Data-Centric Learning: The Power of Integrating ERP Systems into Manufacturing Courses

Paul Van Metre, Founder - ProShop ERP

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Data management isn't just a skill for data scientists. Today's shop floor is being managed by connected software systems that put manufacturing-specific data right into the hands of operators. In addition to setting up and running equipment, operators are expected to interact with high-tech data software right at their work station that makes their job easier.

Data management is a skill every employer wants in a new hire - especially those in technical fields. So how should schools incorporate data into technical programs?

Paul Van Metre, Founder of ProShop ERP, is on a mission to help more schools move from spreadsheets to authentic industrial software so students have the foundation they need for the workforce. We talk all about data management for the shop floor & how to integrate these systems and processes in the classroom.

3 Big Takeaways from this episode:

  1. Spreadsheets are better than no data management, but ERP is even better: If your program isn't exploring data management at all, then spreadsheets are a great place to start (many manufacturers use them all the time). But to truly simulate the advanced manufacturing workplace, use authentic software like an ERP system (which are sometimes free to education).
  2. Schools should teach the integration of digital technology and physical machines: There isn't a job in manufacturing where an employee doesn't interact with business management software. Learning these skills in school, especially how they impact the work done on manufacturing equipment, will help students excel in the workforce. Whether using ERP to manage projects over a semester or launching a full student-run business, teachers can explore a wide range of options to incorporate data management into their curriculum.
  3. Student-run businesses are a great way to teach manufacturing skills & employability skills at the same time: Most technical programs focus on teaching hard skills, like machine operation and programming. Transforming those skills into a student-run business enables students to learn employability skills, too: customer service, sales and marketing, product development, data management, teamwork, communication, time-management, etc. These are the kinds of employability skills that make them ideal candidates for the workforce.


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