The performance of ERP systems is closely tied to the data they are fed. Both the volume and accuracy of data will heavily impact the usefulness an ERP has on an organization. Often overlooked by organizations integrating or currently using an ERP, is the process used to supply an ERP with continuous and accurate data.
When it comes to manufacturing, distribution and job shop industries, there is a breadth of information required to ensure production orders are fulfilled and customers receive their goods. Historically, these industries have relied on shop floor and warehouse employees manually recording time, materials and inventory. Manual systems may be paper-based systems where data is then fed into the ERP or the process may rely on employees to accurately enter data into the ERP directly.
In either case, manual tracking is often incomplete and error-prone, however, there is often a larger issue overlooked and that is the burden on employees to record data.
Dr.-Ing. Jürgen Kletti, the author of Manufacturing Execution Systems - MES, points out that the "completeness of data is directly related to the effort put into acquiring the data". While Kletti is referring to an MES, the same can be said for an ERP. If employees perceive the data collection effort too burdensome, then the system will lack data or inaccurate data, and the organization will not reap the benefits it is expecting from its ERP investment. In other words, the burden outweighs the benefit.
Barcode technology has been around since 1974 and, to this day, is evolving too easily and accurately to convert human activity into accurate and meaningful data. Human activity may include performing an inventory cycle count, logging setup time on a CNC machine, or preparing a package of goods for shipping. Whatever the task, barcode technology not only simplifies the recording of tasks but it does so accurately and often with much more metadata than anyone could ever feasibly collect manually on an on-going basis.
Feeding an ERP system with continuous and accurate data via barcode technology, organizations significantly reduce the burden on employees. The ERP receives the data it requires to deliver the benefits it promises to organizations. These benefits include:
- Accurate inventory: By knowing what exactly you do and do not have in stock saves time, increases customer satisfaction and reduces lost sales.
- Accurate shipping: Shipping wrong or incomplete orders to customers bears a cost. Barcode technology significantly reduces errors.
- Maintain a profit: Stop guessing at the shop time and materials needed to complete a production order. Barcode technology provides accurate time and material reporting so you can maintain your profit margin.
Want to learn more? Innovia and Mark Hamblin of Insight Works presented a webinar on this topic. Follow the link below to access the recording "End-to-End NAV Solutions for Manufacturing, Distribution".