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Ten integrations every manufacturer needs with its ERP

Today the best ERP systems incorporate all the new Internet of Things (IoT) technologies currently being developed, writes Daniel Carranco of Global Shop Solutions.

They integrate with these technologies to enable a business to cut costs, work more efficiently, and simplify its entire manufacturing process in ways that were previously only dreams. The ability to integrate with third-party IoT technologies has already become one of the most important criteria for selecting an ERP system – and a powerful competitive advantage. Global Shop Solutions has prepared a list of the ten integrations every manufacturer needs with their ERP, which includes some that are new and some that have been around a while. Those companies that don’t acquire them soon, can expect to be left behind – by their customers and their industry.

Nesting interface

Operating lean requires reducing setup time and labour as well as material waste.

Nesting software handles all three by efficiently arranging part shapes on sheets or plates of stock material to produce the least amount of waste. It eliminates the time required to manually plan which parts to cut on a piece of metal, plastic, wood, etc. and reduces purchasing costs by minimising unusable leftover materials. A nesting interface enables a company’s ERP system to share information with the nesting software, including work orders, inventory information, work centre details, and other data. The nesting software uses this data to optimise material usage and sends cut list details, material drops, scrap, and estimates for routing and work orders back to the ERP system.


Whether they’re using barcodes, badges, or biometric scanners, employees typically have multiple processes for entering the building, unlocking doors, and logging into their company’s ERP system.

Radio frequency identification (RFID) lets a company consolidate all access procedures into its ERP system to eliminate multiple badges, barcoded employee lists, and human error. In the process, RFID provides faster and more efficient logins, more accurate data, lower technology costs, and stronger security of the building and a company’s data. It also facilitates more accurate payroll processing and tracking of job costs. As more manufacturers embrace this technology, RFID can also be used to trace inventory, improve scheduling by tracking idle equipment, locate lost or misplaced tools and equipment, monitor waste and shrinkage, and more. Some manufacturers are even using this technology to track material moving from an outside store into the warehouse and through production on the shopfloor.


In the manufacturing world, small process improvements performed hundreds of times a day can add up to big savings.

Electronic data interchange (EDI) software saves time and money (for a company and its customers) by facilitating the computer-to-computer exchange of business data across different platforms. This data can include purchase orders, invoices, inventory levels, shipping notices, and much more. Using EDI to seamlessly integrate with the customers’ business systems speeds up the order entry process by allowing them to send order data electronically. No phone calls. No faxes. No manual data entry. Just fast, accurate electronic data transmission that eliminates the need for a second entry on the other side of every transaction. The error-free transmission also eliminates the need for time-consuming reconciliations.


When it comes to saving time and simplifying processes, eCommerce is like EDI on steroids.

Imagine if customers could place an order on your website, and your ERP system would automatically launch the sales and work order processes to get the job rolling. Then it would also automatically send an invoice or process payment with a credit card. How much time and effort would that remove from your order entry process?

All it requires is three basic elements:

  • A SOAP (simple object access protocol) software program so that the website can communicate with the ERP system.
  • An experienced website vendor to build the eCommerce portal.
  • An ERP vendor willing to support the integration between their product and the eCommerce platform.

Global Shop Solutions recently assisted one of its correctional institution customers in building an eCommerce website.

CAD interface

Eliminate the hours every week engineers spend writing lengthy BOMS (bill of materials) and comparing them against the BOMs in the ERP system.

A CAD Interface solution can eliminate this wasteful manual entry by seamlessly importing the BOM into the company’s ERP system. The engineers can then use the imported BOM to ensure sufficient materials are on hand to complete the job on time and on budget. A CAD interface enables a company to:

  • Reduce engineering time and costs.
  • Eliminate manual data entry to update BOMs and the human error that goes along with it.
  • Ensure everyone on the shopfloor has the latest document review.
  • Create jobs faster.

It used to take one of our packing industry customers four ‘man days’ to create jobs. Since implementing a CAD Interface solution, it now requires only a couple of clicks to build 100+ routers in a few seconds. Global Shop Solutions offers CAD Interface solutions with SolidWorks®, Solid Edge™, Autodesk Inventor®, and other leading design programs.

Tool cribs and vending machines

To improve the accuracy of tooling costs, more manufacturers are employing tool vending machines.

Workers scan their badge and job number into the machine and press a button for the tool they need. The vending machine dispenses the tool and automatically applies the cost of the tool to the job, thereby increasing accuracy for the overall job costing process. The key with this integration is seamlessly transporting the costing data to the company’s ERP system. Global Shop Solutions recently wrote a program for one of its aviation design and build customers which passes tool usage and tooling requirements to Global Shop Solutions ERP software.

Employee efficiency

A company can’t afford to have employees standing around wondering what to do next. Integrating Internet-capable TV screens and displays with the ERP system can significantly reduce employee red time.

These screens, strategically placed around the shopfloor, can display a variety of real-time data pulled from the ERP system. This includes the status of work orders in progress, work orders scheduled to begin, and hot jobs that need immediate attention. In addition to keeping employees on the job, this integration eliminates the need for reams of paperwork orders and shopfloor schedules. It also prevents confusion on the shopfloor because employees can always see what needs to be worked on and when – without having to leave their machines or work centres.

Global Shop Solutions offers this capability via TrueView™. Within 30 days of implementing this integration, one of our precision metal fabricator customers, generated productivity improvements of 20 to 25 per cent, while a manufacturer of washing machines and drying cabinets uses this integration to properly sequence upcoming jobs at each work centre. Another example comes from a wood product and component manufacturer. Despite averaging nearly 500 hours a month of indirect time, company management thought they were at full capacity – until they placed 18 TV screens connected to TrueView around their shopfloor. TrueView was used to display the names of employees not on a job for more than four minutes and notify their supervisors. Indirect time plummeted to 50 hours per month, and the company now has the capacity to schedule more jobs, increase margins, and pay their employees more.


Accounting and payroll are complex, time-consuming processes.

Managing all the data in one system makes the entire process quicker and easier while reducing administrative costs. Integrating the payroll system into the general ledger and shopfloor data allows a company to:

• Eliminate redundant data entry.
• Easily distribute payroll accounting by department.

• Simplify tax reporting.
• Manage employees better than ever.
• Complete end-of-month closing in less time.

Global Shop Solutions seamlessly integrates with leading payroll solutions.


Making efficient use of sales tax data has also taken a big step forward by integrating with ERP software.

Manufacturers can now link sales tax data directly from their ERP software to their state sales and property tax software programs in the US. They can also simplify other tax-related tasks, such as R&D tax credit tracking. For example, one of our customers uses this integration to set up tasks on their work orders. This allows the project manager to instantly review the percentage of work on a job that can be attributed to R&D for tax credit purposes.

Business services

Tracking employee expenses – meals, fuel, tools, etc. – on installations, repairs and other service calls has long been a thorn in the side of financial personnel. Even with today’s sophisticated software programs, expenses can still get lost or they don’t get applied to the job until the employee returns to the office. Either way, it interferes with a company’s ability to track job costs in real time. Now cost, compliance, and visibility can be enjoyed by integrating expense-reporting software with the ERP system. Global Shop Solutions easily integrates (using one of the company’s free, downloadable ARC programs) directly with Concur and other popular expense-tracking programs. Using a smartphone app, a company’s field service teams can tie expenses directly into a work order in Global Shop Solutions ERP software the minute they happen. Job costing has never been so simple or timely. As IoT transforms the manufacturing industry at breakneck speed, success increasingly depends on a company’s ability to connect with real-time data from anywhere at any time. It is amazing how a few simple integrations can exponentially increase the power, functionality, and return on investment of an ERP software.

About the author

Daniel Carranco is the director for the continuous improvement department for Global Shop Solutions. He leads a department comprised of teams that deal with existing customer projects including consulting and custom development. A Global Shop Solutions team member for more than a decade, Carranco holds a master’s degree in international business, and is a frequent speaker to manufacturing executives and industry groups on maximising ROI with ERP software.

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