The Hershey ERP case study continues

Mapping ERP objectives to shop floor success

Why ERP technology is the key to continuous improvement in manufacturing

How the right ERP technology can help manufacturers succeed in 2019

4 production scheduling features every manufacturing ERP should have


Production scheduling is among the most important components of the manufacturing process. For this reason, firms embarking on the enterprise resource planning implementation journey often devote considerable time to assessing the production scheduling capabilities of potential solutions. This is often easier said than done, as this particular shop floor function encompasses numerous operational variables, from asset maintenance to human capital management.

However, adopters in the manufacturing sector are not doomed to wade through extensive ERP documentation looking for elements that might support production scheduling. There are some must-have platform features that have been proven to bolster this essential activity.

Here are four of those salient ERP features:

The scheduling module is essential to production planning success. While most ERP solutions come equipped with these mission-critical components, functionality varies. As a result, firms should pinpoint platforms with particularly robust scheduling components – most notably, those that facilitate backward and forward shop floor planning, according to IT Toolbox. This functionality allows operational stakeholders to define start and completion times, and develop reliable projections from both ends.

Material requirement planning
This feature enables shop floor leaders to assess the supply and demand for inventoried assets of all kinds using recorded and forecasted sales figures. This information is critically important to personnel involved in production scheduling, which makes MRP an essential ERP feature for modern manufacturing organizations, ERP Focus reported.

Business intelligence
Business intelligence adoption is strong in the manufacturing arena, where around 30 percent of companies have data collection and analysis tools of some kind in place, according to research from Dresner Advisory Services published in Forbes. Production scheduling is among the many functional areas that these innovative solutions support.

With this in mind, manufacturing firms navigating the ERP implementation process should search for platforms that either offer built-in business intelligence tools or integrate with industry-standard third-party options, according to ERP Focus.

Sequencing is absolutely critical to production scheduling success. Stakeholders at every step in the supply chain must be able to coordinate their respective activities in a manner that keeps the entire organization moving.

Routing components support this sort of large-scale planning, giving personnel in every department the top-down transparency they need to collaborate and ultimately facilitate success, IT Toolbox reported.

Is your organization on the hunt for an ERP solution with these key production scheduling features? Consider connecting with Accent Software.

As a certified Microsoft Business Solutions partner, we provide vendor-vetted Microsoft Dynamics NAV implementation services, which allow companies across all sectors to adopt quality ERP software designed to facilitate optimal production scheduling practices.

Contact us today to learn more about our products and services.

How quality ERP technology can improve inventory control operations


Inventory control is among the most pressing matters for businesses across all sectors – and for good reason. Both overstocking and understocking can create significant issues that hamstring shop floor operations and drag down the bottom line.

Countless organizations have begun investing in internet of things devices and other advanced technologies in an effort to streamline inventory control processes and reduce the likelihood of stocking mishaps. For instance, an estimated 80 percent of retail companies purchased so-called visibility platforms in 2018 to bolster their stocking strategies, the International Data Corporation found.

While these new tools can certainly make an impact, one long-standing tool that can support inventory management optimization at scale is an enterprise resource planning solution.

The original visibility platform, the ERP system gives enterprises the power to take control of their warehouses and implement inventory management strategies that both lay the groundwork for significant cost savings and facilitate the responsive stocking methodologies needed to keep production moving and customers happy.

Here are some of the ways ERP technology can improve inventory control operations:

Real-time inventory tracking
Inventory monitoring is a major problem for many companies, especially for those that attempt to use antiquated processes to track items spread across multiple sites. This ineffective strategy often leaves organizational stakeholders blind to the actual state of the stockroom.

ERP platforms, on the other hand, allow inventory management teams to track every consequential unit, from shop floor output to the spare parts used for maintenance operations, in real-time, according to IT Toolbox.

In-the-moment stockroom control
Businesses without up-to-the-minute insight into their inventories are often slow to identify and address stocking trends that damage the bottom line. Conversely, those with access to ERP technology can view outbound and inbound shipments as they progress through the supply chain, pinpoint potential inventory control issues and make adjustments to avoid financial repercussions, ERP Focus reported.

With this technology in place, enterprises do not have to wait for quarterly reports to make money-saving inventory adjustments.

Operational improvement monitoring
Many modern companies are pursuing continuous improvement as part of larger lean operational methodologies. This sort of work requires consistent goal-setting, stringent tracking and on-the-ground adherence. Unfortunately, it is all too easy to fall behind on these efforts as they relate to inventory management without a tool for overseeing improvement.

ERP platforms can facilitate such activities, allowing businesses to configure targets and track progress through automated data flows, according to IT Toolbox.

Together, the inventory management advantages that come with ERP implementation are too good to pass up.

Here at Accent Software, we help businesses reap these benefits. As a certified Microsoft Business Solutions partner, we provide vendor-vetted Microsoft Dynamics NAV implementation services, which allow companies across all sectors to adopt quality ERP software designed to bolster inventory operations.

Connect with us today to learn more about our products and services.

4 ways manufacturers can lay the groundwork for ERP implementation success


Success is not a certainty when it comes to enterprise resource planning implementation. In fact, approximately 28 percent of the organizations that pursued ERP implementation last year oversaw projects that ended in complete failure, according to research from Panorama Consulting Solutions.

Having said that, manufacturing firms can avoid this costly outcome by laying the groundwork for success through these four tried-and-true ERP adoption strategies:

1. Collect strong system requirements
Platform requirement collection is an essential component of the implementation process. Here, information technology specialists and other project stakeholders review operational workflows to determine salient system components.

Ideally, manufacturers engaged in this activity should not only consider existing administrative and shop floor practices but also take the opportunity to consider how new ERP technology might support process improvements, CIO reported.

Businesses that take this approach and select software that can grow with the organization often see the most return on investment – recipe for long-term success.

2. Pinpoint specialized solutions
Manufacturing firms have specialized operational needs that many one-size-fits-all ERP providers cannot meet. This is why implementation teams must seek out vendors that can not only deliver system functionalities made for the manufacturing space, but also understand how to effectively integrate new software into shop floor environments, according to CIO.

Firms that ignore this variable tend to put into place ill-fitting ERP software that reduces output and weighs down the bottom line.

3. Cultivate support in the C-suite
While on-the-ground ERP implementation teams have the biggest impact on project success, executives also play an important part. These business leaders can oil the skids for ERP adoption, leveraging their financial authority and organizational clout to help IT staff and project stakeholders from other departments overcome various internal obstacles, reported.

This assistance is critical for the vast majority of manufacturing firms experience some pushback during ERP installation. However, those that focus on engaging the C-suite often gain access to top-down solutions to such issues.

4. Train employees to manage change
ERP adoption can transform workplace culture, forcing employees at all levels of the operation to adjust how they approach their everyday tasks. While some professionals take this change in stride, others resist in an attempt to hang on to familiar workflows.

ERP implementation teams must account for both scenarios and roll out exhaustive training programs that not only help staff adjust to new operating methods but also provide guidance on system best practices, according to Deloitte.

By emphasizing change management through instruction, manufacturing firms can reduce internal resistance and get the most out of their ERP technology.

Manufacturers that leverage these ERP implementation best practices can set themselves up for sustainable success.

Accent Software can help manufacturing firms looking to transform their operations and find success via reliable ERP technology. As a certified Microsoft Business Solutions partner, we provide vendor-vetted Microsoft Dynamics NAV implementation services, which allow businesses in the manufacturing space to put into place best-in-class ERP software designed to facilitate organizational growth.

Connect with us today to learn more about our products and services.

Are designed ERPs right for manufacturing?


Enterprise resource planning implementation best practices dictate that adopters avoid pursuing solutions that require significant customization. An estimated 54 percent of the organizations that installed ERP platforms in 2017 followed these standards, putting into place software containing custom code modifications that encompassed one-quarter or less of the end product, according to researchers from Panorama Consulting Solutions.

The reasoning behind these guiding principles is sound: The more customization, the higher the implementation cost. However, a recent development has forced some to second guess this conventional wisdom.

In recent years, a growing number of businesses navigating the ERP implementation journey have turned toward so-called “designer” solutions, Clause Jepsen, an ERP architect and member of the Forbes Technology Council, explained in a recent article for the publication. These unique products are developed and deployed by internal information technology staff and include customized modules coded by third parties for use in specialized industries. As a result, many of the businesses looking into this technology function in the manufacturing space, where sector-specific ERP features are essential.

With that said, are designer ERP platforms really right for modern manufacturers?

Understanding the low-code revolution
Designer ERP solutions are products of the burgeoning low-code development movement, CIO reported. Programmers or software providers using this methodology leverage specialized platforms that give them the power to create applications and software suites in-house via visual tools instead of hard-coding techniques.

This methodology not only saves time and money but also supports the integration of custom, third-party solution modules that can enhance the user experience and lay the groundwork for further return-on-investment optimization.

In his piece for Forbes, Jepsen even previewed a potential future in which established ERP providers work with independent programmers to cultivate one-off solutions to meet the needs of organizations that require software designed to perform very specific functions.

Designer ERPs in manufacturing
For enterprises in the manufacturing space considering new ERP technology, many of which are also in the midst of digital transformation, this approach sounds pretty appealing. ERP deployment time and potential ROI are major concerns for these firms.

If designer solutions assembled through accelerated low-code development workflows and equipped with industry-specific components can have a positive impact on both of these variables, why not pursue them?

One good reason: an overwhelming lack of proof of concepts. Designer ERP solutions are still in the experimental stage, meaning few companies have even embarked on implementation, much less seen results.

While this methodology might prove fruitful in the future, manufacturers embarking on ERP adoption today should stick with reliable providers with proven records of success. Here at Accent Software, we help organizations in the manufacturing space do just that.

As a certified Microsoft Business Solutions partner, we provide vendor-vetted Microsoft Dynamics NAV implementation services, which allow businesses in the manufacturing space to put into place best-in-class ERP software designed to facilitate organizational growth.

Connect with us today to learn more about our products and services.