While there may be a general sense that manufacturing jobs are being moved far overseas to various developing markets, U.S. companies continue to look for ways to leverage their ERP systems. As a result, domestic manufacturers have more options than ever before for improving their own companies’ outlook. That’s the conclusion of Eric Kimberling, a consultant with Panorama Consulting Solutions in Denver.
In a recent online article by Bridget McCrea about Kimberling’s work, published at MS Dynamics World (a site for Dynamics resellers), she writes:
“Pointing to rising labor costs and an increasingly global economy as just two of the reasons why some work is being shifted overseas, Kimberling says that for each company that moves jobs from the U.S. to another part of the world, there are additional opportunities to replace these typically less-complex commodity manufacturing activities with higher-value products and services that are less likely to be handled outside developed countries such as the U.S.”
Kimberling says ERP software can allow U.S. manufacturers to focus on complex, made-to-order and engineer-to-order manufacturing (as opposed to high volume transaction business). It can allow them to enable global supply chains by managing business processes and supply chain visibility. It can support globally diversified workforces, and help them manage global accounting and regulatory requirements.
Kimberling points out how ERP (in this case, specifically, Microsoft Dynamics ERP) “provides a level of demand forecasting that allows companies to effectively predict what is going to happen in the supply chain (as opposed to just what has happened historically). That’s one area where Dynamics ERP is strong,” says Kimberling, “and where it has an advantage over other types of ERP systems.”
Product configuration is another area cited by Kimberling when it comes to custom-ordered and engineered items. He also recommends the BI (Business Intelligence) capabilities that can provide improved reporting and visibility, thu saving firms time and money.
While manufacturing in the U.S. is not going away any time soon, the nature of jobs in this sector is changing. ERP was largely created specifically to aid the manufacturing industry about 25 years ago, but the evolving nature of the industry requires “solutions that can keep up with and support the changes.”
He concludes by noting: “If the ERP software industry can effectively do this in the coming years, it may very well indeed save manufacturing jobs in the U.S. and elsewhere.”