ERP systems should balance power with usability

Total ETO


What do engineer-to-order manufacturers want from their enterprise resource planning systems?


To answer this question, we have to consider not only what an ideal ERP solution should do, but also how it is designed. For example, what does its user interface look like? Is it easy for users to access it across multiple computing devices? Job shops ultimately want an ERP platform that is both highly capable and intuitive to use.


One reason for the recent focus on design is the number of millennial workers in manufacturing. According to Manufacturing Business Technology, there are 53 million millennial workers. This generation recently surpassed Baby Boomers as the largest living age group in the U.S., according to the U.S. Census Bureau. These individuals, between 18 and 34 years old, expect a high level of usability from today’s ERP systems.


“Users adapted to the [legacy ERP] systems as best they could, and sometimes developed manual processes to work around it,” explained Stevie Hay for Manufacturing Business Technology. “Millennials are not likely to make the same compromises. Simple, accessible and intuitive consumer applications are expected.”


How ETO manufacturers are responding to these changing employee expectations

ETO manufacturers should not be afraid to invest in ERP solutions with the same enthusiasm that they often show when procuring new equipment for their plants. Thomas Cutler made this point in an article for, in which he cited the bottom-line benefits of upgrading your ERP, 3D CAD and project management software.


“Modern ERP has grown rapidly because it offers flexible design and customization.”

Modern, more industry-specific ERP solution design

Manufacturing firms require ERP solutions that precisely fit their operations as well as being intuitive for their users. Modern ERP solutions, such as ones tailored specifically to the needs of ETO manufacturers, have attracted more attention in recent years because they offer features the help automate and handle issues specific to ETO manufacturing.


These ERP solutions also reduce usability issues by automating many common tasks – such as automatically rolling up estimated material and labor to a job total cost– and thus eliminating error-prone manual work. Crucially, high configurability helps keep these richly featured solutions affordable for small and medium-size ETO manufacturers.


Grow your ETO Manufacturing Operations with Total ETO

Employees perform a lot of the manual work – such as duplicate data entry – associated with completing manufacturing orders because the IT systems they use are not highly specialized and well-integrated. A superior ERP solution for engineer to order job shops such as Total ETO breaks down these informational silos so your staff doesn’t have to struggle with duplicating data.


An ideal ERP system should be powerful yet straightforward. Total ETO delivers on both counts – find out how it could help grow your ETO manufacturing operation – request a demo today!