What To Look Out For When Upgrading Your Manufacturing ERP in 2024

By Anton Oosthuizen on 24 January 2024

The manufacturing industry in South Africa is increasingly recognising the limitations and challenges of legacy ERP systems, or even more antiquated methods like spreadsheets and manual admin processes. These outdated systems can significantly hinder a company's ability to compete in today's fast-paced market. Manufacturers know that in order to stay competitive, efficient, and productive in 2024, they need to upgrade their ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems.

The challenge

Legacy ERP systems are often inflexible and expensive to upkeep, making it difficult to adapt to new business processes or integrate with modern technologies. They may not support the latest industry standards or compliance requirements, which is critical in sectors like food and beverage or pharmaceuticals. Additionally, these systems frequently struggle with real-time data processing, which is essential for timely decision-making and efficient operations.

Alternatively, reliance on spreadsheets and manual processes presents even more challenges. These methods are time-consuming, prone to human error, and lack the capabilities for real-time data analysis. They also fail to provide the level of traceability, inventory management, seasonal demand, and supply chain oversight necessary in today's manufacturing environment.

The solution

The transition to a modern ERP solution like SAP ERP, NetSuite ERP, QuickEasy ERP for Manufacturers, Printing and Signage Companies, or Microsoft Dynamics 365, offers a solution to these challenges.

These systems provide enhanced flexibility, real-time data processing, and better integration capabilities. They support current compliance standards and offer advanced features such as analytics, business intelligence, and comprehensive supply chain management. This upgrade is not just a technological shift but a strategic move to enhance operational efficiency, reduce costs, and improve customer satisfaction.

When choosing an ERP solution in 2024, manufacturers must consider the system's ability to replace outdated processes with a more integrated, automated, and data-driven approach. This decision is crucial for staying competitive in an increasingly digital and interconnected manufacturing landscape.

What to look out for as you consider upgrading your manufacturing ERP in 2024 

  • Industry-Specific Features: Different sectors have unique requirements. For instance, food and beverage manufacturers need strong traceability and recipe management, while engineering firms might prioritise project management and CAD integration. ERP solutions vary in their specialisation – some cater to niche industries, while others offer more generalised solutions. Look for a manufacturing ERP that is not one-size-fits-all, but is flexible enough to meet your unique business requirements. For large, international manufacturing companies who need ERP for a very large staff contingent we recommend SAP ERP, or Netsuite ERP. For South African manufacturing companies who need local expertise, support, and experience, we recommend QuickEasy Manufacturing ERP.

  • Inventory Management: Effective inventory control is vital for minimising waste and ensuring efficient stock management. ERP solutions offer varying levels of sophistication in inventory management, from basic tracking to advanced forecasting and planning tools. Ensure the ERP solution you upgrade to has effective inventory management functionality in place to reduce bloated, handle supplier bottlenecks, and combat inventory shortages, such as QuickEasy or Microsoft 365.

  • Supply Chain Management: With global uncertainties like the COVID-19 pandemic, robust supply chain management features in an ERP are more important than ever. This includes capabilities for handling supplier relationships, logistics, and material shortages. Most modern ERP solutions have this on offer.

  • Analytics and Business Intelligence: Data-driven decision-making is key to modern manufacturing. ERP solutions offer different levels of analytics and business intelligence tools, from basic reporting to advanced predictive analytics. Look for an ERP that offers dashboards for all your departments and KPIs, production management and planning dashboards for visual leadership insights, and automated, integrated reporting. We like Netsuite for this, as well as QuickEasy.

  • Integration and Connectivity: The ability of an ERP system to seamlessly integrate with existing systems and provide a unified platform for various departments is crucial. This determines how effectively different parts of the organisation can collaborate and access real-time data.

  • Customer Satisfaction: An ERP that enhances process efficiency ultimately leads to better product delivery timelines and higher customer satisfaction. Also, ensure your ERP has built-in sales and CRM functionality. This ensures your production management capabilities are in sync with your front office, customer-facing teams.

  • Cost vs. Functionality: The ERP market ranges from high-end solutions, often with a higher price tag and extensive features, to more budget-friendly options that cover basic functionalities. Look for a solution that has all the functionality you need so that you don’t have to upgrade every year, and that has the flexibility and local support you need to grow with you as you scale, but that offers true value with every licence fee you pay.

When considering an ERP upgrade in 2024, it's important to weigh the cost against the functionality and support offered, ensuring the chosen system aligns with your business's size, industry, and specific needs. Each ERP solution, whether it's SAP ERP, Microsoft, QuickEasy ERP, NetSuite, or others in the market, has its unique strengths and should be evaluated based on how well it fits your organisational goals and processes.


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