Author: Paul Henriques in: Business Solutions
Manufacturing plants are facing a unique set of challenges.
Foreign competition is rising, staffing and production costs are not going down, and there is an increasing need to innovate and identify new ways to compete. That may sound cliche, but the landscape of manufacturing continues to evolve.
They say ‘old habits die hard,’ and for over a century manufacturing was a game of tribal knowledge. Companies with the best managerial leadership, and the most skilled workers, could dominate. But nowadays, that is simply not good enough, and here’s why…
The smartest business person cannot keep tabs on scheduling man hours, hiring / firing, shipping, receiving, inventory, machine monitoring, invoicing, and so on. On the other hand, the data accrued through a competent ERP software program will not only manage all of these processes, it will also forecast and predict optimal outcomes based on objective data. This allows smart business people to apply their skills in the best possible way.
This is important because intuition has no place in the modern manufacturing plant, and “I have a good feeling about this” is a highway to mediocrity – or worse.
So if we know that ERP programs provide the visibility and insights needed to make data driven decisions that design optimal outcomes, the question becomes this… How do you know which ERP is best suited to the interests of your manufacturing plant?
This is a question that plagued Art Church, the CEO of Mancor Industries, for a number of years. Church expended a huge amount of time, energy, and money testing different ERP solutions, but the outcome was always the same. These “off the shelf” ERP solutions did not cater to the unique interests of a manufacturing plant. They were not intuitive, and they were developed by software engineers that had never stepped foot in a manufacturing plant. They simply did not know, what they did not know.
Over time, Church and his team created workarounds and add-ons that were bolted onto the existing ERP, but the results were less than desirable. This is when Church had a new vision.
“We had over 50 years of experience in manufacturing, and at this point we had spent so much time building add-ons and new modules that we had the technical capabilities to build our own ERP program.”
“We had over 50 years of experience in manufacturing, and at this point we had spent so much time building add-ons and new modules that we had the technical capabilities to build our own ERP program. Perhaps most importantly, we knew exactly what was required from the ERP program for manufacturing plants – we knew how it should be,” Church said.
So they did, and Onramp Solutions was born.
Onramp Solutions is built by manufacturing, for manufacturing. Each aspect of the software has been meticulously tested and optimized to maximize the performance of a manufacturing plant. The end goal is to provide plant managers with unparalleled visibility into each aspect of the operation. This ensures that decisions are based on fact, rather than intuition and opinion.
But how does Onramp Solutions manage all of the disparate processes that allow a manufacturing plant to function?
It’s a fair question, and Onramp has a great solution. A customized solution featuring cloud technology.
You may have heard of “the cloud.” For some individuals, it is an abstract term that has them looking to the sky. While others may understand the idea of cloud solutions, but perhaps do not fully appreciate the business implications. So let’s break it down…
Imagine eliminating paper from your operation, while making every aspect of your business digitized and visible from anywhere in the world. That’s the cloud.
If you have 7 different manufacturing plants with hundreds of employees, cloud solutions will allow everyone to work collaboratively while having access to real-time data.
Alternatively, if you are a smaller localized operation, you do not need to be at the office to understand what is happening.
Essentially, cloud solutions eliminate the need to be physically present, and it allows manufacturing plants to go paperless.
Going paperless is typically associated with environmental benefits – and those certainly exist. But there are a wide variety of additional benefits that directly impact your business operation.
Historically, the process of shipping and receiving parts, products, and materials has required a great deal of manual labour. And once the manual labour is complete, you would have to manually enter all of the new inventory into a separate software system – but Onramp caters to this process.
So when the order arrives, the packing slip is scanned into the Onramp Solutions ERP, the parts are received and the inventory management module is automatically updated.
The visibility provided by Onramp is a massive benefit because you always know where the numbers are coming from, and human error is minimized.
Everything is linked, and if any materials are missing you can see who cycle counted something out, the value of it, and the reason for it.
As a quick example… The Onramp system says you have 100, but there is 50 on the floor. The cycle count program will look at all the transactions of that inventory, and it will allow you to figure out where something went wrong.
As the controller at Mancor Industries, MJ Renton oversaw the development of this portal to ensure Onramp Solutions catered to the exact interests of a manufacturing plant.
“The best thing is I can find out exactly what is going on without leaving my desk. For many manufacturing companies, if there was a receiving error i would have to go to the floor and see a packing slip. Now the program understands that information and it is at my fingertips”
“The best thing is I can find out exactly what is going on without leaving my desk. For many manufacturing companies, if there was a receiving error i would have to go to the floor and see a packing slip.
Now the program understands that information and it is at my fingertips,” Renton said.
This will save a great deal of man hours, but the program will also predict when materials are running short, and it can predict when parts and materials are needed to ensure your plant continues to run consistently, without stops or delays.
Onramp Solutions eliminates the need for manual inventory checks. Onramp will continually assess inventory levels in real-time, assess when materials need to be ordered and shipped, and react in real-time to the ebbs and flows of production. And the entire process is paperless.
Many businesses have accounting programs that are separate from their manufacturing processes. But when the two systems are tied together, you gain unparalleled visibility into the operations and finances of the plant.
Here is an example of how many businesses manage financial and operational workflow:
An employee or Manager determines that materials are needed, so a purchase order is created out of manufacturing software, and sent to the supplier. When the paper invoice comes in, it is given to accounts payable who inputs the data into their accounting software. When the materials arrive, the manufacturing software must receive the inventory, and the accounting software must reconcile the financial transaction.
The example above contains a minimum of six separate steps. Now let’s contrast that against the capabilities of Onramp Solutions.
The Onramp Solutions ERP predicts that materials are needed, and intuitively knows how many to order. Now there’s a purchase order created, but when you enter a vendor invoice it is connected directly to the vendor account. When the shipment arrives, it can be scanned into the system and the accounting department has a full view into the entire process – and they never have to leave their desk.
Everything is in one tidy clean dashboard with no back and forth between systems.
There is also a system of cheques and balances to verify the process – i.e the quantity of materials received matches the vendor invoice, purchase price matches up, anything you buy or sell matches up. You don’t have inventory in one system and customer invoice in a separate system – it’s all integrated.
This is simply a smarter way to operate, as any potential issues are mitigated. And the entire process is paperless.
Tax time can be stressful for manufacturing plants because there are thousands of incoming and outgoing transactions to organize, and prepare for scrutiny. With that in mind, year-end usually means that the controllers and accountants of manufacturing plants are rummaging through a cascade of filing cabinets verifying packing slips, invoices, signed bills of lading – on both the customer and vendor side. It’s a lot of work.
It’s a lot of work.
But Onramp Solutions eliminates this problem as every transaction that takes place throughout the year is organized into a tidy online dashboard. No more scurrying through files, no more sifting through filing cabinets, and you will never have to worry about losing important paper files – because there are none.
The Onramp Solutions ERP provides a simplified solution that will save a massive amount of time for your accounting team. And if you ever have to deal with auditors, the Onramp ERP will get them out of your hair in a hurry.
Like we previously discussed, old habits die hard, and some accountants feel a sense of comfort with paper files. So MJ Renton has a piece of advice for the old schoolers amongst us.
“Change can be scary – especially for accountants. The more mature they are, oftentimes they like to do things on paper. So going paperless can feel daunting even though all the information can be accessed through the system.”
“It can be a mindset issue,’ Renton said. “People are accustomed to doing things a certain way, so change can be scary – especially for accountants. The more mature they are, oftentimes they like to do things on paper. So going paperless can feel daunting even though all the information can be accessed through the system.”
So Renton has a suggestion.
“I tell them to put a box underneath their desk. Scan your packing slips and put it in the box. As long as they have the backup in the box, they are good. Use the Onramp Solutions system to find what you are looking for – and inevitably they realize that Onramp is way quicker and easier than sorting through a giant stack of paper. So it works as a security blanket, and eventually people get accustomed to the new normal, and realize that the Onramp system is quicker and more efficient.”
Going paperless may feel daunting, but you can certainly bridge the gap to ease into a new normal. And ultimately, the Onramp program is designed to make your life easier.
The Onramp Solutions team of ERP experts are currently offering free demos. To book a consultation: Please contact Onramp Solutions today!
For more information about how OnRamp ERP software can add value to your business fill in the contact form below. A member of our support team will contact you within 1 business day to discuss any questions you have.