensive manual processes.

What is compliance tracking?

Before we dive into specifics on ERP systems, it’s important to set the right expectations for compliance tracking and what it’s capable of.

By definition, compliance tracking is the process of organizing and monitoring compliance-related information and activities to ensure that no detail falls through the cracks. It oversees the completion of compliance requirements from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), as well as any progress that has been made toward achieving compliance. Ideally, it should also keep track of audits and inspections, both internal and external,

As regulations and requirements change, compliance tracking can keep you informed of these changes and help you better understand how to plan for tasks, resources, and timelines when moving forward.

The role of ERP software in compliance tracking

ERP.

ERP is becoming a desirable solution for compliance tracking.

Historically, the compliance tracking process was largely done by hand via paper files and spreadsheets, often resulting in major time investments and inefficiencies. But without a way to track progress over time and collect and manage data, there’s always a risk of overlooking critical details that could impact the company’s health and safety.

ERP systems have evolved in recent years, bringing improved compliance tracking features with them. As automation and the Internet of Things become more sophisticated and accessible, they’re being integrated with other legacy systems like ERP that can help you improve the wheel rather than reinventing it all together.

Focus on industry-specific regulations

Regulatory requirements fall into two buckets: general regulations and industry-specific regulations. As a rule, you’re expected to master all general regulatory requirements, such as those pertaining to clean water and air. Other requirements, such as the presence of a Risk Management Plan, are only required in certain industries.

Naturally, the best place to start mastering compliance is in your own backyard. An ERP system can help you track compliance requirements that matter and develop individual plans for each requirement to ensure ongoing compliance.

Gain greater visibility and control

By design, compliance gives you a direct view into your company’s performance on specific regulations. Compliance requirements look at every aspect of a particular process to ensure it meets or exceeds industry standards, from the materials you use to how you execute your processes. By housing all of this data in an ERP system, you gain instant insight into your business operations and can better determine where you need to make adjustments.

Protect your company’s data

Cyber security issues are on the rise, costing more than $45 billion in damages in 2018 alone. Cybercriminals aren’t just targeting banks and credit card companies, either. Small municipalities, health insurance companies, data companies, hotel chains, and the government have all been targets of security breaches in recent years, and no company should feel like they’re immune to such an attack.

As security issues become more serious, compliance regulations regarding data protection will also continue to evolve.

ERP systems are repositories for mountains of sensitive data, including credit cards, banking information, and even personal health information. But they’re also regarded as the first line of defense against cybersecurity threats, offering a full suite of tools that can help defend your company against potential breaches.

Endpoint security features take inventory of the devices that are allowed to access the ERP system, while user rights ensure that only specific people have access to specific information. Because of this high level of data protection, companies can trust that the data within their ERP system is accurate, reliable, and uncompromised.

Create a digital paper trail

Tablet.

Get data-driven insights into your compliance activities.

Companies who have historically performed compliance tracking by hand may have had a literal paper trail of their activities, but there was no easy way to track this data over time and use it to develop deeper insights.

As a general rule, compliance tracking is all about being able to answer the questions of who, what, and when, with confidence. Who made changes? When were these changes made? Why were they made? Who approved these changes?

ERP software allows companies to digitize their compliance requirements and provide a single source of truth for everyone to work from, even if they’re in different locations. Every activity is properly documented and can be traced back to individual users to provide greater transparency where it counts.

Mitigating risk for manufacturers

When we think of the relationship between compliance and risk, costly penalties and losses often spring to mind. Organizations may face steep fines or expenses if they fail to act in alignment with regulations and laws.

But more importantly, the level of risk to health and safety increases when companies don’t comply with what industry regulations deem acceptable. Remember, regulating bodies have the research and numbers to justify changes in regulations. These changes aren’t made to make the lives of manufacturers more difficult, but rather to use newly available data to create a safer, more ethical work environment. Failing to comply with these changes could pose risks to your employees, property, and in some cases, the community at large.

In addition to monetary and safety-related consequences, failing to comply with regulations can also be viewed as an integrity loss. By its very nature, compliance requirements exist to ensure a company acts in accordance with what the industry has deemed fair, ethical, and safe. A breach in this regard is synonymous with a breach in the company’s own integrity.

Wooden blocks stacked up in a pile.

Risk can take many forms

Having a reliable, fail-safe way to track compliance helps manufacturing companies to mitigate each type of risk. Instead of performing manual calculations and data entry (both of which are prone to human error), users can leverage automation and data tools that do much of the heavy lifting for them and remove much of the guesswork from compliance-related activities.

What can compliance tracking do for your business?

Clearly, the greatest benefit of tracking and improving compliance is the peace of mind that comes with maintaining your high standards. Companies may find it easier to achieve greater business objectives when their processes are accurate, up to date, and not at risk of attracting negative publicity from regulatory agencies.But the benefits extend to other areas of your operations, particularly where your bottom line is concerned.

Reduce costs of compliance

Keeping up with compliance requirements is nothing short of mind-boggling. It takes a great deal of time to bring your team up to speed, implement changes, and ensure that other processes still work in spite of these changes.

Using an ERP system for compliance tracking can help you manage these changes at scale to reduce the associated costs and burden. Employees can rely on a single source of truth and know exactly what is expected of them, helping you tackle compliance with greater efficiency.

Maximize internal resources

When employees can spend less time figuring out compliance, they can free up their time to work on other business objectives. And given that time is money, ERP compliance tracking helps you save some of both.

Contribute to a stronger corporate culture

Two colleagues wearing white hard hards and looking at a tablet.

A culture of compliance leads by example.

Companies that focus on maintaining compliance often build health and safety into their company culture, and that doesn’t go overlooked by employees. In today’s modern workplace, a steady paycheck isn’t always enough to attract and retain top talent. Rather, workers also appreciate when a company invests in new technology that makes their jobs easier.

When companies appear to have their workers’ best interests in mind, employees hold the company in high esteem and may be more productive and engaged.

How Acumatica can improve compliance tracking in manufacturing

It’s not just a matter of implementing an ERP system to help you manage compliance, but rather choosing the best platform that will help you continue meeting short and long term objectives. Before you make the move to a more streamlined system, it’s important to understand what compliance looks like in your company and industry, define your goals for tracking compliance, and set realistic expectations for how it can transform your company.

As a leading Acumatica ERP vendor, NexTec has the skills and expertise to help you explore your ERP options that will make the biggest impact in your company. Schedule a consultation today and discover how the right ERP system can help you improve compliance tracking in manufacturing.

Learn more about Acumatica ERP here.