The words ERP implementation might conjure nightmares for some operations managers out there. The fact is, ERP implementations are expensive and time-consuming, and in a lot of cases, they fail to produce a positive ROI. There are a lot of reasons why an ERP implementation might fail ranging from picking the wrong software to fit a company’s needs to a lack of end user buy in. Another reason is that companies don’t take the time to invest in the proper IT infrastructure needed to properly take advantage of all of the features and benefits of modern ERP software. Investing in the right industrial computers can make a big difference when it comes to producing a positive ROI.

Improve Quality Control with Integrated RFID

Modern ERP software has powerful process management and quality control modules. Companies can even build custom workflows to improve efficiency. Industrial Panel PCs with built-in RFID can help to error-proof these processes. RFID readers can be used as a secure log-in feature, ensuring that only qualified employees can log-in to a specific workstation on the production floor.

RFID can also be used to track a product has it moves along the assembly line. As the product gets to a specific station, the computer can automatically read the RFID tag and identify what specific parts need to be installed or what steps need to be completed before moving the product down the line. All of this information can be displayed on the panel PC and checked off as it’s completed. Provided those computers have WiFi or LAN connectivity, project managers can be alerted in real time when tasks have been completed, or if a product has been moved through production without something getting done. This allows QC to be an ongoing process that happens in real-time rather than something that is only caught after a unit is finished and deemed defective, saving time and money.

Take Warehouse Management to the Next Level with Industrial Tablets

Whether it be shipping and receiving, materials management, or putting together customer orders for shipment, inventory management is a massive component of any successful manufacturing or distribution business. ERP software typically comes with their own inventory management modules or can be integrated with WMS (warehouse management software) to help manage this critical component. However, it’s the tools that determine whether you are getting the most out of your investment. An industrial windows tablet equipped with an integrated barcode scanner can really unlock the potential of your software investment. The tablet itself can run your ERP or WMS software and WiFi and/or LTE connectivity keeps it connected to your servers at all times.

The integrated barcode scanner is the final piece. Because the tablet is portable, you can use it on the loading dock to scan in shipments. The barcode scanner can be used to track raw materials as they are moved from storage to the production line. You can even provide tablets to order pickers so they can bring up pick lists on the tablet screen and scan items as they are pulled off of shelves to ensure order accuracy before being shipped to customers. And because these devices are connected to your servers, inventory numbers are updated in real-time, improving efficiency and making sure that alerts are sent out when product is running low or preventing over-ordering, which takes up valuable warehouse space.

Connected HMI Panels Improve Routine Maintenance

It is inevitable that over time critical machinery is going to break down and need repair. Nothing slows down production and bleeds money like a piece of equipment breaking down and halting all work. This can all be avoided with modern ERP and the right HMI panel. HMI computers are designed to be an interface between a machine and an end user. But this interface goes far beyond simply operating a piece of equipment.

Modern ERP can be used to keep track of scheduled maintenance, and thanks to the internet of things, the equipment itself can send alerts to your HMI panel that it is time for a checkup. End users can see these alerts on the screen and make sure that the proper people within the organization are informed, preventing a routine process from becoming a huge expense. In the event of an accident or a failure, the HMI panel can be used to interface with machinery to more quickly diagnose the problem and minimize costs associated with fixing the wrong issue.

Reliability Matters

Manufacturing and Distribution environments can lead to a short life for computer hardware. Dust and other harmful particles can cripple internal components. Commercial grade computers are much more susceptible to breaking down due to extreme heat, cold or humidity. Constant vibrations from an active manufacturing floor can kill a computer as well. If you are constantly needing to repair and replace hardware, it becomes more difficult to get the most use out of any ERP software.

Industrial computers are specifically engineered for these types of harsh environments. Fanless designs prevent harmful particulates from getting inside the computer. An IP65 rating will prevent liquids from getting in and damaging components as well. An industrial computer will also use military grade components that are rated from extreme temperature variances and they will also carry certifications for shock and vibration protection. If you can’t rely on your computer hardware to survive your work environment it becomes impossible to maintain efficiency in processes or expenses.

There are a lot of ways that industrial computers and tablets can benefit a manufacturing or distribution business. Most people don’t consider how their software will run on these devices though. For more information on how industrial computers can help streamline processes and improve ROI, you can contact Cybernet Manufacturing today.