Manufacturing is all about getting the most out of every element of the production process, and many companies turn to ERP to help them do so. However, these systems have been around for years – or perhaps even decades in some cases – and while they've served their companies well in the past, many experts now recommend making an upgrade to the latest ERP technology. Doing so can serve to significantly improve processes even more, and most executives who make the move will typically see better results in a short period of time.

Part of the reason why modern ERP – which tends to be based in the cloud rather than on physical systems located at a manufacturing center – is so helpful for businesses that make the move to adopt is that the picture gets a lot bigger, according to a report from CIO Review. Now, not only do potential inefficiencies get spotted within one company, but all companies using the cloud platform. What that means is ERP software companies can determine whether an issue being experienced by one client is also a problem for other businesses in its field.

Why is that important?
If a problem is recurrent for multiple ERP customers, it quickly becomes something an ERP provider can potentially address in short order for all involved, even if all manufacturers haven't hit that particular snag, the report said. For instance, if four companies report a problem with increasing physical inventory efficiency, the ERP provider can determine whether this is an issue with the system itself and quickly move to address it so that other companies don't encounter the problem.

Prior to the cloud-based ERP solutions available today, there would have been no way for a company to receive this kind of help, the report said. While they may never know about problems for manufacturers on the other side of the country, their ERP providers will be able to use the information everyone's systems are acquiring on an ongoing basis and use that data to make the best possible decisions.

Leaving legacy behind
Another reason to adopt the latest ERP technology is that as time goes on, legacy systems can become major problems, according to CIO Insight. This is true not only because older software simply doesn't work as well as the latest versions, but also because legacy software can pose security threats and are more likely to simply stop working. In general, legacy systems will receive relatively few updates, leaving companies vulnerable to a host of issues as time goes on.

For all these reasons, perhaps the biggest impetus for executives to make the decision to upgrade is the kind of flexibility these latest systems provide versus their older alternatives. Not only will this allow companies to get a better handle on their production processes, but also access that data everywhere from the shop floor to the board room with ease.

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.