The Industrial Machinery and Equipment (IM&E) manufacturing industry faces some unique challenges, many of which have been around for some time. While generic ERP systems may be adequate for simpler manufacturing situations, IM&E requires a solution with strong capabilities for complex equipment specification and production, comprehensive quoting and estimating, integrated quality management, and meticulous traceability.
One of the leading industry challenges is the cost of generating quotations and improving conversion rates. A substantial amount of time is spent calculating costs to offer accurate quotations, resulting in a cost to the business – yet this is critical, as most work is won through the quotation process.
It’s quite simple really. Quote incorrectly and the business will perish through loss-making projects or insufficient work. To survive and increase the conversion rate, the business needs to be as accurate as possible when costing.
A further challenge is the increase in client demands on principal contractors, creating an expectation for sub-contractors to supply the necessary assurance that the quality will exceed minimum standards. As a result, sub-contractors are compelled to implement and maintain fully-fledged quality management systems.
These challenges offer businesses an opportunity to automate and significantly improve their processes by embracing various available digital technologies. Some of these include:
- The Configurator is a program that provides an automated online product design and rapid quotation system to the potential customer.
- MRP (Materials Resource Planning) is a system that focusses on enabling a careful material planning and ordering process that will significantly improve cost controls on a job.
- CAD Integration allows an organisation to access and print any drawing format as well as to work on drawings on their own CAD systems, speeding up the quotation process.
- Manufacturing and Operations Management (MOM) is powerful software that helps optimise factory output and reduce job costs. It balances loads between specialist and generalist equipment and specialist artisans, and increases overall efficiencies. This also means more accurate delivery dates through its ‘capable-to-promise’ functionality.
To truly exploit the potential of these solutions, and to bring their businesses into the 21st century, IM&E manufacturers need end-to-end integration across the entire business cycle, seamlessly delivered by an ERP system that understands and specializes in manufacturing.