If you own or operate a Type 07 or Type 10 FFL, your firearm business needs an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. But before we dive into why that is, let’s first talk about what an ERP does.
Prior to the ERP, manufacturers relied on Manufacturing Resource Planning (MRP) systems to address operational, financial and material planning. However, the development and adoption of the ERP in the 1990s allowed manufacturers to combine their entire operations into a single database. Manufacturers could now connect human resource, accounting, finance, manufacturing, procurement, business development, supply chain management and more into one comprehensive system. Today, ERP systems are the backbone of manufacturing and capable of cloud and software-as-a-service (SaaS) integration.
Now that you know what an ERP does, here are five ways your manufacturing FFL could benefit from implementing an ERP system.
As already mentioned, one of the greatest benefits of an ERP is the ability to combine multiple software systems into a single dashboard. By integrating operations, logistics, production and development databases, your FFL must only manage and maintain one system, which prevents data duplication, eliminates the need to synchronize changes across multiple systems and increases security of your data. An ERP is also often more affordable than using multiple technology vendors.
By using an ERP – especially one that is cloud-based – your FFL also has greater mobility and flexibility. Not only can real-time data be shared across software, teams and team members, but information can be accessed remotely so management can make proper decisions anywhere at any time. Plus, manufacturers armed with an ERP system can be more agile in adapting to industry and market changes, allowing FFLs to react and make quick changes across processes while maintaining operations.
Time is money, especially for manufacturers battling heightened demand. With an integrated ERP system, firearm manufacturers can easily track data and information throughout the entire product production cycle, from raw materials to distribution. This enterprise view allows for greater collaboration between teams, standardization of processes and reporting, and system automation to reduce errors, save time and lower operating costs, leading to increased productivity.
Firearm manufacturing is a highly regulated operation. As such, there’s a need to monitor every step of firearm production and handling to maintain the utmost ATF compliance. Implementing an ERP system can increase compliance transparency through robust data management, accurate recordkeeping and detailed product traceability across software, tracking firearms from serialization to bound book acquisition and storage to distribution disposal.
While “out of the box” ERP systems exist, firearm manufacturers are not like other manufacturers and require custom systems designed to meet their specific needs. Rather than finding workarounds or re-engineering processes to fit an unfit system, an FFL ERP integrates with A&D bound books, ATF eForms, laser marking devices, inventory control technology and ecommerce to maximize functionality and efficient operations.
If you’re not currently using an ERP system or have not yet upgraded to a modern cloud-based solution, your FFL is missing out on the ability to consolidate software, improve manufacturing processes, access real-time data and set your business up for long-term success.