We need to unpack the title of this blog post a little bit before we begin, in order to make an important point.
Notice that the title is not “4 inefficiencies that can be solved with the right ERP implementation”. ERP software is not a silver bullet for inefficiencies in business by any stretch of the imagination. Simply investing in new ERP software because “the current one is a bit slow” or does not fit your needs will not solve all of your problems. Which is why we have also used the word “right”. The “right” ERP implementation involves not just the selection of the software or suite of tools that can achieve what you want to achieve, but taking a helicopter view of your processes, how the software is mapped to those processes, and assessing the effectiveness of end-to-end execution.
Right, now back to the post. Here are 4 inefficiencies that can be helped or improved with the right ERP implementation.
We have a identified location dependency as a common inefficiency in an earlier post, mainly referring to the general way in which organisations do not take full advantage of the technology available to them in order to stop relying on having everybody in a certain location. This applies specifically to ERP too. Solutions like Epicor 10 continue to have better cloud capability and more mobility, meaning those who need to interface with the data, rather than the physical products (e.g. finance, sales, service) aren’t necessarily bound by their location. This unlocks all sorts of efficiency savings, but primarily it means that they can work from anywhere, and you don’t lose valuable resource because of circumstance.
Having a cloud-ready and mobile ERP system also means that it is much easier to get multiple geographic locations fully integrated and working off the same data. It also makes it inherently scalable, so your system can easily grow as you do.
Manual data entry
Manual data entry has to be one of the most time-consuming – and largely unnecessary – tasks carried out in an organisation. Due to the human involvement, the probability of error is high, and humans, unlike machines, get distracted by phone calls, other more urgent tasks, and biscuits. Giving the data entry tasks and the heavy lifting to an ERP system can help you save time and cut costs by directing the efforts and valuable time of your staff onto more productive tasks and projects. Having the right integrations in place also ensures that once the data is in one system, it is in all of them, without any additional time being spent on re-entry.
Free up your IT resource
Another point we have covered in a previous post, but it bears repeating. An organisation’s IT team is often leaned on quite heavily for reporting. In some cases, only certain teams or individuals with a certain skill set are able to interrogate the system and produce meaningful data and reports. This means that a lot of your IT team’s time will be dedicated towards reporting – and that is not just scheduled reporting like month-end or monthly board reports. Throughout the course of a business week, or month, or year, senior managers and other department heads will require a plethora of ad-hoc reports and data requests. This kind of task can pull valuable IT resource off a critical project or task.
Most modern ERP solutions – including Epicor – have additional modules available to allow end-users to quickly and easily build, run and export their own dashboards and reports. This takes a significant amount of pressure off your IT team, whose expertise and skillset can be put to use elsewhere on more productive and future-looking projects.
A product of inconsistent data or data that is not readily available, as covered above, is the inability to execute effective forecasting. Problems with forecasting will have a noticeable impact on the rest of the organisation, with everyone from finance, purchasing and logistics left in the dark. Having the right ERP implementation, with the right integrations, can help you blend granular detail and big-picture reporting to make better business decisions. As a result, you will be more informed, and in a better position to manage risk.
The key word is “right”
As we mentioned at the beginning of the article, the operative word is “right”. ERP software by itself will not eradicate all of your organisation’s inefficiencies. The right ERP implementation starts with a detailed review of processes and careful planning and of implementation and roll-out. As much as carefully selecting the ERP software for the job is important, so is selecting the right partner to help you implement it. We have decades of experiencing with business process review and Epicor ERP implementation. If you would like to discuss an ERP project, get in touch.