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PPM and ERP Software - need suggestions

PPM and ERP Software - need suggestions

(OP)
Firstly, I hope this topic belongs in this forum - please advise an alternate if not.

I am investigating options for implementing ERP and PPM programs in my facility. Currently we are in the stone-age, not even a paper based system exists, everything is fire fighting and records exist is unorganized filing cabinets - an absolute nightmare.

In previous companies I have not been involved in selecting a system, they were always in place so my familiarity with the selection process is nil. At my last company they spent the entire 7 years of my employment trying to implement a system called 4th-Shift but it appeared to be incredibly inflexible and costly to customize. I would like to get away with a $5K to 10K upfront cost with 10% recurring yearly. We are a relatively small shop doing heavy welding for the energy sector. We also do pre-cast concrete and have blasting/coating equipment in addition to lift trucks and cranes. Total shop emloyees about 35 with 10 office staff. It would be nice if a proposed solution incorporated an electronic document management module as everything is also paper based and reliant on individual's memory as well.

As I am just getting into this I don't even know enough to ask intelligent questions that would help guide your responses so if those of you in-the-know could pose questions of my system requirements then that will likely help refine the conversation.

Many thanks,

Craig

RE: PPM and ERP Software - need suggestions

(OP)
Further clarificatios:

Yes I did a search of past posts on this topic, previous posts seem to come up short in suggestions.

Also, I did neglect to mention I would like to go open source to start, I am aware that many "top of the line" products can be $10K plus per installed user. My desire is to get something, if only rudimentary for now as it will be much better that nothing which is where we are currently. My limited understanding of open source options is that switching in the future is easier with respect to extraction of data - have I been mislead in this presumption?

RE: PPM and ERP Software - need suggestions

First would you characterize your business as a repetitive manufacturer of a product or a custom builder of one of a kind products?

Assuming you are a repetitive manufacturer, do you have part numbers assigned to all the parts of the assembly you make and a bill of material for the assemblies/weldments?

Do you have an order entry process defining what end product is being ordered?

Do you have some form of work instructions on how to make your product. Do your purchase parts have large variations in lead time from the suppliers?

You probably need an MRP (Material Requirement Planning) system only not an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system. There is a huge difference in what you are maintaining between the two systems.

What is your goal with the new system? What is your current processes costing the company. Where do you hope to reduce costs or improve customer service?

Analyze your business and understand what you have now and what you need in the future to be successful.

RE: PPM and ERP Software - need suggestions

(OP)
Thanks for your questions, following are my answers:

First would you characterize your business as a repetitive manufacturer of a product or a custom builder of one of a kind products?

Mostly repetative though occasionally there are some custom one-off jobs. 98% repetative I would say.

Assuming you are a repetitive manufacturer, do you have part numbers assigned to all the parts of the assembly you make and a bill of material for the assemblies/weldments?

Part numbers in the form of drawing numbers but if you can believe it we don't have BOM's as a separate document. The person ordering the raw materials has to have a complete knowledge of the assembly, otherwise material required might not get ordered.

Do you have an order entry process defining what end product is being ordered?

Order entry consists entirely of a simple excel spread sheet with bare-bones info ie: customer, cust po #, our order number, req'd ship date etc. There is no link to what is being ordered, everything is in the sales person's head.....when I said stone-age I meant it.

Do you have some form of work instructions on how to make your product. Do your purchase parts have large variations in lead time from the suppliers?

Yes, we do have work instructions in Word docs. I am not intimately involved in purchasing but I would say lead times are quite stable.

You probably need an MRP (Material Requirement Planning) system only not an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system. There is a huge difference in what you are maintaining between the two systems.

I am aware of MRP's, looks like I will need an MRP, ERP and PPM. If I go with open source (or otherwise for that matter) and I go with different vendor's for each, will I need to link the systems at some point to share common data, assuming there will be some cross-over in data?

What is your goal with the new system? What is your current processes costing the company. Where do you hope to reduce costs or improve customer service?

I have many goals, eliminating reliance on a person's memory is one, having accurate data to justify various projects is another, tie the whole process of order entry, raw material aquisition and part production is another. Basically, at the moment all aspects of our operation are dependant on various individuals and their time-on-station knowledge, everything is done manually via a paper based system, it is so open to broken links and failure.


Analyze your business and understand what you have now and what you need in the future to be successful.

RE: PPM and ERP Software - need suggestions

Whatever MRP/ERP system you decide to go with the cost will be a controlling factor. Your cost range will limit you to some very rudimentary programs which I did a google search on and found several in your range. Will they meet your requirements? Investigation will tell.

Your company will have to develop an ordering system giving product and options. A BOM system will have to be designed and populated.

The variable leadtime question was to determine if your part leadtime varied in length a great deal. Say you need a forging which has a 6 month leadtime or a barstock part with a 30 day leadtime. Or do all your parts have 30-60 day leadtime?

RE: PPM and ERP Software - need suggestions

(OP)
Bill,

Thanks for your feedback. Looks like I may have to up my expected layout a bit though I did find a web based PPM outfit out of Toronto that could have at least the maintenance end of things taken care of for $50 to $100 per month. ERP/MRP will likely be a bit costlier.

RE: PPM and ERP Software - need suggestions

The software you want to implement will force you to develop and create written documentation to organize your manufacturing process. It will not do it for you. Converting a paper system to software can be pretty painful to a company. Trying to do it without a paper system to begin with will make success far less likely. I've been with companies that spent five million dollars on MRP and then five years later spent 15 million to change to different newer software. It turned engineers into data entry clerks, so managers would never have to leave their offices to prepare their reports. If you are a small company maybe you can get away with using only QuickBooks and Excel.

RE: PPM and ERP Software - need suggestions

(OP)
Compositepro,

Starting to think what you're saying is true. Spoke with someone from Sage today and they want $80K to 100K for initial set-up on 8 seats with several thou recurring. While a computerized system is desireable I just don't see the cost benefit for our small firm on dropping so much coin. While I see a lot of reviews and comments against a homegrown MS Access solution I am starting to think it'll suffice for us, our requirements are rather simple.

RE: PPM and ERP Software - need suggestions

Hi ZWG -

Regarding the work instruction piece of this, there are several solutions on the market these days that get you into a scalable database solution that are relatively expensive or even free in some instances. In full disclosure, I work for one of these organizations but try to participate in forums of this nature in an attempt to help companies as opposed to just trying to sell software. We have worked with many small companies that are going through exactly what you are going through. A Google search for "work instruction software" will return many of the top candidates.

Best,

Barry Lucas

Barry Lucas
www.sequencesoftware.com

RE: PPM and ERP Software - need suggestions

ZWG,

You may also look at shop management software like E2, JobBoss, M1, Global Shop Solutions, Henning Software, Visual Jobshop, etc. These ERP packages are very appropriate for small job shops with respect to cost and functionality. If you also need a strong production scheduling module, you may consider adding a third party job shop scheduling tool like Schedlyzer.

Shop Planner

RE: PPM and ERP Software - need suggestions

(OP)
Shop Planner

Thanks for the feedback, especially as this thread has more or less gone dormant. I will check those solutions out. We are currently investigating Sage, we're at the demo stage. While the magnitude of the expenditure requires it this ERP investigation is extremely time consuming, and when you take the plunge on a given system how do you know you really made the right choice?

RE: PPM and ERP Software - need suggestions

ZWG,

ERP selection is a laborious and time consuming process. It also involves some risk of selecting a less appropriate package. Some people seek opinions of various ERP packages from members of a large forum,

http://erp.ittoolbox.com/groups/vendor-selection/e... .

You may inquire about merits and drawbacks of Sage products on this forum. Beware that ERP consultants and sales people dominate this forum. Another source of information for ERP packages for small job shops is:

http://www.mmsonline.com/suppliers/category/350/pr... .

Good luck in your search for right ERP package.

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