Blog Series :: GLOVIA G2 :: Manufacturing ERP for Electronics Vertical

Leading electronics manufacturing rely on GLOVIA G2 manufacturing ERP software to boost productivity & increase responsiveness.

Providing the Speed and Agility Required by Electronics Manufacturing Applications

The speed of change in today’s electronics industry is unprecedented.

Combined with the competition from emerging markets, the demand to deliver new products quickly and efficiently presents tough challenges for electronics manufacturers. Getting new products to market requires a level of agility, coordination and attention to detail that can be difficult to maintain.

Backed by Fujitsu, one the world’s largest electronics manufacturers, CrescentOne understands the pressures faced by the electronics industry, and our GLOVIA G2 ERP software provides specific solutions for those challenges.

For instance, a product known by one marketing name may require different components depending on the market it’s destined for.

GLOVIA G2 allows for multiple BOM for the same market item, taking into account individual demands while maintaining an overall record for the product.

Revision control is another area where GLOVIA G2 stands out. Keeping track of serial and lot numbers behind the scenes, our manufacturing ERP software can return information on what was built, when it was built and where it was shipped to.

On the factory floor, GLOVIA G2 even allows operators to call up stored videos for on-the-spot training as needed.

ERP Functionality Ideally Suited for Electronics

GLOVIA G2 modules that are particularly useful to the electronics industry include:

Costing – manages costs down to the operational level, allowing you to know exactly where your margins are

Electronic Kanban – monitors floor stock in real time, automatically re-ordering components as triggers are hit

Master Production Scheduling (MPS) – provides a powerful set of tools for material and resource planning, analysis, and performance measurement. MPS with inventory allows purchasing to be set for inventory at the factory level

Material Requirements Planning (MRP) – integrated with live inventories, work orders, projects, and sales and purchase orders to ensure that the latest information is always considered. Not only can it plan activity to the minute level it can also automatically plan substitute parts where applicable

Repetitive Manufacturing – sets one repetitive manufacturing schedule to keep the job rolling and producing components

Supply Chain Planning – maximizes production by identifying exactly where to place orders

Factory Planning – Once the manufacturing location has been selected and FP can take over with the scheduling of machines, people, crews, tooling and material to ensure that product is shipped on time

GLOVIA G2 is used for a wide range of electronics applications, including:

  • Gaming devices
  • Disc drives
  • Personal computer motherboards
  • Car stereo system
  • Automotive engine control units

Opportunities for Operational Improvement

The real-life experiences afforded by the GLOVIA G2 installations throughout Fujitsu’s operations lend important insights into the role that our manufacturing ERP software can play in the electronics industry.

GLOVIA G2 is designed to provide real-time transactions – whenever you place an inquiry, you’re seeing the most recent events as they occur.

Our software also allows electronics manufacturers to:

  • Streamline and automate business processes
  • Integrate and manage operations
  • Cut costs and reduce inventory
  • Boost productivity
  • Improve responsiveness

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Report :: GLOVIA G2 Setting the Standard for Real-time Manufacturing in ERP

Ted Rohm, Senior ERP Analyst from TEC gives his opinion on GLOVIA G2, our Manufacturing ERP Product. “CrescentOne, from CrescentOne., has a long history of supporting manufacturers that require real-time control over their operations. GLOVIA G2 has its roots in a solution from Xerox named ChESS MRP II, which was first released in 1990.

Click Here to Download the Report

The solut complex enterprise requirements of Fujitsu and manufacturing industries such as automotive, aerospace and defense, industrial machinery, and telecommunications. Fujitsu was so impressed with the product that they eventually acquired 100% control of it in 2000.

“GLOVIA G2 was built from day one to be a real-time solution for manufacturing. GLOVIA G2 customers have always been able to process material requirements planning (MRP), master production schedule (MPS), and advanced planning and scheduling (APS) operations multiple times a day.”

-Ted Rohm, Senior ERP Analyst, TEC

The CrescentOne solution was built to solve complex manufacturing requirements and to process transactions in real time. These are important differentiating characteristics of GLOVIA G2. The majority of other ERP solutions currently on the market were built first as financial solutions while others were built around batch transaction processing. The manufacturing operations components of these systems were then built on top of these financial solutions, which means that the financial operation is the primary focus of all operations and the manufacturing operations are more of an afterthought. Additionally, many earlier ERP systems were built to push transactions in batch mode across the system. GLOVIA G2 was built from day one to be a real-time solution for manufacturing. GLOVIA G2 customers have always been able to process material requirements planning (MRP), master production schedule (MPS), and advanced planning and scheduling (APS) operations multiple times a day. Users of other ERP systems must run these processes overnight or during non-peak hours to make sure the system isn’t brought to its knees.

In this report, we will look at three areas of GLOVIA G2 that help support today’s real-time manufacturing requirements. These are a lean user experience, the shop floor dispatch tool, and the powerful factory planning tool for APS.

Lean User Experience

The GLOVIA G2 user experience is designed, like the underlying ERP system, to support lean operations. The key thesis of lean manufacturing is to eliminate waste in the manufacturing process. Similarly, critical aspects of the GLOVIA G2 user interface have been built to eliminate wasting time in the system to get things done. The GLOVIA G2 home page (figure 1) provides a user with a set of customizable panes that provide access to the functions in the system.

Figure 1. GLOVIA G2 home page

A user can set up as many or as few of these panes as required to get her/his job done on a daily basis. As shown in figure 1, users will often have a messages pane, a pane for common tasks, and other panes grouped as needed by the user. One pane in the figure shows the G2 Insights that this particular user should be monitoring. The G2 Insights are notifications pushed down to the user on a real-time basis. This pane is then populated with the latest tasks that the user should be monitoring.

Figure 2. Data grids

The figure above shows the data grids, which are an underlying component of the user interface. GLOVIA G2’s data grids look like Excel spreadsheets, but they are even more powerful. A data grid lets a user create a personalized view of the data. A user is able to filter the results by any column, sort data in ascending or descending order with a click of the column header, change the order of columns displayed, and group the data by one of the columns. The data can be downloaded to Excel for further manipulation. Most of these operations can be performed via drag-and-drop functions. Each grid is set up with a refresh rate, but the user can refresh the grid at any time.

A user can right-click on an object to see available operations on an element in the data grid. These functions include sending messages or emails, or performing some other function within GLOVIA G2. In the case of work orders (figure 2 above), these functions might include work order maintenance, work order inquiry, work order completion, and inventory inquiry.

An administrator can set up which functions can be personalized for each user. Some users may be able to view or hide only certain columns or perform only specific operations within a data grid. And the data grids can display a chart beside the data to visualize the data being viewed, as shown in figure 3.

Figure 3. Sales order grid with pie chart

The shop floor dispatch list is built on the GLOVIA G2 data grid technology, allowing for all the customization needed to manage dynamic production activities. -Ted Rohm, Senior ERP Analyst, TEC

Shop Floor Dispatch

The shop floor dispatch tool has been built to be the “one stop shop” for recording all production activity against work orders and repetitive schedules within GLOVIA G2. The screen was designed for touch screens and point-and-click navigation. All production activities are available from this screen including clock-on/clock-off, component scrap, operation scrap, assembly scrap, operations/item completions, inspection results/alerts, component verification, availability and issues, tooling verification, order release, and order inquiry/maintenance. Figure 4 shows a dispatch list where material availability is displayed for an item via a handheld scanner.

Figure 4. Shop floor dispatch screen

The shop floor dispatch list is built on the GLOVIA G2 data grid technology, allowing for all the customization needed to manage dynamic production activities. This application was built for operators on the factory floor to give visibility into all the jobs planned for the individual’s workstation.

A user might need to quickly change the filters on the work orders displayed to perform all operations using a particular tool on hand. Or, an operator might need to switch to another set of operations due to a material shortage that occurred because of excess scrap. The flexibility of the shop floor dispatch tool provides users with the proper tools to do the job and minimizes the keystrokes needed to record activity. In fact, many of the operations require little to no user input.

In addition to the standard data grid capabilities, the shop floor dispatch tool adds additional graphical indicators to highlight the important information for the user. The color displayed for a work order can change depending on multiple tolerance limits set to low, medium, or high. Un-released orders will be shown with a gray background if not late. The overall result is that users get simple screens that present them with the right orders and the right options for executing the manufacturing activity at hand.

Factory Planning

GLOVIA G2 Factory Planning is an advanced planning system (APS) that takes into account multiple constraints to generate an optimized production schedule. The system can take into account any constraints on material, machine capacity, setup and runtime capacity, labor skill sets, and machine tooling. Factory Planning determines the production schedule based on these finite constraints to accurately determine capable-to-promise (CTP) commitments for customer orders. Many ERP systems and their planning tools are able to determine only available-to-promise (ATP) dates; these systems assume infinite capacity while other systems offer CTP tools that lack the sophisticated capabilities of the GLOVIA G2 system.

Users have extensive control over the information that they see in factory planning. Each of the various panes of information can be configured to suit an organization’s and individual’s unique needs. The views or panes of information include an order pane, a seiban order pane, a planning board, a teams pane, a team/skill workload pane, and an inventory pane. Figure 5 shows the order, workload, and inventory panes. This is a great example of how the system makes it easier to manage production schedule problems. In figure 5, one can see that there is a problem with the inventory on one of the items on the order. From here, it’s easy to jump to that particular item and take the necessary action to get rid of the inventory shortage.

Figure 5. Factory planning screen with multiple panes

Factory planning is a memory-resident data model that is a seamless extension of the GLOVIA G2 system. This means that any events posted to the GLOVIA G2 system will be reflected in real time in factory planning. For example, any events recorded in shop floor dispatch will impact factory planning in real time. If a user receives inventory, completes a manufacturing job, or a machine goes offline, the event is immediately visible in factory planning. In many systems, these events will be loaded into the planning tool via some batch update facility and inevitably lead to inaccurate schedules.

But probably the most impressive capabilities in factory planning are the extensive array of planning scenarios supported by factory planning. These include:

  • Scheduling directions—forward, backward, and mixed
  • Flexible interactive settings of constrained resources
  • Simultaneous checking of resources (capacity, inventory, and tools)
  • Full optimization to reduce setup times
  • Full optimization to improve the flow through complex processes
  • Instant re-optimization after machine breakdown or inventory shortage
  • Planning based on labor skills, resources, and/or team-based manufacturing
  • Scheduling groups—used for mixed-mode manufacturing scenarios where orders for certain items have priority over order for other items
  • Multi-pallet / Product carrier planning—plans for machines where multiple pallets of items are placed on tools and prepared for sequential processing in the machine

Figure 6 shows how some of these scheduling parameters are set up in factory planning. This figure shows various scenarios and the flexibility in setting the parameters against those scenarios. Here a planner can also set workday patterns. Workday patterns can be assigned at the enterprise, machine, tools, labor skill, and labor resource levels. This is where all the factory shifts, holidays, and exclusions are set up.

Figure 6. Factory planning scheduling params and settings

Another notable capability of factory planning is that it can be integrated with other ERP systems or data sources to get insight into information outside of the customer’s GLOVIA G2 database. Factory planning also supports multi-plan dependencies, where one plant depends on another for product or supplies.

“GLOVIA G2 was built from day one to support real-time manufacturing operations.”

-Ted Rohm, Senior ERP Analyst, TEC

Real Time Is Part of GLOVIA G2’s DNA

GLOVIA G2 is one of the best-kept secrets in the manufacturing ERP market. The system is built to support organizations of different sizes (from just a few to thousands of users), and various industries (automotive, electronics, aerospace and defense, capital equipment, and other manufacturers). GLOVIA G2 supports multiple manufacturing processes, such as make to stock [MTS], make to order [MTO], configure to order [CTO], and engineer to order [ETO]. The system also supports anywhere from high-touch engineer-to-order operations to manufacturers that can completely automate and have virtually lights-out operations.

GLOVIA G2 was built from day one to support real-time manufacturing operations. The majority of current day manufacturing ERP systems say they run in real time. But, when you take a closer look at what “real time” means to other vendors, you’ll find that they don’t meet up to GLOVIA G2’s standards. Real time is in the DNA of GLOVIA G2, starting with the way that transactions are pushed across the system to the system’s shop floor dispatch and factory planning tools. Organizations requiring a sophisticated discrete manufacturing ERP solution should take a serious look at GLOVIA G2.”

Contact CrescentOne for an online demo or more information about GLOVIA G2’s ERP capabilities for Automotive manufacturers, Aerospace and Defense, Industrial Machinery, and Telecommunications.

Blog Series #3 :: GLOVIA G2 :: Where to Start with our ERP System

CrescentOne’s more than 70 ERP software modules work together to streamline your manufacturing operations. Following up on our previous blog about our Manufacturing Management Kit, we’d like to continue with the second half of the Manufacturing Management Base Modules, which include Repetitive Manufacturing, Shop Floor Control, Inventory, and Physical Inventory.

These GLOVIA G2 manufacturing management software modules work together to increase visibility, flexibility and control of your business. Maintaining a continuous manufacturing flow through repetition and inventory with total insight is crucial to the success of your manufacturing operation.

Repetitive Manufacturing ::

The GLOVIA G2 Repetitive Manufacturing module provides the flexibility needed to schedule, manage and control production in a high-volume or continuous-flow manufacturing environment.

Repetitive production schedules can be adjusted as often as necessary and with minimal user intervention. This production management software makes the entire process more efficient by taking intervening factors into account, such as fluctuations in production capacity and changes in demand patterns.

Mass Customization

The Repetitive Manufacturing module enables you to tailor product configurations as needed to respond to current production conditions or to meet unique customer requirements. Schedules allow a unique bill of materials and routing for each part being manufactured. The manufacturing management system automatically uses the current version in effect, or you can perform an online override and create a modified version of the current bill of material and routing.

 

Work-in-Process Financial Visibility

Repetitive Manufacturing enhances the visibility into your current production investment. Each schedule can provide an online valuation of value-added costs for material, labor, machine, overhead, and outside processing operations.

 

Shop Floor Control

The next production management software module we’d like to introduce is Shop Floor Control. GLOVIA G2 Shop Floor Control provides the latest shop floor information along with a set of easy-to-use tools for achieving maximum productivity.

Closed-Loop Feedback

The closed-loop process incorporates the tracking and feedback of actual shop floor activity. The successful execution of your master production schedule and material requirements planning depends on rapid and accurate dispatch of daily production schedules, and Shop Floor Control is designed to integrate these tasks fully.

 

Visibility and Empowerment

Shop Floor Control provides easy-to-use transactions for reporting work order operation completions and quantities of items produced. Shop status enhances visibility of the current work-in-process.

Schedules and workflows can be tailored to best match the people and machines available at each work center. This helps to optimize schedules and anticipate needs for critical resources, while enabling factory floor workers to actively contribute to the success of the production plan.

Improved Shop Floor Control

  • View all production jobs by work center
  • Select workload by date range and shift
  • Update operation completions
  • Report completions by quantity or percentage

Work Order Dispatching

  • View selected work order lines
  • Display part numbers and order quantities
  • Display and update work order operations
  • Review scheduled operation start and end dates

 

Inventory Management

GLOVIA G2’s Inventory Management software module offers integrated, interactive management of all your inventories, including physical stock room, in-transit, consigned and others.

Dynamic Stock Status

Because of the constant and perpetual inventory activity within an enterprise, the ability to track inventory movement is critical. GLOVIA G2’s Inventory Management software module manages and provides full visibility of all material movement within your company, warehouse or location, as well as between your locations, both domestic and international.

 

Dock-to-Stock Material Flow

Upon reaching the receiving dock, incoming materials should flow smoothly through receiving and inspection. During this dock-to-stock process, you need visibility of the material’s status, its current whereabouts and its final destination. The Inventory Management software module enables you to preset and automatically direct movement through the required steps and locations.

Units-of-Measure, Conversion Scalars and Decimal Precision

Inventory Management enables manufacturers to buy, stock and sell products in different units of measure. For example, you may buy material in rolls and stock it in feet. You can build and stock products for inventory as individual units or sell them in packages. This feature lets you conduct business with suppliers and customers on their terms while maintaining inventory on yours.

Lot and Serial Traceability

The Inventory Management module maintains the history of all activities for a specific lot number. Serial control may also be used to identify and track critical goods uniquely.

Physical Inventory

The last module in our Manufacturing Management kit, Physical Inventory, provides an automated process for inventory counting that delivers accurate and up-to-date inventory information.

Flexible Cycle Counting

The Physical Inventory software module offers flexible cycle counting with comprehensive, enterprise-wide inventory counts or fewer items with greater frequency. The system dynamically highlights items for cycle counts based on user-specific criteria.

 

Accurate Inventory

Accurate inventory quantities are essential for effective planning and control of your production and distribution processes. The Physical Inventory module helps your company manage this necessary counting and reconciliation process efficiently with minimum disruption.

Inventory Count and Recount

  • Unlimited recounts permitted
  • Original quantity retained for audit
  • Automatic recounting requirement can be invoked based tolerances

With more than 45 years supporting the manufacturing industry, CrescentOne’s legacy has enabled us to create a suite of ERP modules that successfully manage a stand-alone company, an entire global business or a specific division or factory. The GLOVIA G2 Manufacturing Management software helps you succeed by providing more visibility, flexibility, and control to make your business highly responsive, integrated, and lean.

As a manufacturing ERP solution designed to manage global enterprises, GLOVIA G2 supports multiple languages, currencies and complex business structures, so you can manage your enterprise around the clock, and around the world — with a single, integrated ERP solution.


Contact CrescentOne for more information about our manufacturing ERP software and solutions or to request an online demo.

Article :: Cloud Connectivity Drive ERP Software

New technologies—including machine learning, mobile apps and advanced analytics—help manufacturers keep tabs on fast-paced factory-floor operations

Original Article via :: Manufacturing Engineering
Article by Patrick Waurzyniak

Manufacturing operations depend on getting the right information at precisely the right moment, ensuring that products get built on time, to quality specs. With the latest enterprise resource management (ERP) software, this critical data flow is often coming via the cloud, as more manufacturers become comfortable with it as a repository for key manufacturing information.

With ERP software delivered via the cloud, Big Data is also more easily leveraged for Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) applications. In this application, advanced analytics do the data crunching required for processing the flow of data, including operational metrics and inventory information.

Along with offering more mobile apps that funnel factory data directly to users’ fingertips, many ERP software developers are also testing newer technologies like artificial intelligence, augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR) capabilities, and machine learning and advanced analytics that can handle the Big Data inherent with many IIoT/IoT manufacturing data scenarios.

IIoT and Manufacturing’s Big Data

With advances in Smart Manufacturing/Industry 4.0, the potential for growth in the IoT/IIoT is immense, noted Jerry Foster, cofounder and chief technical officer of ERP software supplier Plex Systems Inc. (Troy, MI), developer of the Plex Manufacturing Cloud ERP. “The IoT and the IIoT [concept] is just huge,” Foster said, noting that while many managers seem to think they’re falling behind, “this is stuff that they’ve been doing for years—it’s just a matter of scale. The enabler there is just the cloud and connectivity.”

Data collection is something many manufacturers are already doing, so they’re ahead of the game, Foster noted. “Big Data for you is just Bigger Data,” he said. “It’s more data than you have now. The problem with this is data deluge. It was a major concern, but it only takes machine learning and algorithms to handle it.”

Plex currently offers machine learning and advanced analytics through third-party applications. However, the company is working on its own applications for this process that Foster said will be available later this year. “What we do is partner with a machine learning service and utilize that to analyze the data. We’d take the ERP data that our customers have and put that in the Microsoft Azure cloud. You want actionable machine learning, and this is one of the things that we’re on the cusp of right now,” he said.

Many other ERP developers recognize the importance of Big Data in the IIoT age, and they are moving to incorporate advanced analytics and AI into their toolkits. “Big Data is already having an impact on the ERP software market, and many manufacturers understand this,” said Terri Hiskey, vice president, manufacturing product marketing, Epicor Software Corp. (Austin, TX). “The insights that can be revealed through the collection of all sorts of data—from the length of time it takes to process orders and respond to customer requests, to tracking materials and costs, tracking inventory, understanding customer patterns and behavior, and much more can be tracked through various algorithms and analytics.

“As manufacturers move into the IIoT, the amount of data increases because now companies can track machine performance out in the field,” she continued. “Depending on performance outcomes, those machines might be set up to course-correct themselves through artificial intelligence. In fact, a term that I hear being used more and more is ‘data fatigue’; that the vast amount of data being collected is often left untouched because there aren’t enough resources or knowledge to make that data actionable. The advantages that companies will get out of leveraging Big Data is the insight into overall ERP processes and the recommended actions to take due to those insights.”

Managing the Workflow

For discrete manufacturers, ERP software helps streamline the process, ensuring workflow is optimized to meet production goals. “Just by creating the workflow in ERP, the business captures the experience, expertise and best practices for the varying workflows,” Hiskey said. “The workflow can be automated in ERP, resulting in less human error and a faster process. Guesswork can be reduced with greater visibility and insights into the business. ERP workflow can cross cross-functional boundaries and allow for easier communications up and down and across the organization and functional areas.”

Businesses can also track the total execution time for any given workflow, she added. “ERP workflows can also help track costs and time related to the completion of a production job, such as whether or not the time falls within an agreed upon timeline; whether all materials were consumed and charged correctly; are there any orders outstanding waiting for the completion of this job; do labor or material costs need to be updated for future production; and are there any corrections to costs before completing the job?” This can help accounting teams close their books, Hiskey said, with information on invoices that need to be completed and posted to accounts receivable; suppliers that need to be paid and costs captured; and making sure that depreciation and accruals are calculated. “All of these steps can be managed through an ERP workflow,” she added.

Users of Epicor’s latest ERP get a personalized, active home page that “provides dashboard views of role-based analytics with quick access to role-based functionality, made possible through Epicor Data Discovery, which supports rich, on-demand data exploration to surface real-time operational and business performance insights to guide decision-making,” Hiskey said. “This results in users being able to access critical insights at a glance for better, faster analysis and execution.”

New customer relationship management (CRM) functionality in Epicor ERP empowers sales and service personnel in the field with the added convenience of mobile access, she added. Epicor Field Service Automation (FSA) features integrated mapping to support optimized scheduling and dispatch and robust workflows to automate processes for asset management, contract, warranty and service level agreements (SLAs), and management of service inventory. Hiskey said the Epicor FSA is available in a cloud or on-premises delivery model and can be used with smartphones, tablets and laptops for both online and off-line communications with the back office for enhanced productivity and efficiency across all service workforce facets, for improved response, reduced costs and improved customer satisfaction.

“Most ERP systems today are very mature and are designed around industrial best practices,” noted Jim Errington, executive vice president, sales and service for ERP software developer CrescentOne Inc. (El Segundo, CA). “So if instead of customizing the software to fit what the customer has always done, the customer has to change and actually review what the software is really offering.

“A lot of ERP systems are now using software such as SharePoint to assist in documenting and defining the processes,” he added. “So when using the solution, users don’t need to access the ERP solution directly but can be steered by the process to use the necessary screens to complete the process,” he said.

The latest GLOVIA G2 ERP software includes a new call center capability and CRM functionality in new modules that allow monitoring activity by cell or machine in real time on the factory floor (seen above).The CrescentOne ERP includes a new Call Center capability, he added, as well as a CRM solution suitable for discrete manufacturing customers. “In the next release there will be a couple of new modules. The first, Shop Floor Dispatch, allows manufacturing to monitor activity by cell or machine on the factory floor in real-time, giving them the ability to react to problems,” Errington said. “The second, Contract Billing, allows customers to create billing contracts to cover things such as machine rentals and service contracts without the need to start with a sales order or sales contract.”

Banking on the Cloud

Moving to the cloud is an important consideration for many manufacturers today. With the latest M1 ERP solutions from ECi Software Solutions Inc. (Fort Worth, TX), manufacturers can leverage the cloud in multiple ways, noted David Christiansen, ECi Solutions vice president of sales.

Moving to the cloud to take the stress and costs of managing hardware from the customer is key, he said. “The main trend is moving towards the cloud and especially mobility. … ERP packages provide the data to make informed business decisions on the floor. This could be utilizing machines on the floor or improving material handling,” Christiansen said.

“The cloud is important today due to the increase in ransomware attacks and the need to have a solid redundancy plan,” added Christiansen. “We will still have manufacturers with on-premise [data storage] due to location and limited Internet access.”

Leaders of growing manufacturers know that innovation is not only critical but imperative, said Epicor’s Hiskey. “Faced with rapid change, they are choosing to invest in business initiatives that accelerate innovation as a competitive advantage, like a range of cloud-based business applications. The cloud has rapidly established itself as the preferred and default deployment environment for companies of all sizes, particularly small to mid-size,” she added.

Customers typically select the cloud for a host of economic reasons. It is less-capital intensive than on-premises deployment and offers better and more immediate scalability; ease of upgrades; the ability to cut direct and indirect costs from infrastructure; and reduced deployment times and corresponding ROI, noted Hiskey. “However, the reasons aren’t all about technology, nor economics,” she said. “Selecting cloud means retiring the status-quo approach to business management applications that could not keep pace with current business needs. Moving to the cloud frees companies from the need to procure, install, maintain and manage their own IT systems, while also gaining the opportunity to digitally transform business processes to achieve far greater results.”

Many manufacturers are still working with on-premises solutions for a number of reasons, Hiskey said, including security concerns, aversion to shaking up the status quo, lack of expertise or knowledge of how to start process improvements, and fear of the cost or downtime during a transition period. “There could be any number of reasons why manufacturers might decide to stay on-premises.” Epicor offers the same solution as either cloud or on-premises, so companies can choose the model that works best for their businesses, she added.

Whether the system is in the cloud or on premise, manufacturers still have to implement the solution, Errington noted. “With cloud, this is difficult for manufacturing companies as they often want to change things in the standard software, so unless it is a single-tenant solution then there are difficulties,” he said.

In addition, manufacturing execution systems (MES) and advanced planning and scheduling require a lot of bandwidth, and connections to the cloud solution can be difficult, Errington said. “Just about all of our customers still want an on-premise solution so that they have control and the ability to modify it when required,” he added.

Visualizing Shop Processes

New wearable technologies such as Google Glass and others that employ augmented reality (AR) are being tested and implemented on the shop, noted Foster. “This is one more interesting thing,” he said. “The hype has cooled a bit, but we’re working on some proof of concept.”

Plex customer Fisher Dynamics (St. Clair Shores, MI), an automotive seating supplier, has tested a system using Google Glass with a barcode system featuring iBeacon and Plex ERP for improving its inventory control and meeting traceability requirements.

Aside from Google Glass, there are other options, including the Realwear HMT1 or the Vuzix Blade AR glasses recently announced by Vuzix Corp. (Rochester, NY) at the CES 2018 show, Foster noted. “The cool thing about them is they utilize voice activated commands,” he said. “At the CES, voice was everywhere.”

Using this type of technology, combined with Plex ERP’s ability to focus users on one single repository of information, is a winning combination for discrete manufacturers, he said. “You get one version of the truth,” Foster added. “You hear a lot about the connected enterprise; ERP connects the whole enterprise, it’s cohesive and it provides one source of the truth.

“When we take Plex into a new customer, we’re often replacing several applications,” Foster continued. “You don’t have a situation where accounting has one software, and inventory has another, and you have arguments like ‘my software says this.’”

Mobile access also is key, offering managers immediacy in getting key performance indicators right on the shop floor. “Our software, since it’s HTML, can run on smartphones or tablets, but obviously the bigger the screen the better. We do have an app, SmartPlex, that runs on Android and iOS devices.” Plex is currently overhauling SmartPlex, he said, with a new version of the app due in the second half of this year.

This article was first published in the December 2016 edition of Manufacturing Engineering magazine. Read “Cloud Connectivity, Advanced Analytics Drive ERP Software.

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Contact CrescentOne for more information on how GLOVIA G2’s ERP Solution can keep tabs on fast-paced factory-floor operations, while giving you a customizable solution to fit your business needs.

Blog Series #2 :: GLOVIA G2 :: Where to Start with our ERP System

CrescentOne offers more than 70 ERP modules that work together to streamline your manufacturing operations. Following up on our previous blog about our Product Management Kit, we’d like to continue to our Manufacturing Management Base Modules, which include Master Production Scheduling, Material Requirements Planning, and Work Orders.

Our flexible GLOVIA G2 Manufacturing Management solution accommodates the full spectrum of manufacturing styles, from high-volume to engineer-to-order, with advanced capabilities to coordinate orders, equipment, facilities, inventory, and work-in-progress that minimize costs and maximize on-time delivery.

Master Production Scheduling

The first module highlighted in this set is Master Production Scheduling, which enables your management team to balance and integrate the needs of marketing, manufacturing and finance with those of your customers.

Planning Cockpit

Where most ERP packages can only plan in days, GLOVIA G2’s Master Production Scheduling planning cockpit maximizes production efficiency with planning capabilities in hours, minutes and seconds. An on-line available-to-promise (ATP) feature allows manufacturers to investigate up-to-the-minute product availability to guarantee on-time delivery.

The planning cockpit provides a highly visual, productive user experience that enables immediate access to data necessary for successful production planning/scheduling management, including sales demand, and planned and committed production and purchased supply.

Forecast Demand, Consumption and Planning BOM’s

The Master Production Scheduling module enables complete planning by model, product or family group, with automatic generation of repeating forecast based on quantities, intervals, and dates and forecasts optionally consumed by orders.


GLOVIA G2 – 2nd Installment :: Where to Start with our ERP System from CrescentOne.

Material Requirements Planning (MRP)

The material management module of GLOVIA G2, Material Requirements Planning (MRP), helps manufacturers get the right materials to the right place at the right time, thus reducing inventory material investment, improving productivity and customer service.

Integrated Planning Power

This material management module can be driven by project requirements and/or the master production schedule to ensure that high-level requirements are consistent with the authorized production plan. MRP is integrated with your live inventories, work orders, projects, and sales and purchase orders to ensure that the latest information is always considered. The Material Requirements Planning module is also integrated with GLOVIA G2 Engineering to provide access to currently effective bills of material, routings, and item planning policies.

MRP Planning Cockpit

The MRP planning cockpit integrates the functionality of the material management module with other GLOVIA G2 ERP modules, including Master Production Scheduling, to provide an extremely visual, highly productive user experience, with immediate access to information in all areas necessary for successful planning/scheduling, including sales demand, and planned and committed production and purchased supply.

Multiple Planning Cycles

This material management module offers multiple planning cycles, with variable phasing and planning horizons, to satisfy planning needs for near-term production and long-range material commitments. The Material Requirements Planning system can also be used to generate purchase orders and work orders and to release repetitive schedules, as well as contract purchase orders automatically with allocations across multiple suppliers.

Work Orders

GLOVIA G2’s Work Orders management module is the complete production management system for managing all work order-related information and activities – from opening work orders and managing work-in-process transactions through coordinating and evolving your production lines.

Flexibility

The Work Orders management module provides the flexibility to effectively manage any type of manufacturing, assembly, repair, or work activity. Whether you are manufacturing products based on forecasts, demands or Kanban signals, or building engineering prototypes, managing an entire development project or conducting repair work –this production management system offers a single familiar tool that your whole team can use to schedule, manage and collect data for all work activities.

Complete Integration

The Work Orders management module is an integral part of the GLOVIA G2 integrated ERP, financial and supply chain solution, residing on a single database.

When a user records the completion of a manufactured quantity, they receive instant notification when mandatory quality processes and measurements have not yet been recorded.

Work-in-Process Visibility

The Work Orders module provides instant and accurate visibility to current investments in work-in-process inventory. Each work order provides an online valuation of the materials used and value-added costs.

More About CrescentOne ::

CrescentOne’s manufacturing heritage has enabled us to create a suite of ERP modules that successfully manage a stand-alone company, an entire global business or a specific division or factory. The GLOVIA G2 Manufacturing Management software module helps you succeed by providing more visibility, flexibility, and control to make you highly responsive, integrated, and lean.

As a manufacturing ERP designed to manage global enterprises, GLOVIA G2 supports multiple languages, currencies and complex business structures, so you can manage your enterprise around the clock, and around the world — with a single, integrated ERP solution.

Contact CrescentOne for more information about our manufacturing ERP solution or to request an online demo.

Blog Series :: GLOVIA G2 :: Where to Start with our ERP – Product Management

To introduce you to our GLOVIA G2 manufacturing ERP offering, we’d like to start at the beginning. CrescentOne offers more than 70 modules that work together to streamline your manufacturing operations. To accurately set up your shop floor, we start with our Base Modules Kit, which provides insight-and control, and is fully customizable to your needs. Once the Base Modules Kit is implemented, our consulting and services team work with you to help you get the most out of our robust ERP system.

Today, we’ll start by introducing our Product Management suite of modules.

Product Management: Delivering Products On Time and Within Budget

The GLOVIA G2 Product Management ERP module set helps manufacturers define and manage products and respond to customers, while minimizing any disruptions to downstream processes. GLOVIA G2 manufacturing ERP modules work together to give you total control of the entire product lifecycle.

GLOVIA G2 Product Management, the core of GLOVIA G2, provides all the ERP modules manufacturers need to control product costs, estimates, and configurations to better deliver products on time and within budget. The system enables users to manage and track all product-related information using multiple bills-of-material and routings — including revisions and alternates —and support progressive engineering.

A centralized repository for all product-related data helps speed new product development, compress time-to-market, reduce development costs and manage large product portfolios. GLOVIA G2 Product Management also includes powerful estimating and simulation capabilities to help you quickly prepare accurate sales quotes and bids for engineered or configured products.


SlideShare – GLOVIA G2 :: Where to Start with our ERP System from CrescentOne.

Engineering: Manage Product Changes

Within the Product Management suite of ERP modules, Engineering is the architectural cornerstone of GLOVIA G2. The Engineering – module’s flexible design lets you define your products and services so that you can respond quickly to product and service changes demanded by the marketplace.

Manufacturers information on incoming and shipping orders, for product/service design and costing, and for a long list of other daily production functions. The GLOVIA G2 Engineering ERP software module is designed to answer all those questions and provide the detailed control manufacturing operations need to access, review and maintain the latest information.

Our Engineering ERP software provides ‘alerts’ that can be used to ‘push’ the required engineering and product definition activities from one department to another. The Engineering ERP module includes a work-to-list and count of required actions with one-click direct access to the transactions required to complete those actions. GLOVIA G2’s alert system, which requires appropriate follow-up action to turn off the alerts, offers assurance that required actions are completed correctly. GLOVIA G2’s Engineering ERP module also has integration points with Microsoft SharePoint that provide full workflow capabilities.

Costing: Remain Competitive with Tight Rein on Costs

The third powerhouse capability in our Product Management trifecta is Costing. This module allows manufacturers to remain competitive by keeping a tight rein on costs. A mix of standard, actual and average costing methods can be deployed to monitor and manage each of your products and services costs.

Improved Cost Management

As product designs change, operational processes improve, service needs change and new suppliers are found, manufacturers must be able to determine the cost impacts quickly and accurately. It’s important to be able to identify appropriate actions to correct problems and know when to adjust prices for profitability or market share. The GLOVIA G2 Costing module helps manufacturers accomplish this, regardless of the size of their operations.

Life Cycle Costing

GLOVIA G2’s Costing module is ideal for businesses that must track products and services supplied through both internal resources and outside suppliers. Seven cost types can be used to create, model, and track costs throughout a product or service’s life cycle. The Costing module enables users to create simulated cost models for evaluation and analysis without affecting current operations or book values.

Elemental Costing

GLOVIA G2 accurately recognizes the true components of cost, thus providing the critical visibility needed for effective cost control. Each item’s cost can be broken down into multiple user-defined cost elements, or up to 24 pre-set cost elements, including material, material overheads, machine set-up and run time, labor set-up and run-time, fixed and variable labor/machine overheads, outside processing, shrink/yield/scrap, and freight. The financial posting for each cost element of each transaction can be recorded to a different financial account within the General Ledger.

Operational Cost Visibility

GLOVIA G2’s Costing ERP includes item cost records that enable manufacturing operations to value an item or service accurately as it moves through a sequence of operations, tracking the costs of each item’s subassemblies, components and tasks. At each level of the item, the relationship of the materials used may be associated with the value-added costs of manufacturing or service delivery.

Contact CrescentOne for more information about our manufacturing ERP software and solutions or to request an online demo.

Press Release :: GLOVIA G2 v.3.1 Manufacturing ERP Software Scores High

TEC deems CrescentOne’s system a highly competitive solution, citing several modules, including Manufacturing Management and Inventory Management

EL SEGUNDO, CA, October 09, 2017 — Technology Evaluation Centers (TEC) rates GLOVIA G2 “a highly competitive solution in the ERP for discrete manufacturing software space,” based on a recent review of the ERP software designed by Fujitsu, CrescentOne Inc.

Several GLOVIA G2 modules were scored in the maximum range of functionality, including Manufacturing Management, Inventory Management, Purchasing Management, and Sales Management, according to the report from TEC ERP Analyst Ted Rohm.

GLOVIA G2 is built to make manufacturers more productive, and CrescentOne has permeated the lessons of lean manufacturing down into the solution,” Rohm wrote. “The user experience has been refined to bring the execution of tasks to the user, as opposed to making the user seek out the next operation.”

He specifically noted the system’s homepage for its clear, easy-to-find displays of tasks, messages, and work processes that need attention.

“Insights … are created by triggers in the database that push the information in the system to the user, instead of a user having to run a report or go into a screen to determine the status of a work process,” Rohm wrote.

He also highlighted GLOVIA G2’s:

– Deep functionality

– Presentation of complex processes in a simple, easy-to-understand manner

– Versatile applications that can operate independently, access GLOVIA G2, or be integrated with other software

– Extensive and well-defined set of application modules

– Ability to add new modules to meet changing industry and customer needs

“GLOVIA G2 is a hidden jewel in the discrete manufacturing ERP software space,” Rohm wrote. “The solution embodies the lean manufacturing principles it is built to support, with a lean user experience that has been honed through years of continuous improvements.”

The high score and strong assessment were welcomed by CrescentOne. “We’re gratified by the industry acknowledgement of GLOVIA G2’s outstanding ERP capabilities,” said Jim Errington, CrescentOne’s EVP Sales and Service. “We’ve dedicated ourselves to continuing to ensure the best experience possible for our customers.”

About Fujitsu

Fujitsu is the leading Japanese information and communication technology (ICT) company offering a full range of technology products, solutions and services. Approximately 155,000 Fujitsu people support customers in more than 100 countries. We use our experience and the power of ICT to shape the future of society with our customers. Fujitsu Limited (TSE: 6702) reported consolidated revenues of 4.5 trillion yen (US$40 billion) for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2017.

About CrescentOne.

Founded in 1970 as Xerox Computer Services, CrescentOne. became a wholly owned subsidiary of Fujitsu Ltd. in 2000. Its GLOVIA G2 manufacturing ERP software was first launched in 1990 as Xerox Chess and the next generation version was released as GLOVIA G2 in 2010. CrescentOne is one of the few manufacturing ERP providers offering solutions in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), China and Japan. Its more than 1,000 customers include small, medium and large companies in the automotive, aerospace and defense, and electronics industries, as well as related Tier 1, 2 and 3 suppliers. Contact CrescentOne to learn more about its manufacturing ERP software.

All company or product names mentioned herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners. Information provided in this press release is accurate at time of publication and is subject to change without advance notice.

Contact CrescentOne to learn more about how our GLOVIA G2 solution can help maximize your company’s production and respond more quickly to changes in the marketplace.

GLOVIA G2 v.3.1 Manufacturing ERP Software Scores High

GLOVIA G2 version 3.1 Manufacturing ERP Software was recently reviewed by the Technology Evaluation Centers ERP Analyst, Ted Rohm. With a focus on comparing GLOVIA G2 against the ERP competition in a variety of capabilities, including Financials, Manufacturing Management, Inventory Management, Purchasing Management, Quality Management, Sales Management

 

Click Here to Download the Report!

Article Excerpts from Certification Report, Authored by :: Ted Rohm

“Based on the information obtained by TEC, GLOVIA G2 scores as a highly competitive solution in the ERP for discrete manufacturing software space. In the Focus Indicator, the Manufacturing Management, Inventory Management, Purchasing Management, and Sales Management modules are shown with an asterisk next to the module name. This indicates that GLOVIA G2 scores in the maximum range of functionality for these modules.”

“GLOVIA G2 is built to make manufacturers more productive, and CrescentOne has permeated the lessons of lean manufacturing down into the solution. The user experience has been refined to bring the execution of tasks to the user, as opposed to making the user seek out the next operation. Just as manufacturers continually improve every step of a process, the GLOVIA G2 system has been continuously improved on over the past years to present the important, actionable tasks to the user.”

“Upon entering the GLOVIA G2 system, a user is presented with a homepage that contains a set of panes that provide immediate insight into the tasks, messages, or actions that she/he needs to address (figure 1). The home screen displays work process insights which are created by triggers in the database that push the information in the system to the user, instead of a user having to run a report or go into a screen to determine the status of a work process.”

TEC Analyst Observations on CrescentOne.—GLOVIA G2

“GLOVIA G2 is a hidden jewel in the discrete manufacturing ERP software space. The solution has extensive and deep functionality, yet is able to present these complex manufacturing processes in a very simple and intuitive fashion. The solution embodies the lean manufacturing principles it is built to support, with a lean user experience that has been honed through years of continuous improvements.”

“The name CrescentOne is an acronym for GLObal Value Integrated Applications. As the name implies, the system is built as a set of integrated but distinct applications. Many of the applications can operate independently, can access GLOVIA G2, or be integrated with other software applications. Figure 6 below shows the current set of application modules, which is both extensive and well defined. CrescentOne is continuing to add additional modules as the industry changes and as requested by the customers.”

Use TEC’s Advisor Tool to see how GLOVIA G2 stacks up against the competition!

Contact CrescentOne to learn more about how GLOVIA G2 ERP Solution can help your company respond more quickly to changes in the marketplace.

Advanced Manufacturing Article :: ERP Software for Small Shops

Read the Original Article Here.
Article by Patrick Waurzyniak

What can ERP do for managers running a small shop? The answer is pretty much everything, if you’re aiming to boost sales, make manufacturing production goals and build high-quality parts, and in turn satisfy customers and make a decent profit.

While enterprise resource planning (ERP) is often seen as the domain of large-scale manufacturers, job shops of all sizes in discrete manufacturing greatly benefit from digitizing operations with modern software that often lifts the smaller builder out of working off paper-based systems and Excel spreadsheets into the latest ERP automation with digital scheduling and production analysis tools.

The latest ERP software can be tailored to use at smaller shops, with easy-to-use smartphone interfaces for accessing shop ERP data and new big-board electronic schedulers offering easy touch-screen input on the factory floor. Many options are available now to small manufacturers, including either on-premises installations or newer cloud-based ERP systems that promise to dramatically cut technology costs by removing most of, or even eliminating, the costs of maintaining an expensive IT infrastructure.

Tailored for Small Shops

Not all ERP systems are built alike, and small shops with well under 100 employees might be best suited to shop-floor management and ERP systems that are custom-built for the smaller operator. A full-fledged ERP system from the big names in the business, say from SAP, Oracle or one of the many enterprise-level applications, may not be ideal for many smaller shops.

“Feature-wise and functionality-wise, we have capabilities that are found in the larger systems,” noted Henning Industrial Software (Hudson, OH) President Rich Henning. “The depth and breadth of what we cover is large,” but without the big price tag of large ERP systems, said Henning, developer of Visual EstiTrack ERP software. For smaller manufacturers, the investment in large enterprise-level ERP systems can strain their finances. “Even Microsoft Dynamics is pretty expensive for a small shop,” said Henning, noting that shops can spend thousands of dollars just on the integrators installing such systems. “They can be overkill.

“Robust ERP and shop-management software systems are fully integrated operational and financial management systems that are designed help SME [small-to-medium enterprise] manufacturers manage nearly all aspects of their businesses,” Henning said. “Well-designed systems will support just about every functional area of a manufacturing facility. This includes managing the entire product lifecycle starting with Customer/Prospect Management, CRM, Job Estimating, Engineering, Sales Orders, Shop Orders, Scheduling, Capacity Planning, Material Requirements Planning, Purchasing, Receiving, Job Labor Reporting, Quality Management [i.e., Non-Conformance, Corrective Actions, etc.] and finally a fully integrated Accounting system [A/R, A/P, Fixed Assets, GL, Payroll and Human Resources Management].”

By methodically managing via a fully integrated ERP system every functional area of a manufacturing facility, small manufacturers can gain operational efficiencies and improve quality by gaining a true insight on their operations that only a well-designed fully integrated ERP system can provide, he added. “It can help a manufacturer turn all their day-to-day transactional data into actionable business intelligence,” Henning said, “that can lead them to higher levels of productivity and efficiency.”

Small shops need an ERP system to effectively run today’s manufacturing operations, which are more complex and fast-paced than ever, especially in made-to-order manufacturing environments.

“The truth is, in today’s business landscape, no business is too small for an ERP solution,” said Jeremy Klosowski, GM and director, sales and marketing, Realtrac Performance ERP (Livonia, MI), developer of Realtrac ERP. “Realtrac allows small businesses to operate, appear and compete like a large-scale enterprise. It allows management to do much more with much less and capture cost with true visibility while sharing information across various departments in an organization to reach production goals.”

Check the Big Board

Newer technologies like big-screen options take ERP scheduling and job management from paper or the desktop to very large touchscreen-enabled electronic boards accessible in the shop and on the factory floor. In the past year, Henning, who worked with a longtime customer, Littlestar Plastics (Rockford, IL), to develop a convenient shop-floor big-board touchscreen, introduced its new Touch Scheduling Board. Similarly, Realtrac this fall introduced its new Rightboard touchscreen scheduling system.
More mobile information is easily accessible by users via either smartphones or tablet computers with the new GLOVIA G2 ERP system from CrescentOne Inc.

“Our Touch Scheduling Board emulates and is designed to replace the magnetic scheduling boards often found in shops,” Henning said. “Our touch-based scheduling board provides an intuitive user interface and familiar magnetic board metaphor, thus reducing the user’s learning curve, making it much easier for shop-floor personnel to prioritize operations, view/set statuses and move operations from one work center to another.” The scheduling board also enables authorized users to change run quantities based on release coverage, view due dates, redefine routers and assign employees to work centers and/or operations.

Users can even color code cards by customer, define on-the-fly operational performance notes that can be shared with other shop personnel and set a variety of shop order statuses, such as “Waiting for Material,” Henning added, and animated icons are used to show hot and late jobs.

Realtrac is always making improvements to stay competitive and be the first in its class of small-to-medium size shops, Klosowski said. “We have recently launched our touch-screen electronic Rightboard, and RFQ [Request for Quote], to name a few. Each feature has an extremely large impact for costing and real-time operations,” Klosowski noted. “The Rightboard allows you to move jobs throughout your departments to workstations from a job pool with drag-and-drop technology, dramatically increasing workflow. The touchscreen allows you to see where your operations are in your shop as well as the timeline for that operation capturing employee rates. RFQ has multiple levels of quoting and adding vendors, shaving hours off your week.”

Mobile Access to ERP

The use of mobile devices with smartphones and tablets also continues to grow, and mobile devices have become much more accepted on the shop floor. “Henning Software offers a mobile option that we have named iVET that has an employee portal feature enabling shop-floor personnel to view their operational performance statistics, efficiencies, workcenter schedules, inventory levels, job assignments and to clock in/out of jobs using their mobile device, freeing them from having to walk up to a tethered computer, thus improving shop-floor efficiency,” he said.

Newer technologies aimed at making ERP easier to use include software employing .NET and SQL (structured query language), as well as HTML 5, which enables running it on laptops and on mobile devices, noted James Gorham, Executive Vice President of CrescentOne Inc. (El Segundo, CA), developer of the GLOVIA G2 ERP software.

“The risk is way higher for a small company,” noted Gorham of small shops seeking ERP solutions. “If they get it wrong, they can go out of business. Their ability to recover is obviously more fragile.”

ERP systems give small shops key controls for critical items including Bill of Materials (BOM), he noted, and it also gives the smaller operator effective cost controls. “The quicker they can adopt ERP the better,” Gorham said.

Going to the Cloud

For a lot of manufacturers, a key decision with ERP systems remains whether to go with the more traditional, tried-and-true on-premises installations—software that is licensed and installed locally—or to go with either a cloud-based system or one that is a hybrid, a combination of those two options. There are pros and cons to each approach.

“In the face of growing competition and a challenging business climate, many job shops and manufacturers are looking for ways to reduce costs, streamline operations, and improve the bottom line. Implementing ERP software is a proven solution for running a business efficiently and effectively,” said Kathie Poindexter, senior manager, product marketing, Epicor Software Corp. (Austin, TX). “Yet a large percentage of manufacturers have held back from implementing an ERP system due to high initial costs, long implementation times, and competing demands for time and resources.

“However, today ERP is being made more accessible to small shops [via reduced cost of ownership and complexity] so they too can streamline business processes and break down barriers to growth, while remaining agile for rapid response to customer demands and evolving markets,” she added.

ERP allows small manufacturers to track, measure, and monitor their entire business, from shop floor to top floor and from raw materials to final product, Poindexter said. ERP also boosts efficiency with real-time, actionable visibility into plant and business operations; reduces costs and streamlines processes; optimizes lean manufacturing to focus on the key priorities to make smarter decisions, eliminate waste and increase customer satisfaction; and allows adapting to new manufacturing methods, changing customer requirements, and evolving business strategies, she said.

“This is all done via a single platform for better real-time collaboration. Since many small shops have limited IT resources to manage/deploy software, many are opting for a hosted cloud ERP solution, which is delivered in a manner that minimizes complexity,” Poindexter added. “This also has cash-flow advantages, allowing businesses to pay as they go from OPEX [operating expenses] budgets vs. CAPEX [capital expenses].

“Cloud ERP is perfect for small manufacturers as it ideally facilitates the collaborative nature of manufacturing across the entire supply chain,” Poindexter said. “Thanks to cloud deployment models, which reduce the infrastructure and IT support requirements related to hosting and management of software, small manufacturers can now access ERP capabilities that were previously out of reach. Those shops are in a prime position to get the most out of the cloud, as their size necessitates a large, agile computing solution while their IT budgets generally prohibit a robust, in-house data center.”

Small shops can benefit greatly from cloud-based systems, said Realtrac’s Klosowski. “I believe that the cloud-based system has the potential to be a major tool for smaller shops,” said Klosowski. “It provides a cost-effective environment that backs up all the information while providing complete shop-floor control as being a sole manager for a smaller group of individuals.

“In addition to being cost-effective, Realtrac’s cloud-based ERP allows you to grow your business while managing operations from a distance,” he added. “There have been extreme advancements in ERP. Having a cloud-based solution allows the user real-time visibility. As anyone in this industry knows, manufacturing changes almost at the same speed as technology, inventory changes, demand changes, and equipment changes. With this visibility it allows the manufacturer to provide the right quantity and time and adjust to scheduling changes at the right time.”

The major plus for cloud ERP is users don’t have the IT infrastructure and related costs, added CrescentOne’s Gorham. “It’s basically outsourced. The updating of the system on the cloud, all of that is taken care of,” Gorham said. “The downside is you don’t own the solution. It’s a run-to-apply solution.

“We have some customers that start in the cloud and then port to the on-premises solution. That’s an hour or so of work at most, and the reason I can say that is it’s exactly the same solution. Most of our competition, they’re actually two solutions. Or they’re the same, but they cut it down to make it perform in the cloud. Our software is architected to be sub-second response times. That takes away the barrier if you want to move to the cloud, or the other way around.”

Cloud Concerns Linger

Many manufacturers still are hesitant to adopt cloud ERP, for varying reasons. “We do see some smaller businesses that are looking for cloud solutions, but a large number of them are still most comfortable with a software package that installs on-premises,” said Dan Griffin, director of product management for Macola (Dublin, OH), an ERP software provider and a division of Exact, which is based in the Netherlands. “Smaller businesses, those without a large IT staff, have concerns around cloud, specifically as it pertains to security, access and data ownership. Furthermore, cloud software often has limited configuration options—leaving a small business in a position to have to change its processes to work around the software.”

Griffin said Macola also sees that smaller businesses are concerned with the lifetime cost for purchasing software in the cloud. “The cost of entry may be lower, but the total cost of ownership can outpace a traditional software purchase in a few years.”

Typically, small businesses that select a “pure cloud” solution are doing so because of the lower barrier to entry, Griffin said. “Some of the benefits associated with pure cloud—such as 24/7 accessibility—are also available with traditional ‘on-prem’ software,” Griffin added. “For example, even with software on-premises, Macola 10 can be accessed via Web browsers, tablets and mobile devices. We also have customers who choose to create a ‘private cloud’ by hosting Macola with a provider like Amazon Web Services to gain benefits around hardware and infrastructure management while still maintaining ownership of their software deployment.”

In more rural areas, like much of the territory covered by Henning in the Midwest, worries over Internet broadband availability remain a key issue for manufacturers thinking of running shop operations on the cloud.

“That’s a real concern,” Henning said. A company can run its entire infrastructure on the cloud, but the broadband connection cannot fail, as it did recently in the area where Henning is based, when a trunk line interrupted the VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) broadband connection that Henning’s own business uses. “We were down for like 36 hours. If somebody has that happen, that’s a real concern,” Henning said. “The risk is high.”

A lot of people are doing more of a hybrid approach, he added. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), is the true leasing approach, said Henning. But there are other options available to users who do not want to use a true cloud ERP, such as using a Windows server running in the cloud. “There’s no magic to this cloud stuff really,” he said.

“From our customer experience, we have not seen a great demand for cloud-based ERP systems up to this point,” Henning stated. “Most of our customers still feel more comfortable with an on-premises approach because that offers them more control over their systems and data. The fact of the matter is that companies wanting to use an off-premises-based ERP system must have the availability of very fast and reliable high-speed broadband Internet services, and broadband Internet services are not always available or as reliable in more rural areas of country where many smaller manufacturers may be located.”

Henning said some customers have chosen to move their computer infrastructure into the cloud by both using a cloud-based server as well as cloud-based workstations connecting remotely via thin-client remote desktop connections. If broadband is available, there can be a potential cost savings by using virtual servers and workstations in the cloud, he added.

“By running their computer infrastructure in the cloud, companies can avoid the capital expense of buying their own servers and workstations by using simple thin-client devices. By avoiding the cost of managing their own computer infrastructure, there may be some opportunity for cost savings.”

This article was first published in the December 2016 edition of Manufacturing Engineering magazine. Read “ERP Software for Small Shops” as a PDF.

Advanced Manufacturing Media – SME

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With the name Fujitsu behind this product, GLOVIA G2 offers the best ERP solution for discrete manufacturers worldwide.