At this point, almost everyone in the manufacturing industry is likely to be aware of the benefits ERP can provide. However, many may only have a basic understanding of what these systems can do, and those opinions may have been shaped years ago. As a result, it might be wise for them to revisit the ways in which ERP can help them achieve their goals, and potentially alter their ideas about the improvements such software can provide.

One of the ways in which companies can now achieve greater success with ERP is by using cloud-based systems that allow them to be more versatile and nimble when it comes to dealing with problems that arise in real time, according to a report from Tech Target. However, many businesses also recognize that cloud-based systems that rely on more advanced devices aren't always easy to implement. Consequently, it's possible for them to find a middle ground that allows them to more slowly transition to the more updated options.

"If companies are not in the cloud – if they're running on-premises ERP – there are some hybrid steps they can take where they can put certain functions in the cloud," Cindy Jutras, president of the research-based consulting firm Mint Jutras, told the site. "Likely you have an on-premises solution and you need to extend it, and in extending it you need to look at the possibility of putting those extensions in the cloud."

Potential issues?
However, it's worth noting this means each company looking to upgrade or utilize ERP in this way will need to assess their own situations, the report said. The data from so-called "legacy" ERP systems that could be years old at this point can be transitioned to new systems, but some companies may find this more difficult to achieve than others, depending on a number of factors. The good news, though, is that in many cases, companies will be able to add features of an ERP system (an inventory management system, a time tracker, etc.) onto the framework they already have in place.

Another benefit
In addition, once implementation of the basic ERP software takes place, companies can also go about tailoring those programs to their own needs on an ongoing basis, according to a separate Tech Target report. This helps systems "learn" the best ways to work within the operations of a given company, and in turn provides more benefit to those that use the systems for long periods. The process here might take a bit of time – sometimes more than a year – but it will certainly put businesses in a better position to succeed as time goes on.

For all these reasons, the sooner manufacturers look into their options for adopting or upgrading ERP, including options for mobile data collection, the sooner they can begin to see the benefits to their bottom lines that these systems often provide.

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.