In our prior post we shared some of the results of a survey done last year by Crowe-Horwath with the American Metal Market that provided some worthwhile insights into the results of IT and ERP initiatives occurring among manufacturers these days. In that post (found here) we covered plans for expansion, their thoughts on the importance of tech in their businesses, the top factors driving their IT budgets, their top concerns, where they look for new profitability and what sorts of items comprised their budgets.
Today we’ll look at their responses to questions about IT and ERP projects themselves. Among these:
- 35% upgraded an ERP system in the past 3 years and 20% implemented a new one.
- When asked about current and planned IT projects…
- 28% were planning ERP upgrades to existing ERP systems, and
- 20% planned to implement a new ERP system
- CRM and BI (business intelligence) initiatives also ranked as high priorities
- As to cloud, or SaaS (Software as a Service), half of all respondents had no cloud solutions in any area of the business, and the most cloud-centric task among companies who had any cloud initiatives was for email (24%).
- Most companies used a combination of both internal and external resources when implementing their major IT projects.
- Training and ongoing support were the two key areas where external resources outweighed the use of internal resources.
- When queried about their satisfaction with their ERP systems, the survey concluded that: “In general, respondents are satisfied because they had a new or recently updated system. Generally, respondents are unsatisfied because of outdated technology. Those in the middle have some dissatisfaction due to missing functionality or problems with implementation.”
- 37% responded that they wanted or planned to move to a new ERP system (another 19% had already done so recently).
- One important conclusion: 36% of respondents standardized business practices across locations to integrate process improvements into ERP implementation. About 40% engaged in a detailed process analysis or value stream mapping.
- Companies are upgrading in large numbers today to “modern” ERP systems, and so it’s no surprise that among key findings were that “the most important issues when selecting new enterprise technology solutions were user interface and familiarity, total cost of ownership, and industry-specific functionality.”
- As to their implementation partners and vendors, they indicated that Technical and Industry expertise were the two most important qualities sought.
- When asked what were the most important new ERP requirements to meet the needs of changing workforce demographics, end-user reporting tools and a modern user-interface were ranked numbers one and two.
Today’s manufacturers are clearly looking to modern solutions, with feature-rich but usable interfaces that can be distributed broadly across a company. Even more importantly, they’re realizing the importance of processes and people – well-analyzed in advance of any technology initiatives – to ensure that their tech applications and initiatives are being driven to serve the business purpose first, and not the other way around.
We couldn’t agree more.