Manufacturing ERP Implementations

January 21, 2019

What to know before taking a traditional implementation approach

As a manufacturer, you have a lot of moving parts in your business.


And that means that most manufacturing ERP implementations are big, complex projects that require significant resources.

What’s included in a traditional ERP implementation?

A typical ERP Implementation may include detailed discovery, process mapping and design of every area of your business including:

  • Sales
  • Procurement
  • Production
  • Distribution
  • Accounting
  • Service
  • Asset management
  • Performance measurement

Do you need every aspect of your Manufacturing ERP system to be customized?

ERP system customization is expensive.

Even just the amount of work it takes to map out all the business processes, and document all the exceptions to the rules, is an extensive undertaking. Once the process mapping work is done, you have to get cross-departmental consensus.

You may be a year or two into the project before you touch an ERP system!

If you have a business that’s highly unique in every way, a traditional ERP implementation is your best option.

Handling standard business processes

Most manufacturing companies have areas of their business that are not that unique and don’t offer any competitive differentiation.

  • Paying vendor invoices
  • Procurement of supplies
  • Order entry
  • Shipping

You’re not different in some areas – because you don’t need to be. With a traditional implementation, you’re paying to build industry-standard best practices, when it’s not valuable to customers. It just needs to be done.

But if you swing the pendulum the other way to implementing an entire “manufacturing industry standard ERP solution,” you miss out on creating your own “secret sauce.”

Modern Manufacturing ERP implementations & Solutions

Today’s modern ERP solutions and modern ERP implementations, like MCA Spectrum, are creating a hybrid approach, where you can:

  • Implement best practices for non-differentiating business processes
  • Customize areas that provide a competitive advantage

Customizing business processes doesn’t necessarily even mean that the ERP software needs to be customized. Configuration may be all that’s necessary!

In this scenario, an ERP implementation approach like MCA Spectrum provides the right balance between a traditional and templated approach. The setup includes system templates and training for common manufacturing processes like:


  • Concept to market
  • Procure to pay
  • Plan to production
  • Order to cash
  • Inventory management
  • Pick to ship
  • Post to close
  • Hire to retire

Because the ERP system is cloud hosted, delivered in a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model, setup is relatively simple. Your modern ERP implementation then just primarily focuses on creating differentiation in the areas that are important to your business – and training users on how to use the new ERP system.

Stop doing things the way the old ERP system did it

When you take this modern ERP implementation approach, there will be areas of your business where people will need to change how they do things.

Modern ERP systems, like Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, can use IoT sensors and mobile technology to streamline and automate formerly manual processes. You must be willing to do business differently, to meet modern business best practices. A significant amount of your modern ERP project will be focused on changing user behavior.

The rest of the time can be spent on perfecting your “secret sauce.”

Creating competitive differentiation

MCA Spectrum clients pick one or two areas that are unique, and they focus a major portion of the project resources in mapping and designing those custom processes.

For example, we worked with an automotive manufacturer who had unique inventory management needs. On top of tracking SKUs, they had to create a new dimension that would track the inventory state – new, refurbished, wet, dry, etc. By mapping this process in detail, they were able to find areas for optimization and significantly speed up production scheduling. Best of all, they didn’t need to customize the Dynamics ERP system; they only needed it to be correctly configured.

This particular client deployed their Dynamics system on-premise several years ago. Today, that same implementation could be delivered significantly faster and less expensively on a cloud-hosted, preconfigured solution like ManufacturingCONNECT, which is built on Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations.

Our MCA Spectrum ERP implementation approach allows you to take a templated ERP solution like ManufacturingCONNECT and tailor it to your unique specifications.

ERP Implementations Continue to Evolve

ERP software can be delivered faster than ever, but you still have to pick the right ERP software and the right ERP partner. An ERP solution like Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations can be morphed to fit your business.

Increased emphasis should be placed on the quality of your ERP implementation partner, and the knowledge they have about the manufacturing industry, your business and their expertise with the ERP software itself.

MCA Connect has been named U.S. Manufacturing Partner of the Year; ERP Partner of the Year; and named to Microsoft’s Inner Circle for 10 years running.

Let us help you get your manufacturing ERP system designed, developed and delivered in fast, efficient and valuable way. Contact us now to start the conversation.

Author: Randy Garrett, Delivery Director

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