How an ERP system can remove constraints to
growth for proven specialised and custom
manufacturers

Custom manufacturing businesses are complex and unique. To enable growth and remain relevant and competitive, they need a system that meets the challenges of a truly custom environment.

The complex world of custom manufacturers

Custom manufacturers operate in a truly complex and unique environment, one that’s constantly evolving. Instead of mass production manufacturing, the more ‘job-based’, customised outputs you produce require more than a standard solution for managing workflows and processes. This is because the customised products you're manufacturing require additional fine tuning when it comes to each production run. 

As customers increasingly demand bespoke or specialised products rather than mass-produced outputs, the opportunities for these manufacturers are significant.

But, not all ERP systems are designed to handle the complexities of custom manufacturing processes and the experts implementing them are not experienced in custom or specialised manufacturing.  As such, many in the industry find themselves becoming ‘time-poor’ with no time to focus on growth or to stay ahead of competition

thisisengineering-raeng-lx8CooX66ms-unsplash

 

Focussing on the systems that facilitate efficient business processes is what buys you that time to grow.

Many ERP systems are based on  repetitive or series production and assembly line concepts, but custom manufacturers find that when they're delivering custom products, nothing can be thought of as  'repetitive or series'; instead, there are several steps that are critical to success at the beginning of each project. It's not about cloning repeatable processes, as custom manufacturers will attest to, as no two jobs are the same.  Each job or project requires individual planning, and manufacturers need a system that can also handle the changing customer demands that so often come with custom products.

The quality of the customised products you manufacture is, obviously, critical as is having a great team of employees and a comfortable level of working capital. But if you’re serious about major growth and expansion, an organised and systemic approach is critical. That's why you need an ERP system that can handle the unique and complex challenges that your business faces.

Endeavour 3D cover - No time eBook (1)

No time to grow?

This eBook is for custom and specialised manufacturers looking to streamline their operational and business systems to continue to maintain and stay ahead of competition.


 

Download it now

Ask some hard questions

There are any number of reasons that your current systems could be detrimental to the growth of your manufacturing business. Key to understanding this is recognising that you need a solution that’s capable of managing the complexities of what you do – your workflows aren’t rinse-and-repeat.

If you’ve been worrying that your business is stagnating, and that you seem to be working longer hours without anything to show for them, you and your management team need to sit down and consider the following:

  1. Should we be hiring more staff to cope with demand?
    One of the most common problems custom manufacturers face is when their staffing is at capacity, but they’re wondering if there are smarter ways to deal with an increase in demand than simply adding more people. If your employees are feeling burnt out and overworked, their productivity is going to decline and this will be reflected in the quality of the customised products you’re manufacturing. What’s needed is a solution that streamlines your workflows, thereby reducing the stress on your team.
  2. Do we have proper documentation around processes?
    This is a problem that often crops up when someone’s on leave, or moving on, and all the processes around their role are locked in their head, not documented. It’s essential to have clearly defined processes that are available to everyone through documentation.
  3. Are we using too many workarounds?
    What happens when issues crop up around busy times – and most custom manufacturers are busy all the time – is that issues are temporarily resolved with a workaround that will fall apart under increased pressure. In the custom manufacturing industry, processes are developed organically, and sometimes they’ll be at odds with your current software, meaning you’re not maximising or properly utilising what you have.
  4. Are customers and suppliers demand increasing?
    Ask yourself if you and your team are spending more and more time dealing with customers and suppliers demands around core processes like reconciliation, shipping and invoicing. You want to avoid devoting chunks of precious time to admin tasks that don’t generate extra revenue.
  5. Are we making too many mistakes?
    A few errors are inevitable, but if you find yourself spending too much time chasing them up – the wrong product was shipped, the pricing was incorrect, the quality assurance wasn’t up to scratch – then the end result will be you wasting time correcting those errors and damaging your bottom line by having to issue refunds and replacements.

If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to any of the above, then your business growth is being hampered by out-dated systems. Not only that, but your staff are growing increasingly frustrated, your customers are losing confidence in you, and your profits are being impacted.

Having the courage to grow

This may sound odd, but sometimes business owners and their management teams are afraid of growth – or rather, what it takes to achieve it. Common fears include:

  • The pain of learning new technology – you know, deep down, that what you need to enable business growth is to move with the times and update your systems. But you’re worried about what it will take for you and your staff to learn a new system – especially if some of your employees have used a legacy system for many years and are stubbornly clinging to it, insisting it does what it needs to.
  • The costs of implementing a new system – no-one wants to spend a lot of money, but what you have to look at is the ROI associated with it. In the custom manufacturing industry, harnessing new technology is essential, because it means gaining a competitive edge and remaining relevant. Investing in a new system that will streamline your processes, make your employees lives easier and speed up productivity will have a positive impact on your profit margins.

Think of it this way: if you’re a business owner that has outdated systems – or no systems at all – then you ARE the business. Which means that how much profit you generate is entirely down to how many hours you put in. If you want to increase your profits, you’ll need to work longer hours. And so will your team.

Is that really how you want to move forward with your business?

 

115764-128

TOP TIP

Talk to your employees about the above questions. Find out if they are experiencing frustration or are worried about burnout. Get their thoughts on their dealings with customers and suppliers and if they would like a better way to handle demand and streamline their admin tasks.

Flooring leaders have efficiency covered

Belgotex design, make and distribute high-quality broadloom, carpet tiles and needle-punch with custom solutions available. They are a member of the multinational Belgotex International Group, and have outlets in Auckland and Christchurch, and a Distribution Centre in Auckland.

Belgotex-1When Endeavour and Belgotex initiated their working relationship in 2011, it was to move from their previous software solution to MYOB Greentree, one of 3 main ERP systems Endeavour supplies for custom manufacturers. The outcome of this implementation provided significant benefits in terms of gaining measured efficiencies and streamlining processes.

In 2015, Belgotex implemented Warehouse Bin Management (WBM), a module within MYOB Greentree, to further improve on their stock location identification and tracking and in 2017 took this even further by making use of the WBM scanning technology to further automate their stock movement tracking.

It's also been favourably embraced by the staff, with even the fiercest critics now enthusiastic advocates.

They now have:

  • Improved accuracy and efficiency with their freight integrations
  • Improved stocktake performance and strengthened stocktake integrity
  • Invoice dispatching - there's been a 20% increase in the number of invoices going out
  • On-time delivery performance has been greatly enhanced
  • The culture of the company has changed, with staff feeling like they can make changes that will improve their productivity.

READ THE CASE STUDY HERE

What’s the answer?

There’s no secret or trick to it, and you’ll have worked it out by now – what you need are systems that can streamline your highly unique business processes, iron out inefficiencies, and create automation wherever possible.

When you implement the right ERP solution, you’ll be able to:

  • Remove manual and repetitive tasks and streamline your administrative workloads.
  • Define and simplify processes using modern, intuitive software.
  • Invest in scalable systems and free your staff to undertake more value-add functions.
  • Help operational parts of the business work together – by capturing, storing and sharing information.
  • Make sure that internal processes are properly defined, and don’t evolve organically.
  • Create documentation that means your business will continue to run smoothly when an employee is on leave or handing over a role.

If you think back to the initial questions asked in the section above, you’ll see how you can resolve them. By streamlining the administration of your business, you’re enabling your staff to spend more time focused on what they do best, rather than having to devote a large chunk of their day to admin tasks. This will reduce the need to increase your staffing capacity, reduce errors and improve the quality of the custom products you’re manufacturing. Not only that, but having the right systems in place, tailored for your business, mean that you’ll achieve scalable – or ‘manageable’ – growth, and your business will be running to maximum efficiency.

aurelien-romain-DB_q6rPFnBM-unsplash

What kind of systems suit custom manufacturers?

We've worked with both custom or specialised manufacturing and engineering businesses to implement an ERP solution that's aimed at improving their efficiencies and streamlining their business processes.

MYOB Greentree, one of the 3 ERP systems Endeavour supplies, for example, has been the solution of choice for a number of these businesses, because it targets a number of key areas specific to custom manufacturing and engineering companies.

Since going live, our engineering and custom manufacturing customers have gained efficiencies in these areas.

Quote templates
These capture standard items, labour and costs for similar jobs to enable cloning of templates each time a new quote is required. This minimises data entry, which in turn reduces or even eliminates errors. The templates ensure accurate pricing for quotes, hence protecting margins.

Once a quote has been accepted, a job can be created with just the press of a button. Again, this ensures not only data accuracy, but that data entry is required only for any overrides.

Inventory tracking
As products go through an engineering process, the transformation of that product from one form to another can be accurately tracked and costed to ensure correct identification and costs. For both engineering and manufacturing businesses, there are:

  • Multiple units of measure – these are required to provide greater flexibility in both purchasing and selling functions, as well as the ability to buy or sell in different unit of measures (UOMs) to leverage on pricing and discounts.
  • Multiple warehouses, locations – flexibility to identify bulk storage, quality control or quarantine locations.

Job costing
A job that's been created from a quote will inherit all the details at the quote level. This eliminates errors generated by manual job creation. Additionally, timesheets are usually captured ‘on the job'.

For jobs that are done remotely, real-time data capture can be easily done via browser extensions and/or mobile app extensions, hence ensuring online real-time updates of related costs to the specific job.  These browser extensions and/or mobile app extensions can also be utilised to facilitate purchase order creation should additional parts and/or consumables be required for the particular job. Optional approvals routings can be set up for such purchases to streamline the flow of data and processes.

Service requests
These are scheduled online so that the appropriate resources are allocated to the relevant service or job, the relevant service person will be notified by email, ensuring prompt response to the service request and timesheets can be entered ‘on the job’ to ensure prompt update and invoicing.

Financials and reporting
Financial information from the above operational modules integrates directly into an ERP system’s financial modules,s resulting in reduced time required to process month-end activities, and ensuring financial reporting is timely and accurate. Not only that, but:

  • Flexible report writers in the ERP systems supplied and supported by Endeavour cater to different reporting requirements, such as financials and non-financials reporting, web-based queries and reports
  • There's also embedded Business Intelligence analytics and reporting features in these ERP systems for enhanced visualisations of KPIs, using dashboards

As award-winning MYOB Partners and ERP specialists, Endeavour helps various manufacturing and wholesale distribution companies identify and solve their business information challenges. We’d love to discuss how we can help to 'join the dots' by empowering your business with quality, real-time information. 

 
 

Solutions designed to meet your unique needs and enable faster growth

The phrase “too much to do, too little time” is one that’s all too familiar to the owners of a custom manufacturing business and their management teams. It’s a problem that hampers growth because it prevents you from working ON your business instead of IN it – another commonly-heard saying.

We’ve entered a new decade, one that’s expected to see custom manufacturing business take on more orders and experience higher growth. Mass customisation is becoming a reality, and that presents challenges of how to manufacture increasingly complex products without costs multiplying, staff being overworked, and confusion around processes.

Endeavour 3D cover - No time eBook (1)

To remain competitive and meet these new and increasing demands, you need an ERP system that allows you to design, engineer and manufacture with greater efficiency, while enabling you to manage your unique environment.  Formalising your business processes and implementing any one of the three mainstream proven ERP solutions that Endeavour supplies for custom manufacturers, will undoubtedly increase productivity, streamline processes and, most importantly, enable growth.

 

Download this complete guide to learn more about how your contract manufacturing business could be achieving faster growth.

 

 

Download the guide to enabling growth for your custom manufacturing business

Request a consultation about the right ERP for your business

LET'S TALK