Productivity. Doing more with less. Doing better, with greater agility. Increased productivity is every manager’s dream, and at the same time their greatest challenge. How can you ensure your company’s growth and productivity? To get a better understanding, I spoke with one of our experts, Raphaël Beauchemin, Industrial Engineer and Business Solution Consultant at Groupe Conseil Era.
As you can imagine, my first question was about the practices that managers could engage in to make their business more productive. His answer was: ”My studies and experience in continuous improvement led me to an incomparable productivity management tool, the ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning).” I instantly wanted to know more.
The manager’s best friend.
The idea of manager’s best friend, Raphaël’s concept, made me smile, not by surprise but for its revealing evocation. The ERP is an integrated management system, which means that it gathers all the data of every department of a company in one place, links and analyses them, to extract the company’s best kept secrets. The ERP sure becomes the manager’s best friend when it comes to make informed decisions to improve productivity. Want more details? Let’s get started.
An ERP, Why?
According to Raphaël, the ERP operates under 3 levels of activity.
The input of data
The ERP gathers all company’s data under one platform. Financial data, manufacturing data, resources (human and material), sales. All data. But beware, garbage in, garbage out. The responsibility of each person or process to feed the platform is key.
The magic appears. The system creates links between data. These data and their links are always up to date because the system works in real time. Our expert gives a concrete example in the manufacturing field:
Let’s say we receive a large order (sale) for our flagship product (product). The ERP system knows that we need to buy 2 sub-products (supplier) and 1 other already in inventory (stock), that we need to assign a specialist for 2 hours of work (resources) and another expert for 1 hour, for which we need to schedule time-machine (resources), on two different machines. More orders are coming in. The ERP system calculates our capacity (operation). Business is going pretty well.
The analysis, to understand
The third level, and not the least, is the one you will like the most. It is the one that will have the greatest impact on your productivity gains.
The ERP platform manages information and sorts it to create reports and dashboards of your business. An overview, down to the smallest details, for clear analysis and decision-making. Raphaël illustrates with another example:
Your manufacturing company has a few machine-tools. Your sales are increasing, and you feel everything is going well. Your capacity reports, however, tell a different story. The utilization rate of your machines is only 50%. Why?
Thanks to your ERP, you can make a thorough analysis. The new reports show 70 hours of breakdowns in the last few months, on a dozen of machines, and that a specific part had to be changed over and over. You hold the key to the puzzle. You implement a new preventive maintenance program on the fragile part to rectify the situation and ensure a gain in productivity for the future.
You can see your ERP is your best friend.
Our Expert’s Advice
Raphaël shares: ”Despite its obvious advantages, some companies resist to ERP adoption because they can’t assess the return on investment (ROI). It’s because they don’t realize the full value.”
Our expert suggests the following exercise :
Do a product analysis. Go ask each of your salespeople what are your best products. From the best of their knowledge, they will each bring you very interesting data. Take notes. Now go see your plant manager and your financial manager to trace the costs related to the production of these products. Based on their own analysis, your precious allies will bring you their results.
Now look at all this data, link them, analyse them and make projections. Are you missing some information? Do you need to go back to your allies for questions? And what if one of them leaves the company?
I’m sure you realize you need your best friend.
In the light of all these factors, it is clear that accurate, precise and real-time information is an essential ingredient for a healthy business. With more than 15 years of experience in ERP implementation, Groupe Conseil ERA can guide through the best choices. Do not hesitate to reach us.