Better decisions with visibility and collaboration

Manufacturers are continually challenged to:

  • Bring complex and customized products to market
  • Adopt new manufacturing methods and technologies
  • Balance supply and increasingly volatile demand
  • Manage resources and inventories to control costs

Agile manufacturers that can adapt to constantly changing conditions have the competitive advantage. Among the changes currently facing producers are the emergence of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and Big Data analytics; the proliferation of mobile devices and new “apps” that put more power into the hands of employees anytime, anywhere; collaboration internally and with the supply chain, ERP in the cloud; and more emphasis of end-to-end supply chain processes and systems, to name a few.

How will manufacturers conquer the demands for flexibility and collaboration without overlooking the operational excellence needed at the core of their business?

Manufacturing Integration Flow

Key Features

  • Up-to-date and accurate information in a single system
  • Intuitive interface
  • Tools to adapt system to business growth
  • Own the data & access it anytime
  • Work from anywhere using choice of device
  • Mobility (access information from anywhere, on any device with a browser)
  • Personalized Dashboards
  • Integrated Reporting Engine
  • Custom Report Designers
  • Workflow
  • Document management
  • EDI and Barcoding
  • Approvals and Workflow
Better Decisions Require Visibility Across the Business

The Aberdeen Group recently reported* that manufacturers feel constrained by limited visibility, despite the deluge of data becoming available from technological developments and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT): “Ultimately the challenges that they are facing can be linked to the lack of visibility into essential data needed to run their organization.”

The report concludes that high quality information, not just data, is required for the important decision-making necessary to manage growth: “When managing growth, importance is added to every decision, employees become removed from each other (functionally and physically), any organization is exposed more potential sources of data.”

On the data timeliness issue, they state: “Without easy access to data, and the organization cannot effectively keep costs low, react to changes in an agile manner, and collaborate internally and with the extended enterprise.”

Without a doubt, the top challenges for manufacturers – and their solutions – depend on visibility of timely, accurate information and collaboration within the company as well as with the supply chain.

* The Unified Manufacturing Environment: Transparency, Collaboration, and Desion-Making with End-to-End ERP, Nick Castellina, Research Director, Business Planning and Execution, Aberdeen Group, April 2015. Page 3
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Business Intelligence in the Cloud

Manufacturing is more than what happens in your facilities. Consider the suppliers and transportation networks providing the materials you use, and the distributors, retailers and customers that use the products and create the demand that you fulfill. In Aberdeen’s Manufacturing Operations Benchmark Study**, manufacturers were asked to select their top strategies. The results:

  • Internal visibility (#1);
  • Internal collaboration (#2), and
  • Collaboration with the supply chain (#5)

Given the speed at which things change, simple reports are not sufficient. Users need information that is up-to-the-minute accurate; the ability to drill down into detail to understand what they see at the top; the ability to easily integrate data from multiple sources; and customizable presentations to focus on the specific information they need. In response, the industry is seeing a rapid movement towards self-service Business Intelligence.

Another Aberdeen Group report*** says:

“Cloud deployments offer organizations more agility and flexibility when deploying analytics to meet shifting business needs. Self-service users with cloud analytics gain an additional level of freedom as they are able to access data from anywhere.

Past Aberdeen research has shown that organizations using SaaS BI spend significantly less per user than purely on-premise organizations. These savings accrue for cloud adopters as analytical resources are rented from the provider, rather than being diverted from IT”.

** The Unified Manufacturing Environment: Transparency, Collaboration, and Desion-Making with End-to-End ERP, Nick Castellina, Research Director, Business Planning and Execution, Aberdeen Group, April 2015. Page 3. *** Self-Service Analytics and the Cloud Drive User Empowerment, Peter Krensky, Research Analyst, Analytics& Business Intelligence, Aberdeen Group, July 2015, page 3
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Acumatica Tools for Collaboration

JAMS for Acumatica is built on modern web technology to integrate information across the manufacturing applications and throughout the Acumatica system. All data updates are immediately available system wide, so there is no delay in sharing vital information – and no need to re-key data in multiple places. The system’s document management and workflow facilities contribute to data accuracy by ensuring that important steps are completed properly and all approvals, documents, and other required data are included.

BI, embedded in Acumatica, monitors key metrics and delivers information through comprehensive business dashboards. Drill-down into summary and detailed information is immediately available for fast and accurate decision-support. The integrated content pack for Microsoft Power BI enables true self-service analytics – anyone can get rapid, actionable insights using natural language and simple drag-and-drop. Self-service users can proactively monitor key metrics, spot real-time trends, and get critical alerts from personalized dashboards. Acumatica mobile capabilities allow users to access information from anywhere, at any time, on any device that uses a common browser.

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Collaboration Across the Supply Chain

With Acumatica, collaboration exists both inside your business and with your supply chain. Because Acumatica allows unlimited users, there is no barrier to including supply chain partners – suppliers, outside processors, distributors and even end-user customers – in your collaborative environment through portals to inquire, order or simply communicate.

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All-in-One ERP in the Cloud Supports Higher Performance

The Aberdeen Group report “The Unified Manufacturing Environment”* acknowledges that effective manufacturers rely on ERP as an essential part of their operational infrastructure, also concludes that all-in-one ERP suites provide the greatest advantage. “The most successful organizations have ERP solutions that provide a greater amount of modules providing functionality across the organization. Note that LEADERS are more likely to have a variety of modules contained within their ERP system out of the box, which provide end-to-end manufacturing functionality.”

Another Aberdeen Group study, “The Case for Cloud ERP In Manufacturing: Alleviating Outdated Concerns”* also found an advantage for manufacturers who choose SaaS ERP solutions.

Superior performance of organizations using SaaS

They further concluded that the benefits of ERP are amplified when it’s also a cloud solution:

These organizations ship orders more effectively, make quicker decisions, have more accurate inventories and financial reports, and enable their employees to be more effective. …all other things equal, it appears cloud solutions produce an advantage.

Aberdeen’s “SaaS and Cloud ERP Observations: Is Cloud ERP Right for You?” offers the following comparative benefits of SaaS ERP versus on-premise ERP:

  • Improvement in inventory turns: 45% versus 41%
  • Reduction of operational costs: 22% versus 14%
  • Reduction in administrative costs: 20% versus 13%
  • Reduction in inventory: 14% versus 11%
  • Improvement in complete on time shipments: 19% versus 14%
* The Case for Cloud ERP in Manufacturing: Alleviating Outdated Concerns, Nick Castellina, Research Analyst, Business Planning and Execution, The Aberdeen Group, March 2013, page 10

Learn more about the major initiatives to improve manufacturing operations:

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