5 ways to make your ERP system more accurate

A lot of people think that an ERP system is good to go on day one and ready to chuck in the bin at the end of month five...

The reason for this is that ERP systems can become bogged down and cluttered. Bad habits can clog a system down with poor information and make it less useful.

So, can an ERP system become more accurate and more useful over time?

Sure! This article shares five simple things you can do to make your ERP system grow alongside your business. Embodying the spirit of continuous improvement is essential to ERP too!

1. Training

This has got to be our number one item to start with. In short, if you don't train your staff then you run a high risk of the data going into your ERP system being rubbish. The programmer's acronym GIGO - Garbage In, Garbage Out, stands true here.

There are two obvious sub-points here. One, ensure that the ERP system you choose is easy to learn. Two, capture the 'one best way' that works for your business as a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP).

We designed Fraction ERP so that it is as easy to use as possible. We have seen our users pick up the system in just a couple of hours (for the whole system!). Mastery takes longer, that's true. But, there is no need to have spend weeks / months trying to figure out how the system works.

Step by step tutorial videos are available on our support site

Simplify and standardise the training for your ERP system. This should improve your ERP accuracy fast.

2. Operation Times

Next, let me cover a technical way to improve the accuracy of your ERP system.

The operation times that drive your manufacturing schedule often vary from reality. One business we saw had three times circulating in their business! 

  1. The standard (planned) time.
  2. The real time.
  3. The time the Finance Controller chose for the ERP system.

Yes, they were in chaos.

There will always be a conflict between the planned and actual times in the business. For accuracy, an ERP system should have the real times in them.

If your gulping at this point, that's OK. The approach here is to get a dose of reality and then improve. You don't have to like the reality, accept it for what it is and then come up with an improvement plan.

If a five hour cycle time is ugly and you had planned for a three hour cycle then you need to deal with it.

Fraction ERP, like all other ERP systems, doesn't work well on fantasy. Our system is easy to update and manage the integrity of your BOMs and routes, but it does work best with reality!

Our straightforward planning module saves time managing your operation times

The summary here is to get a grip of reality. Update your system for accurate scheduling and then create an improvement plan.

3. Capacity Data

This item follows the same principle as the operation times. If you don't have accurate capacity data then your scheduling will be less effective. Accurate operation times and accurate capacity information go hand in hand.

As you make improvements in your business you should find your capacity rising. For starters:

  • Fewer breakdowns leads to more productive time being available.
  • Better shop floor organisation reduces delay between operations.
  • Quick changeovers introduces flexibility and more productive time.

By making any of these improvements you will raise capacity. Your ERP system needs to reflect the output of your changes.

Some businesses plan on the assumption that they won't lose any time during the working day. During an eight hour shift they expect to get eight hours of production. In some cases you will be able to get close to this, but only if a lot of improvement activity has taken place. For the rest of us, we need to include a utilisation factor. If you want to read more about how to calculate true capacity levels then check out this blog post.

Being realistic about your capacity is the first step towards effective scheduling. Effective scheduling helps to achieve high on time delivery performance. Be aware as your capacity levels increase (through improvement, more staff or machines). Every time your capacity increases, update your ERP system.

Defining standard working hours for workcentres in Fraction ERP

Fraction ERP makes it easy to do this. We have a very simple interface to allow you to change the work centre capacity and to change the short range capacity levels temporarily (for holidays, additional resource, overtime, planned maintenance etc...).

4. Move to Shop Floor Data Collection

Production tracking is another area where you can improve system accuracy.

If you check where your production orders are once a day you will have better information than once a week. Once an hour is better than once per day. Once per minute is better than once per hour... you get the idea.

Most of us don't have the time to check production all the time. There are other demands on our time and it is not cost effective for most businesses.

Switching on shop floor data collection for most manufacturing businesses makes perfect sense. Providing your shop floor teams with a simple user interface can provide real time data. Knowing where your orders are at any moment can save hours per day for many managers.

Shop Floor Data Collection licenses are included with our subscriptions!

Fraction ERP has a straightforward shop floor data collection system. The work to list is quick to access and booking against a job is too.

Save yourself a huge chunk of management time and improve your customer service. Embrace shop floor data collection.

5. Housekeeping Routines

Keeping your data tidy is key to improving system effectiveness and accuracy. When you have a messy system, when disciplines drop away, people treat it accordingly. Work arounds start to appear, neither system giving you what you need.

If you want to be able to use your ERP system to help you drive your business you need to rely on the information. Clean data leads to better information. Better information leads to timely decision making.

A housekeeping routine does not need to be a difficult task. Little and often is the chosen route of many. Spending ten minutes a week tidying up your sales order book is palatable. Spending two or three days unclogging the mess isn't.

If you don't already have a housekeeping routine for your ERP system then check out this article.

The fast editing within Fraction ERP means keeping your system clean and tidy is quick to do. We don't want you to spend unecessary time cleaning your system. We'd rather you you spend it managing and growing your business!

Of course, the better your training is (point 1), the less time you would expect to spend housekeeping!

These five points aren't the only ways you can improve your ERP system accuracy. We recommend starting here and then progressing on your own continuous improvement journey. Better data leads to faster, effective, decision making.

If you are looking for a new ERP system and want something that is low cost and straightforward, then sign up for a demo. You can sign up using the form below.

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