This is because an ERP project cuts across each area of the business, impacting functional areas from finance, accounting and supply chain, to shop floor, production, inventory, quality management, shipping and more. Manufacturers and distributors have already gone through lean initiatives, cutting away excess and thereby are operating with lean staff.
While it’s tempting to consider these initiatives as pure ‘technology or projects’, that perspective is not effective and often results in an implementation that fails to meet expectations. IT may lead the project and certainly has a major role, but ERP projects touch almost every area of the business. The new system will naturally bring some change to how business is done, so it’s important that business process owners are heavily involved.
Thus, when a project team is considering an ERP selection project, it’s imperative that the selection process is based on a solid foundation of industry expertise, vendor research and intimate knowledge of the business, all aligned with the goal of improved business performance.
At its most fundamental, establishing strategic software decision drivers during a selection project involves matching the future state of requirements a business must achieve to drive business process transformation against the system features a technology solution offers.
Monpellier’s ERP consultant team has guided organisations on this very approach. This set of software decision drivers will vary for every organisation dependent on what is the best match for the specific functional areas of the business.
Manufacturers and distributors should take into consideration the following software decision drivers when entering an ERP project:
When the focus is business process improvement, and not solely technology, the project team has a better chance of conducting an effective technology evaluation that is designed to meet future state needs. That’s the power of a strategic approach to software decision drivers.
In a perfect world, once you implement ERP software, you don’t have to worry about your centralised business system again. The realist is that an ERP system needs upgrading like any other piece of software. Chances are good that you aren’t driving the same car you did 5 years ago and I highly doubt that you are even using the same smartphone you had 2 years ago. The fact is that technology is not just changing, it’s constantly improving.
That means software built even a few years ago starts to age and new versions are needed to take advantage of the incredible new opportunities today. For instance, ERP systems are moving towards mobile solutions to augment the core package. That wasn’t possible even 3 years ago.
Whether you are investigating the benefits of ERP software for the first time of have a system in place, it is best to plan for periodic upgrades in software. Just like you schedule tune-ups for your car, tune-ups are also good for ERP software.
The thing about upgrades is, while they bring a host of improvements, fixes and new features, it can take time before employees using the system are totally familiar with what’s new. There can also be slight downtime to the system while the ERP upgrade commits to your system. That’s why its extraordinarily important that you have a plan in place for updates.
Generally, creating a plan for downtime – how to minimise it – and training on new features is essential. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, but communicating the expected changes and how it will impact day-to-day operations needs is key. All that could be rolled up into a simple company-wide email or phased in with specialised support from your ERP implementation partner.
Upgrades are also like spring cleaning for your data. Before installing the upgrade, you should perform a backup of the existing data. You might also sort out old data, archive old records, and optimise the configuration of the database server to get the best performance from your system.
All of this preparation is important to keep your ERP software running smoothly and at optimal speed. Once your upgrade is complete, you have an ERP system that works even better than it did before.
Also, ERP system security improvements are generally parts of updates. You don’t need me telling you how many data breaches have happened, you can flip on the news and you’ll likely hear about a new cyber attack. ERP systems house an incredible amount of data that powers your company. Not everybody can afford to recover from the pain of lapses in security and upgrading your ERP system is one of the tools you have control over.
It all comes down to driving to work in a Model-T car and using a rotary-dial phone which is inefficient in this modern era, and so is using old software.
For more information about ERP upgrades, or if you just simply want to see what solutions are out there, that might fit your business processes better, you can contact us here, or give us a call on 0191 500 8150 and speak to a Business Software Consultant.
Is your business ready for the data revolution?
According to some commentators, we are in the throes of the fourth industrial revolution. Technology has changed the way we think about the world and affects every interaction, from ordering a pizza to watching a movie to chatting with our friends.
From a business perspective, it is no different. The outward signs are obvious enough to see, with changes in communication and dynamics, an increase in flexible and remote working practices and so on. But perhaps the biggest game-changer concerns data.
Quite simply, we are now producing volumes of data that would have been inconceivable just a few years ago. Today’s data comes from a variety of sources: every web search, mouse click and purchase; every like, share and retweet on social media. It all creates its very own data stream and the business that makes the best use of the insights that are hidden in all that data will be the one that gets an edge over the competition.
Given that it is such a new discipline, our full understanding of just how much we can do with big data is still developing every day. What is clear, though, is that the biggest and most successful organisations in the world are devoting ever more budget into developing their data analytics capacity. Those who fail to capitalise on the opportunity are at risk of being left behind.
It is worth taking a step back and looking at some everyday applications of big data. Here is a perfect example – you might sometimes feel as if you are living in some Orwellian dystopia with Big Brother looking over your shoulder as you search the net for, let’s say a flight to Amsterdam, then log on to Facebook to be bombarded by banner ads offering you bargain rates for that exact flight.
There it is, big data in action. Machine processes watch our every move and try to predict what we are likely to do next, and this capacity will grow beyond our wildest dreams over the coming years. It might sound sinister, but all it is trying to do is help us do what we want to do as easily as possible.
Other examples abound – while you sit reading this article, Siri is there on your wrist, quietly keeping an eye on your health and exercise, and your LinkedIn profile is busy looking for a great next step in your career.
From a business perspective, there have already been some major transformations in the finance sector that have been brought about by big data, including enhanced customer service levels and streamlined back office functions. Increasingly, we are seeing data-driven technology behind every innovative business practice.
Businesses have many driving factors in deciding whether to implement a new ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system, often sharing the same wish lists and requirements with other organisations.
Streamlining business processes, increasing revenue and driving forward growth against market competitors are key targets to attain.
So, what are the benefits of implementing an ERP system? In this post, we’re going to look at the rewards of bringing an Enterprise Resource Planning solution to your business.
One of the top requirements for many organisations implementing a new ERP system is bringing together multiple parts of the business into a unified solution. Sales, accounting, production, and customer service are tied together to allow free-flowing communication and information, resulting in a streamlined and efficient process.
Secondly, if not a defining requirement for many, is increasing the company revenue. ERP systems are best-in-class when it comes to helping you minimise costs within your organisation. They are also staggeringly intelligent when it comes to helping you identify and capitalise on opportunities you may have not previously been aware of. CRM modules can help your sales team keep track of all your customer data, including sales history and eligibility for cross-selling.
A key benefit of implementing an ERP solution not widely expressed is the increase in employee engagement and morale. It’s a difficult metric to measure, but many report seeing a boost in morale after an ERP system implementation. Manual processes become automated, freeing up time for other tasks, information is delivered quicker and tasks become easier to execute.
Many businesses are still comprised of several legacy systems and processes that have left the current structuring inefficient and incredibly expensive. An ERP solution replaces and eradicates these problems. That’s not to say that bringing in an ERP solution will fix all niggles in your organisation, but it’s important to remember that it can help bridge the gap between restructured processes and your desired business outcomes.
Companies that hold a significant amount of product often find themselves with problems such as not having the capacity for their stock levels, or an excess due to the inability to accurately predict product demand. An ERP system can analyse demand from your customer base and accurately predict future consumption, so you will know exactly how much to allocate to your warehouse and at what time, inadvertently minimising waste and reducing associated warehousing costs.
Monpellier are experts in ERP software solutions including Microsoft, Sage and Pegasus and we can advise on a range of popular products that could be right for your business needs. If you are thinking about the benefits of an ERP solution and what it could provide to your business, then contact us today – we’ll talk you through the options and help you implement a system that’s right for your business.
You can either contact us here, or give us a call on 0191 500 8150 to speak to a Business Software Consultant.