Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) emerged years ago as an integrated software system to make manufacturing operations, shopfloor activities and front-office management easier and more efficient. Business owners and managers embraced ERP because they are faced with a series of important, urgent questions every day. ERP helps meet this challenge. It enabled them to make use of a centralized solution that holds company data in a single place, thus providing all of the information required for each department to carry out its role effectively. Depending on the product, ERP supports such functions as estimating and quoting, shopfloor scheduling, job tracking, purchasing, production and manufacturing resource planning, shipping, and financial management.
ERP systems have been available and were widely implemented long before companies began to think about data-driven manufacturing. Today, companies are looking at connecting machine tools and other devices to a computer network so machine-generated data can be collected for analysis and reporting. This data can enable shop managers to boost productivity and reduce downtime. In the meantime, manufacturers with an ERP system in place should re-evaluate the system as the essential forerunner of and foundation for emerging data-driven manufacturing concepts. Companies without an ERP system should consider migrating to one, especially as they eye a move to machine monitoring and shop networking.
However, the market for ERP systems is becoming more saturated. Whether upgrading a shop control system or installing ERP for the first time, businesses may find it difficult decide on the best options. This advice will provide sound guidance:
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