Manufacturers have found data collection tools like barcode tracking software and barcode scanners to be extremely useful in making operations more efficient. However, according to Manufacturing Business Technology, many companies are not compiling the information these tools collect into a central system and so are missing out on their full potential.
The source said the typical manufacturing facility uses between 20 and 40 different information systems, which exist as "data islands," instead of being integrated through an ERP system that could offer manufacturing managers insights on operations not otherwise possible.
"[B]ecause of historical difficulty in integrating these islands, decisions are often based on only the most immediately relevant system, with scant regard for the overall business picture," the article stated.
Boundaries between manufacturing management systems should be eliminated in order for managers to truly be able to understand where improvements need to be made. ERP systems aren't just for solving problems, but stopping them before they start, as well. For example, it's not uncommon for production equipment to fail, causing operators to call maintenance, who will then have to assess the situation, order the necessary parts and schedule a time in which to come back to do repairs. This could be a lengthy process.
However, with data tracking tools and an ERP system, these failures could be predicted before they happen. Automated technology can check resources and available parts to determine if the company has what it needs to update the equipment. This could end up saving a company time and money.
Another example the source reported on was with regard to the oil and gas industry. New oil and gas exploration often takes place in remote and harsh environments, which can make operational problems an even bigger challenge and expense. With the proper ERP system and integrated data collection software like RFgen Software in place, real time data on operations can be tracked and monitored to help prevent costly equipment challenges.
ERP advancements for 2013 and beyond
More organizations will find integrating their operational data into ERP systems beneficial in the coming year. ERP vendors, too, will be offering more advanced services to keep up with business demands.
For instance, Oracle, a leading provider of ERP solutions, will be investing heavily in more mobile applications and has certified RFgen Software to deliver mobile data collection software solutions to its customers.
"Oracle is hardly lacking in mobile development tools, but it seems likely that it will scoop up a specialized company or three, perhaps next year, in order to strengthen its position," Tech World reported.