Top 5 ERP Questions for Building Material Manufacturers

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Are you a building materials manufacturer struggling with challenges like costing and inventory? Maybe you are evaluating a migration to a cloud-based Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system to help upgrade your outdated accounting and business management systems.

Choosing a new ERP system can be difficult. Keeping up to date with the latest technologies is daunting and of course, you need to consider the unique needs of your business as well.

Getting the most out of your new ERP solution starts with investing time in research and evaluation. The Wolcott Group has been a partner for the steel and metals industry for years and we are here to help you too. Start with our requirements checklist below as a helpful way to know what to look for and to ensure your choice is a great fit for your building materials manufacturing business.

  1. Business Requirements

Not all ERP packages are created equal. Your new ERP solution should be full-featured and provide all the information you need to run your business today and to grow into the future. That means the ERP solution runs on a state-of-the-art technology platform and supports all major functional areas including:

  • Inventory management
  • Finance
  • Production
  • Sales and CRM
  • Purchasing and Order Management
  • Warehouse management
  • Supply Chain Management

An ERP solution should provide a unified and integrated platform for all your business applications, tasks, reports, analytics and more. You want to ensure you can centralize all of your data, making it easier to access, analyze, and act on.

  1. Industry Requirements

 Manufacturers of building materials have specialized needs that generic ERP systems can’t always handle. Even if a generic system is customizable, it can be expensive and time-consuming to create custom code and add 3rd party modules. Here are some industry-specific features you will want to have built-in out of the box:

  • View and maintain costs for labor, freight, outside services, and surcharges
  • Determine additional cuts and material required from scraps
  • Integrate with Eclipse roll forming controllers
  • Control product packaging and bundle/skid management, including Heat/Lot, package width, length, height, and weight
  • Tailored quoting process to support complete job submittal functionality and generate specifications and drawings
  1. Inventory Management Requirements

 Manufacturers of building materials need robust costing and inventory support since that directly impacts your overall costs and bottom line. Therefore, this is a critical functional area that your chosen ERP needs to fulfill. You should look for these features:

  • Track inventory using combinations of dimensional and physical attributes
  • Link blueprint information, including floor and section, to improve quote and order lines
  • Support for a manufacturing execution system (MES) to record actual production, scrap, shears, and break weights
  1. Operational Requirements

Will the new ERP solution make your operations more efficient? You want a system that is intuitive, easy to use and makes tasks quicker and more accurate. Here are some examples:

  • Support for accurate sales quoting and order entry
  • Support for multiple outside processing operations
  • Includes a shipping dispatch board in order to build, monitor, and maintain loads
  • Customer specifications such as packing, loading and tolerances tracked with each order
  1. Future-Proof Requirements

It takes effort and expense to upgrade your system and the last thing you want is to choose an ERP that will become out of date anytime soon. To make sure you choose an ERP you won’t outgrow, choose an established platform that is well supported and heavily invested in future development.

For example, RealSTEEL™ is built on Microsoft Dynamics which has an unparalleled history and reputation for decades of continuous innovation. Here are the important characteristics to look for:

  • Enhanced industry functionality
  • Advanced financial management
  • Supply chain management optimizations
  • Seamless integration with Microsoft Office applications
  • Business intelligence
  • Full support for complex operations including multi-company, multi-currency, multi-lingual, and multi warehouse

Another way to ensure you get full value from your ERP today and into the future is to choose the right service and support partner to back you up. You’ll want to find a team who deeply understands not just the software, but the intricacies and complexities of your industry and business to maximize your investment long term.

Next Step: Fulfilling Your Requirements

As you evaluate replacements for your accounting or legacy ERP software, make sure you find the right solutions to meet all of your requirements. Contact us today to learn more about how RealSTEEL™ can help you get to the next level. We help steel and metals businesses nationwide grow and thrive.

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