Many manufacturers have been using ERP software for years as a means of helping their operations to run more smoothly and efficiently. However, as new technology becomes available to manage those systems, more companies are making the transition. However, managers and employees should be aware of a few keys to success so their ERP systems do as much as possible to ensure a smooth transition.

The biggest thing that managers and other decision-makers will need to keep in mind when it comes to transitioning to a cloud-based ERP system is what they actually want out of the software in the first place, according to a report from CIO Magazine. Specifically, it's vital for them to consider how they use ERP now and what they'd like to accomplish with their new systems. Cloud ERP can do things that so-called "legacy" systems cannot, such as allowing for mobile warehouse inventory management or an automated time tracker that can seriously streamline efficiency.

Other things to consider
The reason cloud-based ERP systems are becoming more popular these days, particularly among smaller manufacturers, is that they don't require companies to make buying all the necessary equipment a major budget item, the report said. Instead, the cloud allows them to slowly ramp up their use of these systems as their needs grow and change, so that everything they do keeps them on-budget and ensures they're not going to run into any costs that are too difficult to overcome.

It might also help to do some research as to how other companies with similar needs are implementing their own new ERP systems, or have already done so, the report said. That kind of knowledge may help manufacturers overcome potential issues that were pitfalls to those who went before them, allowing for a transition without bumps and other pitfalls.

Nailing down the process
Meanwhile, it's also vital for executives to examine how these new systems will impact their employees, specifically when it comes to how usable it is, according to CIO Review. Making sure an ERP platform is something employees on the shop floor can utilize without difficulty – whether they're checking in to start the work day or conducting a physical inventory count – in addition to how decision-makers access that data will be crucial. It might also be wise to keep close tabs on the transition soon after adoption so that if unforeseen issues do crop up, they an be addressed as quickly and easily as possible.

The bottom line is that ERP can be a big help for those companies looking to streamline the production process and cost of operations. With this in mind, manufacturing businesses will have to look before they leap when it comes to ERP. They'll also have to consider where they've landed once they do so to make sure they're still on track to optimize their operations.

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.