For complex organizations like metalcasters, the need for information expands continuously, and so then does the need for technology platforms that collect data, coordinate and analyze it, and communicate it with convenience and reliability. That’s the case for enterprise resource planning software.

Over the past decade, there has emerged several ERP programs specifically focused on metalcasting, which is more proof of that need, but proof also of the importance of managing that enterprise data with a greater focus on specific types of information, specific to metalcasting processes and industrial standards.  

A more recent development is cloud-based ERP, acknowledging the organizational changes in manufacturing enterprises — leaner, less likely to have in-house IT expertise, and in that way having a more acute need for detailed, actionable information on processes and activity.

The next change in ERP is underway now, and it’s a reversal of sorts. Enterprises don’t need simply to control their critical data; they also need to convey specific information to their supply chain suppliers and customers, and to collect essential information from those enterprises. Forrester Research Inc., which specializes in ERP trends, recently noted “customers and employees now expect that information, services, and social media will be available to them, in context, on any device, at their time of need. And, business leaders are taking note: Today, 77% of business decision-makers believe that creating a comprehensive mobile and tablet strategy for customers and partners is a moderate, high, or critical priority for their company.”

Forrester’s observation about devices glides over the more salient point: enterprises need to manage their own information in order to maximize their opportunities with their customers and suppliers.

Interoperability is one of the emphases for the latest release of Epicor ERP, one of the programs that highlight its performance for manufacturing industries. “Epicor ERP version 10 represents the evolution of our innovative technology platform to support today’s business imperatives — social collaboration, deployment flexibility, broad device accessibility, with ease of use and accelerated performance,” Malcolm Fox, Epicor Software vice president explained recently.

Metalcasters take note: your ERP matters to your supply-chain partners. One of the early adopters of Epicor ERP v.10 is Humtown Products Inc., which is not a metalcaster — and that reconfirms the point about interoperability, because Humtown Products’ ERP success benefits its metalcasting customers as well as its own enterprise.