How to tell if your electronics ERP is letting your company down

Is your electronics ERP letting you down?  Count the spreadsheets. Cindy Jutras wrote years ago that Excel Runs Production was the real meaning of ERP.  Electronics manufacturing has some unique requirements, and if your ERP can’t help you meet these you’ll start lagging behind competitors.

Do you need a configurator?

Some electronics industry products begin with a standard package and your customer will pick options and accessories to meet their specific needs.  Without a configurator, you might set up a job for each one of the options and move the finished option to inventory. Then set up follow-on jobs to add those options to the finished product the customer ordered.  With configurator, your ERP will give you a single production job with bills of material and a routing for exactly what the customer ordered.

Are quick-turn jobs slowing down your ERP?

Many electronics manufacturers rely on quick-turn jobs as an important service to their customers.  Your customer drops off a wafer early in the morning.  They want it partially diced and complete by noon.  Your ERP scheduled production jobs at midnight hours before the wafer showed up.  Can you insert that job into production?  What other work might need to be rescheduled?  Is there justification for a premium charge?  Is the technician who knows this job at work today?  

Select the right electronics ERP for your business with this comprehensive electronics ERP buyers’ guide

Your ERP could assume a much more stable environment with production that can be scheduled in advance and a high probability you will manufacture close to that schedule.  If so, it might be time now to find an ERP that will not let you down.

Are serial numbers driving you crazy?

Your products each are marked with a serial number.  In addition, a production run of 200 pieces has 200 serial numbers and a single lot number. Inside each of those products are three components that each come from your supplier with their own serial numbers.  Can you identify your inventory of those components by serial number?  Do you know which component serial number is inside every single finished product serial number?  Your customer probably expects that you can.

Most ERP systems advertise they can help you manage serial and lot numbers.  But there is a lot of difference in how this ERP manages them compared to another ERP.  Your serial number and lot number should combine to make each end-product serial number unique.  If your ERP manages serial numbers separately from lot numbers, you could inadvertently transact the right serial number with the wrong lot number.  If your ERP only allows you to identify serial numbers at the end of production, you will have a difficult time knowing what components are in any end serial number.  

If your ERP cannot track serial numbers and lot numbers the way you need, your electronics ERP could be letting you down.

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Tom Miller

About the author…

Tom completed implementations of Epicor, SAP, QAD, and Micro MRP. He works as a logistics and supply chain manager and he always looks for processes to improve. He lives near San Francisco Bay in California and can be found on the water in his kayak or on the road riding his motorcycle. Contact Tom at

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Tom Miller

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