ERP Insights

Cloud-Hosted ERP Protects Manufacturers from Pandemic Jolts

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Cloud ERP and Covid

Learn how Cloud ERP helps buffer the pandemic disruption by making it easy for everyone to access your core business system wherever they need to work.

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Cloud-Hosted ERP Protects Manufacturers from Pandemic Jolts

If you implemented a new ERP system within the last 10 years, you’ve probably considered the benefit of on-premise vs. Cloud hosting. However, your decision to go with one hosting model or the other was likely secondary to the key benefits of the ERP software itself. Your decision may have been based on finances or security or perhaps the recommendation of your solution provider. No one could have predicted the workforce fluctuations and safety concerns that have made remote work capabilities vital for survival. Today manufacturing companies that have cloud-hosted manufacturing ERP software are at a distinct advantage in the marketplace. 

Recently, one Global Shop ERP customer reported… 

I’m so glad we moved to the cloud in November 2019! I never would have dreamed how that decision would save my business. In March, we were able to seamlessly reduce our workforce at our facilities while maintaining full employment because of the immediate access to our ERP.”

What is Cloud ERP?

A cloud ERP system is a software and data solution that resides in a bank of servers and is managed by IT professionals. Most ERP companies offer some form of a hosted solution, and some, like Plex Systems, Global Shop Solutions, Quad Cloud ERP, and NetSuite, either only offer Cloud or heavily support their Cloud version.

(See Best Cloud-Based (SaaS) ERP Software Systems for Manufacturing and Distribution for more information.) Though technically, cloud-based ERP and SaaS (software as a service) are different concepts, they come together in ERP offerings. You not only rent” server space (cloud), but you flex the number and types of licenses (software services) based on your needs.

Cloud refers to the location of your ERP software and data.

ERP companies either sub-contract server space or have you purchase your rented server space from one of their recommended providers. Because you rent space on a server rather than purchase, the hosting should include moving to updated/new servers when required (usually in three to five years), at no additional cost. This is in contrast to a server at your location, which you purchase, maintain and replace as needed. With a Cloud ERP, there is no server room. All you need to have is a good internet connection for your employees to access the system on any internet-enabled device.

Cloud comes with professional IT Support for your ERP system.

When you purchase a hosted ERP solution in a SaaS model, the ERP company takes ownership of installation, support, backups, updates to the operating system, database and software, and security. They eliminate the need for internal or external IT support and follow rigorous standards to protect your data from cyber threats. The manufacturer is freed up to focus on using the system effectively.

Cloud ERP Working From Home
How ERP Works From Home

Every manufacturer has job functions that can be done remotely with the right tools.

Because manufacturing is a very hands-on business, it may be counter-intuitive to think that many of the jobs required for manufacturing can be done remotely. But they can be. Companies that had a Cloud ERP system when COVID hit were able to implement the other needed online tools and quickly allow remote working. Those who did not have a cloud ERP may have had other ways to remote in,” but it was not easy. If they did not have online access, they were forced to make reductions in working hours or risk breaking mandated safety protocols. It’s not uncommon for a small to the mid-size manufacturer to have a third of the workforce in the office and one in five employees on the plant floor in a non-production. When you gather a cross-functional team to discuss PPP (personal protective protocols), talk about what functions could be done remotely with the right tools, you may be surprised at how much could be done from the home office.

Make it easy to work any job. Anywhere.

In a post-pandemic society, all companies need to make it as easy as possible for their workers to move back and forth between the office and home without disruption. There shouldn’t have to be special, different instructions for one work environment or another. Cloud ERP is a key tool for manufacturers enabling remote work. Manufacturers who provide laptops, a collaboration software tool for chatting, sharing screens and video calls, and a cloud ERP can work very effectively from any location. Combine this effort with better shop floor communication tools, and you may find your company is more collaborative than they were when they could just walk over and talk to each other!

Cloud-based Saas ERP systems for manufacturers scale up and down with your needs.

Though subscription models vary with different ERP Saas companies, you can expect a Cloud ERP to be flexible, allowing for more or fewer users depending on business conditions. Everyone who needs access to your core company data can get it, and if you need to scale down, you may be able to reduce the number of user licenses and thereby reduce the monthly cost.

Buffer pandemic-driven disruptions with high-quality cloud ERP.

The future of manufacturing is more technology-driven than ever. Employers must have a plan to seamlessly transition the workspaces of their employees, cross-train positions and provide remote access to everyone. The business must be able to sustain dramatic changes, key employees suddenly unavailable, entire groups of employees here one day and absent the next fourteen days. No matter how much we protect ourselves with social distancing, masks, and cleaning, it’s just a matter of time before the odds catch up and business-as-usual will be disrupted. You can buffer that disruption by making it easy for everyone to access your core business application, your ERP where ever they need to work.

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