Canadian Manufacturing

ERP makes your supply chain hum

Leverage software to manage complexity and boost customer service

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As participants in the global economy, Canadian companies source parts and materials from around the world. At the same time, buyers demand customized products delivered in short time frames.

Compelled to meet customer-driven deadlines, manufactures often need to configure products to order, manage inventory and run the shop floor efficiently.

From planning to organizing to execution and control, manufacturers have to focus their strategy on what they do and how they deliver it. The pressure is on manufacturers to have rapid production with long, efficient supply chains.

Fortunately, enterprise resource planning systems (ERP) can improve your competitive advantage through supply chain optimization techniques.

Strategic positioning from better information
Manufacturers should identify market trends and opportunities to up-sell, cross-sell and create value-added services.

These decisions can be supported by simple information presentation tools or extracting key performance indicators (KPIs) that include financial and operational information via executive dashboards.

Sales analysis showing seasonality, cyclicality and trends enables reliable forecasting to ensure better utilization of resources.

Here are some important business intelligence (BI) tools to look out for in enterprise software:

  • Financial ratios to provide an at-a-glance assessment of the organization’s health;
  • Inventory analysis tools to highlight fast, slow and obsolete items;
  • Forecasting solutions to track, evaluate and identify possible causes of forecast variability;
  • Process flows and controlled access to ensure transactions are processed in a logical flow, representing your shop floor.

Improved flexibility and time to market
Delivering constant innovation to market quickly is imperative. A key challenge is streamlining changes to product designs and costing, to improve the delivery of customer-driven offerings and configurations.

Manufacturers should consider enterprise systems that offer:

  • Product configurator functionality to rapidly generate accurate product specifications for customizable products;
  • An estimating solution that can quote accurate lead times and delivery dates;
  • Engineering change functionality to control bill of material (BOM) changes, versioning and archiving;
  • A rules-based electronic workflow system with version control, security and auditable history.

Customer relationships, fulfillment and communications
Retaining customers and optimizing revenue from current markets requires a focus on relationships through constant, open and honest communication. All possible channels must be embraced, including social media, to build a warmer and more personal image. It requires building collaborative capacity across the supply chain—by providing platforms for the sharing of ideas.

Case in point
Samuel Strapping Systems is a manufacturer and supplier of a broad range of steel and plastic strapping, hand tools, edge protection, stretch film equipment and consumables, as well as standard and custom engineered unitizing equipment.

Samuel Strapping utilized SYSPRO ERP to reduce inventories by $2 million while still meeting customer demand.

Patrick Hoffmann, Samuel Strapping’s director of inventory and operational analysis, says “Samuel Strapping installed SYSPRO MRP in one of the company’s two plastic plants and did a comparison of the operational effectiveness of both plants. The plant using SYSPRO MRP was better able to maintain inventory levels and meet customer demands despite demand fluctuation.

“Due to the seasonal nature of our products, demand can exceed inventory levels. However, by targeting an inventory level steady around the mean and adjusting production levels, a process we call ‘inventory modulation’, we maintain steady inventory levels while maintaining delivery schedules,” he adds.

Benefitting from focused ERP solutions
The complexity and diversity of modern supply chains demand increasingly sophisticated processes for total optimization. For executives looking for new opportunities to drive improvement in their own operations, a sound ERP system adds intelligence to three key areas: the people, the organization, and the support of the supply chain.

Decision makers can then direct their operations meaningfully with access to superior, valid information in real-time to derive maximum value from their people and their supply chain. Ultimately, it’s about unlocking this value to compete more effectively both regionally and across the world.

odeteOdete Passingham is the marketing director at SYSPRO Canada. SYSPRO is an ERP application consisting of finance, distribution and manufacturing controls for mid-size companies. To contact Odete, email: or call (604) 451-8889. Learn more about SYSPRO at


This article is part of the Manufacturing Growth & Innovation Centre, showcasing strategies for manufacturers on the move.

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