- Software development
- How to Build a Manufacturing ERP?
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Are you interested in developing a manufacturing ERP?
Today, manufacturing enterprises realize that the management of business processes given modern operational complexities is next to impossible via traditional systems. Instead, they are turning to scalable, secure, and comprehensive manufacturing ERPs to help them achieve this.
The global manufacturing ERP market is expected to reach $8.2254 billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 9.0% from 2021 to 2027, as reported by Market Research. The statistics show promising investment opportunities for businesses in the manufacturing industry.
Developing a Manufacturing ERP Solution
If you think that the available ERP solutions, even ones designed for manufacturing businesses, do not meet your core business processes then you are right. Most ready-to-use ERP systems that require extensive customizations won’t work seamlessly with your critical manufacturing operations.
The solution is to develop a custom manufacturing ERP software solution that aligns with your business goals and gives you a competitive edge in the market. It is complex work but with the right team, you will be able to nail it.
You can build a manufacturing ERP solution by going through the following steps:
Decide ERP System Requirements and Product Scope
You need to start by deciding the goals you want to achieve with your ERP software system. You may want to automate certain tasks, incorporate better reporting capabilities, improve data analytics, etc.
Any manufacturing ERP has the following main features in regard to manufacturing operations management:
Job Scheduling: Advanced scheduling of resources, including machinery and labor, for streamlining the manufacturing process. You will require a job scheduler in your ERP software to facilitate the effective scheduling of business operations and workload.
According to this recent report, the average cost of downtime across all industries is “$5,600 a minute”. A job scheduler with a high availability system protects an enterprise from costly downtimes.
Supply chain management: This module provides visibility in regard to the lifecycle of products, from the procurement of raw materials to the delivery of finished products. Businesses are reportedly spending at least 25% of their budget on ERPs for supply chain management due to the massive increase in operational efficiency that they provide.
Inventory Control: This functionality helps with the effective tracking of materials, and the ability to take proactive measures to keep up with consumer demands, in addition to managing inventory tasks like scanning, picking up and packing, etc.
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Businesses have experienced a 60% improvement in efficiency by automating inventory management tasks such as inventory tracking.
Predictive Forecast: This feature helps in multiple scenarios including the timely placement of orders for production material, maintenance of machinery, etc.
Predictive also maintenance plays a huge role in reducing unwanted downtime, etc. According to this survey, analytical tools accelerate the decision-making process by 5 times, thereby increasing profitability.
Project Management: This is a crucial module as it helps your team managers and members to organize their tasks. They can assign roles, view the current job status, estimate job duration, etc.
According to research, 11.4% of total resources are wasted due to inefficient project management. A comprehensive project management module helps with the efficient utilization of enterprise resources.
GPS Tracking: A GPS tracking system helps you track the location and availability of your shipment vehicles to enable a smooth delivery process as well as accountability. This is necessary if your manufacturing business goes beyond just production to include supply and delivery.
These are just a few examples of the many ERP functionalities that you can add to your software. The reason research is key here is that, ideally, you need to nail all the functionalities that you will need before starting to build your app.
After finalizing your ERP project goals and aligning them with your business goals, you need to prepare a system requirement specification document. This specification document will help your development team to design and develop the enterprise resource planning software according to your requirements.
Form a Competent Development Team
The next step is to form a team of professionals to undertake the project of building an ERP solution. If you already have one then you will need to make sure you have all the required skills in your team before you start. If you don’t, you will need to hire the developer skills that you don’t have, either locally or from a remote software development company that outsources its developers.
You will require the following roles to build a custom manufacturing ERP:
- A project manager helps design development plans, assign and manage tasks to designers and developers, estimate the project’s duration and deliverables, etc.
- A business analyst with experience in the manufacturing industry helps align your ERP features with manufacturing business development goals. Your business analyst will need to gather market trends and incorporate them into the ERP requirements.
- UI/UX designer and frontend developer design and develop an intuitive user interface.
- Backend developers develop the core ERP features, database integrations, APIs, etc. They also perform and manage ERP deployment.
- QA engineers help you test your ERP product.
Select the ERP Software Infrastructure
Now, that you have your ERP development team ready, the next step is to provide them with the development infrastructure.
Today, businesses, from large enterprises to small businesses, heavily rely on cloud computing. Cloud-based development resources free you from all the heavy work of installing and maintaining computing and development resources.
You can choose any of the leading cloud service providers. They provide you with resources like servers, database systems, application development platforms, etc., and your development team can start right off.
For example, a leading cloud computing platform, Microsoft Azure offers multiple cloud services under the categories of storage, mobile, databases, networking, etc., that could help you expedite your ERP development process.
Take a look at Visual Studio by Azure. It is an IDE for cloud application development. You get the following advantages by using Azure Visual Studio IDE for your ERP development:
- You can develop, debug, and run your cloud application directly from the IDE using local emulators and integration tools.
- You get extensive features to develop a highly secure ERP application that is easily scalable.
- Snapshot debugging feature helps your developers handle unexpected bugs and issues while your ERP software is running in the live environment.
Azure Cosmos DB is a database cloud service by Azure. It is a fully managed, serverless distributed database that offers the following benefits:
- You can build a fast and scalable ERP application with relational and NoSQL databases.
- It offers multiple SDKs and support for popular databases like PostgreSQL, MongoDB, etc.
- You get a continuous backup of your critical business data with high-level security.
A few other prominent cloud computing platforms are Amazon AWS, IBM Cloud Computing, etc. Read our article here for a comparison of the top cloud service providers.
Design your Manufacturing ERP Solution
Your UI/UX designers will design your ERP application.
This includes deciding the placement of front-end elements, selecting design themes, and creating a UI with a focus on providing an excellent overall user experience. Your designers need to create wireframes and prototypes of the application’s front end using tools like InVision.
InVision offers a UI Kit that could help your UI/UX designers build an interactive and appealing ERP user interface. Your designers can take advantage of the following features:
- There is a built-in editor to create and modify user interfaces with options to add animations and gestures.
- Your design team can use the feedback feature to take suggestions early in the ERP design process from the stakeholders.
- The syncing feature helps to iterate the design prototypes and keep track of changes in the design layouts by different team members.
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Bootstrap is an open-source CSS framework that offers the following features to frontend developers:
- Developers can build a mobile-friendly and responsive web application.
- It has an extensive library of reusable code components that developers can use to accelerate development.
Develop the Manufacturing ERP System
Your backend developers need to begin by coding the core features of your ERP.
Programming languages like Java, PHP, and C# are usually used by software developers to build robust enterprise-level applications. The choice of language really depends on your project requirements and factors like which OS platform you wish the app to run on.
Your developers can use frameworks like Spring with Java, an object-oriented programming language for manufacturing ERP development. Java is a stable language that is platform-independent and allows for the development of great scalable software applications.
The Spring framework offers the following features to your backend developers:
- Spring framework uses the Plain Old Java Object which means developers do not require an enterprise container or an application server for ERP development.
- It offers multiple modules such as web MVC, ORM, etc., to create robust business-based applications.
- Spring offers developers extensive infrastructure support which helps them focus on the business logic at the application level.
Your development team can also use frameworks like Lansa to build manufacturing ERP software applications. Lansa is an open-source framework that helps you swiftly get started with enterprise-level application development.
Being open-source, it will give your developers much better freedom to customize it according to your specific business requirements than proprietary ERP software like Oracle Cloud ERP, NetSuite, etc,
Lansa ERP framework can accelerate the implementation of features for production planning, billing of material, production control, production reporting, financial asset management, etc.
Your application developers should also be experienced in the management of manufacturing ERP data. They should know about SQL and NoSQL databases to handle various data formats.
For example, you can use MSSQL as a relational database management system for structured data. It offers the following advantages:
- If you use it with Azure cloud services, you can easily use it to integrate your ERP data into on-premises and cloud applications.
- You can utilize extensive AI services on your business ERP data for better analytics.
- You get better performance and security as it is a mature database management system from Microsoft.
Similarly, you can look into the Oracle NoSQL database to store nonstructured data and take advantage of the following benefits:
- You can build flexible data models for your ERP system with low-latency responses. It means your manufacturing ERP application could make fast database queries in time-critical scenarios such as material shipments, etc.
- It is dynamically scalable which will help your team work with variable user and data load.
- Your developers can better understand and manage data in multiple formats such as documents, key-value data models, etc.
APIs are an essential feature of today’s software applications. Your developers will need to create APIs to integrate new ERP features into your existing system. Developers may also integrate features from third-party services instead of building them from scratch.
49% of businesses have responded to a research survey stating their developers use APIs for efficiency in the development process.
Your developers should be experts in using tools like Swagger Hub for API development, testing, and documentation.
Swagger Hub offers an editor that helps developers standardize APIs quickly. Your developers can collaborate better on API design and development as it is easy to share on Swagger Hub. They can also make use of Swagger Hub’s auto-generated API documentation.
Advanced Development Technologies
You need to build your ERP product with the latest technologies. According to a report, AI-powered processes in the manufacturing industry will help businesses generate an additional $4.9 trillion every year by 2030. This is a phenomenal figure, around 40% of the GDP of the United States, showing just how lucrative the AI-powered ERP market is set to become.
Advanced data analytics, automated assembly inspection, computer-aided manufacturing, and business intelligence capabilities for future production planning, etc., are based on artificial intelligence, big data, and IoT.
Your AI and ML developers and data scientists should be highly knowledgeable in machine learning algorithms like supervised and unsupervised ML, deep learning, etc. They should be experienced in data science methods, including data processing, statistical techniques, etc., to expertly implement these functionalities through supporting tools and frameworks.
For example, your developers can use Tableau, a data visualization tool. It is easy to implement and can handle large amounts of data. You can quickly create interactive visualizations of your ERP data for analysis. It also offers excellent mobile support.
Amazon SageMaker is another cloud-based managed tool your big data developers should be able to use to implement advanced machine learning techniques into your manufacturing ERP.
It is an open platform that helps developers build and deploy machine learning models. Amazon also offers multiple pre-trained models for data extraction, natural language processing, etc., that developers can deploy directly on SageMaker to accelerate the development process. Pre-trained models help to lower costs and development times, however, they are not always as fit for purpose as custom-designed AI solutions.
AWS SageMaker also supports popular machine learning frameworks like TensorFlow, Apache Spark, etc., that your developers might choose to work with.
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Test your Manufacturing ERP Systems
After application development, your QA team would test your ERP software solution rigorously to make sure it is free of errors and bugs. QA engineers run test routines like penetration tests, security tests, performance tests, etc.
Surveys show that testing procedures can stretch the allotted budget for ERP development by 50% if not planned adequately. Your developers should play role in ensuring code quality via functional testing, including unit tests, integration tests, etc., to ensure that ERP features work seamlessly alone and also together as a system.
Train your Team
A feature-rich ERP system is not likely to deliver and meet your productivity requirements if your company employees cannot use it effectively.
Your teams should be given enough training to use all the features easily to enhance their productivity. You could prepare training material and guides with the help of your ERP developers. Managers should also be able to utilize all the capabilities for better management and decision-making.
Our recent blog on ERP implementation will help you in getting started with ERP software in your organization.
This also applies to startups or companies that are looking to develop ERP solutions to offer out to other companies for a fee. Your system will need to be intuitive and easy for company employees to get the hang of. Consider offering training courses as a part of the app or ensure you have a great customer service team to help your clients.
Deploy your Manufacturing ERP Software
Now, you are ready to go live with your new ERP system and draw up a deployment plan where you deploy the high-priority modules first. Your deployment plan will also include testing all application features in the live environment, verifying data migration, etc.
DevOps practices are commonly used today to manage deployment in complex environments, automate routine deployment tasks, and keep up with end users’ requirements.
Your team can use multiple tools for DevOps practices. For example, Amazon Cloudwatch offers useful app data that would help your developers monitor the ERP application. Similarly, Amazon CodeBuild can be used to build, compile, and test software modules ready for deployment.
Invest in Continuous Maintenance
Your ERP product requires continuous monitoring before you decide if it is performing as required and meeting your project goals.
You can set KPIs to measure overall business performance. You will almost certainly see more productivity and profitability have been achieved by implementing an ERP software solution into your manufacturing enterprise. You can continually monitor this to keep improving.
You also need to decide on your long-term application maintenance plan, which includes planning and implementing technology updates, preparing staff to tackle future technical problems, etc.
Ready to Build a Manufacturing ERP System?
We have shown you how to build a manufacturing ERP solution. You need expert developers to undertake your specific manufacturing ERP development process. If you don’t have the talent then why not consider partnering with DevTeam.Space?
DevTeam.Space is a community of field-expert software developers experienced in hybrid software development using cutting-edge technologies. Our developers are thoroughly vetted for their software development skills and are trained in our unique agile development process.
We outsource our developers and dev teams to clients just like you. We have worked with the likes of Samsung, Airbus, and thousands of startups over the years.
You can easily partner with our expert software developers by sending us your initial project specifications.
One of our account managers will get in touch with you to discuss further details on how we can help you develop market-competitive manufacturing ERP software solutions.
FAQs on Manufacturing ERP
Manufacturing enterprise resource planning software help manufacturing companies plan, manage, control, and deliver functionalities that support manufacturing processes.
MRP refers to material resource planning which helps manufacturing companies plan their inventory, stock capacity, etc. ERP systems offer a complete business management platform that helps manage core business functions, including inventory management, workflow management, quality control, financial management, data management, shop floor control, human resources management, warehouse management, customer relationship management, production scheduling, etc.
Enterprise resource planning includes sales, procurement, supply chain, human resources, finance, manufacturing management software, etc.