Manufacturing in the U.S. is growing, according to the most recent research from financial data firm Markit. In fact, the sector is expanding at a rate not seen since May 2010, Reuters pointed out. In general, performance in the second quarter was high as well, meeting or exceeding measurements set in 2010, when manufacturers experienced their last boom. Many different positive indicators of operation, from overall payroll to new orders and total production, all increased to the benefit of those in the sector. Although businesses in different market segments may be experiencing more or less growth based on the specific needs of their area of expertise, the market as a whole is getting stronger.

This is good news for producers, but it needs to be viewed with the right mindset. Businesses need to make sure they approach this good news in the market with an eye on manageable expansion. One of the most effective tools that manufacturers can utilize is enterprise resource planning software, allowing businesses greater visibility into their production atmosphere and better efficiency in specific work floor practices. These range from more effective methods for recording employee work hours – especially important as more businesses are hiring new employees – to better inventory recording and control systems that reduce waste as well as time spent counting.

An even bigger advantage to consider
Of course, most businesses already understand the general benefits of ERP systems. After all, a majority of manufacturers use them. However, there's room to learn more and get better production out of an ERP system. Companies should consider the use of a modular ERP platform such as Microsoft Dynamics NAV, which can be configured to much greater extent and on a much longer timeline than standard, one-size-fits-all ERP. Aberdeen Group highlighted the fact that best-in-class companies using ERP were focused on creating a hub of information and connectivity more so than less-advanced competitors, so manufacturers that want to take advantage of the current market should make this a top goal.

Modular ERP makes enhanced connectivity possible by letting organizations choose the pieces that are the best fit for their unique needs, without requiring money to be spent on less useful pieces – a common problem with the all-in-one systems many businesses use.

To discuss Microsoft NAV solutions for manufacturing, join the Microsoft Dynamics NAV for Manufacturing LinkedIn group.