ERP Options Tailored to Small, Medium-Sized ManufacturersJune 25, 2019
Focusing on small and medium-sized manufacturers, including custom metal formers and fabricators, ECi Software Solutions provides enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions for those new to such systems, and those with years under their belts in ERP but looking to incorporate information from other business areas and other pieces of equipment or processes.
ECi’s manufacturing division expanded in 2017 when ECi acquired the JobBoss, Macola and Max manufacturing-software businesses of Exact North America and combined them with its existing M1 manufacturing business to increase its suite of solutions in the global small and medium-sized businesses (SMB) manufacturing market.
“Many manufacturers in the SMB space are looking for their first ERP system, evolving from using spreadsheets or perhaps rudimentary inventory-control systems,” says Jeff Ralyea, president of the manufacturing division at ECi Software Solutions. “We can provide fully integrated quote-to-cash systems, allowing for data gathering and transparency of quoting, material procurement and use, manufacturing and delivery. They can connect their costs to the actual finished product with integrated capability through ERP. This includes the ability to integrate perhaps laser cutting machines and other CNC equipment that produce data. Metal formers and fabricators want to capture data from this equipment and do something with it.
|This dashboard, one of many available in JobBoss ERP software, enables a quick, yet detailed snapshot of shipments.|
“Those with existing systems,” he continues, “want to better leverage the data they’ve been collecting, and they ask about reporting and analytics.”
For these needs, ECi offers products and partners with other technology providers to provide solutions. For smaller manufacturers, especially job shops, Ralyea points to JobBoss as an ideal product, given its flexibility. The software offers simplified access to real-time visual information on quoting, company efficiency, job status and more, in easy-to-consume visual dashboards. User-specific security and accessibility provides for access directly to those who need it. More than 20 pre-built widgets allow JobBoss users to drill down from dashboards to individual transactions and job data. Actions to correct or improve business results can be taken quickly via the dashboards.
The 2019 version, due out later this year, will provide greater integration ability through an updated open architecture.
For larger manufacturers, perhaps those more focused on more item-based, long-term jobs, ECi’s M1 is an ideal solution, Ralyea states. This software integrates every facet of a business within a single, robust system, according to company officials, from accounting to inventory, purchasing, sales, and production, to shipping and receiving. It provides real-time visibility into all aspects of a manufacturer, enabling users to respond proactively as needs arise.
Whatever the fit for a particular metal former or fabricator, the key is delivering solutions that can bring immediate dividends, or shortening the “time to value,” as Ralyea says, noting that the ERP industry as a whole has been addressing that.