IT in Manufacturing: 5 Benefits of ERP

The origins of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), a software system designed to meet a company’s needs by merging its operational processes in a single application, can be traced back to the 1960s when software engineers identified a need for companies to centralize their computing systems, which mainly involved automating their inventory management and control systems.

By the 1970s, the tech world gave birth to what would become ERP’s predecessor and prototype, Manufacturing Resource Planning (MRP). A decade later, MRP became MRPII. Then in the 1990s MRPII evolved into ERP. Since manufacturing is ERP’s earliest beneficiary, the two are a natural fit. Manufacturing ERP software has also been used by other industries like transportation and automotive. Here are five ways ERP benefits manufacturing.

Streamlined Processes

An IDC Manufacturing Insights survey reported that 71 percent of manufacturers expect an escalation in market complexity, while 61 percent think it will lead to a jump in operational complexity. Manufacturing ERP systems seek to address the problems that come with an increasingly complex workplace by streamlining operations, improving functions like production, data entry and order fulfillment.

Cost Control

ERP software helps reduce operational and administrative costs using one source of real-time data. Knowing and understanding a company’s Key Performance Indicators, along with other pertinent information, is crucial to boosting manufacturing growth. Manufacturers with ERP solutions can proactively manage operations and prevent delays and disruptions.

Increased Flexibility

ERP systems also benefit the manufacturing industry because of their flexibility, their ability to adapt to a company’s individual needs. In fact, since manufacturing operations constantly evolve, ERP has a feature that allows for seamless adaptability.

Maintaining an Edge Over the Competition

Manufacturers often find themselves caught in a tug-of-war between two conflicting options: investing in an ERP system, which could require a major investment, and doing nothing while their competitors take advantage of the opportunity to improve their operations and remain at the front of the pack.

Inventory Reduction

Companies often call any excess inventory “safety stock“. Too much of it can lead to wasteful practices in such areas as warehouse employees, excessive paperwork, non-verbal communication, actual inventory counts and storage.

The Role of IT in the Retail Industry – Adapting to Trends

IT has a substantial role to play in the modern retail industry. This has been the case for a long time. However, the world of information technology changes quickly enough that individuals working in retail have had to adapt to various trends.

Mobile Apps for Retail Stores

Many experts today are now urging all retailers to create apps that specifically pertain to their products and even their store locations themselves. This is one of the biggest trends with regards to IT in the retail industry. All of these apps are incredibly different, however.

RetailSome makeup stores will offer apps that enable users to test products in advance in a whole new way. Some of the apps will offer customers convenient discounts right at their fingertips.

People can use apps in order to get a sense of where different items are located and whether or not they’re currently available. As such, there are apps that will truly help people overcome some of the most frustrating parts of shopping in the first place.

Cloud Computing in Retail

Thanks to cloud computing, it is much easier for retailers to consistently monitor their inventory. They can quickly get a sense of what they have in stock and what’s going on with orders. Losing large amounts of data is much less likely in the era of cloud computing. While this makes the technical side of the equation easier, it also means that retail workers can place more emphasis on customer service.

IT helps improve efficiency in the retail industry. The retail industry may also be able to fulfill more of its primary objectives thanks to modern information technology trends.

IT Breaking Further into the Retail Industry

Purchasing Technology

With increasingly mobile companies, there is a greater need for technology that works for various areas. The following are some of the areas where technology is arising within small and large businesses alike:

  • Checkout – This is probably one of the most obvious as mobile card readers are now able to plug right into a headphone jack on a mobile device or even sync remotely with Bluetooth. Even product selection on-screen has become simpler, making this a preferred option to even regular registers.
  • Customer Tracking – Many checkout services also include options to add customer information for later billing or rewards programs. As a business grows, it works to retain customers and build a strong community of regulars. Easily integrated rewards programs are appealing to both the business and the customer.
  • Inventory/Ordering – After proceeding to checkout a customer, businesses with actual products need a means of tracking what they have used or sold and what they need to restock. Having one device to meet a company’s needs not only simplifies, it saves time and money where multiple platforms were previously required.
  • Budgets – Having everything run through one device makes it easier to work on company spreadsheets and track every penny in and out. With a business, the last thing anyone wants to worry about is why the numbers aren’t adding up. Anything that needs printing can also be done via wireless printing.
  • Human Resources – When a company reaches the point of needing more than one employee, the same device is able to schedule and track hours. Even plugging in sick or vacation days is a breeze.

With the ease of using mobile devices, some fear that they could “lose everything” if the device is lost or destroyed. This can be put to rest with the ability to back up the device. One of the more popular options is to use a cloud database because of the accessibility from almost anywhere.