A common misconception about Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software is that one solution is as good as another. This “one-size” approach does a disservice to your process manufacturing business. The system you invest in and the support the ERP software vendor provides should be tailored to your batch process manufacturing operation.
ERP software is a single-source, business management software solution for manufacturers that seamlessly links critical departments and information, and makes your entire operation visible in real-time. Through an integrated business intelligence (BI) solution, the ERP software also collects, stores, manages, and interprets your critical data to be used in the analysis, reporting, and decision-making.
Discrete manufacturing uses instructions to assemble countable products, all of which can be disassembled into their various parts. However, process manufacturing is different. Process manufacturers use complex formulas and recipes to produce items in batches (chemicals, cosmetics, drugs, food, nutrition products, paint, etc.), and these cannot be deconstructed. Thus, the very nature of your process manufacturing business calls for ERP software designed specifically for your needs.
These needs include, among others: securing storage for your complex formulas/recipes, testing new formulas/recipes, creating consistency in batches, supporting co- and by-products, and monitoring quality control (QC). QC functionalities that would benefit your operation include the ERP’s ability to: assist with current good manufacturing practice (cGMP) regulations, generate customized Certificates of Analysis (COAs), help with pedigree tracking, and issue reminders and create reports for various regulatory agencies, such as EPA, FDA, GHS, HAA, and USDA, to name a few.
Your business and how it functions are unique to you. Increased efficiency, productivity, cost savings, and profitability are the benefits you can expect from ERP software. However, this is going to configure differently between small, medium, and large process manufacturers. For example, you may be a small manufacturer spending too much time tracking information manually via spreadsheets, which are prone to errors. You also might find yourself on a tight budget.
Your manufacturing operation may be medium-sized and needs to consolidate various legacy systems into a comprehensive single-source solution. Or you might be a large manufacturer, with subsidiary companies and offices overseas, forecasting to make a major investment to assist with your communication and workflow across many diverse locations, including working in the cloud. The ERP software you choose to invest in will need to address your specific strategic needs.
Strategically, ERP software considerations may also vary based on experience. A start-up’s challenges are very different from that of an established manufacturing enterprise.
Other ERP Software considerations
Process manufacturers may need ERP software for various other reasons. One may want to better plan and implement LEAN manufacturing while another wants to become “greener” internally by reducing paper waste and cutting paper costs. Another may want to evaluate and better allocate its human resources, materials, and equipment. Finally, ongoing and serious concerns for process manufacturers are better inventory control and supply chain management.
Arionerp continues to be a leading mid-market ERP software solution provider for batch process manufacturers in the food and beverage, chemical and cosmetic, and pharmaceutical/nutraceutical industries. Over the years, we’ve worked with clients who were not well served by the software they’d purchased from other companies not suited to meet their process manufacturing needs.
Remember, “one-size” ERP software is a myth. Trust your investment to a company that designs and develops solely for your industry, and benefit from the insight and experience of experts who understand your unique needs––from lot tracking to formulation management to regulatory compliance.