be reaching an inflection point in their slow but steady march toward
modernization of their planning, production, and accounting processes,
according to some recent researches.
For example, Software
Advice, an online marketplace and evaluator of business software, surveyed more than 2,000 manufacturers over
the past year about their software buying plans and found that the majority —
60% — are in the process of replacing their old paper- and spreadsheet-based
methods of tracking production with software systems. The other 40% were
already using some type of automation. The top reason for replacing manual
methods with software: improving efficiency, chosen by 64%.
are looking toward their ERP systems, more specifically cloud ERP systems, to
help spur that efficiency. Industry analyst firm Gartner Inc. has predicted that 47 percent of
manufacturers worldwide will be using or piloting Software as a Service (SaaS)
applications by 2015, up from just 2 percent in 2012, a growth of 2250% (yep,
over two thousand percent growth).
manufacturers are often perceived as being slow to invest in IT, progressive
companies are investing in next-generation cloud solutions and finding that a
comprehensive suite of business applications are available without heavy
investments in servers, data centers and IT personnel. Indeed, according to
Software Advice, there is a specific set of manufacturer seeking to consolidate
multiple applications into a single system. Of manufacturers replacing their
existing software, 30% were doing so because it was old, outdated or
unsupported, according to Software Advice. The efficiencies that can be
realized with a new system are tremendous and mature, proven cloud ERP systems
make implementing a new system without a huge upfront investment easier than
Some of the
benefits of moving to automated manufacturing systems, according to the Software
Advice report, include: better planning and resource allocation thanks to
improved insight into the actual costs of inventory, labor and equipment; the
elimination of waste and scrap thanks to planning and tracking capabilities;
and easier, quicker production of compliance documentation for manufactures
subject to regulations on their output or raw materials.
comprehensive suites — end-to-end, integrated manufacturing suites that combine
front-end estimation and planning with work-in progress management capabilities
and back end accounting functions — offer additional efficiencies. They can automate
complex analysis and tasks that would otherwise require time and labor to
accomplish. That includes tasks such as converting an estimate into a project
budget, or matching invoices to project status when allocating job costs.
noteworthy trends from the survey: both cloud-based software and mobile access
are on the rise in manufacturing. The
reasons both relate to efficiency. Mobile devices on the shop floor enable
operators to enter data immediately into the system rather than having to write
it down and carry it back to a workstation. Likewise, cloud-based computing systems
such as NetSuite for Manufacturing are gaining popularity due to their lower
up-front and maintenance costs.
-Ranga Bodla, Director, Industry Marketing, Wholesale Distribution and
Manufacturing at NetSuite