Manufacturers, See How a New ERP System Can Handle Government Contract Projects

Posted by Annette Grotz on July 12, 2018

ERP Capabilities Review Manufacturing

Manufacturers are notorious for prolonging the use of their legacy systems. Similar to those of us with automobiles that somehow keep running with only a few hundred dollars in annual repair costs, it is hard to change. However, unlike automobiles, unless getting to work on time is becoming a challenge, continued legacy system usage can thwart progress and potential growth, simply due to continued use of inefficient processes (much to the delight of your competitors).

As a manufacturing executive, it is likely your current get-a-new-ERP-system conditions are favorable due to government spending increases and new highs in industry outlook.

There are a number of capabilities that modern ERP systems offer. You will have to work with your various teams to see what is wanted and then narrow things down to what is needed.

Here are a few capabilities you may want to put on your “required capabilities list” if you are a manufacturer with defense or government customers.

Manufacturing project visibility

Let’s face it, all teams want, scratch that… need, to see what is going on with the project, and for good reason. The project manager needs to know where they are from a cost and deliverable standpoint. Materials and procurement teams need to be aware of the parts and progress details. In all cases all teams need to be able to:

  • Predict a project’s trajectory from a time, scope, parts and cost perspective.
  • React quickly to make needed changes to course correct as soon as possible.
  • Communicate with teams internal and external with real-time data, whether it be the government contract officer or the supplier.

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Manufacturing audit trails and supply chain flow

Deltek’s latest Clarity study reflects that audit costs have decreased. They attribute this in part to increased use of software and decreases in the overall number of audits. However, complacency on this front has never served a manufacturer well. The materials team and others will benefit from:

  • The ability to jump in and track materials at any point from the purchase requisition to the purchase order.
  • Setting up the approval flow to include receipt, inspections and inventory, enabling the system to maintain, or keep the flow downs as requirements, so that conditions have to be met in order to keep the process moving.
  • Knowing the delivery schedule and having the ability to issue and track different PO types, to include GFEs.

Project-focused inventory tracking

Sure, monitoring inventory is nothing new. Are you able to go beyond asset inventory on your balance sheet to managing it to the project level and in work-in-process? What about customer or government furnished materials (GFM)?

  • With an ERP system comes integration, meaning finance, operations and manufacturing teams are working off of one data set, where costs are costs and arguments and data reentry have no place. (IT teams are all for this!)
  • The government contacting officer and your project managers will all appreciate the compliance support a project-focused system provides.
  • From a quality, compliance and change perspective, you will want to have traceability to every item, every transaction, every time.

Manufacturing sales order management

Being able to order, service, ship and invoice in one system helps ensure everyone is on the same page. An ERP system automates much of this process so that your teams can:

  • Generate requisitions from confirmed orders – electronically
  • See demand for MRP and associated action messages
  • Have visibility into all independent customer orders that are affiliated with the prime contract.

Content management integration

A manufacturing ERP system that can interface with some of your teams’ favorite apps is an easy way to get buy in from other teams. This flexibility is also very helpful when it comes to importing SOWs or Excel documents. Make sure the ERP system you chose allows your team to:

  • Import and export data to manipulate it in Excel
  • Store documents associated with a project in a central repository or CMS
  • View linked documents within the ERP itself.

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There are many other capabilities teams throughout your company will want and likely need to do their jobs more efficiently. You have to get it right as another opportunity to invest in a new system may not come around for a while and may be driven away by the sputtering old automobile otherwise known as budget cuts.

To see a modern ERP system in action watch the Solution Speed Session: Costpoint Manufacturing webinar.