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Top Requirements for Automotive Supply Chain ERP

On numerous occasions I've heard people say "Manufacturing is Manufacturing" and while there is probably some truth to that,  it's crazy to then make the leap and say that the same software I use for making clothes or machines could then be used to adequately support an automotive parts manufacturer.   Sure, there are some basic things that any manufacturing company will need when it comes to an ERP package, such as a financial module. But outside of that, things start looking a lot different depending on the industry you are in.

If you are in the automotive supply chain, then you are likely not a job shop or in a batch production environment- although you may have a little bit of that. You are much more likely to be mass-producing parts, which likely means your ERP system has to support some method of repetitive manufacturing.   
Then we have to start thinking about all the compliance requirements around areas like automotive EDI, MMOG/LE, APQP, labeling, serialization, and the list goes on. From my experience of working with different ERP systems, I've put a lot of thought into what are the core requirements for an Automotive Supply Chain ERP system and I've got that list narrowed down to the following: 

  • Financials
  • Automotive EDI
  • Order Management/Release Accounting
  • Labeling/Serialized Inventory
  • Repetitive Manufacturing
  • Warehousing
  • Automotive Quality
  • Procurement
  • Shop Floor Production Reporting / MES
  • Automotive Pricing
  • Multi-Company/Multi-Plant/Multi-Currency
  • Supplier Portal capabilities

I know there are probably more requirements depending on the business you are talking but I believe that list sums up requirements that every automotive supplier will need. Also, you could make a strong argument to add In-Line Vehicle Sequencing to that list as that is becoming more and more prevalent in the industry but I will leave that for another post in the future.    

There is nothing worse than going through an entire evaluation and being excited about the product you purchase to find out that you are suddenly not compliant and in danger of losing business.  Over the next few blogs, I want to define some of the core requirements listed above because I believe it's important to help you evaluate what you are looking for in an Automotive Supply Chain ERP system.  

If you have specific areas you'd like me to hit on first or you think I've missed a core requirement, please comment below and I'll be happy to address that in a future blog.

Posted by Andrew Robling, Principle Product Manager, Epicor


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