"Many of the conclusions I come to as a witness to what is happening in manufacturing are anecdotal: impressions based on patterns I notice in what shop owners are saying or seem to be giving their attention to. The following conclusion is an example of that. It seems to me that 2020 has been — among many other things — a year for ERP.
That is, “enterprise resource planning” systems — software that organizes the different operations of a manufacturing company so that these operations can (in theory) work smoothly together rather than suffer from delay or duplication resulting from poor coordination between departments. This year, I have been noticing more questions from shops about ERP (“What systems are others using?” “What is working?”) and I have noticed shop owners more often citing their ERP system and/or their increased reliance on it as a bragging point in talking about their shop."