Get out your scuba gear, we’re taking a deep dive today! In this episode of Making Chips Jason and Jim are with a guest, John Berard who has a ton of experience in the research and implementation of ERP (Enterprise Resource Management) systems in manufacturing businesses. John’s got a lot of actionable advice for both the small and larger size manufacturing operations about how to determine your ERP needs, how to find and choose and ERP system, how much budget to set aside for the purchase, and what to expect during the implementation and transition period. This episode could help you take that bold step into a more streamlined way of managing your machine shop.
An ERP is business management software—typically a suite of integrated applications—that a company can use to collect, store, manage and interpret data from many business activities. It might and probably will include other software systems (known as MRP - Materials Resource Planning systems). Some of the things a good ERP may include are systems that track product planning and costs, manufacturing or service delivery, marketing and sales, inventory management, and shipping and payment. It sounds complex but once you have the right ERP solution chosen and implemented in your business, the long term benefit is cash savings on a daily basis. Find out more about ERP systems from our guest today, John Berard as he discusses the topic with Jim and Jason.
ERP provides an integrated view of your most essential business processes, allowing you to see a “big picture” of what’s going on in your manufacturing operation from many different levels. It also allows you to “drill down” into those broad categories to see the details you need to make better business decisions. A good ERP often does this work for you in real-time, using common databases maintained by a database management system integrated into the program. The applications that are a part of the system share information across the various departments of your operation (manufacturing, purchasing, sales, accounting, etc.). Hear the benefits your business could derive from implementing a good ERP system by listening in to this conversation.
John Berard, today’s guest on Making Chips, recommends that the owner of the manufacturing company NOT try to make this decision on his own. It’s vital that everyone involved in the collection and use of data within your company be a part of the process. The combined knowledge of the particular facets of your business will enable you to make accurate and helpful decisions about what kind of functionality you’ll need from an ERP system. John’s got some very practical suggestions about how to stage and manage those conversations and how to go about finding the right company with the right solution for you. If you’re considering an upgrade to an ERP system, the basics John shares could save you tons of time and money. Be sure to listen.
John Berard has seen many implementations of ERP software and has some “horror stories” about how you can mess it up. #1 - Ignore your people. You have to listen to those you’ve entrusted with the areas of your business. They will have the information and hands-on experience to help you make a good decision. #2 - You want to listen to your peers who have done an ERP implementation in the past. They will have “lessons learned” that will be of great benefit to you, so don’t let the bells and whistles of a fancy ERP system and a smooth talking salesman lead you down a path that a peer is saying may not be the best. #3 - If you have a gut feeling that the software consultant is not serving your best interests by highlighting the bells and whistles of the software that don’t really apply to your operation, listen to that feeling. You don’t want to make a huge mistake on this crucial decision. Find out more from John’s experience on this episode of Making Chips.
John’s podcast: http://www.podcastformakers.com/
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Chambers of commerce have been around for a very long time. The very first recorded mention of a chamber of commerce was in Marseille, .France in 1599. Trade associations have an equally long history with Associations finding their roots in organizations such as the church, medieval craft guilds, and merchant trading groups. Both groups still exist today and could be an important avenue through which your manufacturing business receives support, stays engaged with your community or industry, or becomes known for what you do and the quality with which you do it. On this episode of Making Chips, Jim and Jason chat a bit about the differences between chambers and associations and give their input about the value of each.
When you think of a chamber of commerce the first thing that comes to mind should be the word “local.” A chamber of commerce is always tied to a local community, whether it be a township, city, or other local area. The focus of a chamber is to consider and discuss the interests of all businesses in its local area, moving beyond individual interests to that of a collective group. The establishment of chambers provides merchants, traders, craftsmen and business owners a public forum to discuss issues facing them as a business community. This representation of common interests became, and remains, the foundation of chambers of commerce worldwide. Should YOUR business become a member of your local chamber? Jim and Jason have some things for you to think about as you consider that decision. Take a few minutes to listen to this episode to hear what they advise.
A trade association, also known as an industry trade group, is an organization founded and funded by businesses that operate in a specific industry or a specific niche of an industry. An industry trade association participates in public relations activities such as advertising, education, political donations, lobbying and publishing, but its main focus is collaboration between the companies that make up its membership. Associations may offer other services, such as producing conferences, providing networking or charitable events, or offering classes or educational materials to its members. In the manufacturing industry there are a number of associations, many specialized to serve its particular membership. Should your company be a member of a specific trade association? Only you can answer that question but Jason and Jim have some thoughts about what you should consider before deciding. You can hear their advice on this episode of Making Chips.
Given your company’s role and profile in the community, membership in your local chamber may not be a good fit. But there are many good reasons TO join your local chamber: Membership could bring credibility to your business in the community. Membership could increase your visibility in the community. Becoming a member could provide networking opportunities for your business. Being a chamber member could also give you an amplified voice in governmental issues. As part of your local chamber you’ll also make local business contacts. With a chamber membership, you can also reach potential clients through member exclusive advertising and opportunities for business-to-business advertising and publicity.
Trade associations provide a valuable resource to those who take advantage of their resources. Some of the reasons you might want to be a part of a specific association are: 1. You can receive specialized knowledge. Odds are that someone, somewhere, in the industry has already discovered the solution to a vexing problem in your particular niche. 2. You can enhance your company’s reputation. 3. You can make personal and industry-related connections. 4. You could increase your company’s purchasing power. Trade associations often arrange for members to receive discounts on certain products and services. 5. Your company could gain political clout and expertise. Trade associations bring competitors together, turning each small voice into a persuasive, collective shout that gets the attention of lawmakers and officials. Listen in as Jim and Jason discuss the benefits of their membership in various associations.
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