ERP for Engineering Firms in South Africa
Engineering companies pose admin and operational challenges unlike other organisations; their complex business operations, multi-location, multi-currency, and multi-department structure often makes them difficult to manage. Thankfully, there is ERP software.
Engineers typically want to streamline the manufacturing process. ERP effectively automates many of these business processes, along with removing the need for spreadsheets, manual admin and data collection. ERP also removes the burden of monitoring stock levels, calculating material forecasts, and managing raw materials. This allows business owners to focus their time, and their employees’ time, on more profitable activities.
But First, What is an ERP system?
Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems are smart software applications that bring together an organisation’s core processes into one system. Historically, the massive costs and dedicated resources needed to operate these behemoth systems meant that only large, multinational organisations who could afford it reaped the benefits of ERP.
However, modern ERPs are typically not so cost-prohibitive, especially now that cloud ERP is more commonplace, making them ideal for mid-sized engineering organisations. ERP software includes logistics management, inventory management, production planning, production monitoring among other features, all in one system.
Signs Your Engineering Company is Ready to Move to Modern ERP
If you answer ‘Yes’ to any of these frustrations and concerns, then your engineering firm is ready for ERP.
- Siloed software. Your software and applications operate in isolation and do not communicate with each other
- Patchwork systems. You have many patchwork applications for each business function and/or department
- Incoherent data. You have difficulty accessing important business information
- Lack of visibility. Nobody knows the status of a project or job
- Manual admin. Accounting and admin teams carry out time-consuming, manual processing of data into various system, often more than once
- Unsatisfied customers. You have a rising number of unhappy customers due to deadlines not being met
- Heightened anxiety. You have little to no clarity or control over your business as a whole
- Complex accounting. Only your accountant knows what’s going on with your finances
If any of these signs are evident in your company, then it may be time for you to consider implementing ERP software.
1. ERP Benefit 1: Manage Your Entire Business on One System
One of the key benefits of a modern ERP solution is the ability to manage your whole business in one system.
The typical structure of an engineering ERP solution is made up of these main functional categories:
- Manufacturing management
- Inventory management
- Purchasing management
- Quality management
- Sales management
An ERP solution like Sage X3 integrates all of these disjointed business functions into a single, communicative system, creating one version of the truth, in real-time, for your entire business to work from.
For example, when your sales team creates a sales order, your ERP system will automatically send a transaction to finance, produce a work order for the shop floor, update your inventory levels, and alert the purchasing department if they need to replenish the appropriate stock. If your ERP solution is integrated with CRM systems like Salesforce, or a design system like CAD, a single transaction updates those system seamlessly.
2. ERP Benefit 2: Scales with You as You Grow
As with all businesses, your engineering firm has growth plans.
However, changing software solutions in order to keep up with your rate of growth is disruptive and not ideal. Aside from your team having to learn a new system each time, your data could become lost or corrupt in all the migrations back and forth.
Cloud ERP like Sage X3 and Sage Intacct have removed this altogether as these solutions scale with ease, with minimum operational disruptions. This saves you time, money, and effort, and reduces operational interruptions.
3. ERP Benefit 3: Accurate, Rapid Decision-Making with Real-Time Data
No matter how diverse or complex your engineering group or organisation is, your ERP consolidates data with a few clicks of the mouse.
ERP facilitates the capture, processing, and analysing of masses of data easily. Be it multi-legislative, multi-ledger, multi-language, multi-location, multi-department, or multi-currency, every transaction from every department and location is housed in a single database. This makes it easy for decision-makers to pull the reports and projections needed to make quick, accurate business decisions.
4. ERP Benefit 4: Improved Collaboration and Productivity
With the removal of manual, repetitive admin tasks, paperwork, manual production scheduling, multiple spreadsheets, siloed applications, zero-clarity between departments and roles, ERP significantly saves employees valuable time, reduces human error, and increases productivity.
A complete ERP solution allows every business process to collaborate and interoperate in tandem with each other.
Compounded by the added confidence that data integrity, system automation, and streamlined business processes bring – characteristics synonymous with well-implemented ERP solutions – your team’s productivity will see dramatic improvement.
5. ERP Benefit 5: No More Taxation and Compliance Concerns
Many engineering companies find it difficult to manage the intricacies of taxation, regulation, and legislation requirements locally, let alone when over-the-border or international entities are in play.
Cloud ERPs with strong core financial capabilities, like Sage Intacct, help to reduce the complexities of taxation, and also effectively integrate and differentiate your entities, business units, legalities and finances, so that you can meet the regulatory compliance requirements exacted on your business.
6. ERP Benefit 6: Streamlined Operations
An ERP system is highly equipped to quickly process vast amounts of data. It also removes manual processes and human error. However, its design typically mirrors the existing operation models and workflows of an organisation – the good and the bad.
Implementing a new ERP system on old, legacy business processes will bring very little benefit to a company. Forward-thinking business owners take advantage of the analysis-period typically found in the early stages of a well-run implementation process to reassess the business’s processes and operations, and to validate what stays, what needs improvement, and what should be redesigned.
To do so, you need a business partner like T3T that comes with decades of experience in ERP implementation and business process optimisation. As more than an ERP implementation partner, T3T is well-versed in business best-practice in almost every segment and sector of the business world. Being able to suggest alternatives or solutions to your challenges, we help you get the most out of your ERP investment.
How to Choose the Right Software and the Right Partner
ERP implementations can be expensive, stressful, and time-consuming.
When deciding on a new ERP platform, an engineering company is making an investment in a product with a long life cycle, possibly longer than some production equipment.
If the right choice is made, the engineering firm will see a ROI for years to come.
Here is a quick guide to help you decide which solution is right for you:
- Does it provide full-house functionality?
- Does it provide mobile, anywhere access?
- Does it integrate well with other best-of-breed applications?
- Is it customisable or only configurable?
- How much customisation do we need for our unique business?
- Do the benefits justify the initial capital outlay?
- Does our ERP implementation partner have in-depth experience and expertise of the software, or are they learning at your expense?
- Over the life time of the ERP, can this ERP partner provide ongoing training, upgrades, support and development?
- Finally, do you like them? You will be working with your implementation partner for many months at a time during the initial deployment phase, so it helps tremendously if they are actually pleasant to work with.
Contact T3T for your Engineering ERP Solutions. Your local, friendly Sage ERP experts who gives award-winning implementation, deployment and support.