Manufacturing in any capacity is a complex process, but for engineer-to-order (ETO) manufacturing, that complexity is taken to a whole new level and multiplied tenfold.
ETO manufacturers can also be known as contract manufacturers, project manufacturers, or other similar synonyms.
Unlike traditional manufacturing companies that build and deliver pre-designed products, ETO and contract manufacturers design, engineer, and produce unique products specific for their customers from start to finish. Since every product they deliver is designed and built based on their customer’s specifications, the project planning process presents a unique set of challenges.
For ETO manufacturers, the entire design process plays a critical role upfront alongside sales, engineering, estimating and production. Before production can even begin, significant engineering and coordination between these departments is key to ensuring the initial project proposal is not only cost effective, but accurate and meets the customer’s expectations.
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This is no easy task, especially if the customer wants to make a change while the order is in progress.
The Complexity and Challenges of ETO Processes
As mentioned above, the ETO process involves a lot of hands on deck, which not only means an effective collaboration strategy is key, but also requires a change management solution throughout the entire production process.
Initially, it takes a lot of time and resources to create project proposals. On top of that, these proposals are often based on guesswork. Since there are only specifications, it can be difficult to provide an exact cost in the proposal. Drawings, lead times and performance data are unknown. However, ETO manufacturing companies are required to provide their customers with cost estimates and production deadlines to secure their business. If your ETO proposals are based on guesses, there’s going be a lot of changes down the road.
Download the Project Modeling Whitepaper to learn how to create a streamlined and controlled planning and estimating process for your company.
ETO manufacturers design, make purchases, and build at a relatively fast pace, but must also be flexible and account for any design changes a customer may have. Any change can have a domino effect on cost, resources, and deadlines.
With all this in mind, it only makes sense for ETO manufacturers to arm themselves with the necessary tools to get it right from the sales and initiation phase of a project.
For ETO manufacturers, everything centers around the customer. That said, when any changes are made, it’s important to not only make the change, but communicate that chain so modifications can be made down the line. Finding a way to minimize the disruption and additional costs should be top of mind.
So, what’s the solution to controlling all these moving parts and mitigating the potential chaos? Real-time data.
Project Business Automation is a Game Changer
Project Business Automation (PBA) is a new category of software solutions, now recognized by Forrester, designed specifically for project-based companies like ETO manufacturing. PBA goes beyond manufacturing project management software. By automating data workflows and creating one source of truth for the whole company, many processes can be automated and generated in real time. Access to real-time data is critical for all project businesses, but especially important for ETO manufacturers who depend on making important decisions fast.
Download the Project Business Automation Blueprint to learn how PBA creates a streamlined, comprehensive system for project-based companies.