Manufacturers: You’re Not Special

Manufacturers:  You’re Not Special

Manufacturers: You’re Not Special

  • On 07/23/2022

It doesn't happen often, but there have been some occasions when I've spoken with manufacturers, they've explained their challenges to me, and I’ve come away with the impression that they're on the wrong track.

I can think of two examples:


Now You've Gone Too Far

One example would be where they have selected an ERP system (or they've looked at ERP systems) and they insist on having a significant level of customization to fit their "unique" operation.

The other example would be that they've used ERP systems in the past and they just couldn't get it to work and so they've built their own.

Both of these examples are red flags to me.  I say this having developed and integrated a number of enterprise-level custom applications myself.


Markets are There to Serve You

Most ERP systems tend to follow the same basic architectural approach to supporting operations management.  They also tend to support best practices.  It's therefore odd that an effective off-the-shelf solution couldn't successfully be employed at these businesses.

Now there is such a thing as picking the wrong system.  However, there's also such a thing as refusing to use an ERP system properly and maintaining an iron grip on your legacy practices.  That's what seems to be going on in these cases.

They want the software to conform to their practices because their practices are so great and so wonderful that they want the software to change.  But most ERP systems support best practices.  Therefore, some thought might be given to the possibility that you can use this opportunity to review and improve your practices so that they better align with what a good ERP system already supports.


OK.  You Really Are Special.

If you want to be unique and special, I would suggest that you do so in the areas of marketing, sales, value proposition, or product design and engineering.  Those are areas where it can really pay off to have an innovative approach that is “outside the box” so you can shine in the marketplace.

Areas like operations management (and accounting, for that matter) are generally best served by thinking “inside the box”.  The way to excel in operations management is to practice the basic blocking and tackling and do it really well at every point in the order fulfillment chain and do it better than your competitors, which is not hard to do.

That's how you can be truly special.


Next Steps

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