Updated: May 22, 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced small and medium enterprises to rapidly shift from desktop ERP to cloud ERP, from addressing work-from-home policies to managing extreme swings in demand and uncertain supply chains. In the process, it has highlighted an aspect of cloud ERP that is not as visible in more normal times— business continuity.
It’s not that an ERP system’s ability to mitigate abrupt business changes hasn’t been noted in the past. For instance, it plays a central role during a change of ownership or a local event, such as a fire or flood. However, the extensive reliance on ERP solutions to maintain widespread, fundamental business continuity, as we are seeing today, has never been experienced on such a large scale.
Today, during the COVID-19 response, ERP is keeping entire industries in operation with its ability to sustain business operations through remote access, automated reporting, electronic data exchange, and real-time factory controls. Never in the history of ERP have we seen it play a bigger role in the continuance of manufacturing operations around the world.
Knowing that, let’s take a deeper look at how manufacturers are capitalizing on Digilife’s ERP software functionality to maintain business continuity by addressing some of the COVID-19 impacts we are seeing today:
Empowering employees working from home thru TASK BOARD.
Keep all deliveries, MIS reports and Compliance on track.
Businesses across all spectrums are minimizing the number of people coming into their plants and offices and maximizing the number working from home. In a manufacturing environment, it’s typically front office personnel who work from home, such as those in administrative, planning, and design roles.
For companies with a Digilife’s DB-ERP system in place, the shift to front office personnel working from home, driven by COVID-19 prevention measures, has not caused major business disruptions. Their front-office teams are able to access their ERP system at home and run the business from there. They maintain full visibility of the business and can continue to interact with customers and suppliers.
A good example a leading manufacturer headquartered at Mumbai, Maharashtra . The teams can access their DB-ERP system anywhere from their home, or laptops to see which jobs are running, determine the inventory stock VP has on hand, or check on order status and completion progress within seconds. This has helped the organization to become indispensable to its customers who rely on the manufacturer for timely updates and delivery. In the midst of COVID-19, Company facilities are up and running.
Having front-office personnel work from home is one thing. But back end support personnel working from home is an entirely different challenge. Wherein people need to file vouchers and documents received on email then book an entry in the system. DB-ERP facilitated users to book vouchers and keep the reference document attached on the entry for future reference.
for real time inventory, DB-ERP systems minimize the number of onsite shop floor staff by precisely scheduling work; dispositioning materials, and monitoring equipment for output; quality and maintenance issues in real-time. In other words, manufacturers are managing the shop floor by exception rather than rote supervision.
Real-time production monitoring is usually held out as an example of the ultimate in manufacturing control. Today it stands out as a critical tool for production continuity with a minimum of onsite workers.
Certainly, an impact of COVID -19 for many manufacturers has been a sudden shift in demand patterns. While some have seen a drop-off, many others are seeing spikes in demand.
Many food and drug retailers, as well as online retailers, use its containers in their logistics operations. Several of these customers have moved up orders previously slated for later in the year to accommodate current demand. The automation provided by DB-ERP system is enabling the manufacturer to meet the increased demand.
The demand fluctuations have greatly shifted the production inertia of many businesses. Raw materials supplies must be adapted; schedules and tooling changes are required, and different personnel are needed at different times. At the same time, off-shore factory closures have impacted the availability of materials and components from some suppliers.
Manually compensating and planning for sudden shifts or new suppliers could be weeks-long efforts—leading to delays that manufacturers can’t afford. By contrast, with today’s manufacturing ERP systems, re-planning, re-scheduling, and re-provisioning are nearly instantaneous. And just as importantly, these functions can be accomplished from remote locations.
After this period of disruption, factories and their workforces will return to a more normal operating profile. But, they will forever be strengthened by the lessons learned during a period when we were required to work remotely and use our business technology to the fullest extent possible.
How manufacturers think about their ERP systems will be forever changed as well. In addition to their well-understood values of maximizing profitably, ensuring top-notch customer service, and delivering quality products, ERP solutions will now be known for their unique ability to maintain business continuity in the face of sudden change. ERP software is now recognized as an essential business safety net to respond to and overcome unforeseen events.