Adding Kanban

Author: Paul Henriques in: Business Solutions

Adding Kanban

April 23, 2023

You need an ERP. Discrete manufacturing in the 21st Century requires a strong central data authority. Most Industry 4.0 systems require that all-in-one database to send and receive data. So, to keep up with competition in a global economy, to maintain that higher level of staff productivity that is required in a time of staffing turmoil, to keep your customers happy… You need an ERP.

This part is easy. Unlike with other industries, there is a glut of choice available to you. This, however, actually ends up increasing stress. The problem of too much choice. So, you look for lists and comparisons, and word of mouth, etc. Perhaps you’ve seen some posts on social media. But you are still left with the problem of who to choose.

As a discrete manufacturer, you want to ensure that the roots of your chosen ERP are in manufacturing. A company and a team that personally understands your problems and how to solve them. This means that when you are shopping around, you want to ensure that your ERP isn’t just some thing that can run a retail big box store, but rather, knows the ins and outs of nesting, powder coating, machining, assembly, packaging, shipping, quality control, and all the other little parts of your business that you are so accustomed to that you don’t even realize that they set you apart.

Being Lean

This leads to what is often the first roadblock on the way to a more successful ERP. For decades now we’ve seen the Lean methodology in action as it drastically improves productivity, efficiency, and quality in our shops.

The problem is that there is no small amount of ERP systems out there that tout their credentials while having nothing in place to help with the simplest of Lean processes, like:

  • Performing process audits
  • Using Kanban cards
  • Assembling Kaizen Blitz teams
  • Forecasting customer demand

Managing Lean Resources

It should be noted that there are firms that found that with a better ERP, they no longer need some of these systems, but often to get to that point, it’s good to have the option available to ensure a smoother transition.

The truth is that while some will tell you that the pull system that is part of Lean and Kanban cannot be part of the push system of an ERP/MRP. But this is not the case. With better software, these things are very possible. A Kanban card-ready ERP system can more than assist you in managing your inventory while generating a usable purchasing plan.


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  • Paul Henriques

    Paul Henriques is the current Manager for the Documentation and Training team at OnRamp Solutions Inc. Paul has over 15 years of experience in writing training material and documentation for various software companies. Having had to learn OnRamp ERP to better document it’s features and write training material; Paul is constantly stunned by the amount of thought that goes into each feature and the capabilities that are within the program, with features for all the various business units of a manufactory. Paul spends most of his free time keeping up to date on all the latest news and best practices for the manufacturing sector. Paul’s favorite manufacturing quote: “There is one rule for the industrialist and that is: Make the best quality of goods possible at the lowest cost possible, paying the highest wages possible.” – Henry Ford

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