The lean business model and its emphasis on waste reduction have become a default best practice for manufacturers around the globe. Similarly, ERP solutions have become fundamental to many manufacturers’ IT foundations. Some plant managers have questions about ERP’s role in achieving a lean environment. Is ERP compatible with the principles of lean? How can manufacturers integrate ERP with lean manufacturing?
First, it is important to understand the core differences between lean and ERP. ERP is top-down and lean is bottom-up. ERP depends on sales forecasts for materials planning. Lean follows a pull-based production approach.
It’s a classic case of push-and-pull.
This does not mean that lean and ERP conflict with one another. It just means that they are two different approaches to one common goal – maximizing customer value while minimizing waste.
ERP solutions can play a vital role in supporting your lean manufacturing initiatives. The key is making sure that ERP is adding value to your bottom line. Don’t fall into the hole of spending more time analyzing data than producing, improving, and serving your customers. Instead, remember that ERP is a powerful tool for finding areas that need improvement in your current manufacturing processes.
Proper implementation is essential to successfully integrating ERP with lean manufacturing. In most cases it is important for manufacturers to tackle lean first. This will eliminate unneeded waste and get you to your optimal manufacturing process. Then once all waste has been removed, you can use ERP to standardize and institutionalize those streamlined processes, and to monitor areas for continuous improvement moving forward.
Together, ERP and lean manufacturing are a powerful combination. As a leading ERP consulting and implementation partner, Guide Technologies can help your company to improve overall customer value by successfully integrate ERP with lean manufacturing. Our consultants are experienced in lean manufacturing and have helped clients globally cut out down waste.