There is a temptation to describe enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems as software that does everything. It’s even understandable why people might think this is true. ERP has evolved and changed dramatically over the years, mainly increasing the scope of its footprint within the enterprise and assuming a larger role in the operational systems driving the organizational functions.
The reality of ERP is that it must be not just bigger, but also more flexible. Companies are doing more things and different things than they were 10 years ago. Consider something like 3D printing. It’s a process manufacturing technique that makes discrete products. In short, you start with a recipe-based goo and turn it into a widget.
Another new world-order process is cloud-based services and particularly manufacturing as a service. How does that fit in your shop floor, your supply chain or bill of materials?
New processes, new products, new sources and new customers. This kind of variability can play havoc with any ERP system, even the most full-featured system.
Some ERP solutions strive to be all inclusive, covering every single operational area within every vertical industry. That’s a very tall order indeed. Almost any user is going to find areas where the big solution just isn’t adequate to their needs. ERP solutions, such as Microsoft Dynamics AX, offer a great advantage in terms of their solution partner community. These third-party providers develop plug-compatible functionality for MS Dynamics AX, which effectively tailors the offering to more fully adapt to the specific and unique requirements of the customer.
However, within all of this variability, there is one constant; someone has to sell whatever it is you are making. If you can keep the selling process under control, you can do a lot to keep the ERP system doing its job and serving your needs. To facilitate that, manufacturers increasingly rely on CPQ.
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