If you manage manufacturing operations, you know the kind of pressure you can be under to produce product on time and at the right cost. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software has helped guide the manufacturing process as well as related areas of work like supply chain management and Materials Resource Planning (MRP) for a generation.

Today, however, the manufacturing sector is at a moment of change. On one level, time and cost pressures have grown more intense. At the same time, technology innovations like cloud-based software promise greater control over the process. Not all cloud software is the same, however. There is an advantage to using true cloud software in manufacturing. This is the subject of Acumatica’s useful white paper, True Cloud vs. Fake Cloud: How Manufacturing Companies Can Tell the Difference.

The Potential for Cloud Software in Manufacturing

Cloud-based ERP is a good fit with manufacturing for a variety of reasons. It tends to be more flexible than legacy ERP, which is helpful given how rapidly manufacturing circumstances change today. Manufacturing ERP software needs to keep up with rapid change cycles affecting product design, suppliers, logistics and so forth. The cloud is well-suited to this role.

Specifically, in addition to performing basic functions like accounting and financial management and procurement, ERP for manufacturing has to contend with many challenges. For instance, manufacturing management software has to integrate broadly with suppliers’ and customers’ systems, with logistics providers and more. An effective cloud ERP system for manufacturing can serve as the hub for all your business applications. It can connect your software, data services and equipment. Outcomes of this approach include:

  • Streamlined order processing across multiple channels
  • Ability to view material requirements and create schedules and work orders to meet demand
  • Digital document signing and document management
  • Automated warehousing
  • Support for multi-carrier shipping with automated shipping rules
  • Automated transportation management
  • Efficient management of human capital and payroll

Looking ahead, cloud ERP for manufacturing can make it easier to adopt future technologies than its on-premises legacy counterpart. New technologies, such as the Internet of Things (IoT) promise to affect manufacturing. Security and compliance issues will continue to be significant. Similarly, data analytics as a component of manufacturing operations management will likely grow more sophisticated as time goes on. A good cloud ERP platform keeps you ready to deal with what’s coming.

Understanding True Cloud in the Manufacturing Setting

There are differences between the various cloud ERP offerings. Not all of them are what we call “true cloud.” Indeed, some cloud ERP solutions are actually just cloud-hosted versions of their original legacy instantiation. This leads to some fairly serious differences in functionality and the ability to deliver on the promise of the cloud for manufacturing.

A true cloud ERP solution is one that was developed natively for the cloud. It’s designed to leverage many of the cloud’s built-in advantages. For example, a true cloud solution will offer full functionality and reporting on common mobile devices as well as on the desktop. It will enable extensive customization, such as with dashboards and reports. A true cloud ERP solution features full integration of spreadsheets, apps, equipment and data services. It will feature robust security, but do so in ways that do not limit extensibility or integration. True cloud is also easy to upgrade.

Is true cloud ERP software the right solution for your manufacturing business? We can help you answer that question.