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Manufacturing Best Practices

Are Best Practices Best for Your Manufacturing Business?

It’s time for a new ERP system! Your ERP project is off to a great start! You have a team with a team leader, your decision makers are on board and a budget is in place. Online research, discussions with others about their ERP experiences, a partial list of must have features and functionality, and general goals for the new ERP system are underway. What about industry best practices?

You’ve heard ERP vendors touting that their systems incorporate best practices into predefined processes, and some of your team members have been gaining an understanding of best practices for your industry. It would make sense that incorporating best practices could simplify your ERP project, why reinvent the wheel? Not so fast! Just because a particular ERP system or best practices are ideal for one business does not mean they are the best for your business. Lets take a look.

Take Toyota Motor Sales USA as an example. Starting with their Mission Statement “To attract and attain customers with high-valued products and services and the most satisfying ownership experience in America” and Vision Statement: “To be the most successful and respected car company in America” one can figure out that Toyota’s goals are based around customer acquisition and retention, quality products and services and the overall customer experience. With that, we can better understand why Toyota Material Handling CEO, Brett Wood would suggest that ths list of 9 key practices  aka “best practices” is essential for today’s manufactures:

  1. Educate your associates on what is expected of them
  2. Engage your associates in making changes
  3. Empower your associates to make changes
  4. Consistency is a key factor in continuous improvement
  5. Develop new visualization tools to help all associates visualize what is happening in your plant
  6. Practice genchi genbutsu (go to the place where work is done and see with your own eyes what is going on)
  7. Visit customers and ask for their ideas
  8. Look for kaizen opportunities in the office environment
  9. Culture is king

Wood’s 9 key practices support his goals as well as the mission and vision of Toyota Motor Sales USA. In effort to be the most successful car company in America, Wood expects associates to be educated, engaged and empowered to make changes. Plus, customer input is sought after and valued as the opinion’s of Toyota’s drivers are important to the brand.

Next, we have a list of best practices for another industry, also in the manufacturing sector.

  • Establishing strong quality management systems
  • Obtaining appropriate quality raw materials
  • Establishing robust operating procedures
  • Detecting and investigating product quality deviations
  • Maintaining reliable testing laboratories.

Our second list, even though also considered best practices is different because it comes from a highly regulated industry, that of the pharmaceutical industry which is regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. One could argue that all industries should have a strong quality management system, high quality products, reliable testing, etc. but pharmaceutical companies need to take those requirements to a higher standard that most manufacturers.

How then does one determine which “best practices” to use? Industry specific best practices are a great start, but even industry best practices may not be best for your particular business. Before jumping down the path of best practices, take a look at these practical tips that will help you be the best that you can be:

  • Include a industry specific ERP solution in your evaluation process
  • Don’t assume that the recommended best practices and processes are best for your business
  • Understand your goals and seek best practices that will help achieve targets
  • Determine if recommended best practices make sense for your business
  • If ‘best practices’ are not going to help your company reach it’s goals, don’t use them
  • Be open to extending the functionality of an ERP system with customizations to  your gohelp meet goals
  • The best ERP system for your former colleagues business may not be the best for your business

With an abundance of ERP options to choose from, there’s no need to rush through the selection process. Take your time to do your homework up front, don’t get dazzled by fancy ERP demonstrations, and stay focused on what you’re trying to accomplish with a new ERP system. To learn more about selecting the right ERP solution for your manufacturing business, take a look at these MIS blogs:

If you would like to learn more about Epicor ERP and which industry best practices will help you meet your business goals, contact MIS. MIS is the longest standing Epicor ERP partner. As a Gold tier Epicor ERP partner you can count on MIS to have the experience and insight needed to create an ERP system which helps you exceed your business goals today and tomorrow. Our team of professional consultants have been helping manufacturers like you create ERP solutions resulting in an Exceptional ERP™ experience for over three decades! Contact the experts and MIS today!

Karen Beaulieu

Karen Beaulieu has worked in the ERP software industry for over 15 years. Having worked in a variety of roles from product development, channel and direct sales to marketing, Karen has a unique understanding and perspective of the ERP software industry. Currently Karen works in a marketing capacity for MIS Consulting & Sales and MIS Solutions Canada, ULC.

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