Sage

27
Sep

ERP facts and lessons learned

While you might be eager to reap the benefits an ERP system will bring to your business –

according to the trends we see here at Monpellier, buying and implementing an ERP system is one of the most complex projects a business will take on – no matter the size of the company. In fact, nearly 50% of ERP implementations fail the first time around. Many organisations have invested a good amount of time and money selecting and implementing in an ERP system more than once!

On a regular basis, companies contact us seeking advice on how to be an ERP success story and avoid being part of the ERP failure rate. Many enquire about the ERP systems we have analysed and reported on.

The infographic below presents facts and stats on the selection, implementation and usage of ERP systems. These are the trends we’ve seen from our interactions with businesses from a variety of industries and client projects.

Avoiding ERP failure – learning from past experiences

Budget for success, not just to save money

Many companies try to stay within budget by minimising the ‘hard’ costs such as software licensing fees; however, project mismanagement, botched negotiations, and poor user experience are more likely to cause budgets to skyrocket since costs associated with blunders are unforseeable and unpredictable.

Keeping your budget in check is possible with proper preplanning. Starting by conducting an internal review will reveal exactly what your company needs and not just what’s available on the market, monitoring the entire process will help keep the project on track and within budget, and reviewing the fine print of the contract with the services provider will ensure your company gets what it needs.

Lesson learned: become a knowledgeable software buyer to understand where you should invest money and where you shouldn’t. Focus on what is relevant to your business instead of spending money on bells and whistles that you don’t need.

Minimise disruptions, embrace change

The most challenging aspect of integrating an ERP system into your business is managing the changes and expectations associated with the new system. Change management is not part of the service provider’s responsibilities, so you’ll need to find a way to support individuals and teams throughout the process. Ignoring this aspect of an ERP implementation will only create bumps further down the road and can result in implementation failure.

Appointing a project champion or a team of champions will help minimise disruptions and manage expectations associated with the new system. The project champion need not to be an IT professional, but an employee who is skilled in project management and people management and who knows your business model and processes well. Often an outside perspective from a specialised software advisory firm such as Monpellier can help provide clarity on situations and pre-empt flare-ups before they happen.

Lesson learned: ERP implementation is as much an internal project as an external one. Empower a project champion or champions who will manage all aspects of the project, manage the relationship with the external services provider, and handle the changes and expectations the new system will bring.

Adopting new technologies – look before you leap

When it comes to a major software system such as an ERP that affects the entire organisation, you can’t just go for the latest trendy gadgets or features. Emerging technologies offer big promises of success and positive transformation, but unless your company has an unlimited budget or particularly unique problems, it’s typically best to stick to what’s tried, tested, and true.

Understanding your business and what it needs to succeed will help you identify which features are required from an ERP system vs. what might just be nice to have. For instance, if you need maximum scalability because you’re growing fast, a cloud-based solution might be a viable, cost-effective solution. However, if you need maximum flexibility because you have some very unique business processes, an on-premise solution is typically easier to adapt to your needs.

Lesson learned: don’t invest in new technology before you assess it and understand the impact it will have on your company. Businesses can be successful via a regular ERP system with optimised processes and can be highly efficient and competitive without being early adopters of the latest technology.

The path to ERP success

Although the implementation statistics and details discussed above may imply that there is a lot of room for error when selecting and implementing an ERP system, there are many steps you can take to increase your chance of success. These include identifying what your company needs from an ERP system and how you hope to benefit from it, as well as monitoring the process closely from start to finish. Throughout the process, assistance from impartial advisors like Monpellier’s experts can help keep your project on the path to success.

For more information regarding ERP implementation, or if you just want to see if there is an alternative ERP out there that would suit your business processes more, you can either contact us here, or give us a call on 0191 500 8150 to speak to a Business Software Expert.

26
Sep

ERP vs CRM software – what’s the difference?

Today’s technology gives companies an advantage they have never had.

With the ability to streamline processes and access data in real-time, companies can stay on top of their competition. In addition, today’s data analysis technology allows companies to forsee future events and plan accordingly. These tools, which include both enterprise resource planning (ERP) software and customer relationship management (CRM) software, give companies the power to control their success in today’s market. While similar at first glance, ERP and CRM platforms are distinctively different. Understanding each platform is critical to your system’s success.

What is ERP software?

First and foremost, ERP software is designed to make a company’s processes more effective and efficient. By better managing all the key functions of a company – accounting, warehouse, stock and supply chain – ERP software allows the company to focus on what really matters: the data.

With integrated ERP software, employees can update the platform with important information available in real-time to all departments within the company. This integrated technology gives companies a heads-up when problems occur. If there is a problem in the supply chain, the ERP software will capture the issue and make it available to all areas affected, such as the warehouse. ERP not only provides all departments with updated information, it also gives companies a clear and accurate picture of their standings at any given moment.

What is CRM software?

CRM software fulfils the customer side of the system. Customer relationship management systems focus on just that: customers. This software manages customer information and captures all relevant details for the company. This information is used across the board, from sales reps to managers to accounting personnel. A quality CRM system should capture every interaction the company has with the customer. By properly managing customer information, companies can build their customer relationships to increase customer loyalty and ultimately, revenue.

Not all CRMs are the same, however. Nearly all CRM programs consist of different modules – such as marketing, sales and service – all used by different departments of an organisation.

ERP and CRM integration

ERP and CRM systems both manage important information for your company. While both software systems manage different information, their integration is critical. The benefits of ERP and CRM integration are many, including ensuring an optimal return on your investment in both platforms. The information captured by both platforms helps employees make better decisions. For example, a sales rep could not make an effective sale without leveraging both ERP and CRM. Without CRM, the rep may miss out on information crucial to that client’s sale. Without ERP, the sale has the possibility of not being communicated to accounting, production, and/or warehouse departments, creating a mess that could result in unmet client expectations.

Ultimately, integration between ERP and CRM ensures that your customers’ expectations – and your company goals – are met. This integration guarantees that all departments in your company are working together. The sales rep can communicate with the accounting, supply and warehouse departments before making the sale. If there are any problems, the sales rep will be notified ahead of time. This gives sales reps the ability to close deals with all necessary information and maintain a good name for your company. Without ERP and CRM integration, your company stands the risk of being lost in communication.

Streamline business processes

If you’re looking to streamline business processes and boost productivity, consider integrating your ERP system and CRM software system. Doing so will help remove data silos in your organisation and optimise operations to enhance efficiency.

Let’s take a look at the three benefits of merging your ERP and CRM software.

A 360-degree view of your customer

 

Exactly how well does your business know its customers? One of the biggest advantages of CRM and ERP integration is that it provides a complete view of your customers. From sales and support to finance and accounting; these systems provide complete visibility on your customer’s buying habits, order history and general needs.

Not only does this provide you with a better insight into your customer base, it can help you build lasting relationships and determine where their is potential for future growth. Consistent data gives you better analytics and reporting, so you can track changes in your customers preferences, profitability, and loyalty.

Increased mobility

When your sales team are in the middle of a crucial touchpoint throughout a customer’s journey, having on-the-go access to all customer inventory and orders alongside product and pricing information will assist in closing deals more efficiently – they must have up-to-date data during the interaction, not afterwards.

ERP systems such as Pegasus and Sage enables a sales team to view a customer’s credit limit, current balance, a list of outstanding invoices and previous orders placed; meaning they will have the full history of the customer’s purchasing patterns.

With effective integration, employees from various departments will also find it easier to collaborate, for streamlined information keeps everyone in your business on the same page.

Managers can keep a track of all the critical business operations in real time, which will aid them to make more informed business decisions.

Faster access to crucial information

Without a fully integrated system, employees run the risk of becoming less efficient, meaning your customers will pay the price.

For example – when a customer contacts you requesting an order status update, your customer service staff should not have to trawl through different systems to access that information or inquire with other employees, for this could result in a negative customer experience and therefore a loss in business.

A fully integrated CRM and ERP solution will provide employees with access to important information in real-time. With the push of a button, they can retrieve information on stock levels, customer financials, order history, returns, payments, pricing and more.

Eliminate tedious data entry and duplication

Although both ERP and CRM systems hold account and contact information, it is done for different purposes – CRM is focused on support/sales and prospects; whereas ERP is focused on stock, warehouse, shipping and billing, etc.

The ERP and CRM integration removes the tedious necessity of duplicating data entry by providing identical rules for each system. For instance, any alterations made in the ERP database will reflect in the CRM system and vice versa. The same principle also applies for the addition or removal of custom fields, new entries or changes to the database.

Improved order, stock and quote management

Once a CRM proposal has generated into an order in the ERP software, having to switch systems and re-enter the data multiple times is neither time-sensitive nor practical.

With ERP and CRM integration, businesses can turn proposal generation (created in the CRM) into actual orders (executed and tracked at the ERP level) using just one system; reducing time consumption for data management and increasing company efficiency. Furthermore, a sales team would have enhanced visibility regarding order status updates for customers and easy access to make necessary changes if needed.

Also, while quoting for a prospect/customer in CRM, a sales representative can quote the most accurate pricing by using the integrated ERP solution to retrieve the updated pricing information. Any promotional or discount pricing will be available in the CRM as well.

Reduced IT and training overheads

Statistics indicate that businesses spend a yearly average of £1028 on training per employee and 31.5 hours a year training employees – that’s a substantial amount of expenditure and lost time.

With a single, unified platform for both CRM and ERP, there is no need of maintaining two separate systems resulting in reduced IT costs. Likewise, if the integration is carried out effectively, the amount of support and training goes down, for training sessions would only be required for the combined system instead of the individual systems.

Staff might be sceptical to embrace more than one piece of software; especially if it requires extensive training. Learning to use both ERP and CRM at the same time can be a challenge, resulting in poor adoption rates post-implementation.

The combination of these two programs makes it easier for employees to gather and analyse data – they can familiarise themselves with a singular piece of software and spend time learning all of its features.

So, what next?

To see how you can truly benefit from CRM and ERP integration, we can help. Give us a call on 0191 500 8150, or contact us here and we can come and see what your current business processes are, and how we can deliver a solution to streamline your business.

18
Sep

How ERP functions change the world for SME manufacturers

The manufacturing industry seems deemed to grow forever.

It is, therefore, no surprise that manufacturers require incredibly efficient organisation of all their daily business processes. Solo coordinators often fail at the task of keeping up, and whole committees rarely do any better. Enter enterprise resource planning (ERP).

If you’re looking for a way to up any aspect of your company’s game, there’s a good chance this versatile, understandably popular software is your ticket.

According to statistics, manufacturing stock rose 0.4% to a record high of £81.5 million last year, and stocks were up in 9 of 21 industries, representing 58% of total manufacturing stock. Meanwhile, unfilled orders were up 3.5% to £92.8 million last year – the fourth consecutive yearly gain.

To keep unfilled orders down and stock levels at a healthy turnover rate, more and more manufacturing companies are using ERP and taking advantage of its many benefits. It’s no wonder that the global ERP software market is expected to reach £41.69 billion by 2020.

Not convinced of the vital role of ERP in manufacturing industries? Consider the following eight advantages of an ERP system for your company:

Next-level automation

Perhaps the most significant benefit that a solution involving manufacturing ERP functions offers is automation. Process automation speeds up overall production and drastically reduces errors. When your company transitions from manual manufacturing to automated, you rely less on humans, and the process becomes more straightforward and accurate, which in turn improves customer experience and boosts your profits.

Streamlined operations

As manufacturers grow, operations grow more and more complex. Custom manufacturing ERP software provides real-time information you can use. Imagine the level of productivity you could achieve by letting ERP guide users through complex processes. Eliminating data re-entry, and improving production, order completion, and delivery are just a few of the perks. Modern ERP systems also offer integration capabilities, making it easy to centralise information so all employees who need access to data can get it from one place and update each other as needed.

Cost reduction

Thanks to the automated, streamlined processes they make possible, manufacturing ERP features for SMEs help manufacturers reduce operational costs. Additionally, ERP implementation in the manufacturing industry is known to increase worker productivity, in turn minimising labour costs. The ability to efficiently track stock levels and integrate it with production planning eliminates excess stock and storage costs. Also, lower error rates curtail your losses even more.

Product quality assurance

Knowledge is power, which means observing fault in a product facilitates the production of higher quality items. An effective ERP solution can be incorporated with a quality control module which helps manufacturers standardise their products. Manufacturing ERP modules also help to detect those areas where quality issues are occurring in the first place and identify appropriate measures for putting an end to them. Better products mean higher sales and genuine customer loyalty.

Better flexibility

Manufacturing ERP functions offer you the opportunity to seize control of your stock, precisely plan out and streamline production schedules, and coordinate distribution channels. Thank your ERP-conducted system for consistently on-time product delivery – a critical performance metric for any manufacturer. Think of it as yoga for your company: enhanced flexibility goes a long way.

Stronger communication

An ERP system is all about effective communication.

Manufacturing ERP features for SMEs allow firms to share important production-related data with internal employees as well as external stakeholders like suppliers, distributors, or even end-customers. This improved ability to communicate and collaborate allows department heads to maintain, sustain, and strengthen key business relationships.

Decision-making power

A comprehensive ERP solution provides thorough visibility (and therefore insights) into every department, rendering it easy for your company to make it quick, and informed decisions on the spot. Access to key performance metrics such as overall sales, or sales margin, helps you optimise day-to-day operations and stay close to your goals whenever called for.

Increased customer satisfaction

When you put the pieces all together (which is precisely what manufacturing ERP functions do), it becomes clear very fast that the combination of accurate production planning, increased stock control, streamlined processes, and coordination of distribution has a significant positive impact on delivery times. Punctual delivery is integral to maintaining your customers’ happiness, which in turn makes them want to leave glowing reviews.

To ERP, or not to ERP?

Many SME manufacturers ask themselves if they really need the features an ERP offers. Integrating an ERP is a major investment for any manufacturer, so many small and medium-sized businesses feel they might be too small to take the leap. But, the fact of the matter is, in order to compete against larger companies, small businesses need to outdo their competition. Small and mid-sized manufacturers who use the right ERP can actually operate like enterprise-scale businesses, leveraging the power of the software to streamline their processes, increase their productivity and throughput, and reduce costs.

What are the advantages of an ERP system?

At a base level, an ERP can integrate all the core processes you need to run your manufacturing business into one seamless system: engineering, purchasing, production, inventory management, human resource management, customer relations management, accounting, sales and more.

Imagine having easy access to truly useful, real-time information about how your business is functioning, the status of individual jobs, and an accurate forecast for your margins. Manufacturers who have installed an ERP built for the manufacturing industry, have not only been able to increase their sales, but they also have higher customer satisfaction rates too.

Still, it can be difficult for many SMEs to outline the specific benefits an ERP system will deliver to help accomplish their goals. Here are just a few benefits of getting the most out of manufacturing ERP functions:

  • Transparency: all relevant data can be shared, accessed and updated by all departments, eliminating the need to re-enter or export data.
  • Productivity: a custom manufacturing ERP can handle the demands of high-variable, multi-stage production with fewer errors, increased productivity, and reduced HR expenses.
  • Decision-making: real-time data generated by the system can provide an overall picture of your operations useful for marketing, management, and accounting purposes, enabling your company to make crucial decisions on time.

The right time for ERP implementation

You can ask yourself a couple of simple questions to see if an ERP would help you:

  • Do you have 100% clarity on your stock? Can you order just-in-time for high-variable jobs?
  • Is your sales team able to build accurate quotes on the fly that your shop can produce profitably?
  • Do you know the status and anticipated delivery date of every job on your floor and in your backlog?

If your goal is to save time, achieve quicker response times when dealing with customer queries, boost your ability to plan ahead, reduce waste, and best of all, reduce stress, then it may be time to work those manufacturing ERP functions into your strategy.

Interested in finding out more? You can get in contact with us here, or call us on 0191 500 8150 to speak to a Business Software Consultant.

13
Sep

What’s driving your ERP project?

Most project teams from mid-market and distribution organisations are challenged by an ERP selection project.

This is because an ERP project cuts across each area of the business, impacting functional areas from finance, accounting and supply chain, to shop floor, production, inventory, quality management, shipping and more. Manufacturers and distributors have already gone through lean initiatives, cutting away excess and thereby are operating with lean staff.

While it’s tempting to consider these initiatives as pure ‘technology or projects’, that perspective is not effective and often results in an implementation that fails to meet expectations. IT may lead the project and certainly has a major role, but ERP projects touch almost every area of the business. The new system will naturally bring some change to how business is done, so it’s important that business process owners are heavily involved.

Thus, when a project team is considering an ERP selection project, it’s imperative that the selection process be based on a solid foundation of industry expertise, vendor research and an intimate knowledge of the business, all aligned with the goal of improved business performance.

Software decision drivers: aligning selection with the needs of the business

At its most fundamental, establishing strategic software decision drivers during a selection project involves matching the future state of requirements a business must achieve to drive business process transformation against the system features a technology solution offers.

Monpellier’s ERP consultant team has guided organisations on this very approach. This set of software decision drivers will vary for every organisation dependent on what is the best match for the specific functional areas of the business.

Six categories of software decision drivers

Manufacturers and distributors should take into consideration the following software decision drivers when entering an ERP project:

Features and functionality

  • Does the software meet the future state needs of the business?
  • Will users find the software intuitive and easy to use?
  • Does the software have advanced industry functionality to support dynamic business needs?

Vendor synergy

  • Does the vendor understand the specifics of the business?
  • Is the vendor aligned with the specific requirements of the organisation?

Solution agility and viability

  • Is the vendor invested in this product solution?
  • Will the software be part of its service offering for the long-term?

Technology alignment

  • Does the platform fit within the team’s technology roadmap?
  • Is the vendor following industry standards for current future integrations?

Total cost of ownership

  • Are licensing fees, maintenance and subscription costs understood?
  • Are fees for services/support and integrations included?

Implementation considerations

  • Does the vendor’s implementation methodology align with the organisation?
  • Is the project plan comprehensive with adequate detail?
  • How are risks and issues managed?

When the focus is business process improvement, and not solely technology, the project team has a better chance of conducting an effective technology evaluation that is designed to meet future state needs. That’s the power of a strategic approach to software decision drivers.

In a perfect world, once you implement ERP software, you don’t have to worry about your centralised business system again. The realist is that an ERP system needs upgrading like any other piece of software. Chances are good that you aren’t driving the same car you did 5 years ago and I highly doubt that you are even using the same smartphone you had 2 years ago. The fact is that technology is not just changing, it’s constantly improving.

That means software built even a few years ago starts to age and new versions are needed to take advantage of the incredible new opportunities today. For instance, ERP systems are moving towards mobile solutions to augment the core package. That wasn’t possible even 3 years ago.

Plan your future updates to your ERP system – today

Whether you are investigating the benefits of ERP software for the first time of have a system in place, it is best to plan for periodic upgrades in software. Just like you schedule tune-ups for your car, tune-ups are also good for ERP software.

The thing about upgrades is, while they bring a host of improvements, fixes and new features, it can take time before employees using the system are totally familiar with what’s new. There can also be slight downtime to the system while the ERP upgrade commits to your system. That’s why its extraordinarily important that you have a plan in place for updates.

Generally, creating a plan for downtime – how to minimise it – and training on new features is essential. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, but communicating the expected changes and how it will impact day-to-day operations needs is key. All that could be rolled up into a simple company-wide email or phased in with specialised support from your ERP implementation partner.

Additional benefits of ERP upgrades

Upgrades are also like spring cleaning for your data. Before installing the upgrade, you should perform a backup of the existing data. You might also sort out old data, archive old records, and optimise the configuration of the database server to get the best performance from your system.

All of this preparation is important to keep your ERP software running smoothly and at optimal speed. Once your upgrade is complete, you have an ERP system that works even better than it did before.

Also, ERP system security improvements are generally parts of updates. You don’t need me telling you how many data breaches have happened, you can flip on the news and you’ll likely hear about a new cyber attack. ERP systems house an incredible amount of data that powers your company. Not everybody can afford to recover from the pain of lapses in security and upgrading your ERP system is one of the tools you have control over.

It all comes down to driving to work in a Model-T car and using a rotary-dial phone which is inefficient in this modern era, and so is using old software.

For more information about ERP upgrades, or if you just simply want to see what solutions are out there, that might fit your business processes better, you can contact us here, or give us a call on 0191 500 8150 and speak to a Business Software Consultant.

6
Sep

Empower your business and staff with data

Data is one of the most powerful tools for a modern business to gain a competitive advantage.

Is your business ready for the data revolution?

According to some commentators, we are in the throes of the fourth industrial revolution. Technology has changed the way we think about the world and affects every interaction, from ordering a pizza to watching a movie to chatting with our friends.

From a business perspective, it is no different. The outward signs are obvious enough to see, with changes in communication and dynamics, an increase in flexible and remote working practices and so on. But perhaps the biggest game changer concerns data.

Quite simply, we are now producing volumes of data that would have been inconceivable just a few years ago. Today’s data comes from a variety of sources: every web search, mouse click and purchase; every like, share and retweet on social media. It all creates its very own data stream and the business that makes the best use of the insights that are hidden in all that data will be the one that gets an edge over the competition.

Given that it is such a new discipline, our full understanding of just how much we can do with big data is still developing every day. What is clear, though, is that the biggest and most successful organisations in the world are devoting ever more budget into developing their data analytics capacity. Those who fail to capitalise on the opportunity are at risk of being left behind.

Big data in action

It is worth taking a step back and looking at some everyday applications of big data. Here is a perfect example – you might sometimes feel as if you are living in some Orwellian dystopia with Big Brother looking over your shoulder as you search the net for, let’s say a flight to Amsterdam, then log on to Facebook to be bombarded by banner ads offering you bargain rates for that exact flight.

There it is, big data in action. Machine processes watch our every move and try to predict what we are likely to do next, and this capacity will grow beyond our wildest dreams over the coming years. It might sound sinister, but all it is trying to do is help us do what we want to do as easily as possible.

Other examples abound – while you sit reading this article, Siri is there on your wrist, quietly keeping an eye on your health and exercise, and your LinkedIn profile is busy looking for a great next step in your career.

From a business perspective, there have already been some major transformations in the finance sector that have been brought about by big data, including enhanced customer service levels and streamlined back office functions. Increasingly, we are seeing data driven technology behind every innovative business practice.

Investing in the new oil

Businesses have many driving factors in deciding whether to implement a new ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system, often sharing the same wish lists and requirements with other organisations.

Streamlining business processes, increasing revenue and driving forward growth against market competitors are key targets to attain.

So, what are the benefits of implementing an ERP system? In this post, we’re going to look at the rewards of bringing an Enterprise Resource Planning solution to your business.

Integration

One of the top requirements for many organisations implementing a new ERP system is bringing together multiple parts of the business into a unified solution. Sales, accounting, production, and customer service are tied together to allow free-flowing communication and information, resulting in a streamlined and efficient processes.

Revenue

Secondly, if not a defining requirement for many, is increasing the company revenue. ERP systems are best-in-class when it comes to helping you minimise costs within your organisation. They are also staggeringly intelligent when it comes to helping you identify and capitalise on opportunities you may have not previously been aware of. CRM modules can help your sales team keep track of all your customer data, including sales history and eligibility for cross-selling.

Employee engagement

A key benefit of implementing an ERP solution not widely expressed is the increase in employee engagement and morale. It’s a difficult metric to measure, but many report seeing a boost in morale after an ERP system implementation. Manual processes become automated, freeing up time for other tasks, information is delivered quicker and tasks become easier to execute.

Efficiency

Many businesses are still comprised of several legacy systems and processes that have left the current structuring inefficient and incredibly expensive. An ERP solution replaces and eradicates these problems. That’s not to say that bringing in an ERP solution will fix all niggles in your organisation, but it’s important to remember that it can help bridge the gap between restructured processes and your desired business outcomes.

Minimising waste

Companies that hold a significant amount of product often find themselves with problems such as not having the capacity for their stock levels, or an excess due to the inability to accurately predict product demand. An ERP system can analyse demand from your customer base and accurately predict future consumption, so you will know exactly how much to allocate to your warehouse and at what time, inadvertently minimising waste and reducing associated warehousing costs.

Monpellier are experts in ERP software solutions including Sage and Pegasus and we can advise on a range of popular products that could be right for your business needs. If you are thinking about the benefits of an ERP solution and what it could provide to your business, then contact us today – we’ll talk you through the options and help you implement a system that’s right for your business.

You can either contact us here, or give us a call on 0191 500 8150 to speak to a Business Software Consultant.

4
Sep

Can ERP systems contribute to your competitive advantage?

With the rapid advancement of technology, SMEs need to transform the way they manage their business in order to stay competitive.

According to a survey conducted by Oxford Economics, 64% of SMEs are leveraging technology to outperform their peers; everything from social media, mobile friendly software, cloud computing and big data.

Indeed many businesses that use enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications are transforming their business to stay ahead of competition with improved visibility, efficient operation, and the ability to capture vast amounts of data – data on things like sales, production, and inventory management.

The challenge remains finding a way to analyse this data more efficiently to gain actionable insight and outperform the competition. That’s where applications like Sage and Pegasus comes in. In order to make sense of business data, SMEs are taking advantage of reporting and advanced in-memory analytics that ERP systems have to offer; increasing visibility and enabling fast and accurate analysis. What’s more is that they are doing this faster, easier and with more accuracy.

SMEs now have the option to leverage business information into valuable insight through an ERP solution. Every business hopes to receive some turnaround on their ERP investment. The name of the game is to make more money and trump your competitors, but in an era where just about everyone has an ERP system, standing out against the competition can be tough. If you’re looking to gain a competitive advantage in your respective industry, the right ERP software can help.

Pick the right ERP system for your company

Despite the fact that many ERP solutions cover a lot of the same core functions, there are some differences to take note of that differ from industry to industry. It is crucial for your newly implemented ERP software to be industry specific to ensure that you are getting the most bang for your buck. If you were in the business of manufacturing, you would never tell a professional service firm how to do business. The same goes for ERP systems.

Just because everyone else is working from the cloud doesn’t mean that it’s best for your business, and vice versa. Picking the right ERP software has everything to do with picking the right partner so that your organisation has the constant support and training that you need to be sure your needs are met.

Don’t waste money on customisations that won’t help you grow

While it may be tempting to go ahead and customise every aspect of your new system, first consider these system customisations are really going to make a difference in how you do business. Customising little things that don’t give you an advantage isn’t as necessary as using your customisations to fit areas that do. That being said, don’t be completely stingy with customisations either.

There is great value to be found in customising ERP. If your business has come up with a unique process that allows you to outshine your competitors, that is when you should customise your ERP to fit your model. Thoughtfully differentiating between the two will save you a great deal of time and money in the long run.

Take advantage of your ERP’s predictive capabilities

The use of real time analytics can be a great advantage for businesses using ERP software. This automated software enhances preventative maintenance and detects potential failure before the problem arises. Something that competitors without advanced ERP systems will continue to struggle with.

Your ERP’s predictive capabilities can allow users to pinpoint the location of potential errors so that you can eliminate the problem right off the bat. Thanks to many ERP collaborations, err can be essentially eliminated thanks to smart technology. Don’t get set behind by silly errors and mistakes, and use ERP to keep you ahead of the competition.

Improve planning, scheduling and execution

ERP systems like Sage and Pegasus have highly advanced manufacturing and planning modules that support the entire range of products from beginning to end. Execution modules give decision makers full access to data collection options and quality measures, while the scheduling module provides easy to read visuals of master schedules so that your planners can make accurate ‘what-if’ scenarios accordingly.

Meeting demand and rerouting potentially conflicting schedules only enhances conflict and error prevention, helping you to focus on the bigger picture. In a world where good and bad reviews can make or break a company via the internet in just a click of a button, it’s important to make sure that your ERP software works for you and not against you. Standing out against your competitors can be easy with ERP.

Gaining an advantage over your competition is as easy as finding the right ERP software and implementing it in a way that serves you best. For more information on how Sage and Pegasus could be the next best step to help your company gain a competitive advantage, either contact us here, or call 0191 500 8150 to speak to a Business Software Consultant.

2
Aug

How ERP can revolutionise your manufacturing process

Enterprise resource planning can help organise inventory, prepare for customer demand and improve productivity.

From better inventory management and productivity, to improving quality and lead times, companies with manufacturing operations are constantly looking for ways to improve efficiency. However,  this requires coordination across the entire enterprise from the back office to production.

Without achieving synchronisation across all operations, manufacturers cannot effectively manage fluctuations in demand, increasing competition, and supply chain issues.

Although many manufacturing companies already have multiple software installed to manage their operations, relying on several vendors for different processes can become extremely costly.

Fortunately, there is an alternative that allows all processes to be operated through a single, streamlined solution that listens to your business’ unique needs. With this in mind, here are six ways enterprise resource planning (ERP) software can revolutionise your manufacturing process.

Optimise inventory management

There are two sides to inventory management – materials and product inventory.

Materials management is the processes that go into ensuring an organisation has the appropriate materials to complete the manufacturing process; whereas product inventory includes the products that are produced through the manufacturing process and how they’re transported to customers.

However, if these two equations aren’t synchronised, difficulties might arise with having the appropriate materials at the right time and product levels being incorrect or insufficient to satisfy orders.

By implementing ERP software, processes such as billing of materials, tracking materials and inventory management can be updated automatically – for smaller manufacturers, these are most likely updated manually through spreadsheets; which are prone to human error.

Introducing an ERP system can help reduce these human errors and automate inventory requirements so that materials always arrive when needed, instead of taking up space your business can’t spare.

Prepare for customer demand

When data is tracked manually and historically, it;s difficult to tell what levels of inventory are necessary from one term to another. The business can make an educated guess based on previous data, but this doesn’t account for current changes in the market.

With an estimation about customer trends, it doesn’t account for deviations in customer history, for example, if one of your business’ top clients, goes out of business and you’re working on an estimated guess, the results will be costly.

With a manufacturing ERP system, it will alert your business to these significant changes in customer demand, both from previous data and real-time. This makes it much easier for accurate future customer demands.

Refine human resources

Refining human resource operations with training and attendance tracking can also have a positive impact on your business operations. By integrating human resource management and your ERP system, your business can automate many of the paper-based admin tasks facing your HR department.

This will allow HR to focus on the development of your business workforce, which results in a huge win for saving time and optimising human resources.

A good human resource management system can be crucial to maintaining a lean workforce who, on a daily basis, respond to many challenges. Your business will be rewarded with employees who are more committed, inventive and productive.

Streamline collaboration with customers and suppliers

ERP can optimise business processes and drastically improve response times. This will improve virtual communication across the supply chain and internal communication between unrelated departments. This can have a positive impact on collaborating across your business.

With these close collaborations with partners, it means that specific challenges are met in a timely fashion.

With a quick response to change, it can ultimately improve your customer relationships. This is just one of the ways ERP software can impact as a continuous business improvement tool. By finding important information with satisfaction, your business will be more prompt in leveraging development opportunities.

Automate processes

If a process is definable and repeatable, then chances are it’s better off automated.

ERP systems such as Pegasus Opera and Sage 200c integrate quality control and manufacturing management – purchase invoices matched against goods, job profits can be assessed and stock control managed all from one place; creating a streamlined, cost-effective manufacturing solution.

The time saved through automation can then be reinvested into your business for the other projects that are more pressing.

Improve employee productivity

Businesses that still try to run their manufacturing by using manual processes are more likely to have higher labour costs. The same can be said, however, for some lean manufacturers too. Even in a lean environment, these indirect labour costs can be a potential problem.

A great ERP system can help businesses improve these processes and efficiencies so less labour time is required to complete the same amount of work. Additionally, an ERP can automate manual processes, which frees up more labour hours that can be reinvested into higher-return activities.

In the past, ERP software was a system many manufacturers wanted to make their everyday processes more efficient.

To stay competitive, however, manufacturers need to now invest time and money into ERP software to optimise inventories, be aware of customer demands, automate processes and more. It’s only with these capabilities that a manufacturer can streamline processes and stay in the competition.

As you can see from above, an ERP solution can help your manufacturing operation in a variety of ways, but what about the bottom line? When weighing the pros and cons of a comprehensive ERP implementation, it helps to look at the many ways ERP can save you money.

The following list provides a handful of cost saving benefits of an ERP for manufacturers.

Reduce inventory deviations

Inventory is the key to your company and likely your largest asset, so knowing its accurate levels is imperative. Inventory translates to money, and if you’re relying on disparate systems or manual methods to track the receipt of raw goods, the issuance of ingredients to batch tickets, and the shipment of finished goods, it’s easy for these numbers to lose accuracy.

It’s not uncommon for manufacturers to experience inventory deviations upwards of 20% due to inaccurate data entry in their warehouse inventory practices. This is a humbling realisation when preparing year-end financials for upper management.

An ERP, integrated with a barcode scanning solution, automatically tracks inventory balances, serial numbers, lots and product line information. Inventory data is stored, collected and disseminated through one centralised database within the ERP solution creating accurate inventory levels and reducing deviations. All balances are updated in real-time, allowing you up-to-the-minute, on-screen access to your crucial inventory data.

Customer retention

Customers are the company’s lifeblood, demanding superior products, timely access to inventory, dependable delivery and accurate paperwork. ERP software provides manufacturing functionalities that include various bills of material, quality control, formulation testing and recording, material requirements planning, inventory management and more.

Your ERP can also help you move CRM functionality out of spreadsheets and email programs and into the vital flow of information between the sales department, support representatives, and the rest of the company. With CRM functionality, you can analyse, manage and synchronise sales, marketing and customer care activities across all points of contact, giving teams the tools needed to find new customers, close sales faster, and build lasting, more profitable relationships across all channels. Finally, ERP software records and stores accurate, comprehensive customer data that can be delivered in real-time throughout the purchasing process and on-going relationships.

The result? You’ll close sales faster, prospect more efficiently, and create superior customer satisfaction. This will help your cash flow stay moving in the right direction.

Adjust with regulatory changes

The question isn’t if there will be regulatory change, but when. Rather than allowing these changes to throw your processes into turmoil, having an ERP system that’s attuned to the needs of your industry can help you save money and stay in compliance.

First, you can lean on the industry experts of your ERP provider in helping you implement the changes necessary to understand and comply with changing regulations. Of course, you’d be wise to go with an ERP provider who understands your industry needs and compliance obligations.

How working with Monpellier can help you save money

ERP software solutions providers are many, the key is finding a provider that designs, develops and sells to manufacturers and know the industry well. Monpellier can save you money by providing the experience and insight of experts who understand your specific needs, from regulatory compliance to formulation management and beyond.

Contact us today and let us help your company determine how an ERP solution can save you money. Call us on 0191 500 8150 to speak to one of our friendly Business Software Consultants.

31
Jul

Key benefits of ERP in the construction industry

In today’s highly populated and constantly evolving world, infrastructure, architecture, technological advancements and development of a nation depend on well-planned construction facilities.

Where such fields face demands and challenges with regard to business management, transactions can be made simpler with the use of ERP in the construction industry.

Effective development of construction projects rely a great deal on strategic resource management and planning. Research proves that 30% of the unsuccessful projects have solely ended in disaster due to inadequacy in the aforementioned criteria.

Construction ERP software helps managers to devise comprehensive plans for successful civil engineering of projects from the onset of project work till the outcome, and during the entire construction lifecycle.

Here are eight key benefits of ERP in the construction industry:

Assimilation of data

When running an organisation, there are many forces simultaneously at play, which are required to be utilised in various work streams from time to time. Having a standardised work platform which combines these processes into a single storage system ensures that data is easily managed, thereby increasing the overall efficiency of the system.

The benefits of ERP in the construction industry include dynamic analysis of financial and operational data, which provides executives with more accurate and precisely calculated information in real-time. By using this data effectively, companies can track simultaneous operations and report and manage deficiencies across departments in a more effective manner.

Planning and analysis

Improper planning within the framework of an architectural firm has led to the substandard completion of projects and the downfall of many reputed global organisations. Enterprises incur heavy losses in the form of labour costs and loss of clientele due to untimely completion of targets. Delay in the delivery of projects due to a lack of planning also reflects poorly on the goodwill of an organisation.

An accurate analysis of raw materials required, effective utilisation of manpower, architectural design and contract management is essential for proper channelling of resources. Construction ERP software can be used to make allowance for collateral expenditure and financial budgeting of the assignment. This helps avoid unnecessary downtime and contractual complications with the client, throughout the duration of the project.

Streamlining of data

Latest service providers have started to come up with industry-oriented solutions where construction ERP software has started to become more project-oriented due to the demand for a system that can handle numerous tenders at the same time.

Larger construction companies handle more than one client at any given time, because of which exchange of information within the organisation can become quite tedious and confusing.

Having to manage and compile data for multiple assignments in the form on individual Excel spreadsheets or PowerPoint presentations becomes cumbersome for executives to process.

At the same time, using different software solutions for multiple operations leads to an ineffective exchange of information among departments of the same organisation. An ERP solution manages to kill both birds with a single stone.

Increased system efficiency

A centralised system helps increase efficiency by providing an overall view of the scenario prior to making decisions. Whenever employees are required to correlate information from different sources, an ERP solution assists in extracting data and providing relevant criteria that need compliance prior to closing a query.

For example, when deciding on a purchase order for a specific raw material, the budget report is handed over to the project manager, based on which the project manager refers to the engineering team and formulates the design of construction. Based on this design, the purchasing manager creates the purchase order which is finally screened by the accounting department prior to being passed.

The interdepartmental transfer and correlation of these reports, combined with back and forth changes as well as real-time monitoring of the entire process would be nearly impossible without having an efficient ERP solution in place.

Estimation of construction cost

More construction companies work on a contractual basis with their clients. Prior to acquiring the tender for a project, these firms are required to bid for the project with their cost estimations.

Since different clients have different priorities, the most suitable bid is chosen based on the design submitted, the reputation of the company and most importantly, the cost feasibility to the customer.

A majority of construction projects continue to develop over a span of a couple of years. Therefore, planning expenses for such projects must be carried out keeping in mind the overhead liabilities that may be incurred in the future.

An ERP can be used to determine an accurate estimation, so that the actual cost does not deviate much from the projected cost of the undertaking.

Diversity of business processes

An all-encompassing ERP solution divides business processes into various modules. With the industry becoming more and more aware of ways to improve stability, risk management, cost effectiveness and other operational facets, construction enterprises have had to encounter restrictions at every step of the way.

This had led to the bifurcation of construction ERP software into diversified modules such as architectural designing, contract management, project phasing, inventory management, marketing and HR management and accounting and financial management. This not only helps in better handling of the processes, but also organises regulatory compliance of the system.

Effective communication

For better management of operations, it is necessary for effective communication channels to exist between employees. An ERP solution being equipped with in-built chat forums and other communication capabilities to provide the perfect platform for executives to communicate internally, irrespective of the location of where work is being carried out.

Execution of marketing strategies

The end goal of any construction enterprise is to deliver quality work and acquire as many reliable clients as possible. Without the existence of construction ERP software, contractors would have a hard time implementing marketing strategies to effectively handle customers, projects and outsourced employees.

In order to consistently increase market productivity, it is crucial that long-term strategies are installed in place and executed from time to time.

Conclusion

Every business must assess the information collated after careful scrutiny of the market demands and possibilities of growth. It is important to have a thorough understanding of the magnitude of positive outcomes with the use of ERP in the construction industry, in comparison to the hindrances that can appear as major blocks in the path to success without the ease of project planning and data management.

ERP is the on-stop software solution for all your business demands if you’re looking to make an imprint in the world of construction in today’s competitive times.

Sound interesting? If you would like to see which ERP package would suit your business needs and processes, get in contact with us, or call 0191 500 8150 to speak to one of our friendly Business Software Consultants.

26
Jul

It’s not about technology, it’s about making your strategy future ready

In a day to day environment, you often get to hear, “I’ll just mail the spreadsheet to you.”

A fairly harmless expression by itself, but if you stop for a moment to consider, it highlights a vital point, not so much a flaw but definitely a shortcoming.

Emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence, conversational bots, Digital Twins, Blockchain and Machine Learning are practically redefining the way businesses are getting more structured, accurate, definite and efficient, eliminating more scopes of uncertainty and mitigating risks of errors. Besides, the use of spreadsheets, instead of an enterprise-level resource planning software, underlines a major drawback in management as it highlights the lack of foresightedness that is required to equip the organisation to battle challenges that inevitably come with gradual expression over time.

It’s okay to love Excel spreadsheets

When it comes to spreadsheets, Microsoft Excel is inarguably the most popular one. Numbers don’t lie: over 750 million people are using it worldwide to record, track and calculate. And not for no reason. It is easy to use, flexible and largely reduces dependency on the IT department, especially for storing, calculating, tracking and accessing data. Think about a world without Excel. It seems impossible. That’s because Excel has enabled the masses to make sense of the numbers.

But you shouldn’t love it too much

However, while spreadsheets might be phenomenal for personal productivity tracking and arguably for small businesses, they are not designed to manage enterprises. Expanding enterprises eventually arrive at a juncture where they, albeit begrudgingly, have to admit that their dependence on Excel is not serving their business purpose adequately. There are limitations on Excel, and nobody should be doing anything 100% in Excel.

Accurate revenue recognition requires outgrowing spreadsheets

It has been reiterated that the fundamental requirements of a business changes as the company grows. It’s obvious. However, businesses don’t do it. They continue to use spreadsheets, increasing complexities of business operations which can impact tasks as vital as revenue recognition.

This is how:

  • Billing process is spread across multiple spreadsheets, dependent on manual processes which significantly increases risks of errors and frequency of delays, thereby resulting in a slow opp-to-cash cycle.
  • Revenue data is scattered across multiple source spreadsheets which has to then be collated manually. This magnifies compliance risk, which in turn, leads to an audit process that’s not only costly but time-consuming too.
  • Maintaining expansive spreadsheets means recording customer details, project details and contracts. Over time, data integrity may get compromised in Excel.
  • Limitations and difficulties of reporting through spreadsheets makes it practically impossible for you to have a clear and accurate picture of revenue.

Thus, most back office personnel managing departments like HR, Finance, Marketing and IT struggle to track the progress of each process, clear backlogs and identify opportunities leading to a mammoth bottleneck for the decision making. The challenges of errors in data entry are a grave concern as well. Additionally, in a competitive environment of today, businesses are relying on data analytics to arrive at accurate insightful decisions which is practically non-existent in spreadsheets, thereby hampering business growth.

Today’s spreadsheets can be tomorrow’s databases, with ERP:

Why spreadsheet users are so intensely attached to their files is quite understandable. After having spent weeks, maybe even months to prepare and keep them updated, it is not easy to consider not using them anymore. That’s why, the first response to a proposal to use an enterprise resource planning software or ERP, is often, “what’s wrong with spreadsheets?”

It is important to understand that enterprise software doesn’t entirely do away with spreadsheets. Instead, it actually helps to ensure that the data has been carefully entered and updated, managed well, made more secure, maintained consistently and rendered accessible across the organisation. ERP ensures that the spreadsheets of yesterday can successfully be converted into databases for tomorrow.

Executives can still export data into spreadsheets when they want to take a quick look at information or run ad-hoc analyses. Alternately, they can use the software’s built-in business analytics and reporting features to generate the same information in half the time.

Besides reducing data entry errors, ERP also helps to eliminate repetitive data entry between users, which is a real possibility in Excel. If no one recognises these errors, there may be a risk of the company making less than favourable decisions, based on conclusions drawn from inaccurate information.

ERP helps to resolve collaboration challenges. Since all users draw data from a centralised source, chances of confusion are less. Moreover, computing protocols prevent the possibility for users to duplicate efforts or confuse updates to product information.

It improves visibility and communication between departments, divisions and suppliers, which in turn, can integrate various business processes and reduce time to market, thereby improving return on investment.

Spreadsheets vs. ERP

Spreadsheets

  • Temporary, short term
  • Unstable environment
  • Simple data sets
  • Static data
  • Localised use
  • Decision support

ERP

  • Medium to long term
  • Stable environment
  • Complex interactive data sets
  • Real-time process/data flows
  • Pan-organisational use
  • Decision execution

How can ERP serve as a critical element in getting future-ready?

ERP solutions can not only benefit those who are implementing it for the first time, but also can be beneficial for those organisations that are updating and adding incremental operations like HR management or CRM. In fact, some ERP softwares have built-in HR or CRM modules that can be activated or used only when a company grows and reaches a certain level and the need for enhanced coordination and collaboration becomes prominent.

Digital transformation is only effective when it is seamless and company-wide and such ERP solutions ensure that this seamlessness can be achieved by enabling capabilities to be added when the time is right. Back office has always played an instrumental role in aiding the front office achieve business goals.

It’s only now that ERP is integrating the two and encouraging digitally-transformed businesses to focus on the front-office and the customer experience by ensuring that back-office tasks are being conducted smoothly with enhanced efficiency and heightened accuracy.

Making the move from spreadsheets to ERP is not as much about technology as it is about strategising for future growth. And as businesses grow they need to assess the need for fewer systems. If spreadsheets are still holding your business back, now is the right time to consider implementing new age ERP software. It can be the major component of a sustainable, scalable IT strategy that evolves with your business and strengthens the foundation for future growth.

Ready to take the next step? Get in touch with us today to set up a meeting so we can help you help yourself. Call us on 0191 500 8150 to speak to one of our friendly Business Software Consultants.

19
Jul

How to select an implementation partner for your software solution

If your organisation is considering a replacement or upgrade for your business software solution, you will have to make two of your most important business decisions.

If yours is like most firms, you’ve spent plenty of time deciding on the best solution; now it’s time to choose the right partner. Because choosing the right partner is as important as choosing the right software, here are some important recommendations,

Insist on specific industry experience

It’s crucial that the partner you choose has not only knowledge but a depth of experience working with firms in your industry. They need now only to know the software and how it functions, but they need to understand your specific challenges, business processes, regulations and anything else unique to your industry and they way you operate.

Be specific when you interview a partner – ask specifically about your sub-industry (e.g. not financial services, but wealth management). Different approaches and processes are involved, so ask about their team’s experience in your field and always ask for and check client references.

Don’t judge by size

Bigger is better, right? Not necessarily. You might assume that bigger companies have the most experience and reliability. But be aware that size comes with its pros and cons. Larger companies often have more bureaucracy, and often it takes longer to get anything done. A simple request can slow down the whole process while they pursue everyone’s approval. Look for a partner that is large enough to support your needs, but small enough to be efficient.

Larger companies often have standardised solutions and don’t allow for thinking outside the box. You may be pressured to do things their way or be charged extra for a customised solution. Look for a partner that embraces your vision and thinks creatively to give you the exact solution you want.

Larger companies often have less leeway when determining cost. A nimble partner can work with you on meeting your budget, and they can make strategic decisions about their people and their clients. Look for a partner that is focused on doing what’s right for you and within your budget and for whom your success is a priority.

A large organisation might offer you more than you need and charge you for it. Does you project really need a consulting director, a project manager, a consultant and a development resource? Maybe, but perhaps you have qualified people internally who can fill one or more of those roles? Look out for hidden, unnecessary costs.

If you’re no a ‘big’ client (often well into the millions of pounds), you are going to share resources with other clients, and you may not be a priority. Look for a partner that focuses on working with firms of your size – and solutions required by firms of your size. Look for a partner that treats you like you are their biggest client, even if you aren’t.

Don’t ignore the human factor

You may sometimes have been forced to work with someone you didn’t see eye-to-eye with or even someone you didn’t particularly like or respect. But don’t choose someone like that as a technology partner. You can minimise stress and possible complications if you work well together as a team.

You’ll want your culture and business approach to align with those of your partner. If not, you risk the success of your entire project. Look for a partner that plays well with your team and insist on meeting with those who will work on your project. Don’t assume you know the implementation team because you’ve met the sales team. The sales team will not be working on your project.

Remember, the choice of partner can make the difference between success and failure of your software replacement or upgrade. Know what to look for and choose a partner for success.

Any leader considering an ERP solution is likely very familiar with the benefits, and possibly heard the success stories shared by those from other companies:

  • Automated tasks and increased productivity
  • Streamlined processes and efficiency
  • Created more accurate forecasts
  • Forecasted interdepartmental collaboration
  • And the list goes on…

Identical to implementing any new software, one of the biggest hesitations for those considering an ERP solution is the disruption caused during the planning and implementation stage. The reality is, like almost any business improvement, it’s impossible to make a change without investing some time and effort into its success.

Implementing an ERP solution is like remodelling your home while you’re still living in it.

If you don’t tell the designer what you want, don’t work with the contractor throughout the process to provide input and address small changes along the way, and don’t test the new appliances or smart devices until long after everyone has packed up and left, the end result is likely to be a disappointment.

Although ERP solutions can produce some of the largest benefits, they can also be more painful than other software projects. With many moving pieces and the risk of impacting current and future operations, ERP implementations are more often complex and robustly managed.

If not managed correctly, parts or all of the implementation can fail. According to a recent study by analytics firm Gartner, almost 75% of all ERP projects will fail in some way. There are several reasons why:

  • Ambiguous requirements
  • Limited availability of key stakeholders
  • Miscalculation of budget and timeline
  • Team adaptability and training
  • Inadequate testing

Often, we are invited in by companies going through a failing ERP implementation. One or more factors mentioned above are the reason for that. Strong project management and sound functional and technical expertise are critical, but above all having the right mindset is the key. There are two important mindsets to achieve success.

Mindset 1: the journey is as important as the goal

Let’s say you are planning to take a holiday to an amazing destination like Hawaii. You most likely will pack for the nice warm weather, bring sunscreen, a bathing suit etc. If you are a diligent planner, you will also plan for the journey and include snacks or something to occupy your time in the airport.

What if the flight is significantly delayed due to bad weather? If you packed an extra pair of clothes in the carry-on, or included battery backups, you’d be much better off than most of the other passengers. If you thought even further ahead and secured travel insurance, that would put you in an even better position.

An ERP implementation is obviously much more complex than planning a holiday. Moreover, the stakes are much higher. Given this, why do we focus almost exclusively on the destination (the end goal) and not prepare for the journey itself? With so many variables and even the most well-thought-out procedures, we know that things will not go exactly as planned and, like bad weather or mechanical issues impacting a flight, we should be prepared to address the issues that arise.

Recognising this, we can choose to have a mindset to focus more and enjoy the journey.

With many years experience, we have seen that ERP implementation teams (including ERP partners) focus too much on the end goals and not enough on the journey. With some success criteria such as a budget, defined timeline, KPIs, specifics of what needs to be built or implemented, etc., the journey begins and project plans and milestones are laid down. How many times does the original goal – due to situation, budget, timeline, scope, resources, or something else, change during a project execution?

In our experience the goal invariably changes. Due to various reasons, we deviate from the original goal. And that is where things start going south. Out of necessity, you must communicate the change and re-plan the project. Then the project change/risk-related problems start. This is an issue only because everyone was focused on the goals and not the journey.

How do we become better prepared?

  • Like Murphy’s Law, assume that the ERP implementation will not be a walk in the park. When things go south, look for opportunity.
  • Live in the present. This will help drive innovation. Under the stress of unrealistic deadlines, we have not seen many innovative solutions created, just ‘good enough’ solutions that will meet the deadline and not necessarily far surpass expectations.
  • Always have your emergency kit ready. You have this because you planned for it!

Mindset 2: always think of ways to empower your employees

ERP systems are designed as bottom – up systems, thereby bringing transparency to the organisation. That means if all the transactions, such as purchase orders, sales orders, production orders, invoices etc. are entered correctly, then your top numbers will match and every report will be accurate. ERP systems will not work properly, nor bring the greatest benefits and improvements, if employees are not motivated to use the new system or, sometimes worse, not trained properly to use it.

This is why it is critical for your ERP implementation team to go above and beyond to ensure all users are empowered not only once the implementation is complete, but also during the implementation journey.

It is critical for the ERP implementation team to assess how they can make their users’ lives easier not just as part of the implementation, but also during the journey itself.

Pain is temporary, profits are permanent.

Remember when considering an ERP solution, or starting an implementation, that adopting these two mindsets will help you. your company and your users as well. The more deliberate the journey, the more exciting the destination is.

If you’re ready to choose the right partner to deliver you not only the best implementation, but the best journey as well, contact us here, or call us on 0191 500 8150 and speak to a Business Software Consultant to see if we’re a good fit for your business.

17
Jul

Why use ERP systems?

In a world where businesses and consumers value lightweight, easy-to-use technology, ERP systems can seem outdated and clunky.

Coupled with the startling statistics about how frequently ERP projects fail (for instance, in 2017, 66% of organisations received less that 50% of the measurable benefits they anticipated), many people wonder why companies still use enterprise resource planning software to run their businesses. Despite these concerns, the worldwide ERP market grew 3.8% last year, signalling that the software still holds an important place in business strategies. Here are some of the reasons why businesses still use ERP systems:

Because they work

Sure, ERP implementations are known for being costly, lengthy and likely to fail, but that doesn’t mean businesses should blame the software for these problems. There are myriad reasons for why ERP implementations fail, many of which can be boiled down to either a lack of initial preparedness or miscommunication between vendors and buyers.

When properly installed, however, ERP software provides users with numerous benefits, including complete centralisation of all data and processes, streamlined cross-department operations and useful business analytics and insights. Top-rated ERP software is more robust and customisable than a portfolio of best-of-breed solutions. Unlike other software, when used correctly ERP can power huge enterprises with multiple locations, increasing profits and lowering costs across the enterprise.

Because centralisation is key

For massive enterprises with dispersed offices and hundreds of employees, centralisation is key. Since ERP software can power every aspect of a business – including financials, human resources, product development and distribution – these solutions are needed to keep end-to-end operations running smoothly. While best-of-breed solutions are great for smaller businesses, large companies can’t risk less than stellar integrations or the complexity of handling a variety of disparate tools to run the business. For these companies, ERP software is the only solution.

Because legacy systems are hard to destroy

In a large corporation, even the smallest of changes can take weeks – even months – to go into effect. For companies that have relied on a certain ERP systems for years, changing to a new software can present up-front costs, potentially serious risks and a time-consuming, complicated transition process.

For many businesses, the costs of changing to a new system outweigh the costs of maintaining an existing system. For this reason, many companies still use on-premise ERP software despite the major shift toward cloud solutions. The difficulty in retiring outdated legacy systems remain a major reason why traditional ERP systems will never be completely phased out.

Because of innovation in the ERP space

Compared to other software segments, ERP has been relatively slow to adopt new technologies. While mobile, social and cloud trends are standard in most solutions, ERP vendors are still figuring out how to best incorporate these elements into their solutions. While innovation in the ERP space has been slow, it is also steady. With each passing year, companies are finding that ERP solutions are embracing these trends. For instance, Sage and Pegasus are quick to jump onto trends, and integrating said changes into their ERP software solutions.

Another major innovation has been the creation of ERP solutions for mid-market companies. ERP vendors leverage cloud technologies to produce ERP solutions that are more flexible and wallet friendly than previous iterations. By reducing costs and taking advantage of the cloud’s anytime, anywhere accessibility, these vendors make it easier for midsize companies to utilise ERP systems. In coming years, we will likely see more vendors competing in the midmarket ERP space, and therefore more companies who are able to use the new wave of mobile and cloud friendly enterprise resource planning systems.

Since ERP software impacts every aspect of a manufacturing or distribution company, selecting the best ERP software for your business will impact all departments, as well as the extended enterprise.

Unfortunately, many ERP selection teams get pulled into a variety of directions, finding it difficult to apply the needed resources for effective ERP selection. This scenario occurs frequently, especially within mid-market manufacturing and distribution companies who lack a dedicated IT department.

Whether a company has outgrown its legacy system, is burdened with an unstable technical environment or is looking to better handle expansion into new markets or regions, the effectiveness of ERP selection has everything to do with the success of the eventual implementation.

Taking inventory: the first step towards effective ERP selection

We’ve found that establishing a cross-functional selection team is important, as is gaining internal consensus and participation from all parties. Another important aspect of effective ERP selection is taking a hard look at the current state of business processes, as well as the desired future and state. This means that teams must take their time and get a full sense of how the new ERP implementation can improve the way a business operates. Before vendor demos, organisations must focus on where they want to be, as well as developing a clear sense of where they currently are.

At Monpellier, we believe that ERP selection is a great way to drive real business process improvements and develop a clearer vision of future company goals. In general, we find the following guidelines useful for ERP teams:

  • Look at the entire functional organisation. Will ERP cut across shop floor, shipping, accounting, the front office, inventory, quality and production? What’s the desired end state in these areas?
  • How are operations running now? What’s the vision for each department in future years?
  • Identify what the organisation does well. How will the new ERP system impact those areas?
  • Identify opportunities for improvement. How specifically will the new ERP system support this desired vision?
  • Look at existing reports and metrics. How can business decisions be improved to help overall business performance?

Selecting the right ERP vendor

We also strongly believe that businesses should focus on ERP vendors who tailor their systems to a vertical industry. In particular, manufacturers and distributors are wise to team up with an ERP vendor that has proven success in the company’s specific industry. For example, if your company is an aerospace supplier, you should seek out ERP vendors that address that specific industry, and learn more about success stories within the aerospace supplier field.

Distributors are also wise to seek out ERP systems that are tailor-made to their specific requirements. In general, companies should be sure that any potential ERP vendors address critical industry requirements including regulatory mandates, customer requirements and other key considerations.

For an effective ERP selection process, your vendor should also demonstrate a presence in the industry by providing you with recent references and a product direction statement that explains how the vendor plans to be an industry leader. There is no reason to force-fit an ERP solution into an industry for which it was not designed. Instead, take the time to assess which ERP systems have the features and functions that address your industry’s specific manufacturing challenges.

Many companies find it useful to shortlist the ERP software systems that most easily accommodate distinctive processes. Similarly, you should look for a flexible solution that fits with your existing systems. You may find it useful to talk to other suppliers, customers and ERP professionals that specialise in your specific industry. Get opinions and feedback on ERP software and how it works with businesses of similar size and requirements.

Successful ERP: a matter of focus

The most successful ERP evaluations and selections occur when a manufacturer or distributor is fully engaged in the process. In these effective ERP selection processes, the team puts the focus on transforming their business processes and achieving sustained business performance improvements. Effective ERP selections happen when the team takes the time at the outset to determine who within the organisation will participate, locates appropriate vendor and external resources and builds a solid plan.

Yet evaluation and selection is only one part of the ERP journey. We encourage the entire ERP selection team to see their project as more than implementing an ERP system. Instead, the project becomes an opportunity to implement business process improvements.

Want more information on ERP software, or want to discover how we can help you help your business? Get in contact with us here, or call us on 0191 500 8150 to speak to one of our friendly Business Software Consultants.

 

12
Jul

Using your ERP to build better stakeholder relationships

Wholesale companies take a risk when they hold inventory so that products are available when their customers need them.

Although unpredictable, this has always been an accepted part of the business.

However, the damaging losses caused by too much safety stock, and subsequent stock obsolescence, could be better contained with strategic management of inventory. This is made possible by new technology.

Leverage retailer relationships

Excess and obsolete inventory is costing the typical distributor 25% total stock value a year. These are unsustainable odds. The longer stock is on the warehouse floor it is likely to depreciate in value through damage, wear and tear, and expected obsolescence. It is also taking up space that could be used for more profitable product prospects.

While a retailer’s electronic point of sale (EPOS) data is beyond the remit of a wholesaler, both parties share a mutual goal: better profit margins. Cultivating better relationships and information sharing will lead to greater insight and more informed decision-making for both retailers and wholesalers. With enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, the wholesaler has access to data that is valuable currency for retailers. Similarly, retailers communicating changes in demand – rather than making predictions based on order history – have obvious benefits to the wholesaler’s management of safety stock.

Better knowledge of supply and demand is ultimately facilitated by a wholesaler ERP. The system has the capacity to analyse and process large quantities of data, not just across time periods, but in different sections of the outlet hierarchy (eg. pubs vs hotels), and in different sections of the product hierarchy (eg. wines vs spirits). If a retailer has a hunch that a new product isn’t causing the predicted excitation and returns, wholesalers can contribute to knowledge by evaluating its performance in other outlets and contexts.

In turn, building up a detailed sales picture of each outlet and the performance of its lines can assist the wholesaler in the management of their own inventory, leading to less stock lingering in darkened recesses of the warehouse. By strategising with the retailer, the wholesaler can more accurately plan what products will be needed, in what amount, and when they will be required. Identifying changes in demand before they are visible in the order flow avoids a multitude of problems. With reduced quantities or product lines, the complexity and cost of inventory management is also minimised.

Plan, budget and compare

Fostering good relations with retailers via insights and data is one thing, but ultimately retail buyers should have a strategic criteria for purchasing – many do not. Why should the wholesaler suffer the effects of the customers’ poor planning on its own bottom line?

Moving to systems that add value to decision-making and reduce the amount of money tied up in inventory is key to generating profits. Using a wide range of variables, ERP software can pinpoint information that allows the wholesaler to see trends and spending patterns. They can then analyse this, and in conjunction with their customers, use it to plan for the future. In addition to this, operational data harvested from sales and marketing teams can be used to make faster, more strategic decisions that directly benefit their business.

Improve service standards

For those retailers that do not have a buying strategy, who they buy from is just as important as what they are buying. During a push to streamline or ‘right-size’ their number of suppliers, wholesalers need to ensure that below par customer service doesn’t stand in the way of their making the final cut.

Wholesalers should evaluate what they are offering their customers in terms of product knowledge, operational insights and industry best practices. With the help of the ERP, sales reps can make suggestions and recommendations based on information immediately available via the system. Not only will this improve customer service standards, but it will lead to a reciprocal relationship where the retailers look to the wholesaler for strategic planning help.

Order making – not order taking

Technology can assist in strategic planning and minimising risk when it comes to inventory overstock. Live customer information gives reps an up to date picture of their customer’s account and can help to avoid – even reduce – bad debts.

The ERP can ensure that customers not only get the correct prices for high demand products, including discounts and promotions, but it can also flag up additional inventory that has overstayed its welcome on the warehouse floor. The sales reps are then empowered to pitch the overstock to the retailer for a keen rate. Sales reps can also be given the ability to change prices, within predefined limits, allowing them leverage to close each sale.

Whilst creating orders, sales staff can also view profit indicators for both the overall order, and for each product within an order. This helps avoid loss-making orders, and drive sales reps to suggest high-margin products, helping with overall profitability

The use of sophisticated technology has radically changed the way wholesale companies work with their suppliers.

They now have unprecedented capacity to transfer and process large quantities of data. They can use this to leverage better relationships with retailers, amend sloppy strategies that are bad for the wholesaler’s business, and form the basis of exemplary customer service. Importantly, rather than being caught up in the doldrums of daily operations, technology can set businesses free to pursue their strategic goals.

So, whether you feel like ERP would be right for your business or not, you do need to realise if your business actually needs an ERP system. Many organisations who are not using a fully integrated ERP system question whether the investment of time and money required to implement a new system is warranted. That’s a completely understandable point of view. You may be trading quite successfully to date using your old software system, however what benefits are you missing out on that you may not have been aware of?

Check out the list below for the four tell-tale signs that your business needs to implement or invest in a new system.

You have a lot of different software systems in one place for multiple processes.

Take some time to think about how your staff are currently recording, tracking and processing information on a daily basis. Are your staff members logging into multiple systems causing a lack of efficiency? Are your accounting staff using one particular system for finance, and sales using another to enter sales orders? Are your employees in your warehouse using a totally different system to track shipping?

When businesses manage many business functions separately, many issues can arise. Some of these include errors in data, duplication of records, an overall lack of visibility into the business as a whole, and most importantly, a lack of communication between the different areas of the business.

Nobody wants to run an isolated business with each department functioning separate from the other. Collaboration between departments can be an extremely important factor for any business. ERP software is the key tool that will enable you to integrate your systems so that every department in your organisation relies on a single database. With one source of information that contains consistent, accurate, real-time data, an ERP solution will increase efficiency and productivity, help your staff make more informed decisions in less time and drives transparent communications instantly across all areas of your business.

You’re in the dark when it comes to accessing real-time information

If you find you are relying largely on gut-feel and instinct to run your business then delays in decision-making, errors and poor customer service are probably common place. The race towards faster, smarter business decision-making is won by organisations who can make immediate,preemptive responses to daily business demands. It’s all about information finding you so you don’t have to go looking for it. It’s about using the right tools to turn data into a meaningful resource enabling you to preempt, maximise and control every situation as or before it arises. If you’re finding out about issues after they have happened, then your system could be failing you and your business.

Your ERP system cannot readily be configured to accommodate an new or altered business processes

The way you run your business is often what makes you… you! It is not unreasonable therefore to assume your software system should enable you to maintain (and we believe enhance) your competitive advantage.

Unfortunately, some systems are too rigid to do what you want them to do. Customisation or configuration of an ERP system was historically deemed to be a negative with businesses pushed into taking out of the box ERP solutions and moulding their business processes to fit. It was a case of…

“You can have any colour you want as long as its black” – Henry Ford

Whilst certain legacy ERP systems still operate in this fashion, systems like Sage and Pegasus were created to ensure the unique business processes that allow companies to stand out from the competition could be accommodated in their system. The really clever trick is that the configuration capabilities within Sage and Pegasus actually enable businesses to customise certain elements of the software themselves.

Why is this a good thing?

It means you don’t have to rely on your ERP provider to make all of the changes you require, which is obviously a faster and cheaper solution for today’s modern business.

You’re running on outdated technology

You may be trying very hard to run your business as efficiently as possible but could be struggling to bring disparate systems seamlessly together. Or you might be questioning your system’s capability to handle future growth potential or its ability to embrace new technologies such as mobile, e-commerce, business intelligence etc. Indeed, if your system is quite old it may be starting to creak making it slow and cumbersome for your staff to use therefore negatively impacting customer service levels. Technology moves fast, and the loss of efficient processes is a hidden cost of time and money that nobody wants. It redirects resources into maintenance instead of allowing you to focus that money and energy on solving real problems.

As software systems continue to develop and modernise, today’s businesses have become unrecognisable from those of ten or twenty years ago. While traditional ERP applications have served us well, their built-in limitations, aging capabilities and difficulties linking to third party applications have often seen them unable to evolve with changing business requirements. So be careful not to hold onto old technology which you might find, to your cost, can’t begin to keep up with today’s modern and flexible systems.

Want to discuss integration of a new ERP into your business? That’s what we’re here for! Either contact us here, or give us a call on 0191 500 8150 to speak to a Business Software Consultant.

3
Jul

How ERP systems can increase a business’ operational efficiency

Every business wants to get ahead of the competition and increasingly looks to innovative ways of achieving effective solutions that cut costs but retain a smooth-running, efficient organisation.

Many businesses are turning to ERP systems to increase operations efficiency by integrating organisational systems into a single program.

ERP is a software solution comprised of a variety of modules that link departmental data and information together with real time updates. Businesses can choose the modules most relevant to their needs and add more as they develop and expand further.

Management Integration

ERP enables its users to join up multiple areas of the business into one program and allows managers to have access to an overall database that covers client information, orders, invoices and figures. The users, who will require high quality training on the system, can update changes and then implement them in real time. Information is accurately stored and will not get lost across other applications or spreadsheets.

Cost Benefits

With industries constantly examining ways to cut costs but maintain efficiency, ERP can bring significant cost benefits to all sectors. Using ERP means that managers can make considerable reductions in costs relating to inventory and administrative mistakes. With information available to be exchanged across all levels, communications between all departments is made much easier. As each department is able to access a central database, the cost associated with multiple data centres is diminished, with both time and money saved.

Operating costs can also be reduced using an ERP solution. The program works to merge all aspects of the business into one central system, allowing businesses to improve their processes and cut down on waste or unprofitable areas. By increasing organisational efficiency, ERP not only helps decrease operating costs but can also reduce control and inventory costs as well as costs incurred in help desk support and marketing.

Strategic Planning

ERP can help managers as a strategic planning resource, allowing them to pinpoint their target market and define exactly what their aims and objectives are. In terms of day-to-day activities, the software gives quick and easy access for managers to get the information required for better decision-making.

Financial Controls

With finance at the heart of every organisation, managers need to keep a close watch on how the financial department is operating. ERP gives management comprehensive visibility into the department’s performance, so the functioning of accounts can be viewed with full integration of business analytics. By keeping on top of the financial situation there are opportunities to boost organisation profitability and to improve financial controls and risk management.

Organisational Performance

The creation of a single system allows management to drill down to see how efficient and productive individual employees are, using precise, accurate data from each department. As a result, organisational performance together with staff efficiency can be increased.

An Effective Solution

When ERP is rolled out across an organisation, and provided it is implemented correctly, it has the ability to transform the operational, financial and human resources aspect of any business.

As you can gather from the above, companies at the forefront of innovation are looking to implement ERP to reduce internal costs, improve processes and increase efficiency across the organisation.

So, if you still need some persuasion that now might be the time you need to implement an ERP system, we’ve compiled 15 of the most common benefits of an ERP system that companies have reported after implementation.

Competition

It’s true that ERP software requires a major investment, but there’s also an even bigger cost in not making the investment. While some businesses choose to stick to the tried and true methods of the past, others seek technology solutions. Companies cannot afford to put off an ERP implementation while their competition invests in ERP and starts reaping the many benefits we’ll touch on below.

Efficiency

An ERP solution eliminates repetitive processes and make it easier and more efficient for companies to collect data, no matter what department they’re working in.

Forecasting

Enterprise resource planning software gives your users, and especially managers, the tools they need to create more accurate forecasts. Since the information within ERP is as accurate as possible, businesses can make realistic estimates and more effective forecasts.

Collaboration

Nobody wants to run a siloed business with each department functioning separate from the other. Collaboration between departments is a crucial and often unnecessary part of the business. With the data entered into ERP systems being centralised and consistent, there’s no reason why departments can’t work together. The software also touches on almost every aspect of a business, thus naturally encouraging collaborative, interdepartmental efforts.

Scalability

Did you know structured ERP systems allow the addition of new users and functions to grow the initially implemented solution over time? When your business is ready to grow or needs more resources, enterprise resource planning software should be able to facilitate that growth.

Integrated Information

No more issues with data spread across separate databases; all information will be housed in a single location. This means you can integrate platforms like your CRM software or EPOS with the ERP system, keeping data consistent, accurate and unique. Know your customer, their orders, and your inventory, all in one place.

Cost Savings

With one source of accurate, real time information, ERP software reduces administrative and operations cost. It allows companies to proactively manage organisations, prevents disruptions and delays, breaks up information logjams and helps users make decisions more quickly. If you’ve chosen the right solution for your business, and the right vendor who meets your needs, you’re bound to see powerful ROI.

Streamlined Processes

As companies grow, their operations become more and more complex. ERP software automates business operations cross-departmentally, providing accurate, real time information to everyone utilising the solution. ERP increases efficiency and productivity by helping users to navigate complex processes, preventing data re-entry, and improving functions such as production, order completion and delivery. Streamlined, efficient processes throughout.

Mobility

An advantage of ERP solutions is having access to a centralised database from anywhere you work. Home, office, wherever, through cloud-based ERP software solution and application.

Reporting

ERP software helps make reporting easier and more customisable. With improved reporting capabilities, your company can respond to complex data requests more easily. Users can also run their own reports without relying on help from IT, saving your users time to use towards other projects.

Productivity

Save time and increase productivity levels. Sound too good to be true? It’s not with ERP software. By having redundant processes automated, users have more time to work on other pressing projects and tasks. They’ll also be able to work easier since the solution was designed for ease of use.

Regulatory Compliance

A benefit of ERP software which sometimes goes unnoticed is how it ties well into regulatory compliance within a number of different industries. Powerful ERP solutions will keep track of regulations within the industry and monitor changes in compliance.

Flexibility

Modern ERP software systems are robust, flexible and configurable. They are not a one-size-fits-all proposition but can be tailored to the unique needs of a business. ERP systems also can adapt to the ever-changing needs of a growing business, ensuring you won’t have to buy a new solution once your needs change or your business grows.

Customer Service

It’s easier to provide high-quality customer service using an enterprise solution, especially when you’re using one as well-equipped as some of the solutions out there, such as Pegasus or Sage. Sales and customer service people can interact with customers better and improve relationships with them through faster, more accurate access to customer’s information and history. You’ll also have access to marketing automation, ensuring your customers can be interacted with constantly.

Security

Data security isn’t a worry when you have an enterprise resource planning solution in place. A new system will improve the accuracy, consistency, and security of data, all through built-in resources and firewalls. Restrictions to data can also be enhanced by managers of the solution, so you can make your own software as secure as you like.

Convinced? Ready to learn more or just to have questions? Contact us here today or call us on 0191 500 8150. Our Business Software Consultants are ready and willing to answer all your questions and help you get started on selecting the right solution for your business.

10
May

Industries that need ERP software

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software helps businesses create a more efficient and better automated business.

The purpose of the software is to assist businesses with managing daily activities such as manufacturing, project management and accounting just to name a few. There are many businesses that take on these types of responsibilities on a daily basis and either use ERP or could benefit from the software.

Whether you work in the healthcare industry, construction, or with an organisation, all businesses could use the help of a system that helps run a more efficient business. In today’s blog post, we will be discussing ERP software and how it helps to serve multiple industries.

Industry 1: Manufacturers

One of the biggest reasons why manufacturing companies rely on this software is because it helps them to communicate information between different departments. Production, purchasing and accounting are some of the departments that need to be in communication with one another and are easily able to do that because of ERP software.

The software gives manufacturing companies effective communication tools between internal and external departments and suppliers. The software also enables distributors to keep their supply chain, inventory and cost under their own control, which makes them stronger competitors and their customers happier.

Industry 2: Retail

If enterprise resource planning is meant to assist businesses with their daily activities, the retail industry would be much different without the help of this software. Sales, payment, inventory management, shipping, tracking and marketing can all be controlled through the software.

Trying to handle the intricacies of managing a retail business comes with many details that cannot be forgotten and mistakes, both big and small, have the potential to become costly. It is important for retailers to consider their current needs and future plans for growth in regards to finding software that fits them perfectly.

Industry 3: Farming

Farming may not be the industry you think of when also thinking about ERP software, however it is a business that can benefit from the software. Growing crops on acres of land relies mostly on the weather, with the right temperature and enough rain, you can be successful.

Without it, you have nothing to provide customers. Where the software comes into play is that it provides an organisational solution for planning and tracking. Farmers are able to track information on specific parts of their land, which at a later date, helps to forecast earning potential.

Industry 4: Healthcare

In the healthcare industry, ERP can assist in many ways. It enables patients to be stored and transferred between different healthcare providers, so if the patient goes for a routine doctor’s visit, another hospital department or go to the emergency room, their records will be updated accordingly.

This completely eliminates having to manually write down patient information and storing them in filing cabinets. The software also helps the healthcare industry with managing its finances by keeping track of patient payments and the costs of supplies and services.

As you can see just from this short list, there are many different and diverse industries which are able to thrive with the help of enterprise resource planning software. Managing your business daily activities shouldn’t feel like a chore. Your business also deserves to function seamlessly without mistakes or flaws, which is why ERP is beneficial to any business and industry.

Taking the above into consideration, there are many factors to consider when purchasing an enterprise resource planning software.

Questions that businesses ask themselves when purchasing a system range from, how much are we willing to pay? Will we require training? And even, the type of software that works best for the business. Another important factor to consider during the process of purchasing ERP software? Who will the consultant be? Finding a match can be an easy thing to do if you’ve done your research.

So, lets explore the features you should look for while searching for the perfect software consultant.

Knowledge of the current market

This one should be a given but searching for a consultant who knows the ins and outs of ERP software is a must. A consultant should be the expert, guiding whoever they work with through muddy waters and into a clear understanding on how the system works and the best system for your business needs.

Working with a consultant you want to know what services they perform, what they can do to help you plan maintenance and what the current scope of the enterprise resource planning software world is like. They should be aware of the current trends, but also know what is on the rise.

Experience

Working with an experienced company tends to be at the top of everyone’s list when searching for a company that implements software because it shows that they are trustworthy, experienced and highly sought after. Typically, businesses have websites or a portfolio that showcase their experience in the form of who they’ve worked for and how long they have been in the business of implementing software.

Consultants with experience should be able to provide references, have completed numerous implementations and prove themselves to be knowledgeable about the product and process. When searching for an experienced consultant, other things to consider are whether they have knowledge working with the business of your size and industry, which is our next feature to search for.

Specific industry focus

Enterprise resource planning systems tend to have specialised angles in an industry, so considering a consultant who is either in your industry of has industry specific knowledge is an important factor to keep in mind. For example, a manufacturing company has different needs, language and concerns than that of a retail store. You want to make sure that no matter the consultant you take on for ERP implementation, they are familiar with your specific needs and interests.

Provides ongoing support

Once a system is put in place, that doesn’t mean the work is done. There is staff training to consider, as well as knowing that moving forward, software upgrades will have to be made. Does your consultant provide long term support? This is something to heavily consider, especially if you and your company are brand new to learning about enterprise resource planning.

Are you searching for a software consultant? This list is just a few of the things your business should consider when looking for the perfect match. You want someone who is knowledgeable about the software and your industry, as well a consultant with experience and knows of the current market.

Here at Monpellier, we could be that perfect match. To arrange an initial meeting to see how we can help you help yourselves, contact us here, or give us a call on 0191 500 8150 to get something in your diary!

1
May

How ERP software can improve customer satisfaction

Just about every business in any industry relies on repeat clients to keep business going, and  that entails ensuring customers are satisfied with goods and level of service. But mid-sized distributors in particular may face some challenges that are unique to their business. Distributors are usually competing directly with much bigger companies that can get advantageous terms from suppliers and can get their hands on more resources.

As such, small to mid-sized distributors may find themselves charging higher prices and having less manpower compared to their competitors. Competing on price isn’t an option, so there are other ways that small to mid-sized distributors need to compete to attract new customers and keep them.

Taking advantage of an enterprise resource planning (ERP) software with customer resource management (CRM) capabilities can give small to mid-sized distributors the opportunity to more effectively meet expectations for a high level of customer service.

Since good customer service translates into good business sense, an ERP solution can give distributors the ability to attain higher quality interactions with both new and existing clients.

Here are some ways that ERP software can help improve overall customer service and inevitably increase sales.

Get rid of inefficient order processing

Making sure that deliveries are on time is of paramount importance when it comes to customer satisfaction. An ERP system can help make sure that deliveries reach their destination when they’re supposed to. Distributors that make use of ERP solutions can provide distributors with on-time shipments just about every time because they eliminate inefficiencies.

Boost efficiency when solving client issues

In distribution companies, customer service representatives are the first people to deliver service to clients. It’s important that they’ve got the information needed to resolve any issues in a timely manner.

Having ERP software can help provide customer service reps with more power to offer pertinent details about a client’s whole experience with a company. These representatives can see all there is to know about a customer’s history, including payment methods, previous orders, and so on. This can help them provide customers with the answers they’re looking for, which ultimately enhances customer loyalty.

Offering value through business intelligence

Customers can be better served by being offered the right value-added services at the right time. ERP solutions allows sales teams to be much more confident in the data they’ve got on customers because they can more closely rely on the information that’s stored in the system. With such information on hand, they can offer services such as special discounts that can boost sales.

These types of tools are essential to the success of small to mid-sized distributor companies. Monpellier offer customised ERP solutions such as Sage and Pegasus that can help improve customer service, make order processing more efficient and increase sales.

Now, you might be thinking ”does my company really need to implement a new ERP solution?”. Well, here are our top five reasons why you should:

An effective cost reduction tool

ERP systems offer the chance to get the actual and real-time data about daily operations that help companies to plan their strategy professionally. An ERP is a wonderful system that not only saves on operational cost & administration cost, as we mentioned earlier, but very effectively systematises the operation. One thing that needs a special mention here is that with modern ERP, distributors deliver complete and on-time shipments 97% of the time, thus it has become a comfortable tool for distributors.

Increase the producitivy

There is no doubt that any company would like to work on reducing the cost and time consumed in doing a particular job. And, ERP is one such system that consolidates all the information fed into its system across the multiple departments, thus acting as a safe storehouse.

The employees can use this wholesome information for various activities and expedite the process and make a faster decision that would be in the interest of the company. You wouldn’t want your staff to run here and there or call each and every colleague across different departments until they have found their exact piece of information, which could have been easily maintained in the system.

Reinforce customer service

No company can just go on selling until and unless it has maintained the old customers and believes in adding the new ones. ERP, here too, acts as a guide that comes to the rescue of the company that wants to focus on the growth and customer service. Whether it is a simple query of a customer regarding the product availability or managing the inventory accurately, the ERP system has the entire information ready on what to do now or next. This is an impeccable way to move ahead in the competition.

Consistency and smooth functioning

A study came out in 2015 indicating that more organisations are going to go multi-site over the next few years. An increasing percentage of organisations are implementing an ERP system across multiple offices, warehouses and sites. Last year, 85% of companies implemented an ERP system at two or more locations.

A well-informed player is always confident and this applies to business too. A common system enables the decision maker to receive information and to gain a holistic view of the operations spread across various locations, thus having the ability to make better and quicker decisions.

ERP squashes the need for various other software, like CRM for different departments. So, it’s evidently better to have a centralised arrangement such as an ERP system that stores and updates the information in real-time and is helpful to each and every department for planning purposes.

Nips the problem in the bud

With the constant flow of data being transcended into information for management, any aberration or issue can be quickly highlighted in real-time. Although most organisations begin their ERP initiatives with the expectation that they use the software as is, many are still making changes to the way the software was intended to be used.

Thus, companies planning to implement an ERP system for their day-to-day business should, first of all, undergo an evaluation to understand why and how they can use ERP at its best. The business should consider the technology and make a move in that direction so that they have a competitive edge over others. Using ERP can prove to be a healthy deal if used to its maximum.

For more information about implementing ERP systems, or if you think you are ready to take the plunge and would like to book a free consultation with us, contact us here, or call us on 0191 500 8150 to speak to a Business Software Consultant.

17
Apr

How ERP can help you become GDPR compliant in 2018

If you exchange in client data of any kind you may already be aware of the impending General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that comes into effect later this year.

If not, this blog will explain a little about what to expect of this change in data regulation and how important having an ERP solution is in helping your business become fully compliant before the May 25th deadline.

The new regulation is a chance for you and your business to put into place steps to ensure clients and customer data is protected and that they have given full consent to being contacted by you in future communications.

GDPR is the biggest ever shake-up in how we collect and store the personal details of others in over 20 years.

So how can ERP systems such as Sage 200c and Pegasus Opera 3 help centralise and regulate data held within your business?

Managing data security

The upcoming GDPR is not just an IT or software issue; it’s a wider legal responsibility that will affect everyone who collects and uses the personal data of others. GDPR may be the first time that businesses have had to think and evaluate the way in which their data is processed, and the truth is, there is no single piece of software that can manage this kind of compliance fully on its own. However, an ERP solution is ideal for tackling the upcoming GDPR, integrating your business systems and processes and encouraging a full circle of data sharing and availability.

Details of where data has come from, how long it will be held for and how it has been or will be shared, are just some of the questions you must answer, and evidence should you be challenged. Relying on multiple systems to cross-check this type of information raises the risk of data breaches.

”The right to be forgotten”

A pivotal aspect of the new GDPR regulation is consent. Does the recipient of your communications consent to being contacted by your organisation? After May 25th, if you do not obtain explicit consent, you will be breaking the law. The right to be forgotten comes into play when individuals contact an organisation and request personal data associated with their account to be deleted entirely.  Tick boxes to agree or disagree will no longer be allowed. Instead, communications must stipulate in full English how someone’s data will be used. Furthermore, the business must be able to demonstrate, when challenged, how and when a contact gave full consent.

ERP systems work by providing a central point for customer data. Contact records, history, email correspondence and additional notes provide the audit trail required to evidence consent for compliance.

An opportunity, not a hinderance

Panic is sure to have ensued when GDPR was first announced, with many wondering how they will tackle their data before the deadline. However, when the dust settled, many realised the great opportunity the regulation provides in re-evaluating their business strategies.

As your payroll team deals with processing lots of personal data, payroll will be one of the areas of your business that will likely require its existing processes to be revised significantly for the GDPR.

When it comes to GDPR and payroll, here are 10 things your payroll team needs to do now to prepare for the new legislation.

Consolidate your personnel and payroll data

If you currently have your personnel and/or payroll data in lots of different locations, say perhaps across a number of different Excel spreadsheets, then you need to pull everything together into as few locations as possible. Ideally, having this data in one place will help your payroll team to oversee it properly.

Adopt relevant rules and standards

By adopting relevant rules and standards such as ISO27001 – which is a specification for an information security management system – you can make the implementation of GDPR smoother for your business, while also meeting some of the legislation’s security requirements.

For GDPR and payroll, consider all sorts of data

It’s a challenging proposition when it comes to people management, but to be GDPR compliant, you need to consider lots of different types of data. For example, how will you securely handle and store timesheets? And what about emails or text messages from employees who are asking for holiday leave?

There’s also the question of how you will securely store sick notes – and likely other data you need to consider. Determine what data you have and start to create new processes for how you will securely handle and store it.

Give payslips to your employees in a secure way

Do you leave printed payslips on the desks of your employees? When the GDPR comes into force, you will have to make sure they are given to employees in a secure way.

One solution that businesses are turning to is the use of online payslips, where employees can securely access them – they need to put a password in, for example, before they can see them. If your business is still using printed payslips, it might be worth considering following the online lead.

Create a GDPR readiness plan

There’s not long to go now until GDPR comes into force – but there’s still enough time to get prepared. The date that the new legislation begins isn’t going to change and your system needs to be compliant. To make that happen, create a GDPR readiness plan so you can determine where data is stored and what new processes are required to be compliant.

If for any reason you can’t be complaint by 25th of May 2018, you need to make sure you have a documented plan in place so you can demonstrate that you have been working towards compliance. You will be at a serious risk if that isn’t in place and you’re not working to turn the plan into reality.

Get a GDPR audit done

To make sure your processes and systems are GDPR compliant, an audit by a suitably qualified individual is a highly recommended step. Remember, there’s the prospect of fines of up to 4% annual global turnover or 20 million euros, whichever is greater, if your business is found not to be compliant – and doesn’t have a demonstrable plan in place that you’re working towards.

Employ or assign a data protection officer if necessary

According to the GDPR, you need to make sure that data protection is a key part of your firm’s process of designing and operating policies, processes, products and services.

Certain types of businesses will need to appoint a data protection office (DPO) – who could be someone contracted from outside your firm or an existing employee. Those business examples include public authorities , firms that regularly monitor individuals on a large scale, and companies whose core activities involve the processing of special categories of personal data on a large scale.

The DPO will help you to monitor internal compliance, while also informing your business on its data protection obligations, and they will advise where and when necessary.

Give employees full visibility of data you hold about them

Your employees need to know what personal data of theirs your payroll team and business holds. Meanwhile, you will have to respond to subject access requests (SARs) and requests for their personal data to be either rectified or erased.

You do not have the right to refuse excessive or unfounded personal data requests, however you will need to demonstrate how they are unfounded in your compliance documentation.

Create GDPR-compliant privacy notices for your employees

You need to let your employees know what information they are entitled to as per the GDPR’s requirement for transparency and this must be done in a way that’s clear. Remember, you can’t use your employees’ data for a different purpose without notifying them. And you might need to offer simple functionality that allows your employees to opt out of the different ways you use their data.

Take the GDPR as a chance to push forward as a fully customer-centric business that champions transparency and demonstrates the value of customer privacy.

An effective ERP solution will be the first step in providing a single view of truth when it comes to your customer data and how you use it.

If you’d like to know more about how an ERP system can help you become fully compliant before the GDPR comes into effect this May, then contact us on 0191 500 8150 to speak to a Business Software Consultant.

27
Mar

How Sage 200c Project Accounting is the perfect solution

Part of the Sage 200c Suite of products, Sage 200c Project Accounting and Web, Time and Expenses is a powerful and highly configurable software solution which can be adapted to meet the needs of your business.

It is suitable for a large range of businesses, including those who manage projects or operate in service-based industries. It meets the needs of businesses who require simple costing and analysis as well as those who need in-depth analysis and reporting to ensure projects remain on target and on budget.

Sage 200c Project Accounting allows you to identify opportunities for increasing revenue and reducing costs. It simplifies data capture and gives you complete control over all financial aspects of your projects, providing the information you need to improve profitability.

Benefits

Sage 200c Project Accounting and Web, Time & Expenses forms part of the Sage 200c Suite of products and integrates with Sage 200c Financials. Designed for medium to large enterprises with a requirement for time and project accounting.

Sage 200c Project Accounting and Web, Time & Expenses is highly configurable software which allows flexible time and expense entry and comprehensive project accounting.

Sage 200c WTE is a brand new web-based Timesheet and Expense entry system that integrates with Sage 200c Project Accounting.

Sophisticated Job Costing

The powerful Sage 200c Project Accounting module will allow you to track income, cost and profitability across and projects you choose to define.

It also provides you with a web-based mechanism for computing employee timesheets and expenses.

Improve customer satisfaction with accurate bills delivered by capturing and allocating project costs, overheads and revenues. And collect timesheet and expenses information online from anywhere, saving time and ensuring accurate payments.

By helping you understand the income and expenditure of each project, Sage 200c supports you decision making, giving you the information you need to improve profitability.

Gain a single view of your projects

Make the most of your time, by tracking multiple projects based on time and materials, fixed price contracts or a combination of both. Share information with other areas of your business to save time and reduce admin. For example, convert sales orders and quotations into projects while ordering and allocating stock for those projects. Or track time and resources and link the results to your payroll system.

Work the way your business does

  • Give project managers control by allowing them to raise and authorise purchase orders.
  • Set up project structures that suit the way your business works with unlimited parent and sub-projects.
  • Name and configure fields to match your business needs.
  • Add an unlimited number of additional fields and define their function.
  • Get the right information to the right people with workspaces designed for different users.
  • Integrate project accounting with accounts, sales and purchase order processing and payroll.

Effectively manage your resources

If your projects involve charging for people’s time, Sage 200c Project Accounting can easily capture the information you need.

  • Capture timesheet information and expenses via batch entry or remotely online.
  • Make sure timesheets and expenses are accurate before they are entered by creating authorisation processes.
  • Pay and work with contractors in the same way as suppliers if needed.
  • Analyse expenditure by employee or contractor, and by type of work and/or project.
  • Reduce errors and the need to rekey information by sharing employee and timesheet detail with payroll.
  • View, authorise and print timesheets and expenses online. Drive accurate and flexible billing.
  • Flexible billing schedules can differ by project and by customer, showing when a customer should be invoiced and for how much.
  • Simple to use templates that simplify billing management.
  • Manual or automatic bill production to save time and effort.
  • A detailed breakdown of all project costs, so project managers can check for accuracy, reducing the risk of complaints and encouraging prompt payment.

Key features of Project Accounting

Highly configurable

Designed to be configured to meet your business needs, Sage 200c Project Accounting allows you to use the terminology that you and your employees understand, with configurable menus and field naming conventions.

Manual or automated billing

Allows you to control the way you prefer to handle billing. Manual allows you to keep a close check on projects whilst automated allows for billing based on a percentage completion rate within dates.

Integration for improved business efficiency

Sage 200c Project Accounting incorporates Web, Time and Expenses and integrates with Sage 200c Financials, sage 200c Commercials and Sage Payroll so that key financial data can be shared.

Flexible time and expense entry

Timesheets and expenses can be entered through the Project Accounting module, imported or entered remotely using the web-based timesheet and expense entry facility WTE.

Solve your Project Costing challenges

Many service management companies struggle to ensure projects stay on track and profits are maximised. Top triggers to review your existing solution are:

  • You keep track of your project costs using an Excel spreadsheet.
  • You manually enter timesheets into your system.
  • You have a separate expenses system and it takes ages to get receipts back.
  • You have no real-time visibility of Work in Progress to ensure it stays on track.

So, what next?

If you need a clear breakdown of project costs, Sage 200c Project Accounting software is for you. It delivers in-depth analysis and reporting to ensure your projects stay on track and profits are maximised.

For more information, or to book a demo of Sage 200c, contact us here, or call us on 0191 500 8150 to speak to one of our Business Software Consultants.

20
Mar

What Sage 200cloud Business Intelligence can do for you

Sage 200cloud Business Intelligence as a module forms part of the Sage 200c Suite, working alongside other modules including, Financials and Commercials and CRM.

Everyday activities feed unstructured data into the Sage 200c Business Intelligence module, whereby it can then be transformed into dynamic and actionable data insights. From this, opportunities can be identified and developed.

What is Business Intelligence?

Business Intelligence can be defined, as per business and economic theorist, Gartner:

In the economic downturn there is a heightened need to make better, fact-based decisions – BI is a vital competitive tool of increased importance in an environment where doing business more smartly, in order to maximise share of the reduced revenue in circulation, is a necessity.

The Sage 200c BI module

In essence, this module uses pre-determined data cubes to offer up full perspective, multidimensional views of your business information. These data cubes provide the facility for you to analyse your business by:

  • Interrogating data
  • Identifying and acknowledging trends in data
  • Investigating anomalies or out of the ordinary occurences
  • Making informed strategic decisions

Additionally, Sage 200c BI is accessible by everyone as it requires no prior technical knowledge and uses non-jargon based terminology. Furthermore, Sage 200c BI exports data to Microsoft Excel for easy manipulation of data.

Sage 200c BI for Commercials

Business Intelligence for Commercials is the latest addition to Sage 200c BI. This new release considers a greater range of data whilst making the analysis available from Sage 200c BI more comprehensive. As an upgrade to the five existing data cubes, Sage 200c BI for Commercials includes eight commercial data cubes, comprising:

  • SOP Invoice Credits
  • POP Invoice Credits
  • Stock Movement
  • Sales Order Book
  • Sales Despatches
  • Purchase Supplies
  • Stock Levels
  • Stock Discrepancies

What is Sage 200c Business Intelligence and how can it work for you

There are a number of features and benefits that exist within this module that can aid your business in the long term:

Reporting and Analytics compatible with Excel

Analyse your data quickly and effectively on a familiar platform. Sage 200c BI exports data into Microsoft Excel, allowing you to augment the reports by using standard Excel formatting, such as calculations and macros, for an end result that is usable for you. This functionality minimises the training required as the majority of users will already be adept at using Excel, so is complementary to an enhanced reporting method.

Out-of-the-box reports

Pre-defined reports come as standard with Sage 200c BI, allowing the administrator to quickly determine and understand financial information within their Sage 200cloud solution, e.g through profit and loss, worst paying customers and average sales benchmarks. These reports are time saving in that they remove the need to create reports from scratch and does away with redesigning of reports for different occasions.

Utilise a Report Wizard

With the Report Wizard you can adeptly change the layout of a report to meet your requirements, providing flexibility in the way in which you need to view certain information and by enabling you to extract the information required, whilst being displayed in the way you like. The report is therefore usable for your purposes and takes into account the necessary information.

Drill Down functions

From each report in Sage 200c BI you can drill down through increasing levels of detail. An example may be if you are looking at an overview for a specific year, you can drill down through increasing levels of details. An example may be if you are looking at an overview for a specific year, you can drill down by a particular month and further at a daily level. View your data within the exact parameters you need to be in.

Conditional Formatting functions

Anomalies in your data can be highlighted by colour and based on your specific criteria, enabling you to spot exceptions within a report quickly. Make efficient use of your time by identifying extraordinary details for easy reference.

Make faster, better informed decisions

The multi-view analysis tools within Sage 200c BI is an added extra to the software in that it allows you to view data from many angles, e.g, by sales by region, customer and month. The report fields can be changed in seconds providing quick and easy reporting analysis, and this functionality is unlike any other module within the Sage 200c Suite.

Operates within the reliable Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services Technology

SQL Server Analysis Services is a market leading OLAP technology. Therefore, Sage 200c BI is built to operate on a reliable and robust platform, so delivering a high specification module that won’t let you down.

As you can see from the above, the Sage 200c Business Intelligence modules is one that comes in very handy when you want to drill down into the analytics and insights you need to run your business efficiently.

Here are some more reasons why you should utilise Sage 200c BI:

Effectively analyse critical business information

Use powerful analytical tools to inform your decision making and share business data widely across your organisation.

Easily build your own reports

Change report fields in seconds to give you key information such as Profit & Loss by cost centre and department; sales by customer by month; stock valuation for the last three months; trend in overdue orders; stock movements by product group; and much more. Bring your business data to life using charts and graphs.

Effectively manage your customer relationships

Offer the highest quality service and support and measure the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns with advanced customer relationship management tools.

Benefit from greater business intelligence

Sage 200c BI can help you identify customer and product trends and understand any variations. You can measure performance against different benchmarks and analyse data and connections between different parts of your business.

  • View key performance indicators
  • Plan for business growth at minimal risk
  • Highlight additional revenue opportunities
  • Discover areas where you can improve productivity
  • Respond to changing business conditions

With Sage 200c BI, you can plan strategically for growth and change with tools that help you identify key trends and patterns. Spot opportunities for innovation and identify improvements in productivity and growth in every area of your company.

If you are interested in finding out more information about Sage 200c, or want to discuss integration of accounting software within your company, reach out to us here, or call us on 0191 500 8150 to discuss it with one of our Business Software Consultants.

13
Mar

Why you need to utilise Sage 200cloud CRM

The Sage 200cloud CRM suite includes Sage CRM to help you manage your customer and supplier relationships, allowing you to offer the highest level of quality and support.

Sage 200c CRM integration available with on premise version of Sage 200c, focuses on putting customers at the centre of your business, where Sage CRM helps create a close and more profitable relationship with your customers.

The Sage 200c CRM solutions connects all parts of the company to ensure every department works together in delivering excellent customer service. This software not only allows you to manage your sales activities and contacts, but also creates effective marketing campaigns making every customer interaction informative, effective and profitable.

Sage 200c CRM Key Features

  • Use demographics and special interests to plan, execute and measure targeted campaigns.
  • Track the success of your campaigns and generate accurate return on investment information.
  • Help achieve targets more efficiently and effectively.
  • Offer round the clock customer service with an automated email management service, and a self-service web portal.
  • Make promises to customers that you can guarantee by accurate to-the-minute pricing details from the ERP modules.
  • Increase your sales effectiveness.

Sage 200c CRM Benefits by departments

Sage 200c CRM for Sales

  • Make the most of every sales opportunity by increasing overall sales performance with powerful tools to find key information quickly and easily.
  • Create and distribute sales reports to keep your team in the loop of progress.
  • Manage your sales team with the ability to schedule tasks, gain insight into sales pipelines and analyse overall sales team performance.
  • Configure the sales process in Sage CRM to suit the way you operate.
  • Manage your sales cycle and concentrate on those deals most likely to close.
  • Get sales and marketing working together and gain the synergy of combined efforts to keep information in the Sage CRM system and actively monitor and track marketing and sales communications.

Sage 200c CRM for Marketing

  • Sage CRM enables you to set up full marketing campaigns and track ROI against each activity.
  • Create marketing reports for business insight into campaign performance.
  • Monitor lead source through Sage CRM and align to campaign activity for overall performance tracking.
  • Use real-time information to analyse the lead cycle from initial contact through to close.
  • Qualify leads and group them accordingly to ensure every opportunity is nurtured.
  • Integration with email marketing out-of-the-box to monitor variables such as open rates and clicks.

Sage 200c CRM for Customer Care

  • Full case management to capture, manage and resolve issues quickly.
  • Record every customer interaction through the Sage CRM system against a customer contact file by making notes and integrating Outlook.
  • Provide multiple channels to your customers by offering web access to a customer portal to raise support queries and view status of reports.
  • View and measure call turnaround time and understand support requirements by each customer.
  • Gather and store key information on customers to provide a better service.
  • Ensure your staff have the resources they need to carry out their role with satisfaction and provision success.

Customer relationship management software has changed the way we manage and maintain customer relations. The following highlights the top 10 benefits of Sage 200c CRM software to your business.

  1. Integration with accounts
  2. Increase productivity
  3. Build stronger customer relationships
  4. Reduce costs
  5. Enhance communication
  6. Real-time visbility
  7. Complete view of your customers
  8. Mobile and remote staff working productively
  9. Increase customer satisfaction
  10. Improve overall decision making

CRM connects to accounts

CRM brings many benefits to your organisation, but one of the key differences and reasons to choose a CRM & Accounting solution is the integration on offer between the two. For example, Sage 200c offers integration with Sage CRM respectively. The benefit of this is that vital information can be disseminated across your business units. For instance, credit history for key accounts, customer order history and stock availability.

Increase productivity

CRM solutions such as Sage CRM benefit your organisation by making your sales team, marketing team and customer service teams more productive. Pricing, Order Information and lead to customer information can all be found easier and quickly from within one place.

Build stronger customer relationships

A CRM system provides your organisation with a store full of information and insight into your leads, prospects and customers. The more your sales team puts into the system, the more information can be extracted by sales, marketing and customer service to nurture leads and build strong relationships with customers, aiding the deal closure for new and existing business and retention rates for existing customers.

Reduce costs

A CRM system can aide in the sales cycle and ensure data is consistent across teams and help reduce costly mistakes by increasing accuracy and effectiveness. CRM systems are accessible on demand and therefore can save the need for time in putting together different procedures, such as running separate spreadsheets.

Enhance communication

CRM systems are an excellent communications system to help get teams working closer together. Marketing and sales can improve their interaction by having documented records of key interactions with prospects and customers. Teams can ensure work is correctly assigned to an individual and followed up as and when required. No opportunity should be left untaken by effective use of a CRM system.

Real-time visibility

A CRM system provides real-time access to key lead intelligence information such as when marketing sends out an e-newsletter, sales updates a recent conversation with a prospect, or customer service logs a support call. Opening up the visibility to those in your organisation that need it empowers them to carry out their role more effectively.

Complete view of your customers

Having a directory of all your customers that you can check through customer communications and purchase history for an enhanced understanding of your customers.

Productivity with mobile and remote staff

In today’s connected world it is vital to make sure your employees and customers are constantly connected to your brand. CRM solutions with mobile access enable remote staff to have reliable access to all the customer and activity information they need via their mobile devices and home working environment.

Increase customer satisfaction

Personalise every interaction with your customer by keeping records of key information to provide the highest levels of customer satisfaction. You can set up your CRM system to store key information ranging from customer interests to order history and ensure you always provide relevant information to your audience.

Improve overall decision making

CRM provides real actionable insight via detailed reporting facilities in CRM to help generate sales forecasts and marketing ROI. CRM analysis tools can help identify short and long-term trends and alert users to potential business opportunities.

If you would like to find out more about Sage CRM, contact us here, or call us on 0191 500 8150 to speak to one of our friendly Business Software Consultants.

6
Mar

Sage 200cloud Financials and Commercials

Sage 200cloud Financials and Commercials form part of the Sage 200c suite.

The Sage 200cloud suite is software that works across your business covering many activities including Accounts, Sales, Marketing, Customer Service and Support and industry-specific operations.

Sage 200cloud Financials is included as part of the Sage 200cloud platform, the basis of the Sage 200cloud suite. It offers the core accounting ledgers, giving you great financial control. Building on the Financials modules, Sage 200cloud Commercials comprises a number of further modules covering Sales and Purchase Order processing, Stock and Pricing.

Together, Sage 200cloud Financials and Commercials offers powerful accounts and trading software with unrivalled usability and customisation capability:

  • Straightforward to implement and easy to learn
  • The ideal ‘out of the box’ software to many companies with complex business processes
  • An ideal upgrade path for many Sage 50 users who are experiencing rapid growth
  • Sage 200cloud Financials and Commercials are built on a SQL relational database for scalability (typically up to 50 users), stability and ease of integration with other applications.

Sage 200cloud Financials and Commercials will meet needs across your business:

Accounts and Finance

Sage 200cloud Financials flexes to your business, allowing you to budget by cost centre and department. Powerful consolidation of multiple companies, even with different nominal structures and operating currencies, means your system can grow as your business grows. Alerts and batch entry features ensure rapid, error-free data entry, while in-depth reporting and graphical analysis ensure you are always in control.

Customers

Deal effectively with customers by storing full customer details and maintaining effective credit control. If your customers need to deal in a foreign currency, Sage 200cloud gives you the tools to meet this need effectively.

Suppliers

Maintain consistent, controlled relationships with your suppliers. Store full details of your purchases and benefit from tools to help you make better use of your credit terms with your suppliers.

Stock Control

Sage 200cloud allows you to organise and closely manage your product lines. You can manage different stock locations completely independently, in terms of replenishments, sales, reporting and stock takes. Custom search categories and wildcard searches will assist you in managing large numbers of product lines. In addition, serial and batch controlled items can be managed and you can buy and sell in different units of measure.

Budgetary Control

A key strength of Sage 200cloud is its advanced budgetary control plus its ability to analyse the performance of cost centres and departments within your business. Analysis of budgets versus actuals can be viewed graphically, with the option of displaying up to five years of historical data, and the coming year’s budgets. By drilling down to the individual transactions you can easily see the detail behind those trends.

Support is also provided for the consolidation of multiple companies, including those with different operating currencies.

Analysis Tools

Throughout the system, custom analysis codes allow you to ‘slice and dice’ information any way you want. For example, you may choose to categorise your customers by region, sales person and account type, so you can analyse sales performance across these categories.

Once armed with your business aims and budget allowances we will recommend the solution options most suitable for you.

Your suppliers must insist on being paid in different ways. That’s why you can now do a cheque run for all suppliers who like to be paid this way, or an e-payment run for those who want BACs payments.

Quickly and securely run your reports together

Sage 50’s new batch reporting feature allows you to create your own batches of reports and run them off all in one go. You can password protect ant PDF file containing sensitive financial information, so only those with the authority to access the files have the means to do so.

Handle your transactions fluidly with improved Bank Reconciliation

Bank reconciliation is easier than ever before. ‘Smart Totals’ allow you to see the value of any highlighted transaction. And with the new retrospective bank reconciliation report, you’ll be able to see the reconciled balance of your account at any given time – particularly useful at month and year-end.

Keep your software as fresh as your business

You want your software to perform to the highest possible standard. The automatic updates feature lets you know if there’s anything you need to make your software more efficient, and quickly updates it for you.

Mistakes are natural, corrections are easy

Everybody makes mistakes, but correcting them has never been easier. You can now find, view, correct or even delete transaction or postings at the touch of a button.

Breeze through new features with ease

The improved assistance feature means you can quickly learn these new features with ease. There’s also a library of videos to guide you through them, and you can try out a new area of the software or a new posting with the proactive feature first.

If the above doesn’t persuade you enough, here are more of Sage 200cloud Financials key features and benefits:

The Financial module for Sage 200cloud gives you a view of your business’ financial position at any given point in time. It runs four key ledgers – nominal, sales, purchasing and cash book.

  • Web enabled, interactive dashboards and comprehensive reports for purchases, sales and financial summary that help you plan and make more accurate forecasts.
  • Flexible open and closed period accounting that suits your requirements.
  • Flexible nominal code structure for comprehensive reporting and analysis.
  • Batch data upload; request authorisation for transactions before committing them to the nominal ledger.
  • Choose to include or exclude VAT prices.
  • Increase efficiency with automated statements, standing orders and direct debits.
  • Increase efficiency by reconciling bank statements with your banking software.
  • Advanced multi-currency options, including exchange rate adjustments.
  • As your business evolves, understand the effects this has on your cash flow.
  • Keep unlimited customer and supplier contact information.
  • Integration with Sage 50 Payroll for a single view of all outgoing costs.

Sage 200cloud Financials is for businesses who want accurate, up to date financial data available at any time.

It allows you to understand your current financial position as well as analyse historical trends. Sage 200cloud Financials ensure that you have the data you need at your fingertips to make critical business decisions.

Sage 200cloud Financials consist of the Nominal Ledger, Cash Book, Sales and Purchase Ledgers which together provide business with a complete financial solution.

As standard with Sage 200cloud Financials comes Sage 200cloud CRM and Sage 200cloud Business Intelligence which together help give you a 360 degree picture of your business. Integrated software helps businesses increase efficiency and share information.

Sage 200cloud is highly flexible software which can be tailored to meet your business needs. This approach allows software to be installed quickly so you can quickly reap the benefits of your software investment.

Once armed with your business aims and budget allowances, we will recommend the solution options most suitable for you.

For more information, contact us here, or give us a call on 0191 500 8150 to speak to one of our Business Software Consultants.