But there are other, crucial factors of ROI to do with savings and increases. The right investments can save you time, effort, resources, and sometimes even your sanity. And increases gained can include efficiency, productivity, the speed of getting the job done and much more.
When you purchase a new laptop, you may not realise it, but you’re probably thinking about savings and increases. How much faster will the laptop work? How much more can you get done in less time with a more efficient processor?
When it comes to business management software, it’s the same situation. Sure, there’s a monetary factor. The right ERP software can help you increase sales and grow your revenue. But it can also help reduce time-consuming processes through automation, do more with fewer resources, get your operations running more efficiently, and make your team more productive.
There are a lot more ROI benefits to leverage from an ERP implementation. So, if you’re considering an ERP system, be sure to start out with the right strategies that will help maximise ROI, faster.
Analyst firm, Gartner, estimates that 55% to 75% of all ERP projects fail to meet their objectives. Common causes of failure include inadequate communication and planning, poor change management and constant adjustments to business objectives during the implementation process.
If you’re considering an ERP system to help your business grow faster and improve profit, getting your ERP implementation right is a crucial ingredient. And seeing a strong return on investment from your ERP software hinges on the implementation.
Here are the top 6 strategies to help you see ROI from your implementation sooner.
When scoping an ERP solution, choose software that’s designed for the needs of your business and industry. Look for functionality that addresses your core processes and business requirements.
Spend some time jotting down the current pain points and issues that you and your team are having with your current systems. Are you spending too much time rekeying data from one system to another? Or you see errors in your critical business data as a result? Are there specific business reports you need as standard? Ask your team for their input and prioritise the impact of the current issues. If you’re not sure how to get started, talk to the ERP provider you’re considering working with. They’ll often have a wealth of experience and advice about what to consider.
Think of your relationship with the ERP provider as a partnership that can aid the success of your implementation. Don’t be afraid to ask for their advice. Any good solution provider will already regard this as a necessary part of the process. Have a further read of our post, ERP software comparison: how to plan the right choice, for some additional tips on what to look for and what to expect from an ERP solution provider.
Studies have shown that customisation is a leading factor of why implementations can take longer than expected and incur higher costs. Think about how you want to start off with your ERP system. Do you want to start simply and quickly, planning for additional functionality or customisations is a second phase of your project? Or do you have specific requirements that need to be met as part of the initial set up? It can help to work with an ERP solution provider to clarify what your business needs early on. Scoping your ERP implementation project appropriately and considering customisations or additional functionality, whether that’s immediately or in a second phase, can help set the right timeframes and expectations.
A standardised ERP implementation isn’t right for every business. But for those wanting to get up and running with financials and inventory as soon as possible, it can be a wise decision that lets you see ROI very quickly. Once you’re up and running, you can continue to work with your ERP provider on customisations and expanding functionality to drive value from your software investment even further. Work with your ERP provider to establish the right plan for your continued implementation goals beyond your initial ‘go-live’ phase.
It’s crucial to understand the differences between two main types of ERP systems in which you can invest. You can purchase an on-premise ERP system and install it on your own physical computers and servers. Using an on-premise option, the software is installed on your physical servers. To keep your ERP technology current, you’ll need to perform regular testing and upgrades of the software. You’ll need the knowledge and resources in-house to do this or pay for an IT technician to help.
You might also need to schedule windows of down time for the work to be done or organise out-of-office hours to manage updates. Be mindful of how you plan this out as it can run the risk of affecting productivity, as well as any customisations and integrations you’ve set up, if not handled correctly.
On-premise ERP software generally incurs a much larger upfront investment. You’ll need to consider costs for the software, the hardware and the resources to maintain and upgrade both the software and the hardware.
The other option is cloud-based ERP software. Your system is always securely accessible in the cloud and the infrastructure is managed by your ERP provider. You don’t have to spend anything on hardware or invest in resources to maintain or upgrade the system – that’s all handled by the ERP software vendor. This gives you an ERP solution that is always current, without the down time or additional resources needed to manage regular upgrades.
Implementation can also be much simpler – and faster. Cloud delivery gets you system access as soon as your software licenses are provisioned. Your ERP provider can start working with you sooner to implement your system.
ERP implementations require dedicated time, planning, training, communication and documentation. Those factors apply added pressure to the day-to-day business responsibilities and operations of your team if not handled the right way.
Larger enterprises have the resources to assemble ERP implementation teams to manage the entire process. But for growing businesses, that’s not as feasible. Investing in a cloud-based ERP implementation service can take some of the burden away from your employees and free them up to focus on other tasks. A good cloud ERP provider will drive training as part of the implementation process – letting your team learn throughout the setup. Delivery is often managed by web conferencing to help get all stakeholders involved in the setup, no matter where they are, to speed up the process and maximise value.
Make sure your ERP provider also offers a knowledge base of information to support your employees. Pre-defined reference material, processes, help articles and FAQs can be a quick ‘lifeline’ for your team the moment they need answers.
Any new system of process will need your team to adapt, and it’s a factor for which you should be prepared. Get your team’s buy-in. Include them early on in the ERP implementation process. Spend the time you need on change management. And when your ERP implementation is complete, think about ongoing training to keep your team using the system to its full potential. The more effectively everyone is using your ERP software, the better ROI you can expect to see.
Keeping everyone on the same page about the progress of your implementation and key milestones is important. A good communication plan should:
There’s no getting around the fact that an ERP implementation needs time and resources to make it successful. So be sure to allocate what’s needed for your implementation requirements, to see that the process runs efficiently. A few tips to make this happen:
These 6 strategic steps can help you see ROI that targets savings and increases that the right ERP implementation can bring to your business. And all this leads to greater profitability.
Having an experienced implementation provider to work with you through the process can make all the difference. Be sure to ask the ERP provider you’re considering about the number of ERP implementations they’ve successfully completed. Look for customer testimonials to understand how the solution has worked for other businesses. Start preparing your ERP implementation checklist to make sure you’re taking all requirements into account. And when you’re ready, reach out to an ERP provider for a tailored demo that focuses on what you want to get out of the system.
Are you ready to reach out to a request a demo of an ERP system? Then we can help! Drop us a message here, or give us a call on 0191 500 8150 to speak to a Business Software Consultant.
Have you ever been to the supermarket and found yourself paralysed by which one of four different types of tomatoes to throw in the basket? It can be astounding how many questions rush through your mind like, ‘Do I need diced, crushed or chopped?’, or, ‘Do I get the larger tin that’s better value or the smaller tin which looks like a higher quality brand?’.
It seems like there are so many options for as simple a task as just doing the shopping. So, what happens when you get to the important decisions like making an ERP software comparison between options that will run your entire business?
It can mean the difference between dramatically improved business performance and profitability when getting it right, or getting stuck with more convoluted processes and decreased performance if it goes wrong. There are many different vendors, resellers and implementers out there, all pushing their own strengths. Which ones should you be paying attention to? Which are the top ERP systems to start researching? And how do you focus on your specific ERP solution needs to choose the ERP system that’s right for your business?
We’ve set out some straightforward considerations and steps to follow for choosing ERP software, and some questions you may not have thought about, that are sure to give you some food for thought.
Before starting your research for ERP solution advice and comparing vendors and providers, it’s a good idea to jot down the biggest problems or pain points you’re trying to solve. What kind of process inefficiencies is your business seeing right now? Are you using multiple systems which don’t talk to each other? Think about all the processes that are happening in your business each day – including inventory and order management, purchasing, CRM, sales and marketing, and accounting.
Consider running your shortlist past others in the business to help validate the importance of issues and uncover more opportunities for improvement. The most pertinent issues will soon reveal themselves and you can begin putting an order of importance to your list.
This is an important decision to make early on, as it will dramatically cut down the number of ERP options you need to compare and help crystallise what you’d like to gain from an ERP system. To touch on it briefly, choosing a cloud ERP simply means you’ll have an ongoing subscription to the vendor’s software. There’s no server equipment to set up as your system is accessed via a secure web interface.
There’s a lot of flexibility with cloud-based solutions as users can access the system securely from wherever they are. There’s no longer a need to be in the office to stay productive. You’ll also be able to add functionality as soon as you need it, and all software updates are managed for you automatically by the software vendor.
On-premise ERP solutions are the traditional set-ups which require servers and other equipment to be installed locally to run your ERP application. This is a non-issue if you already have a high level of existing IT infrastructure and skilled IT staff in-house to maintain and update equipment but can present a challenge for start-ups and small businesses due to larger up-front costs.
Security and data redundancy are aspects which also need to be carefully considered. Keeping equipment on your premises presents a certain level of risk which needs to be mitigated. Whether it’s the risk of physical intrusion or natural disaster, it’s important to plan for a variety of circumstances that will ensure business continuity and safety of your important business data.
Whenever you speak with an ERP vendor or ERP implementation partner about costs, there are standard areas covered such as licenses, setup and implementation of the software, ongoing support and add-ons that can further enhance functionality where needed. But there’s still more that you’ll need to think about, such as:
No matter how competitive a quote for an ERP implementation may seem, an implementation project that’s not executed efficiently can drag on interminably. There’s also a commitment from your business’ stakeholders during this phase, dedicating their own time and effort to the project. If they’re kept working through the setup for too long, it’s likely to cause implementation fatigue and slow down the process even more.
Find out if the implementation partner you’re looking to work with has a rapid implementation methodology. This is a positive sign that they’re experienced, organised and will keep the momentum going to see you going live and using the system sooner.
Involving the key stakeholders from your business right from the start of implementation can be hugely beneficial. When they’re guided through the setup for their roles and responsibilities, they’ll become more confident in using the ERP once it’s in place. This reduces the need for additional training or extended time working system processes and usage after go-live.
They’ll naturally become the champions and help to drive enthusiasm throughout the business in using your new ERP system. They’ll also be able to help other users get familiar from the beginning, quickly raising the collective knowledge and expertise.
This is largely restricted to on-premise ERP solutions, as cloud systems are designed to work on virtually any device with minimal specifications. The physical equipment requirements for on-premise systems often requires a much larger, up-front investment. It includes hardware such as servers, operating system software for those servers, backup devices, additional networking and other equipment needed to run your business software.
Many startups and small businesses don’t have this level of existing IT infrastructure, so be sure to find out about equipment requirements needed to run the ERP software you’re considering. It’s an additional cost that needs to be taken into account.
Once you’re ready to start engaging ERP providers, find out whether they can manage everything for you directly from supply of the software, right through to implementation and ongoing support. Some solution providers manage all implementation work in-house, which provides a greater level of direct quality control. Others may supply the licensing but use outsourced partners to manage the setup and implementation. You may even choose to use a specific implementation partner yourself if you’ve heard positive feedback about that partner.
The delivery of implementation plays a huge part to your ERP system’s success or failure. Regardless of whether it’s an ERP provider or a partner managing the implementation for you, find out how many resources they have, whether they’re locally based, and how many implementations they’ve completed to date. It’s important to have confidence in having experienced, knowledgeable resources setting up the software that will run your business.
It’s the same situation for ongoing support requirements. No matter how involved your stakeholders and staff are throughout the implementation, sooner or later they’ll need help with using parts of the system, new features and enhancements, or alternative processes that they haven’t seen before. Over time, businesses also see staff changes, which means having re-training needs. Does the ERP provider you’re considering have the resources to provide local support and training?
To wrap up the research process, and to give yourself reassurance that you’re choosing the right ERP solution, get across the success stories of other clients who have chosen the same solution. Have they made significant improvements to their business by using the software? Have they managed to reduce costs, grow their business and improve performance?
If you can’t easily find customer success stories on an ERP provider’s website, ask them to provide case studies, success stories or other material that provides proof of their solution for your type of business.
If you’ve got more to do than time to do it, then we need to talk. An ERP system is something that can not only help improve your business processes and make your business become much more efficient, it will also free up time so you and your staff can focus on other things in the business.
Get in contact with us today to see how we can help, by either dropping us a message here, or calling us on 0191 500 8150 to speak to a Business Software Consultant.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
You can ask yourself a couple of simple questions to see if an ERP would help you:
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.
Whether it’s a small shop opening a second location across town or a big-box chain with stores numbering in the thousands, retailers of all stripes and sizes want their businesses to grow. When it comes to expanding operations, EPOS solutions do much of the heavy lifting. But not all EPOS systems are created equal.
There are key features and functionalities that particularly equip some EPOS systems to aid retailers on their path to growth and expansion – and an important feature is the ability for your EPOS system to integrate with your enterprise resource planning (ERP) system.
When your business integrates its ERP program with an EPOS system, then you’re dealing with a horse of a different colour. Today’s customers want options in everything. From ecommerce stores to brick and mortar stores and even shopping opportunities on social media, the consumer is a mobile animal.
Your business software must be able to keep up with the demands of your customers. It may be time to integrate EPOS capabilities with ERP functionalities. Even in traditional brick and mortar stores, an integrated EPOS/ERP system can keep them competitive by improving efficiency and providing them with a mobile presence to meet consumers’ changing demands.
EPOS software completes your transactions on the spot. It isn’t dependent on a computer console but is fully functional on a tablet or phone and offers the ease of a touch-screen. It can calculate a sale, including tax and delivery charges, and adjust inventory. This makes your sales staff more efficient, improve sales (and possibly their commissions) and tracks inventory levels in real time.
Integrating with the ERP means your front-office processes and your back-office operations can coordinate and play nicely together.
With an integrated retail system in use, your business combines the front-end EPOS, inventory and stock management in the middle of the process, and accounting in the back-end. There may even be links with your supply chain partners. This means a streamlined process across all departments.
Specific advantages to integrating ERP and EPOS may include the following:
As with everything in life, there is usually a downside. The most glaring argument against incorporating ERP/EPOS into your business platform is cost. These systems can be expensive to implement.
The counter argument is the old adage: you have to spend money to make money. Incorporating an integrated ERP/EPOS system can help take your business to the next level. With the many positives outweighing the cost outlay, smart business owners are getting on board with ERP/EPOS systems of their own.
Open-platform EPOS systems offer many benefits and advantages for growing retailers, but one of the biggest is that an open API allows developers to integrate your EPOS and your ERP systems. ERP-agnostic EPOS systems enable data exchanged automatically among all store systems and applications, including accounting, inventory, ecommerce, promotions and CRM. This integration eliminates having to re-enter data, which is time-consuming and error prone.
With integrated EPOS and ERP at the core of retail IT, your store systems can integrate easily with third-party solutions. After all, no retailer wants to be left behind when competitors are getting ahead by adopting new tech as people-counting software that offers critical data on store traffic or digital signage that engages shoppers with bright displays on product information, promotions, videos and other content. And you want to be prepared for advances in technology that are around the corner such as augmented reality and virtual reality applications for brand immersion experiences.
In essence, an EPOS platform with an open API ensures your system is future-proof and can accommodate new directions your business may take. An EPOS system that is truly scalable is designed for whatever your business needs will be tomorrow.
Is your EPOS solution rigid or flexible? How often do you find yourself saying “I wish my EPOS could…?” Unfortunately, some EPOS platforms were built with a ‘walled garden’ approach. Truly scalable EPOS, however, lets retailers get their hands on the code and tweak it to their specifications when needed. Every retailer is different and as much as off-the-shelf EPOS software tries to accommodate all, many businesses demand a certain level of customisation in order to truly manage the nuances of their specific vertical, whether that’s the optical industry or the restaurant world. Truly scalable EPOS doesn’t hold you back from what you want it to do.
When you purchased your EPOS software, it’s entirely possible that mobile EPOS wasn’t a staple yet in retail. But now that handheld devices are downright commonplace among frontline retail store staff, you’re probably considering adding mobile EPOS to your operations. As retail continues to move towards a customer-centric approach, it’s increasingly important for sales-floor staff to have EPOS functionality at their fingertips.
The question is, however, does your entire IT system support mobility? Truly scalable EPOS, which integrates with your ERP system, can accommodate new modules and functionality, such as putting the software onto small form-factor devices and enabling sales associates to access customer data, update inventory from mobile EPOS, and conduct payment transactions that are automatically shared with the accounting program.
Maybe the next step for your business is as simple as incorporating additional EPOS terminals or onboarding new users. Or perhaps you have big plans to expand into new areas or even grow internationally. Working with a scalable EPOS system made possible by integrated EPOS and ERP makes all of this a straightforward, painless process. No matter how big or small your plans are, a purpose-built platform can scale along with you.
When considering an investment in new technology, be sure that the software meets your needs today – and is feature-rich to exceed your demands tomorrow. Insist on an ERP-agnostic, scalable EPOS system that will enable you to build a unified, powerful retail management system, positioning your business for growth and competitiveness in a fast-changing environment.
For any help and advice regarding either EPOS or ERP systems, we at Monpellier are here to help, so either contact us here, or give us a call on 0191 500 8150 and speak to a Business Software Consultant.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
And while it may be something your business has become used to, it can be a big win in terms of saving time and costs. An overload of paperwork can cause big headaches for owners and managers, bring day-to-day operations to a crawl and hinder sustainable growth.
An overload of paperwork usually occurs at the point where a business is outgrowing how it manages its financials. Starting out, you probably only have one or two employees looking after the books. With only a few users, you decide that basic financial software will be enough.
Without sales and CRM functionality, your team has to spend hours every week manually entering in data from the sales reps into the system so you can invoice clients. In addition, the business might also be utilising spreadsheets to manage inventory and capture information like sales and commissions.
You have manual, time-insensitive processes for getting invoices to clients and duplicated information kept in multiple sources, managed by various employees. The more sales you get, the more pressure builds on this process and the harder it becomes to maintain. The end result is a constant backlog of invoice reconciliation to manage due to double-entering data, checking different sources for the correct data, and fixing manual entry errors along the way.
Month-end continually becomes a larger task as more transactions increase the reconciliation task between systems. It all ends up creating an overload of paperwork. Additional pressure is lumped onto your team. Time is spent firefighting instead of working on more strategic, revenue-generating business activities.
So, what can you do to solve the paperwork overload and get back to growing the business? How can you go paperless and leverage business systems that save you time instead of costing you time? Here are five ways you can reduce your paperwork burden and set your business up for faster growth:
Is your team spending a considerable amount of time re-entering and reconciling data? If so, it’s a clear sign you’ve outgrown ad-hoc systems, financial software and other disparate processes that may be struggling to manage all your business information.
When the same data exists in several different systems, it creates more work because of the time it takes to re-enter data manually. That duplicate data also creates two key problems when it comes to data entry.
The first issue is accuracy. It doesn’t matter how careful your team or their attention to detail is, when it comes to double handling (or even triple handling) data, it will eventually cause errors. Fixing these errors can be time-consuming. Errors add another, unnecessary cost to the business.
The second problem area is fractured data in multiple systems. Data entered by different people in different formats. With two sets of information that differ slightly, how do you know which is correct? The integrity of your data is then called into question altogether. Time is spent confirming information and reconciling data from conflicting sources.
With a single, central source of real-time data made possible with an ERP system, you can eliminate the lengthy process of entering the same data into different systems. If you’re not ready to invest in ERP software, at the very least, choose one system as the source of truth for each type of data. For example, have all sales or CRM information stored in the one application that everyone will use consistently. When you’re ready to grow into an ERP system, it will make the transition a lot easier.
Using spreadsheet software to manage your inventory might seem like an easy solution when you’re first starting out. But it can quickly become complicated. As you grow and your sales and product lines increase, spreadsheets can end up costing your business significantly.
The biggest issue with using spreadsheets to manage your inventory is human error. How many times do you press the backspace key when writing an email, updating a word document, or entering information into a spreadsheet? Multiply that number by how many people in your business are updating spreadsheet information. That’s a lot of potential errors.
The time and resources it takes to fix errors from manually entering data can add up quickly. Fixing errors means costing your business time and money.
From an inventory management perspective, stock-related errors, such as inaccurate stock levels, can impact the business’ reputation and its relationships with customers. Imagine needing to fulfil a customer order only to discover there isn’t enough stock to complete it, even though the spreadsheet records list adequate levels.
Situations like these are common when using spreadsheets – particularly when inventory is involved.
If you’re not careful, you can start to lose visibility on what’s happening across your business. As your business grows, you add new employees, your sales levels increase, you open new locations, and your inventory expands. Information becomes more difficult to locate, and inaccuracy becomes more difficult to locate, and inaccuracy becomes more common.
The reason for the loss of visibility? At this stage in a business’ growth, many are using a patchwork of systems to run the company. For instance, accounting software manages finances, spreadsheets take care of inventory, and locally-kept word documents house customer details and agreements. A mobile workforce compounds the problem further. Employees tend to save files locally on their devices, like laptops and tablets. It can get frustrating when trying to locate business-critical data.
Look at systems which give you real-time information that can be accessed by multiple parts of the business. Having one central system, like an ERP, can give your business enhanced visibility and provide a common platform for all employees to access data from across the business. For instance, finance staff can view a complete history of customer interactions, sales reps can see stock amounts and administration team members can see other team’s calendars, tasks and reminders. This means everyone in the company can quickly answer the dreaded, ‘where’s my order?’ question from any customer.
Having a greater level of visibility across areas like sales, inventory, productivity and profitability, can also help to identify any obstacles. You and your team can quickly cover issues, trends and opportunities. You can make critical decisions faster and with more confidence. And, you can do it all as part of a paperless office environment. Keep visibility high using the right digital systems for your business needs.
When trying to grow a business, reporting is critical. Reporting helps you gain clarity about your financial position. However, for most small businesses, reporting is a manual process that takes too long and might not always give enough detail on what’s impacting the financial position. For instance, were sales affected by stock shortages of key items? Did you carry an excess of old stock which then had to be written off? How effective were your marketing efforts in bringing in new customers and generating sales?
When you’re running reports from multiple sources, checking and consolidating that reporting can take too long. Days can pass as the report is emailed from one individual to the next, adding their relevant information or cross-referencing. The view of your business position is no longer current – it’s days or weeks old. Aside from being time-consuming, if the data is accurate or out of date, it can affect the quality of your reporting and the decisions made as a result.
In contrast, live reporting based on real-time data can be extremely valuable. It gives you the business intelligence needed to quickly and clearly understand your business performance – as it’s happening.
An ideal solution to access live reporting is by using business intelligence dashboards. They can be set up to report on data from multiple areas of the business and present you with the most up to date information – all on one screen.
When it comes to forecasting, there can be a tendency to trust your instincts rather than spending the time and effort compiling data that’s sitting in multiple systems or documents. After all, it’s frustrating and can be difficult to get accurate information, all on the one format so that you can do a proper trend analysis – without printing dozens of paper reports that create a war zone out of your desk.
Rather than sift through various systems to get the data you need to prepare your forecasts, consider whether its time to move to better business technology that provides a single source of data, like a cloud ERP system. Forecasting needs a single source of truth to be reliable.
Bring everything together and leveraging the real-time, single-source data that you know will be accurate and up to date. Start thinking about the right business system that can support your forecasting requirements.
An overload of paperwork can weigh you down and stop you from working on strategies that will grow your business. Rather than limp along using the same processes and systems you set up when you started your business, think about using clever business tools that will improve your process management, business visibility, and data integrity.
For instance, a cloud ERP can bring all your information and data together in a single, central system and improve data access for all employees, assist with inventory management, give you more visibility across the business, speed up reporting procedures and give you a better picture of future performance. And, you can truly go paperless in the process.
What’s the next step to reducing your paperwork burden and saving your business time and costs? Start by getting in touch with our team of ERP solution specialists on 0191 500 8150. Let us know your business needs so we can let you know how the right technology can unlock faster business growth.
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,
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
With limited time, resources, skills and budget, there is a growing need to demonstrate and derive value from every investment made.
Many SMEs in manufacturing may not know the value of technology in addressing some of these challenges. Those that do usually worry about the enormous costs of acquiring and running these technologies. Poor decision making in IT investments can have a critical impact on the profitability and sustainability of any business.
In reality, some of these businesses may be making money. So why do they need to invest in automating processes? If as a business owner you want to save time, accelerate your response time to problems and customer queries, plan ahead with real-time data, mitigate wastage and keep the frown lines off your brow, then you definitely need to automate your business processes. A good way to do this for SME manufacturers is deploying an ERP solution.
While some might be informed on the concept of ERP software and what it can do for them, there is definitely a section of business owners who would like to start with the most basic question…
Let us take a step back and look at all the processes that are central to running a business such as purchasing, production, marketing, invoicing, managing inventory, human resource management, customer relations management, accounting and more.
At the basic level, ERP integrates all of these processes into one seamless system giving you real-time information which is a necessity to survive cut-throat midmarket competition. It also means boosting your sales and customer satisfaction rate by having real-time data and avoiding delays spent scouting for scattered records.
Further, it increases business intelligence support for quick, dynamic decisions and adjustments whenever necessary. Having too many software solutions for different processes can add to the bureaucracy of management in the crucial growing years. ERP systems help to centralise all of these processes.
The recent era of advanced technology has drawn the attention of customers towards better quality and more innovative plus customer-centric products. Therefore, more and more manufacturers are now moving towards ERP implementation for automating their business.
With an ERP, small businesses can focus on core business operations and its productivity that helps to improve profit margins and reduce operational costs. A competitive edge is achieved by streamlining and automating day-to-day activities. Let’s take a look at the five most common problems an SME faces, and how an ERP solution can help to address them.
Small businesses rely on manual data entries and get stuck in manual data logging methods. Manual entries may lead to data redundancy and time wastage. Also, human negligence results in unsuccessful data keeping.
But an ERP integrates all information into a single system which provides business immediate access to key data like financials, sales forecasts, purchase activities and inventory levels, thus, providing a holistic view of your business operations.
With an ERP, you get increased accuracy, information empowerment and improvement in the overall health of your business.
Competition is everywhere and businesses – small or big – are under it’s impact. Due to unavailability of all resources and tools and unplanned strategies in the business process, small businesses lack this advantage. They need specialised tools to deal with big businesses and maintain a place in the marketplace.
An ERP provides important information related to reduction in operational and administrative costs. Also, an ERP helps to monitor and control business operations to execute business plans effectively.
With an ERP, you get better decision making, streamlining of overall business activities, improvement in quality, customer retention and cost reduction.
For every manufacturing business, effective scheduling is the most important key to inculcate better scheduling when data is the tool. In absence of real-time data, a lot of time is spent in preparing schedules for the shop floor which are erroneous too.
With an ERP, you get real-time analysis of demand and supply of the materials, efficient production plans based on demand, supply, resource availability, various lead times, and accurate procurement plans eliminating the chance of over or under supply.
Taking care of customer satisfaction is a prime factor to develop a long-lasting business. Showing customers a caring approach could help you in your business growth, but what if you fail your deliveries or do not respond back to customer queries?
Your business will lose customers and eventually you will notice a reduction in your sales. ERP helps in providing instant access to get your sales staff which helps them in making true commitments that can be fulfilled in the specified time genre.
With an ERP, you get instant information access for your customers about accurate updates and deliveries of the product item, resolution to all customer queries by gaining real-time access to the data and information regarding cancellations of refund procedures.
For every business, meeting quality and statutory guidelines is necessary. A compliant business can keep the risk of fines, penalties and lawsuits to function smoothly. However, the small businesses find it difficult to meet the regulatory needs.
An ERP helps by providing visibility to the entire product flow, starting from material receipt, production process to the supply of finished goods, helping manufacturers to track the product across the supply chain.
With an ERP, you get quick report generation of all materials and their details, bi-directional traceability of products starting from raw material. Intermediates to finished goods, easy tracking of faulty materials and production tracking on multiple parameters.
|Features||Traditional Methods||ERP Implementations|
|Ease of Integration||
No integration, seeks out each and
every business activity individually.
Integrates all business activities
in a systematic manner.
Scrambling your mind to bring out a
decision with no surety of its aptness.
Allows making informed and
Data managed unsystematically through
the use of manual data logging methods.
Data is kept in systematic records
which are easily accessible with real
No flexibility, sticks to old primitive
Accepts to all new changing trends,
challenges and laws.
|Ease of Communication||
Lacks communications and develops
misunderstanding between departments.
Collaborated workforce becomes the
new identity of businesses that run
Manual data handling can lead to surplus
or deficit inventory level which can cause
increase in overhead costs.
ERP maintains optimum inventory
levels that help in controlling costs.
The possibility of data theft,
manipulations or misuse is quite high.
Enhanced security features with role
based permissions ensure complete
Manual data analysis can lead to wrong
planning which results in degraded
Effective reports can be created and
analysed in order to create effective
Manual methods can lead to compliance
and unmanaged supply chain cycle.
Improvises supply chain management
by integrating all business processes.
“Old ways will never open new doors”
To grow your business, implement an ERP and ditch those primitive business methods that deliver the same output.
We, at Monpellier, understand all your business needs and help you integrate all your business processes under one platform. We can help you meet all the challenging trends through faster innovation, better compliance, effective planning, controlled costs, reduced wastage and more.
So, what are you waiting for? Get in contact with us here today to organise a free business consultation and demonstration, or give us a call on 0191 500 8150 to speak to a Business Software Consultant.
Due to the seemingly generic nature of ERP software, some organisations rely on systems that operate on a common platform, and are supposed to cater to the needs of different industries.
Many best practices are common across industries. Some ERP vendors develop and market their application suites basing them on these standards. Key benefits are that it’s less expensive for a vendor to develop a generic system and they will likely benefit from volumes.
Unfortunately, a one-size-fits-all ERP software suite is rarely sufficiently reliable because the applications are simply not designed keeping in mind individual, organisational requirements. Some applications may not be suited to handle the unique needs of an organisation at all, and even those that may be are unlikely to uncover all your core business processes and will, therefore be fragmented and inefficient. Ultimately, it’s a case of wasted resources, time and money. We’d go so far as to say continued reliance on a one-size-fits-all ERP system can be very bad for business.
A generic ERP tool can restrict your organisation’s workflow and slow down growth and innovation. Problems can surface when it’s time to scale up and diversify. A tool offering a blanket solution is rigid and hampers progress because it cannot support the agility most businesses need to help them grow.
While picking specifics up front might seem like a daunting task, making the right ERP choice to suit your specific needs doesn’t need to be hard.
We’ve said this many times before, and we’ll reiterate it, start any selection process with careful deliberation to avoid the risks associated with a generic tool. If your organisation is clear about its goals, that’s a good first step. While choosing an ERP solution, establish the capabilities of the product as well as the solution provider.
Make sure the tool offers most of what you require out of the box. This translates to reduced customisation later. Ensure your ERP vendor has experienced delivering ERP solutions specific to your industry. A vendor who has provided ERP solutions for the manufacturing industry, for instance, understands the unique requirements of the industry better than a company that has a solution geared to manufacturing that they offer to customise.
An industry specific tool is more likely to accomplish a task using fewer resources and in less time than a -one-size-fits-all tool.
It will also require little or no customisation before it can be deployed.
When your organisation grows, an industry-specific solution will be able to handle changes with greater efficiency. This makes your job easier and less time-consuming.
In comparison, a generic tool can slow your organisation down to a crawl. Sometimes, even when it’s tailored to your requirements, the heavy customisation in itself can become a bottleneck.
Choosing a suitable ERP solution and deploying it requires the guidance of experts who are familiar with integration and change management, but how to you determine when your business is ready for a new ERP system?
Making the move to an ERP system is a major milestone in any company, signifying a certain level of success and growth. To ensure your company can continue on that growth and success trajectory, making the move to an ERP is key. Understandably though, making the transition to an ERP can be rife with concern. Before you make a move, it is vital to understand your business needs now and in the future. If you think your business may be ready for an ERP, ask yourself the following questions:
Are all of your current business systems fully integrated or do you find that each department is functioning within a silo? What may have worked in the past when your company first started, consisting of only a handful of employees all working out of the same location, may no longer fit the bill.
If your business has grown and now you have multiple locations, with multiple systems and limited integration, it becomes increasingly difficult to work effectively as a team. ERP software is designed to help the flow of internal business processes and allow for communication between the various business departments and their internal functions and data.
Along with having software systems that are fully integrated, a successful, growing organisation needs to have consistent processes across the business. As your organisation has grown, it may have accumulated and adopted a wide range of work practices and procedures. Moving to a global set of standards will help your business work more efficiently. An ERP system can support this move and ease the adoption of processes across the business.
Are your staff spending time on manual processes that could (and should) be automated? Do they have to call or email each other to determine stock availability or to track customer orders? Are you missing sales because it takes too long to get an accurate reading on your inventory? ERP systems can increase productivity by automating processes and providing consistent information on orders, sales and inventory.
How many times has this happened: sales have sold more stock than you have; sales blames operations for not having enough inventory, and operations blames sales for over-selling and not informing them soon enough? This leads to unhappy customers, lost sales, and frustration among your employees. This type of disconnect is one of the major reasons why businesses need an ERP solution.
If it is taking consistently more time to check and reconcile the number within your business, then it is taking longer to make important business decisions. ERP systems provide real-time insight into the state of your financials, so you can make better business decisions faster.
It takes some introspection to determine your company’s readiness for an ERP. However, knowing that your business is ready for an ERP system helps make the investment more palatable, and the transition smoother.
For more information on other advantages of using an ERP, how your company can benefit from this software, and how to get assistance in picking an ERP system that is right for your business needs, contact us here, or call us on 0191 500 8150 to speak to one of our Business Software Consultants.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
What makes the cloud so appealing to a growing number of companies? It’s because cloud computing enables them to consume computing resources as a utility, just like electricity, without the need to build and maintain computing infrastructure in-house.
Three powerful core features compel businesses to move from on-premise to cloud solutions. First, it’s fully customisable at any time, allowing users to manage and create their own systems for fast deployment. Second, it’s highly scalable, giving the users the ability to adjust their needed resources based on how much the system is being used. And third, businesses only pay for what they use.
Large corporations are embracing the cloud because they need to move nimbly in today’s dynamic environment without being held down by an immovable and inflexible IT infrastructure. In fact, according to McKinsey, large companies will double their adoption of cloud services by 2018.
Small to medium enterprises (SMEs), on the other hand, are moving swiftly toward the cloud while also eyeing the promises of the lower costs and convenience of third parties managing their IT needs. Studies by Intuit reveal that by 2020, 78% of these small businesses will complete their migration to the cloud.
Cloud technology started in the early 2000s, when applications were written as software as a service (SaaS) applications. Its popularity began to grow in the mid 2000s. By this time, many enterprises had moved their email, document sharing, and customer relationship management solutions to the cloud.
Cloud computing solutions cover a gamut of applications, including enterprise resource planning (ERP). However, even as ERP can be migrated to the cloud, some companies still choose to have it on-premise. They see on-premise ERP as a capital expenditure, a one-time, upfront investment. Meanwhile, cloud-based ERP is increasingly viewed as an operating expenditure – one that is paid for on an ongoing basis.
On-premise ERP benefits include greater ability to customise the system and control over the implementation process. However, the price of these benefits is a heavy upfront investment, the need to pay for associated hardware and IT costs, as well as risking data security that might not have optimised security protocols. These are further coupled with implementation delays that might come from ERP customisations.
Such disadvantages laid the groundwork for a business to shift from on-premise to cloud ERP. And for many organisations, the move to cloud was just irresistible. Why keep spending on IT when they could just ‘set it and forget it?’
Businesses, big and small are embracing the on-premise ERP to cloud ERP shift, because the benefits are c;ear, and they point to cost efficiency. Indeed, business owners and finance managers have been paying attention to cloud’s practical business benefits which include:
One advantage business owners find in the cloud is the lack of heavy maintenance required to keep their company running. Thanks to SaaS, enterprises can save on hardware infrastructure costs and do away with experienced IT experts required to manage and run the solutions. Costs related to office space, utility and manpower are reduced as well.
The move to cloud technology also helps companies manage their cash flow, and business processes. Without the need for significant upfront costs, upgrades or third-party licensing, users can enjoy predictable costs without being handcuffed to physical hardware. They also get to tailor the terms, such as the number of users and contract length to fit their business requirements.
No more worries about slow processing, system downtime, and disaster recoveries; these will be handled by the ERP provider.
Entrepreneurs might wonder if the shift from an on-premise to cloud-based ERP solution will affect security. Cloud vendors typically provide a higher level of security than most companies could achieve on their own. In the cloud, essential integration between enterprise applications and supported data, processes, and user interfaces isn’t an issue.
The marketplace is increasingly unpredictable. Through cloud-based ERP solutions, business owners and stakeholders can respond to the dynamic needs of their clients more quickly, giving them the edge to outmanoeuvre the competition.
Transitioning from on-premise to the cloud not only improves productivity, but it also helps save financial capital and ongoing manpower costs that might otherwise be needed.
Is the shift from on-premise to cloud-based ERP troublesome and difficult? As with any system overhaul, there is a learning curve, but it is an easy one if you choose the right partner.
When migrating to SME cloud-based ERP, you need to identify processes, inventory your systems, and define the integration points across the enterprise. Ask yourself these questions to prevent any negative impacts on your business:
A popular strategy is to use a hybrid approach that balances the use of local servers and the cloud. By utilising virtual servers on a local machine and selectively choosing the right applications to run in the cloud, businesses reap the benefits of simple management and efficient operation. The core servers and applications can be maintained locally while customer relationship management (CRM) and ERP systems are managed in the cloud.
Finding the right vendor that helps ensure a smooth small business migration can make the difference between a painless move and one that costs significant time and money.
When moving to the cloud, it’s important that your ERP solution remains at the top of every aspect of the business. Plus, standardisation and streamlined processes enable better decision-making across functional areas, such as accounting and finance, sales and customer management, purchasing and operations, inventory and distribution, and reporting and administration.
And because a cloud-based ERP solution is a SaaS, businesses can deploy and extend functionality quickly. In turn, this brings a great advantage over the competition as reaction to changing market conditions accelerate.
Companies of all sizes can hasten growth, achieve competitive differentiation, and profit from cloud solutions. And as the business grows, decision-makers can easily adapt and respond to the ever-changing market landscape while overcoming workplace complexities.
So, what next? If you think that you are ready to make the move to the cloud, and want to explore your options, we’re here to help. Either get in touch with us here, or call 0191 500 8150 to speak to a Business Software Consultant.
While vintage jewellery and furniture are considered prize possessions, vintage technology is not. A legacy ERP system is software that is no longer supported and enhanced and, according to Gartner, is ‘not sufficiently flexible to meet changing business needs’. While the costs associated with getting a new enterprise-level solution are considerable, maintaining an outdated one is likely hurting organisations even more.
There are multiple reasons why companies makes the decision to modernise their software, some of the most common which are:
Many legacy systems were coded in languages that are no longer staples of modern programming. This means that there aren’t enough qualified people who can keep maintaining the software. This problem can also occur when the ERP system was initially developed in-house by an ex-employee and replacements don’t have the necessary knowledge, or if the vendor of the software has long been out of business. All of this means that companies incur increased costs to get the appropriate support.
Hardware costs, too, become burdensome when it is becoming increasingly more difficult and expensive to find parts for the technology needed to keep your legacy system up and running.
At the dawn of their establishment, companies typically have limited needs, but as they grow and expand, their software requirements become much more complex. A growing company needs agile software that can scale along with it. Moreover, as more of your competitors switch to newer and shinier systems, you’ll find yourself increasingly behind. In order to keep your competitive edge, you must invest in software that is as dynamic as your business.
Legacy ERP systems are notorious for their high operating costs. Largely due to the decreasing number of professionals who can keep the systems running smoothly, the costs of such services tend to increase.
If your company software isn’t compatible with newer tools and applications like a new CRM of a chat bot, chances are you are not running your business as efficiently as you could.
One of the biggest setbacks business owners incur because of legacy systems is the inability to access centralised information as fast as they need to, which often impairs decision-making. This is also a problem if a company has a mobile workforce. If your employees cannot access important information from a device other than their office computers, their performance may suffer.
Often companies decide to upgrade their legacy systems due to regulatory mandates. Companies in the financial services industry, for example, often undergo changes when it comes to regulatory environments. To ensure the integrity and compliance of their operations, they must have properly integrated ERP systems in place.
You need to perform a cost/benefit analysis of your enterprise software before coming to a conclusion that it needs to be replaced – it’s not simply about chasing the latest fad. Even though this is not an exact science, do think about how much time and money your current system is costing you. How long does your own or contracted staff spend on ‘fixing’ its glitches? Does your software enhance your business processes or stagnate them? If in the end you have figured out that the benefits of a new ERP solution outweigh the costs of maintaining your legacy system, then it is time for a change.
An important thing to remember when replacing your legacy system is not to fall into the trap of trying to replicate its functions entirely in the new one. This way you’ll surely miss out on all the great features and functionality a new system has to offer. Not to mention, if you want the exact same system, what’s the point of getting a new one?
Finding the right replacement for your legacy system is no easy task. Look for a solution that will not only be the right fit in terms of functionality, but also ease of use. Your team will certainly appreciate an ERP system that is easy to understand and maintain. Also, when selecting a vendor, look for one that can provide you with an ongoing support plan that can meet your needs.
So, you have finally decided to either invest in an ERP system to achieve better efficiency and profitability or to replace your legacy system. As you are sifting through the different options available to you, let’s go over the ERP features which we feel are essential to any solution worth investing in.
The one thing that is clear about new ERP implementation is that it is rarely ever a clear-cut process. Issues with integration arise on multiple levels. First, this list includes a number of separate modules (see below), which need to be integrated flawlessly for your new ERP system to serve its purpose.
Second, almost all businesses require extending additional systems, which are not a part of their new ERP solution, to cater to their unique needs. As such, to avoid future hassle and complications, make sure your new solution has the ability to interoperate with other systems.
Many ERP solution providers like to push their notions of whichever hosting option they prefer themselves on their customers. This is very limiting, to say the least. You should be able to decide on your own whether you want your new solution to be hosted on your own servers (on-premise ERP), on a cloud or a hybrid cloud (when a company uses a mix of public and private cloud services).
Every company is different. They all have their own security concerns, update and configuration requirements, and flexibility needs. This is why offering different hosting options is on this list of must-have ERP features.
We all know that ERP solutions are complex systems with a slew of functionalities that should ideally help you carry out all your business processes. If, however, the solution is not user friendly and too complicated to use, then all those functionalities defy their own purpose and hurt your company’s productivity. Therefore, always make sure to request a demo before deciding on a new ERP system.
Your business is not a static rigid entity. Neither should it be an ERP system. You are aware that once you decide to update your ERP system, it will cost you considerable resources. This is all the more reason to make sure that your ERP provider offers you a scalable solution that will adapt to your future needs. Otherwise, you will either be force to change your solution every couple of years, or start using additional applications to satisfy all business needs.
Having mobile access is no longer a futuristic ERP feature. With many workers accessing data and workflows with their own devices, having a mobile version is a must. Not only will a mobile-friendly ERP dashboard give your employees on-the-go access, it will also give you the opportunity to see how your business is doing at any particular point in time.
Many will argue that CRM and Sales Management are the starting points of your entire business operation. You receive a sales order, which then triggers procurement, production, or service delivery, and ends with a satisfied customer. This is why this tool is usually part of core ERP functionality.
As your business grows, you will really appreciate having a Financial Management module as part of your ERP solution. The idea is to get a comprehensive platform that will help streamline financial operations. By integrating with other modules, Financial and Accounting will keep track of your cash flows and give you a snapshot of your financial performance at any point in time.
Human Resources Management is no longer solely an administrative task. A good ERP system should have a HR Management module with advanced features like time and attendance management, employee benefits management, risk and compliance management, etc. in order to enable company executives to monitor and take care of its most important resource – its people.
Business Intelligence tools are indispensable for executives to get a 360-degree view of their businesses. It enables the company to turn all of its accumulated information into actionable acumen in order to be able to analyse company performance and make better decisions.
Now you realise the importance of having a new ERP software solution in place for the scalability and efficiency of your company, why not get in touch with us to see how we can help! Either contact us here, or give us a call on 0191 500 8150 to speak to one of our friendly Business Software Consultants.
In one of our last posts, we talked about what enterprise resource planning software is – and how it can help businesses operate more efficiently. But now you may be wondering whether your small or midsized company is ready to make the move.
Let’s look at some common symptoms that manifest – and how an ERP system can help clear them up.
Here are the top five signs that you are ready for an ERP:
You find it’s taking longer to manage key activities across your organisation. Perhaps your finance department is struggling to close the books on time or IT is overloaded with updating and maintaining patchwork legacy systems.
If inefficiency rules your daily business operations even though you are adequately staffed for business volume, check to see how many disconnected software applications are being used across the company. ERP software integrates solutions and data into one system with a common interface, making it easier for business units to communicate and do their jobs effectively.
Can you easily answer important questions about your business, both big picture and granular? For example, how much revenue certain product lines bring in or the number of returns you receive? If you’re in the dark, information silos from segregated systems and a lack of easy access to metrics and KPIs could be to blame – all ailments that enterprise resource planning software has been designed to address.
Are there areas where your processes are getting away from you? Maybe it’s harder to manage inventory, satisfy customers, or keep costs in check. If so, your business processes may need to be restructured to accommodate growth or changing business priorities – a natural fit for ERP software.
If most departments are using their own applications and processes to get things done, chances are you are spending too much time inputting duplicate data entries into separate systems. Reporting takes longer and the chance of errors is magnified. And when information can’t easily flow between them, connections can be lost.
Does a new opportunity excite you, or are you already scared by the thinking about implementing the changes required to follow through on it?
If you’re experiencing some of the above pain points, you’re probably spending so much time running your business that you can’t easily identify emerging business opportunities, let alone pounce on them. Many ERP systems include advanced analytics capabilities that help you spot new sales channels and revenue streams. And they give you the technologies such as in-memory computing and mobile to help you capitalise on them very quickly.
Beyond helping you to resolve the issues described above, enterprise resource planning software offers clear benefits in the following scenarios.
When your business is thriving, an ERP system can help you manage a growing pool of people and processes to keep up with demand. It can help simplify and standardise processes across departments, business units and even new geographic locations. And scalable enterprise resource planning software ensures your needs will continue to be met over time.
There are many ERP systems that offer industry-focused functionality, tools, best practices and processes right out of the box. If you’re a manufacturer, you may be looking to streamline production processes and to get visibility across supply, production, inventory, and demand. Or perhaps your organisation wants to adopt more efficient procure-to-pay processes. Procurement-specific ERP supports everything from requisitioning to invoicing.
Expanding product lines or branching into new markets? If so, you probably need a new process and creating one requires a lot of hand-on input. Questions may arise that you don’t have the time or means to dig into. How much are you paying for new commodities, for example?
An ERP system provides the structure and workflows for efficient best-practice processes – ranging from procuring raw materials to customer returns. It frees up time and also provides the metrics you need to make profitable adjustments.
If your business is struggling to make ends meet, ERP software can help you hone in on areas where you can improve and streamline. It can help you run smarter and leaner operations, restore order and seize new profitable opportunities. And with an abundance of cloud ERP solutions to choose from, you can get the capabilities you need relatively quickly.
If you know your business can be improved with enterprise resource planning software, but are still unsure whether the time is right, you could be facing a common issue, fear of the implementation process. Smaller companies are understandably nervous about lengthy ‘large-enterprise-sized’ implementations that cost more than their budgets allow.
But now, cloud-based enterprise resource planning software can be deployed quickly and with a low up-front investment. And on-premise ERP deployments are significantly faster and more affordable thanks to pre-configuration and industry best practices.
To explore your options, and to find out what ERP software is most suited to your business needs, give us a call on 0191 500 8150 to speak to a Business Software Consultant, or contact us here to organise a good time to come out and speak with you.
Why are you reading this? We’re sure you have better things to do, like focus on your customers and your products. You’re likely reading this because at some point your ERP solution stopped meeting your needs. Don’t worry, you’re not alone; only nine percent of companies achieve 80 percent or more of the expected benefits out of their ERP systems.
For some companies this may have happened on day zero due to the design of the implementation. For other companies, it may have happened later as the needs of the company evolved (and their ERP solution did not).
Your business environment is constantly changing. Growth, mergers and acquisitions, new regulations, new products and even new competitors can impact the requirements you have for an ERP system. At the same time, unless you’re working to continuously evolve your ERP solution, a gap will grow between your needs and what your ERP provides.
Here’s something to think about: 75 percent of ERP implementations take longer to implement than planned, 55 percent are over budget and 21 percent fail at implementation. Add to that the fact that 60 percent receive less than 50 percent of their expected benefits, and there’s good reason to step back and try to understand why some ERP projects fail while others succeed.
In working with some companies who came to us because of failed ERP projects, we have identified what we call the three sins of ERP that other vendors often commit. These include: lack of continuous improvement approach, a singular concentration software and assuming the job is over when the solution is deployed.
In general, these ‘sins’ are associated with a feature-focused rather than a business-focused approach to ERP. In fact, 72 percent of projects have a feature focus versus business focus. A feature-focused approach can lead to complex, higher cost, big bang projects focused on ‘advanced’ software features. A business approach will lead to a lower cost and lower risk phased project focused on achieving business outcomes through process review and business transformation backed by a rational set of software features.
How can you tell the difference?
Just as a near death experience can cause you to reassess your priorities, a failed ERP implementation has led companies to rethink their solution.
The first step in preventing a similar fate is to challenge yourselves about the role of ERP in your business and the criteria you will use in selecting an ERP partner.
If you don’t you’re doomed to suffer the same fate again. After all, don’t you already have an ERP system? What will prevent you from being in the exact same place again in eight years?
They support the organisation’s core business processes and store very valuable information that will be key input for the management team when making important decisions.
Like any software, ERPs have a limited lifespan and, on average, every 7 to 10 years the system will need a replacement. However, implementing a new ERP solution is a complex process that will require an initial investment, an external expert help from an implementer and a project that will take months of work to fully complete the system configuration and customisation according to business requirements. In addition, the new ERP software will also have a big impact on the organisation, as users will have to learn how to use it to be productive in the shortest time possible.
Bearing all of the above in mind, it is clear that selecting the right ERP software is a strategic decision for the company that will have a huge impact on the business’ or organisations’ performance. Below is a list of the nine key criteria we recommend taking into account when choosing a new ERP solution.
The first analysis to do is mapping the functional requirements with the system capabilities. When doing this exercise, it is important to distinguish must have from nice to have needs and prioritise them accordingly. ERP implementations are usually phased and it is recommended to focus on must have requirements in the initial phase, leaving more advanced or complex needs for later phases.
Although we might have a clear list of functional requirements to be addressed during the implementation, the reality is that some of the current organisation’s needs probably won’t be fully covered with standard features or new needs will appear in the future. We need to make sure that it will be possible to address them. Software flexibility and scalability will remove possible limitations in the present and in the future.
Usability is a very important criterion that needs to be taken into account. In the end, the easier the system is to use, the greater return it will provide. Users need to be productive and self-sufficient when recording new transactions and searching for the information they need. This will even have an impact on customer service quality.
As ERP systems have a long lifespan, it is important that their technology is innovative enough to not become obsolete too early. Technology evolves very quickly and what can be enough today, might be a bottleneck in the future. Currently, cloud-ready solutions that can be access from anywhere and any device are a must.
The ERP implementation will be an investment that will provide return. As with any investment, it is important that costs are properly distributed over time. If possible, it is advisable to avoid big upfront investments and go with a model that allows you to pay a similar amount every year.
Certainly your company or organisation will not be the first one in your market segment willing to adopt specific ERP software. Another proof of having made the right selection is knowledge of other similar companies or organisations using the same solution.
Choosing the right software is important, but working with the right partner is key. In an ERP project, there are three elements that are equally important: product, implementer and company involvement. Make sure that your implementer is experienced in both the business and technology areas and can provide local support when needed.
An additional guarantee that the implementer will be able to provide the right support you need is having ERP vendor support. Working with an official vendor partner is essential. Ask for the SLAs the vendor has agreed with your implementer when receiving support.
Finally, it is also advisable to look at the product roadmap for the coming years to check if the vendor’s vision is aligned with yours and your future business plans. Make sure the ERP software will also evolve from a technology perspective so that you can benefit from future innovations in this field in addition to new features.
So, there you have it. If you would like to find out more about ERP software or would like to organise a free consultation and demo, either contact us here, or give us a call on 0191 500 8150 to speak to one of our friendly Business Software Consultants.
Though the phrasing may vary, ‘increased efficiency’, ‘streamlined processes’, ‘improved integration’ and really, most any other benefit a company might want out of an ERP system all boils down to one key goal: make more money/ And the best way to make more money? Grow your customer base by trumping your competitors. So how can an organisation leverage its ERP software to do just that?
Organisations often believe that if they implement the same ERP software that the leaders in their industry use, they will even out the playing field and somehow increase competitive edge. Not the case. An organisation that follows this line of thinking risks ending up with software that’s a poor fit and losing time, money and even market share trying to right this wrong. Pick a software based on your company’s wants and requirements and forget about what your competitors are doing.
It’s tempting to buy into an ERP vendor’s sales talk about all the benefits of the systems’ canned functionality. But no matter how smoothly the vendors demonstrate, we’re here to assure you that implementing without customisation will not cause liquid gold to run from the faucet and one hundred pound notes to spit out of the fax machine.
While canned functionality can bring operation efficiency (and profit), it can only do that in areas that do not already bring the company competitive advantage. If your organisations has figured out a way to make sure every widget comes off the line 25 minutes before your competitor’s widgets do, then make the software fit that process – not the other way around, regardless of what your vendor tells you.
Companies that fail to invest in the organisational change management required to make sure their employees are aligned around the ERP implementation goals, understand the benefits of the system and want to work to capitalise on those benefits will cede both existing and desired competitive advantages. Your people aren’t going to like the system, they’re not going to use the system in the right way and they’re surely not going to give a care if the system makes the company money or not unless the organisation makes it make sense to them. Don’t make the mistake of thinking change management isn’t on the critical path – rest assured that it is.
But many companies don’t know how to accomplish either of those tasks, which means they’ll never get the return they want from an ERP system. This is where we come into play. By guiding you through the software selection, implementation and organisational change management, we are able to ensure you realise the benefits you want from an ERP system. And as we’ve already stated, benefits is just a code word for cold hard cash.
So, if you’re looking to implement an ERP solution for your company, it’s important that you know the various points of impact in advance. So, we’ve compiled the ten key benefits that having an ERP software system in place brings.
An ERP system is easily scalable. That means adding new functionality to the system as the business needs change is easy. This could mean easy management of new processes, departments, and more.
Much of the inefficiency in operational work stems from improper reporting. With an ERP system, this possibility is eliminated as reporting follows an automated template system, allowing various departments to access information seamlessly.
As compared with manual record-keeping or other traditional approaches, an ERP system improves data quality by improving the underlying processes. As a result, better business decisions can be reached.
An ERP system introduces fundamental innovations in managing resources, which eliminates delays and thus reduces the cost of operations. For instance, use of mobility allows real-time collection of data, which is indispensable to lowering costs.
A direct benefit of using a good ERP system is improved customer relations as a result of better business processes.
Having high quality data allows businesses to use the power of intelligent analytics tools to arrive at better business decisions. In fact, many good ERP systems have built-in analytics functionality to allow easier data analysis.
Controlling data access properly is always a challenge in organisations. With an ERP system, this challenge is overcome with the use of advanced user management and access control.
Having the right ERP system in place means improved procurement, inventory, demand forecasting, etc. essentially improving the entire supply chain and making it more responsive.
Having the system in control means organisations can better comply with regulations. Further, the most important and recurring regulatory requirements can be built right into the system.
Perhaps the most elegant argument in the favour of ERP systems is that they reduce the complexity of a business and introduce a neatly designed system of workflows. This makes the entire human resource chain more efficient.
There are many good benefits of an ERP system, but the above are the chief ones. Needless to say, a good ERP system is indispensable in the modern economic scenario.
For more information about ERP systems, or if you feel now is the time to start to see how an ERP software system can benefit your business, we can help. Either contact us here, or call us on 0191 500 8150 to speak to one of our Business Software Consultants.