Many manufacturers have already adopted ERP in the past several years. But at the same time, there is a large number that has only just recently begun moving in that direction. As such, a lot of these firms likely have to evaluate a number of aspects of their current data collection to determine what they need from ERP, and how they're going to track it.

The benefit of ERP is that it automatically tracks data that many companies may spend hundreds of man hours putting into spreadsheets manually, saving both time and effort that could be put to better use for executives, according to Enterprise Apps Today. But making that initial step companies to look at how they use their current tracking systems. For instance, what data points are they entering into their various spreadsheets, and how closely are they tracking these issues? Is there information they would like to gather but can't given their current constraints?

Other big issues
Indeed, one of the issues some companies might face here is that they're collecting more data than they actually need, but then don't actually use it to improve their ongoing processes all that often, the report said. Because ERP is all about streamlining businesses, it's also important for businesses that are moving to adopt it to make sure they're streamlining their data collection efforts, like increasing physical inventory efficiency, to filter out as much noise as possible and boil things down to their bare essences.

It's also important for workers whose activity is actually being tracked to make sure they're up to speed with this kind of system, and what's required of them, the report said. The data that's collected is only as good as the collection process itself, and if some workers aren't tracking their efforts in accordance with what's needed, that can really cause problems for new adopters in particular.

Using the latest technology
When it comes to what are known as "legacy" ERP systems – those that have been in place for years – some companies are now struggling to get up to speed with the latest technology, but that wouldn't be a problem for new adopters. Wearable, or at least portable, devices that can better track employee movement could go a long way toward improving efficiency through ERP, according to a report from CIO. Scanners, smartphones, tablets, and more are now being integrated into existing ERP systems, but there are some growing pains in certain instances. For those that are just adopting ERP now, incorporating mobile data collection is obviously going to be much easier, and can be rolled into the overall cost with little difficulty.

The more manufacturers can do to make sure their ERP adoption goes smoothly, the better off they will be both as they get up and running, and in the long term. That's because the sooner efficient data collection starts, the sooner it will pay dividends.

Learn how to define your ERP strategy by downloading the white paper entitled "ERP in Manufacturing: Defining the ERP Strategy" from the Insight Works website.