Bringing Your Manufacturing ERP System into the 21st Century

Bringing Your Manufacturing ERP System into the 21st Century


As Foxconn prepares to build a new headquarters and manufacturing facility in Southeastern Wisconsin, the area’s manufacturing landscape is going through a period of change. As midwestern manufacturers work to modernize their digital systems, one place to begin is with ERP platforms. What can you do to bring your ERP solutions into the 21st century?

Why should you upgrade your Manufacturing ERP System?

  • Companies face a variety of issues that cause them to consider upgrading their manufacturing ERP software. They may include:
  • The current ERP platform can’t keep up with business demands
  • ERP integration is difficult with other digital systems
  • Internal users are struggling to use the manufacturing ERP software
  • The cost of operating the outdated ERP system is too high
  • In many cases, these problems can be solved by upgrading the manufacturing ERP system with more modern software. In order to ensure the ERP upgrade is successful, businesses need a solid upgrade strategy and a team of engineers on hand to handle any issues as they arise.

Developing a Manufacturing ERP Upgrade Strategy

When deciding on a strategy for upgrading your ERP system, begin by analyzing the problems you’re facing with your current system and identify any new features you would like to utilize after the upgrade. In short, what would you like to accomplish with your ERP solution that you cannot accomplish now?

Additionally, identify any budget or personnel restrictions and requirements that must be adhered to both during the ERP upgrade process and in management afterward.

Next, come up with a plan and a timeline for the ERP upgrade. Keep in mind that this upgrade will also impact personnel who need time to learn and become familiar with the new system. Build time in to your plan for the following:

  • Personnel training
  • Customer communications
  • Current process evaluation and modification
  • Data migration
  • Testing
  • Review and evaluation after implementation

As you develop your plan, don't forget to consider how you will update your ERP hosting. For example, consider if you want to use cloud-based hosting or if you'd rather keep your infrastructure on premise. This is one of the most overlooked software component as part of a ERP upgrade. 

Update ERP Business Processes

Over time your business needs and goals change and your processes should change along with them. Take time to evaluate your current goals and check if your current processes help accomplish them. Are you tracking the right data? Is the data you need easy to find? Small changes in the way you store and track data can make it much easier for all parties to find what they need.

There are many benefits to leveraging one of the improved reporting tools, particularly Microsoft PowerBI, which has many integrations built it and can be used with hundreds of existing ERP systems. 

Clean Up and Archive Obsolete Data

Do you need to easily access data from ten years ago? Probably not. Archive old data or reports that you are no longer using to create additional space in the infrastructure hosting your manufacturing ERP system. This may help the system run faster and allow you to more easily find the data you really need. 

Invest in Ongoing ERP Platform Training

Over time, employees may forget their initial training if they are not constantly using your ERP system. Take time for regular check-ins and training to make sure everyone knows the correct processes to categorize and work within your ERP system.

Add Additional Software

It is often possible to integrate with additional software or update pieces of your ERP system without investing in a full update. If only parts of your system are causing you stress, see if there are additional opportunities available to improve your experience before going through a full update process down the line.

Connect with a Manufacturing ERP Expert

SWICKtech is working with Foxconn to help the region with digital and supply chain readiness. If you’re looking for a partner that is familiar with the needs of manufacturers as they continue to innovate their ERP solutions and other digital systems, our team of experts would be happy to assist you. Contact us today to learn how we can help improve your digital capabilities. 


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