The problem isn’t with your ERP.  The problem is with ERP.

ERPs came from an age of slow and expensive computers, ubiquitous paper, and simple business processes.  ERPs were transformative during a time of information drought, allowing multiple people to view a sales order at the same time without having to find a typed piece of paper in a filing cabinet, performing the seemingly impossible with the magic of MRP and MPS to tell us what to buy and build months before we knew that we needed it, and storing purchasing information for 1000’s of parts, relieving us from constantly grabbing a printed vendor catalog.  The 1990-era ERPs ran on huge computers, recoding and regurgitating business transactions to give managers more visibility than ever before.  They were wonderful for the time.

Postmodern ERP: the prediction that, in the foreseeable future, companies will run a collection of applications, each best meeting a subset of their functional requirements and all seamlessly integrated.  No longer will you be limited to the functionality of your chosen ERP; you’ll simply “bolt-on” a best-of-breed application to use and improve upon your existing data with the enhanced functionality this new App or website or desktop program provides.  Need a equipment maintenance program?  Bolt!  How about a Theory of Constraints scheduler?  Bolt.  Ah, and e-Commerce!  Bolt!!  Wait, don’t like your ERP’s financials system?  Unbolt it and bolt on another (actually, I kinda like this one, stay tuned).

Isn’t the future grand!

Sabe answers the most important question - “What should I do next?”

Manufacturing companies constantly fight through a long list of work orders that must be built, sales orders that must be shipped, maintenance orders that have to be completed, purchase orders that need to be expedited, de-expedited or canceled, and planned orders that need to be released. But which is the most important? Onto which should the company focus its finite resources on to have the greatest positive effect and which has the greatest negative effect? What should I do next?!

Well, we’ve got a solution for that question. Actually, we’ve got a couple.

I just watched a promotional video produced by the developers of an ERP that is targeted directly at SME manufacturers.  The narrators proudly boasted of the gains found by “having all your data in one place” and showcased a video endorsement by a customer, exclaiming that they found a $22,000 payroll savings given the employee productivity their new ERP system has enabled.

I felt that I was watching a 1980’s action film on Netflix.

Welcome.  Rather than launching into a long stream of conscience I feel that, first, a short introduction to me and my company is in order.