To accommodate these cycles, manufacturers want to be able to adjust production and distribution using enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions and other software tools while minimizing demand on existing IT resources. Scaling the data center infrastructure to meet peak periods of demand once or twice each year would mean having servers and systems remaining idle most of the time. Rather than wasting resources, more manufacturers are turning to ERP in manufacturing and distribution.
Adjusting Production to Supply and Demand
Cloud-based services can scale on demand, provisioning resources as needed to accommodate times of peak demands. A hosted ERP system can provide global visibility into manufacturing capacity, supply chain, and logistics while minimizing the in-house equipment, software and staffing commitment.
For example, using hosted versions of Microsoft Dynamics AX for manufacturing can optimize and scale order fulfillment virtually on demand. Manufacturers can order, track, and trace inventory to ensure customer orders are fulfilled on time. The software features demand forecasting so make it easier to pre-plan production based on historical data and projected sales, including ongoing adjustments using Excel spreadsheets and other data sources to refine forecasting accuracy. Manufacturers get intelligent order fulfillment without having to expand data center operations.
So let’s consider our retail example. In many ways, retailers have an advantage when it comes to seasonal sales planning. Every time a purchase is scanned at the cash register it not only automates payment but also updates inventory balances, replenishment orders and accounting. Using cloud-based ERP gives retailers an exact picture of sales and inventory at any time.
Using that historical data, retailers can project inventory requirements more accurately. Manufacturers are using the same techniques to predict retail demand. And like other businesses, adopting a hosted ERP system such as Microsoft Dynamics AX delivers the power and versatility manufacturers need without have to enterprise software.
What to Look for in an ERP Hosting Partner
When shopping for a cloud ERP hosting provider, you want to find a reliable vendor with the versatility and expertise to adapt to the unique needs of your manufacturing operation. An ERP hosting provider needs to be able to deliver customized solutions tailored to your industry and your customers. You also want a partner with reliable outsourced IT services, including enterprise application hosting and remote management.
Remember that implementing a hosted ERP solution is going to require change, so you want to work with a strategic partner who can serve as a change agent, guiding you through the necessary steps to manage the new dynamics between business and IT. Outsourcing brings new capabilities and improvements, such as strategic allocation of assets, more technical expertise and cost predictability, and those require new expectations and new processes. An ERP hosting provider, especially one well-versed in Microsoft Dynamics AX, may propose a new governance and change control structure to manage operations.
OneNeck IT Solutions, for example, tailors every ERP solution to the specific needs or our customers. We apply a “configure-to-order” approach to tailor every solution to meet our customers’ unique requirements, both for manufacturing and ERP support and for hosted IT environments. We provide transition and project services, data center transitions, project estimating, and planning and execution of the ERP system you need, whether it’s Baan, Microsoft Dynamics AX, Oracle eBusiness Suite or SAP. OneNeck offers the complete solution, including application management, hosting and disaster recovery.
OneNeck can help your manufacturing keep pace with the changing needs of your customers. Listen in as Jeff Budge, OneNeck’s VP of Application Consulting and Product Management further discusses nimble manufacturing in an ever-changing technology world here.