Today it is typical for large enterprises to have hundreds of disparate software applications, while even small manufacturers can have dozens of applications to maintain. Consider the effort to train workers on all the different systems and do it continually as people change roles, quit, or join your company. You begin to realize that the individual creativity each software developer has put into their beautiful user interface, as intuitive as it might be, does little for your company’s productivity. If workers are transitioning between 2 or 5 or 10 solutions per day, there’s bound to be confusion, inefficiencies, and mistakes.

You deployed each solution for its unique capability in, say, logistics or inventory management or invoicing. But it would be so much more productive if every solution delivered a common user experience to ease the work. And, if data were interconnected, it would be enriched by the work each person performs as processes progress to provide more and more comprehensive insights for the business and decision-making.

Don’t forget, too, that everything can be done on a mobile device these days, and everyone can be connected to everything using the device in their pocket or on their wrist. If you’re not living that Star Trek future, you’re stuck in the past. Next-gen manufacturing software has those mobile capabilities built right in, and they can be the foundation of your manufacturing operating system (MOS).

A Manufacturing Operating System (MOS)

Your tomorrow business should be enabled by a next-gen manufacturing cloud platform. In fact, nearly two-thirds of industrial companies are actively using cloud solutions. No question about it: if you’re not moving to the cloud, you’re already way behind. But what components do you need to start building a next-gen manufacturing technology foundation? For most manufacturers, your sales team is already using it.

Start With What You Already Have

Your sales system of record—Salesforce’s customer relationship management (CRM)—is already layered on top of a solid foundation of worker engagement, including data, user experience, and workflow. The data is all connected and in the same repository, the user interface is common because it’s built on the same solution, and processes work similarly because they use the same workflow engine.

Add Next-Gen ERP for Manufacturing

Now couple the sales team’s CRM with your manufacturing system of record—enterprise resource planning (ERP)—which you use to capture and manage inventory, production, logistics, service, and more.

Yes, add next-gen ERP on top of your existing CRM solution. CRM already holds all of your customer data and facilitates sales deals to ensure your business stays in business. Adding next-gen ERP to CRM gives Sales more insight into inventory, production, logistics, and more, all to keep customer expectations in line and customer satisfaction high. For Operations, teams can instantly see incoming orders against inventories and adjust plans and logistics accordingly. Field Service, too, can see it all to understand potential customer needs and see contracts and service level agreements to better meet customer expectations.

Connect the Back Office

Now, add your business system of record—financials—to thread supplier payables and customer receivables as well as the cost of every activity or resources you use.

When your entire business shares the same data, security, workflow, user interface, and other foundations, it creates a seamless experience, from the initial sign on of a worker on the factory floor to an executive building a board report. Collaboration also explodes since anyone can communicate with anyone else to discuss data, add it to the conversation, and retain the all-important context.

These are foundational concepts before you even start your Plan-to-Produce or Order-to-Cash processes. This is your manufacturing OS (MOS) upon which you can build out the rest of your IT stack. More and more, next-gen manufacturers are realizing that their MOS is best when it’s built on the Salesforce Platform.

The Power of a Next-Gen Manufacturing Platform

A single, robust, flexible, scalable platform is critical for any next-gen manufacturing business. In the 90s and 00s, manufacturers chose large, monolithic, inflexible platforms designed for distinct departments and functions. That cost millions of dollars for customizations and millions more for integrations between those distinct platforms. Today, the benefits of a single cloud platform like Salesforce cannot be denied.

If you have design and development functions, you can easily add product lifecycle management (PLM). If you are a high-volume production environment, add a manufacturing execution system (MES). If you have a complex demand model, add demand planning engines. If you are in a highly regulated industry, add an enterprise quality management system (QMS). They can all share the foundational elements of your MOS. Moreover, if you need specific point solutions to run your business, you can add capabilities just like you download apps for your phone. Or, for unique needs, you can easily build your own experiences with low-code development options. With your MOS built on Salesforce, all the apps are designed to work together natively, without integrations.

Certainly, you can also integrate with the legacy applications you might keep around. The Salesforce Platform includes a middleware component to streamline the integration process. These easy-to-use tools connect applications while eliminating the tremendous cost and risk typical of legacy integrations.

Your Manufacturing OS for Tomorrow’s Success

Building your MOS on a single, proven platform like Salesforce is the fastest, most flexible, and most cost-efficient way to prepare your business for tomorrow and become a next-gen manufacturing powerhouse. Salesforce is a platform that can prepare you for the future with scalability that protects your entire enterprise.

Salesforce lets you build your unique, future-proof MOS, but you still need a flexible, robust, next-gen ERP solution at the core of your end-to-end manufacturing operations. That’s where Rootstock Cloud ERP comes in. Rootstock Cloud ERP is built on the Salesforce Platform, so leverages all of your companies business data to grow and manage your business with a 360° customer view. Rootstock delivers next gen manufacturing, distribution, and supply chain capabilities on the proven reliability, security, scalability, flexibility, and mobility from the Salesforce Platform.

No matter what the next normal brings, Rootstock Cloud ERP sets you up for success against competitors who don’t have the forward-looking attitude of a next-gen manufacturer.