In this blog series, we are looking at the role of ERP in the digital transformation initiatives for today’s manufacturer.

Not that long ago, ERP was an extremely cumbersome software, used only by those organizations that had the personnel and capital to integrate the solution into their operations. Today, it’s fair to say that ERP has become mainstream. In fact, it is considered by many manufacturers to be the key technology for their overall operations. Last year, we took a look ahead at how ERP would factor into digital transformation. Let’s look back at our predictions and see how we did.

Increased Accessibility

Last year at this time, the idea of “digital transformation” was still gaining traction as organizations grappled with the best ways to harness new technologies. As we progressed through 2018, it’s clear that leading companies have made strides in digitally transforming their businesses. We discussed how ERP was primed to overcome its reputation of having daunting implementation schedules and also being cost prohibitive for small to midsize firms.

In the example of Ebb Therapeutics, a medical device manufacturer, they selected the CloudSuite Industrial (SyteLine) solution in September 2017 and went live in February 2018, concluding a 5-month implementation and FDA validation process, months faster than the average ERP deployment for an FDA regulated firm.

In terms of overcoming cost barriers, Mastercool, an HVAC and automotive parts manufacturer, implemented Infor CSI ERP as a Cloud deployment, yielding significant costs savings and easier management of their overall solution.

Organizations of all sizes – including small and mid-sized manufacturers – will continue to find there are several options available for cost-effective ERP solutions with quicker deployment schedules.

More Integrated Systems

We mentioned last year how the conventional role of ERP as the “control panel” for manufacturers was evolving as we shifted to embrace Internet of Things (IoT) and other forward-looking technologies. We can safely say this was true last year and continues to take hold in 2019.

Clients such as Femasys, a medical device maker for the woman’s healthcare market, deployed a new ERP solution to facilitate the flow of information among a number of different systems and constituents, including suppliers, customers and healthcare providers. ERP is the linchpin in their efforts to connect everything and everyone in their ecosystem together.

Growth in Cloud ERP

The old connotation of cloud-based solutions as not scalable and secure is quickly becoming a thing of the past.  We predicted last year that cloud-based ERP would become a growing trend and we can confirm that to be true.

As mentioned above, Mastercool turned to cloud ERP when it became evident they did not have the resources to manage an on premises solution. With a cloud-based solution, they were able to streamline their operations while reducing their overall IT investment. Several other clients have also gone down this path to realize cost savings and easier overhead.

On-premise ERP systems will continue to have their fans when it comes to providing a high level of control, which is necessary for firms in highly regulated industries. But for manufacturers that are growing and opening new locations, cloud ERP offers a convenient and cost-effective way to ramp up their business, no matter where they are operating in the world.