ERP applications vendors are kick-starting a new generation of operational advantages for manufacturers and distributors who are increasingly drawn to the latest technologies to help them become more innovative and efficient.
For decades, ERP systems have been instrumental in helping many companies improve their business processes — from shop floor automation to quality management. But today, the convergence of new digital, analytic and user interface technologies are beginning to shake up the manufacturing space further.
With the advent of the Cloud, mobile devices, industry-specific bots and the Internet of Things (IoT), manufacturers have more tools than ever to reinvent themselves, while striving for greater productivity. Now, in additional to gains through traditional ERP routes such as systematic upgrades and enterprise-wide standardization, manufacturers can rapidly and intelligently collect data, analyze it, and make fast decisions that can improve every aspect of their operations: from people resources, to products, to support services. New tech breakthroughs in Big Data and artificial intelligence (AI) – and the interfaces used to access and act on even broader and more segmented information – is a game changer for manufacturers.
For example, Mohawk Industries, a flooring manufacturer, recently consolidated its HR and workforce management systems in order to better manage its 34,000 employees by turning to SAP SuccessFactors and Kronos. The use of SAP SuccessFactors for Cloud-based HCM could save the company at least $1.2 million a year, according to Mohawk executives. In addition, Mohawk decided to migrate from an old iSeries system to the Cloud by adopting the latest version of Kronos in order to exploit real-time workforce analytics and eliminate unnecessary employee overtimes.
But the ERP midmarket is where the action is since faster growth is much more evident among small and midsized companies, and those that are consolidating to become much larger players. An example here is Performance Machine, a 46-year-old manufacturer of aftermarket motorcycle parts like wheels and brakes, which has been running SYSPRO ERP since 1992. After launching a series of technology upgrades and highly integrated forecasting, Performance Machine now credits SYSPRO as the driver behind a world-class inventory control system that meets its financial performance targets, while accommodating its growth and expansion objectives. So far, SYSPRO has helped Performance Machine manage shipments of more than 300,000 wheels and tens of thousands of parts and accessories to a growing and diversified customer base.
The SYSPRO ERP successes were recognized by Performance Machine’s sister company Vance & Hines, both of which are part of Motorsport Aftermarket Group (MAG). Vance & Hines went live on SYSPRO in early 2016 to help the company better manage its making and selling of an array of aftermarket motorcycle exhaust and air products.
Such success stories give ERP vendors like SYSPRO encouragement to continue to build and deliver their newest IT innovation capabilities to the large and diverse pool of global manufacturers that are hungry to maximize present capabilities and performance, while planning for their future needs. In SYSPRO’s U.S. headquarters near the Orange County, Calif., Airport, hundreds of their manufacturing customers’ products — foods, beverages, industrial cleansers, sporting goods, etc. — are on display.
Just a snapshot of the output from SYSPRO’s current base of 15,000 customers, SYSPRO management takes pride in helping those companies to better compete and has one of the ERP industry’s highest customer retention rates at 98%. SYSPRO says its goal is to continually outperform their customers’ expectations in terms of ERP usability, scalability as well as integration into other common systems from Office 365 to Salesforce.com.
SYSPRO USA now has a strategy to displace the current CRM systems being used by its customers: it is offering its own organically built CRM solution. By running ERP and CRM off a single data model, customers can better manage their sales and customer operations via this new SYSPRO capability. The all-new CRM for SYSPRO is a cloud-based, multi-tenant application with spotlight search, service contract and pipeline management features.
SYSPRO Runs Azure
SYSPRO is expanding its cloud capabilities by partnering with Microsoft for the SYSPRO Azure Cloud Platform. It encompasses infrastructure-as-a-service as well as the upcoming 2017 SYSPRO platform as a service via a highly secure 24×7 SYSPRO Azure Operation Center.
Brian Stein, CEO of SYSPRO USA, said many manufacturers will like having an alternative to paying for onsite hardware and infrastructure when they implement a new ERP system – but many of the new cloud-based ERP systems simply don’t have the depth and bread of manufacturing capabilities, nor the 35+ years’ experience of SYSPRO.
“If cloud is their deployment choice, SYSPRO is giving them the best of both worlds,” he said. “By subscribing to the SYSPRO Azure Cloud and receiving continuous ERP enhancements and support from us and Microsoft, they eliminate all of the cost, personnel and management requirements of running their own IT infrastructure.”
Other New SYSPRO Capabilties
Another new offering is SYSPRO Harmony, a cloud-based multi-user experience platform that unites social media capabilities, internal/external collaboration, machine learning, cognitive services and data analytics into a single offering for accomplishing targeted or highly-complex tasks.
Other new products include SYSPRO Bots, an artificial intelligence (AI) web robot that resides within the SYSPRO ERP ecosystem and streamlines business functions through natural conversations with the bot; SYSPRO Predictive Search, a customized SYSPRO ERP search engine that speeds business reaction/decision-making time by rapidly identifying and selecting exact data or actions tied to a specific purpose; as well as SYSPRO WebViews (UI) – a single-view, role-based system that can assemble millions of customer, supplier, partner and prospect key performance indicators via customized dashboards for targeted (or individual) team actions.
Products like WebViews will help companies (like Performance Machine), to develop even more personalized offerings.
To push the envelope further, SYSPRO plans to release a slew of new products in 2017 that will strengthen its manufacturing customers’ operational backbones with more extensive use of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and IoT technologies.
New technology breakthroughs are leveling the global manufacturing and distribution playing fields by helping companies to be more flexible, more opportunistic, spot trends (good and bad) more rapidly and reset entire marketplaces by becoming more customer savvy. As SYSPRO sets the wheels in motion by taking advantage of the Cloud, rich analytics and other new tools, agile and innovative manufacturers can expect a great ride from an ERP vendor focusing on continuous innovation and customer satisfaction.