The trend toward cloud computing is hard to ignore even for manufacturing companies, who are continually asking if a cloud solution is right for them. What’s the cloud providing to businesses in the manufacturing industry? Let’s see how cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) can handle manufacturing concerns.
What is an Enterprise Resource Planning solution?
An ERP system integrates internal and external management information across the entire company, assimilating accounting, manufacturing processes, sales, and customer relationship management. ERP systems facilitate the flow of information between all business functions inside and outside the organization.
According to a Gartner Forecast from late 2011, the SaaS-delivered ERP market will grow at a 14.7% compound annual growth rate until 2015. Manufacturing software vendors are moving their attention to the cloud and the market is divided between 4 major SaaS ERP players: NetSuite Manufacturing, Epicor Express for Manufacturing, Infor Industrial Manufacturing, and SAP Business ByDesign.
Why Cloud ERP?
Some of the advantages of cloud- based ERP solutions for manufacturing enterprises include:
· Minimized initial investment. On-site ERP solutions require purchasing, housing and maintaining servers, then deploying, configuring, and maintaining the ERP software. The Cloud ERP solution does not require a substantial initial investment. The process of implementing, maintaining, and keeping the solution up to date is the responsibility of the solution provider.
· Minimized technical staff implication. By eliminating the costs and complexities of installing and integrating additional hardware to support the ERP, enterprises that use cloud-based solutions don’t have to hire additional technical staff to support the application on an ongoing basis.
· Increase ROI of the ERP application investment. Cloud ERP solutions can easily be implemented and integrated faster into the enterprise’s day-to-day activity.
· Increased scalability. Cloud ERP systems are easily scalable to meet new business requirements. This benefit is particularly useful for enterprises with specific seasonal activities that need to quickly develop or integrate new functions to meet their business requirements.
If you’re in the manufacturing industry and consider implementing a cloud based ERP, look after vendors that developed solutions specifically for manufacturing processes. But first, analyze your business needs, your internal procedures, if applicable, evaluate the need to integrate multiple plants and processes, and then assess if the cloud is the right solution.
Photo source: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1401832