When it comes to ERP systems, not all commercial HVAC/R manufacturers have chosen wisely. While 18% say their ERP systems exceed their expectations, 36% say it impairs their ability to react to market changes or to implement new business initiatives, and another 36% report that their ERP systems provide valuable information but also require frequent workarounds and customized data extracts.
This is according to a 2009 Cincom research report based on a national survey to sales and IT executives that sheds light on how these commercial HVAC/R (heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration) manufacturing organizations are managing their businesses for increased efficiency and effectiveness.
“HVAC is unique to other manufacturers,” says Lou Washington, co-author of the report. “The ability to react to changes in demand and changes in regulations as well as other dynamics make responsive ERP a requirement. Products for high-demand geographies have widely divergent characteristics. Products for India vary greatly from products designed for China and Western Europe, Brazil or Russia. Where that demand will occur over time is a real wild card when it comes to production planning.”
Mixed Mode is Mostly Manual
Many commercial HVAC/R manufacturers manufacture products in a mixed mode, employing different production strategies for different product lines. Yet commercial HVAC/R manufacturers are not as advanced in managing these processes as their counterparts. Of those surveyed, 36% rely on a combination of manual processes and separate systems to manage mixed-mode manufacturing processes. This is 10% more than the composite benchmark of comparable industries. Manual mixed-mode processes often result in overtime and expediting as process workarounds.
Of the HVAC/R manufacturers surveyed, 18% have implemented an automated and integrated system to manage their mixed-mode manufacturing processes. That’s 5% below the composite benchmark.
“This market is becoming more and more sophisticated and complex,” continues Washington. “Green initiatives, ever-changing architectural elements in new construction and the increased preference for updating existing structures have placed a huge flexibility requirement on HVAC manufacturers. This is reflected in an increased need for nimble mixed-mode capability.”
Image source: Infrastructure, Lisbon Airport by pylbug