In the past several years, a huge number of businesses in different industries have moved to at least begin the process of adopting ERP. And in doing so, they have significantly increased their chances of having some of the processes within their organization run more smoothly. However, some experts have expressed concern that while ERP adoption is on the rise, companies may not be using these options to their fullest potential.

A 2014 poll found that nearly half of all businesses planned to move their ERP systems into the cloud by the end of 2019, and that's a good indication of where many manufacturers are heading as well, according to a report from Search Financial Applications. And the speed with which that adoption is taking place might actually outstrip those initial expectations now that nearly two years have passed since the survey took place.

What's so helpful?
Decision-makers like the flexibility the move to the cloud provides when it comes to checking in on processes from anywhere on the shop floor, or even off-site, the report said.

"Over the last 18 months, we've seen a huge shift as [chief financial officers] start to see the benefits of putting point solutions in the cloud," Lisa Pope, senior vice president of cloud sales and strategy at a cloud-based ERP system vendor, told the site. "Now that they've started to get comfortable and are seeing better service levels and reduced costs, CFOs are saying, why not do the same for core ERP and take it to the next level?"

Going mobile
Indeed, one of the big selling points of cloud-based ERP is the ability to monitor operations with mobile devices, which continue to grow in popularity for both personal and professional use, according to CIO Magazine. And in fact, one of the most important features decision-makers like when it comes to mobile ERP is that they can be connected with ease to other machines to speed up everything from the physical inventory count to time tracker software that otherwise would consume significant amounts of man hours. Something as simple as turning a smartphone or other mobile device into a barcode or QR code scanner can boost factory floor efficiency and also reduce inventory errors.

Of course, how each company can benefit from implementing the various aspects of ERP, and using them on an ongoing basis, can vary widely. Before decision-makers take the plunge on any particular aspects of their planned ERP systems, it's vital they take a look at their operations to determine the best path forward. That, in turn, can help them to hit the ground running once they do adopt this type of software, giving them additional flexibility and ensuring they're going to get as much as possible out of the technology.

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.