What ERP modules are manufacturers making use of?

Only a third of UK SME manufacturers are reportedly satisfied with their current ERP system, but many aren’t making use of the modules directly linked to greater efficiency and business growth.

Digital Transformation Software Technology Computer ERP System BI Data - image courtesy of Depositphotos.
There is a chronic underutilisation of the kind of modules that can help firms more fully embrace smarter ways of working – image courtesy of Depositphotos.

A recent survey conducted by The Manufacturer and Oracle | Netsuite has revealed that many SMEs are struggling to understand and use their software to build a smart manufacturing environment.

When it comes to which ERP modules SME manufacturers actively use, top of the list – of course – is finance and accounting (80.7%).

Second is purchasing (68.4%), followed by sales order entry (58%), work in progress control & planning (56%), and capacity planning & master scheduling (54.4%).

Ask anyone with more than a passing acquaintance with ERP systems and these are the kind of functions they would flag up as being core aspects of the software.

Moving below the 50% mark CRM (42%) makes a surprisingly low entry, possibly indicating that many SMEs use a separate system for their CRM activity, suggesting potential software fragmentation and all the problems inherent in running a business with more than one software system.

The most serious issues, however, are revealed by the chronic underutilisation of precisely the kind of modules that can help organisations implement and more fully embrace smarter ways of working – i.e. those embodied by the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Plant maintenance, project management, business intelligence (BI) and analytics are the kind of activities that can draw on data from the shop floor to help build a more efficient and productive business.

Just one in five SME manufacturers are reportedly taking advantage of these ERP modules.

The same picture emerged when they were asked if their business used a PLM (product lifecycle management) system to collaborate internally between engineering and manufacturing functions – a mere 21% are set up to carry out this activity.

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