Most manufacturers today consider their Enterprise Resource Planning system (ERP) as a core element of their business, relying on it to plan and mange production, inventory, customer service purchasing, quality and financial data.

While ERP has been around for many years now it wasn’t until it evolved and extended it’s influence throughout the supply chain in the last 15 years that it became a critical resource for manufacturing businesses. In my daily work with iSeries systems for many of the top players in the market, I see two common failings that are putting manufactures at risk from their ERP system software.

The first issue is that many of the systems in use today were installed 5 or 10 years ago, and although the software vendors are continually expanding and upgrading their products introducing new features and functionality, many of the businesses fail to move on to these new versions as they appear. The reasons for this are typically related to lack of time, or experienced staff, to support the upgrade and this reason tends to become more imbedded the longer upgrades are delayed. Installing upgrades can be a costly and disruptive challenge, especially if the company has made modifications to the standard software. The problem is that staying on the ‘old’ version of software means that companies cannot take advantage of software improvements and over time are likely to lose access to the software vendor’s support systems.

The second issue is that many manufactures are missing out because they simply don’t know what their ERP system could be doing for them. ERP has evolved and expanded and the functionality seen today is a far step from the software of 10 or 15 years ago. Both these limitations put the manufacturer at a competitive disadvantage in today’s efficient, responsive and connected world. Out of date ERP systems can be a roadblock to effective participating in emerging opportunities. Help is at hand, IMS is able to provide a review of your existing iSeries systems and identify the things you could be doing for your consideration.

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