Announcing the Rootstock Cloud ERP Learning Center

The manufacturing industry is facing a labor shortage these days, with older skilled workers retiring and younger workers looking to other industries for their careers. Up to now, new technology-savvy workers just haven’t seen manufacturing as a viable career option, but this attitude is changing thanks in part to industry efforts like National Manufacturing Day℠, held this year on October 4, 2019.

What is Manufacturing Day?

Manufacturing Day is a celebration of modern manufacturing meant to inspire the next generation of manufacturing workers by changing their negative ideas about the industry. On Manufacturing Day, manufacturers around the country open their doors to offer plant tours and engage their community. This is a great opportunity for manufacturing companies to showcase the amazing work they do on a daily basis and to educate students, community members, media and policymakers on how critical manufacturing is to the local, national and global economy.

As an endorser of Manufacturing Day, Rootstock Software is committed to expanding knowledge and improving public perception about manufacturing.

Chuck Olinger, Senior Executive Vice President for Rootstock Software, believes the mission of Manufacturing Day is critically important to the future of manufacturing in the USA. According to Olinger, “the awareness created by Manufacturing Day is a giant step forward in attracting young students (both high school and college) to take a serious look at what manufacturing is and how they can prepare for one of many careers in manufacturing.”

“When people look at a manufacturing company, they may think the only opportunity is working on a production floor or line,” says Olinger. “However, when they take a closer look, they will see many opportunities as design engineers, manufacturing engineers, electricians, mechanics, automation engineers, IT specialists and more.”

Olinger added that once young people learn about the talents required to implement the technologies that they will see during Manufacturing Day events, they will realize how challenging, satisfying and rewarding it will be to be a key contributor in the manufacturing community.

Addressing the Labor Shortage

Addressing the hiring challenges that manufacturers face, Olinger and enthusiastically pointed to the outreach into Canada and Mexico, two important trading partners of the US. “When I speak with manufacturers, there is a common need that almost all agree on – we need more talented and trained young people to join our company,” he says.

“Many companies that eliminated apprentice programs because of pressing economic times are bringing them back (or considering bringing them back) to develop new talented personnel.” According to Olinger, Manufacturing Day brings focus to some of the latest technology and advancements in place today. These advancements include but are not limited to:

  • Automation such as Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) for picking and moving materials and products.
  • Internet of Things (IoT) devices that communicate constantly with each other, with information planning and execution systems, and with supply chain systems.
  • Robots to produce and move materials and products.

Preparing Manufacturing for the Next Wave of Technology

Manufacturing and ERP have changed significantly over the years. Olinger agrees that there has been tremendous progress and changes in the makeup of manufacturing companies, their manufacturing processes and the requirements of their information systems such as ERP.  In fact, newer and more modern cloud based ERP systems can play a significant role playing in making Manufacturers a more attractive workplace for young knowledge workers and supporting the whole intent of Manufacturing Day.

How Manufacturing Companies Have Changed

According to Olinger, the 20th century saw a significant buildup of vertically integrated companies (companies with multiple plants producing specialized products that feed a final assembly plant). As Olinger describes it, “these captive feeder plants were usually controlled centrally, and this central control presented certain planning and execution requirements that made their way into the MRP/ERP system in the form of in-house systems and a few commercially available software packages in the 1960s.

As the 20th century drew to a close, a more distributed type of manufacturing company took hold and some of the larger vertically integrated companies were broken up.

“This, combined with a major move to outsourcing to offshore resources, changed a lot of the requirements for ERP systems,” says Olinger, “with more focus placed on planning and controlling events in the supply chain.”

How Manufacturing Processes Have Changed

Over the years, advances in equipment like machines, material handling and inspection has improved the efficiency of the manufacturing process. Olinger believes that “things like implementation of just-in-time inventory practices, work cells in factories, and automation of various processes have all contributed to more efficient production and at the same time changed or added to many of the requirements of the ERP systems.”

Olinger says that the major move to outsourcing and offshoring were also process changes that offered significant cost advantages but required new features and functions in ERP systems. These functions included adding in freight and landed cost involved in offshoring, including additional lead times to address customs and ocean shipping, tracking inventory owned but not in company’s possession, and status of production in a non-company owed facility.

The Future of Manufacturing

As automation of factories and manufacturing processes continues to evolve, capturing data and recording events without human intervention becomes critically important.

According to Olinger, “These ‘touchless transactions’ become possible because of IoT capabilities that are evolving. Even if the transaction is not from a source in the enterprise, it will be available from almost any place in the supply chain. Olinger believes that capturing all this information in the system of record (ERP) will allow for more accurate planning and analysis of the entire operation of manufacturing companies.

The capture of not only transactional information, but all the additional information surrounding an event, such as the environmental conditions that exist during transportation or manufacture, is or will be available for analysis. “This leads us to requirements for built in analytics, artificial intelligence, and robotic process automation of workflows within the ERP systems, says Olinger.

What about predictive analytics? Olinger believes that the adoption of predictive analytics and probabilistic predictions will be a future direction of world-class ERP solutions.

Manufacturing Day Leads the Way

With technology continuing to evolve, educated and inspired young people will be needed by manufacturing companies. When thousands of students, parents and teachers attend this year’s Manufacturing Day events, they will learn about all the high-tech innovations in 21st century manufacturing and about careers in manufacturing.

As this learning process continues, young workers will change their perceptions and seek out careers in the manufacturing industry.

Cloud ERP Learning Center

In the spirit of Manufacturing Day, Rootstock has launched a Cloud ERP Learning Center for those new to ERP or those who want to brush up on the latest generation of ERP.  You can learn everything from the basic principles of ERP, how the underlying technology of ERP has changed and the important role of ERP in a modern manufacturing organization. This is Rootstock’s small contribution to Manufacturing Day.

The ERP Learning Center subjects include:

What is Cloud ERP?

Hosted vs Cloud ERP

The Basics of Evaluating Cloud ERP

Cloud ERP 101 Training Videos

ERP Glossary

About Manufacturing Day

Manufacturing Day was created by Founding Partner Fabricators and Manufacturers Association, International in 2012 and many organizations have played a vital role in successfully growing the celebration. The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the Manufacturing Institute (MI), and the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) all support the need to change the public perception of modern manufacturing.

Find out more about National Manufacturing Day at https://www.mfgday.com/.