Managing Project-based, regulated factories needs more than ERP

Deltek Insight 2012

At the Deltek Insight 2012 conference, project-based manufacturers got news of exciting add-ons including mobility and MES for deep manufacturing capabilities.

How do you expand ERP and serve the customers well?  My simple answer: add-on applications.  That is exactly what Deltek is doing with its Costpoint project-based ERP offering.  (If you have never have heard of Deltek, you are probably not a government contractor or project-based type of company.  Even those using other ERP often use their time accounting to meet government requirements.)  What is the highest value add-on you can provide for manufacturers? MES.

Since I was not available to attend the event, my colleague Jeff Hill covered, and wrote this report.  I won’t repeat his discussion here, but they announced several new products and directions:  Mobile, cloud, ad hoc collaboration and MES.  I believe that adding MES is a major bonus for customers.  Over my 25 years following the manufacturing software industry, I’ve never seen an application as valuable as MES nor one as widely implemented as ERP.  Unfortunately until lately, most of the money that might have been used to implement MES has gone to upgrades and new purchases of ERP that, while dear to the CFO’s heart, in many cases have not delivered very tangible benefits to the company.

MES is a different story.  I’ve studied this software and heard hundreds of examples of benefits that sound impossible – but are real.  I’ve heard of companies avoiding the cost of building a new plant by implementing MES and making their current facilities more productive.  I’ve heard of companies making a turnaround from customers raging and about to cut them off as suppliers to becoming the darling of those same customers.  While the implementations can be challenging, once the system is in place, MES typically pays for itself in under 2 years – and the benefits actually grow over time.  One AMR Study (after my time there) by my buddies Alison Smith and Bill Swanton showed that after a few years, companies can gain 10X their investment in MES.

So congratulations to the Costpoint manufacturing customers.  You are about to gain a valuable way to manage your production operations.  If you invest and run your program effectively, you are nearly guaranteed to save time and money on meeting regulatory requirements, improve your quality, boost flexibility to change, and engage employees more deeply in improving their area of the plant.  Once you get going, I’ll look forward to your success stories and benefit calculations!


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