In an earlier post, we discussed six points ETO manufacturers should consider when searching for ETO software. Although it may seem easy, finding the right software solution for an ETO environment is actually a time-consuming, difficult process.
Unlike traditional manufacturers, who are usually preoccupied with producing better products by fine tuning certain repetitive processes, ETO manufacturers face a variety of unique challenges, which put a lot of responsibility on operations managers. To manage ETO environments efficiently and reduce cost overruns, which are significantly higher in the ETO sector than in traditional manufacturing, manufacturers need native ETO software solutions, which can be integrated seamlessly into organizations. In continuation to our previous blog post, here are five more points to consider when choosing an ERP solution for ETO manufacturing.
- Flexibility: ETO companies are no longer required to implement massive, complex, and costly one-size-fits-all software solutions. Today, they can find dedicated, fully integrated yet flexible ERP systems, which provide all the tools an ETO manufacturer may need to meet industry-specific requirements for project visibility and control. As ETO manufacturers must synchronize a variety of processes, from the acquisition phase to production scheduling and shipping, in order to ensure compliance with customer specifications, work more efficiently, and reducing waste, a series of agile ETO software solutions have been developed to allow manufacturers add more functions and applications as new requirements arise.
- Visibility: An effective ETO system should provide real-time visibility into all operations to facilitate engineering and production tracking along with the pro-active management of various areas, including product and process design, scheduling, quality, etc. Since full process traceability is critical for competitive planning in high-precision manufacturing environments like ETO, you should look for an ETO solution with advanced tracking features, which can trace flow paths upstream and downstream from any point. These features can help minimize and even eliminate many issues, including inefficient order flows, missing inventory, late and inaccurate deliveries, and even non-recoverable expenses, which often translate into profit margin disappointments.
- Planning: ETO operations are inherently complex processes. This means that they cannot be managed with traditional production planning and scheduling systems. Since ETO processes require time-efficient planning and monitoring along with exception-handling tools, specialized software solutions focus especially on the pain points that most ETO manufacturers complain about, making available advanced alerts for execution deviations, planning alternatives, capacity or duration requirements, etc.
- Deployment model: Not only ETO software implementation and maintenance can be a nightmare for in-house IT teams; costs will also be higher for organizations. Therefore, anticipating and understanding the effects a specific deployment model can have on your entire business is critical to prevent various issues that may lead to costly disruptions. As you may already know, a cloud deployment model provides one of the best software alternatives for ETO manufacturers not only because it delivers a cost-effective, comprehensive suite of business applications, but also because it supports continuous adjustment and improvement. Additionally, cloud-based solutions can be customized and configured for each manufacturer.
- Performance: A very important aspect for an ETO manufacturer is that cloud-based solutions make integration with other applications faster and easier. With a cloud system, any engineer can accomplish more in less time, regardless of whether he’s closer to engineering design or to manufacturing processes. Thanks to the advanced features and interfaces included in the latest ETO software products, engineers can now steer projects across different departments, create custom designs without using complicated codes – now, this can be done by simply selecting, dragging, and dropping certain elements – and then adapt designs almost instantly to changing customer needs.
Any ETO manufacturer whose top priority is a high return on investment already knows that profit is partially realized from process enhancements resulting from effective ETO software. But choosing the right ETO solution for your organization can be a daunting task, even if you’ve learnt the aforementioned points by heart. If the wrong system is chosen, costly workarounds that need to be instituted to correct deficiencies may bury your business; conversely, if the right system is selected, chances are that you’ll be able to exceed expectations. This will help you conquer new markets and expand your business beyond geographic borders.