ERP ROI: Make Better Decisions

One of the primary benefits of any ERP system is decision support. We might think executives make the important decisions. In fact, people at every level of the business make important decisions throughout every day. Use your ERP to help guide every user to the choice that leads to an optimal payoff for the enterprise.

Who makes decisions?

Manufacturing businesses make one common decision many times daily: What job should I work on next? Marty just finished welding parts together which was his assignment in his company’s ERP. He worked on operation 30 of job 123. Marty next will clean up his work area and check this morning’s dispatch report to see what the next job to work on is.

A decision example

It is 9:15 in the morning. The dispatch schedule says he should start now on operation 15 of job 126 and he is right on schedule. But the material for job 126 is not yet at his workstation. What does Marty do next? He sees that two other jobs are there right now with all the materials he needs to complete his operation. Marty makes a decision now to work on job 155, which is the easier of the two jobs. He sets up his tooling and begins welding on that job.

Marty needs a way to check the ERP and get real-time information. ERP might tell him to start on the job that was running late. ERP could also tell him to wait three minutes for some other job that is on a fork truck right now and will be on hand at his workstation in only a few minutes. That job on the way is far more critical to the company for Marty to weld. Let ERP help Marty make the best decision for the whole enterprise.

What needs to be done?

We can easily insert job priorities so that jobs for premier customers are scheduled ahead of other jobs when there is a tie. But, too few businesses harness the ERP power they could. A typical production job will have several different operations, each one scheduled for a block of time. The jobs will be moved from workstation to workstation between each operation. At any workstation, the operator will probably have another job in process when the next job arrives so there will certainly be some queue time added into the schedule. Every one of these factors are estimated.

Let your ERP use facts instead of estimates as the jobs progress. One operation is on the schedule to start at 8:25. However, the parts show up ten minutes late and work only begins at 8:50. Run the ERP scheduling engine again and shuffle the schedule for this and all other work based on facts mixed with assumptions. Every time any operation starts or completes work, reschedule all work using new actual times and the schedule will improve.

Only a simple change in processes can make this ERP power available. Your scheduling engine probably is set to run once a day. Reset the timing to run every five minutes and your result can improve.

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