Two years ago, we wrote a blog post in response to Sage’s proclamation that “ERP was dead” – and two years on, we still don’t believe that notion is any closer to becoming true. As ERP systems (including Epicor) become more agile, mobile, user-friendly and better adapted to the data-driven world and the need for instant feedback, they stay relevant. They ensure their position as a reliable way for businesses – particularly in the manufacturing and engineering sectors – to control, monitor and improve on complex business processes.
With this in mind, whether you’re a growing business at the point where you think you might need an ERP system, or you’re well-established and are considered upgrading or a implementing a new ERP system, it’s a good idea to remind yourself of the benefits of implementing ERP software.
Having a centralised system and database for all of your business-critical data means that everyone in the business has access to the same key information, which is the same no matter which department is looking at it. You also have the opportunity to integrate your ERP software with other systems like Customer Relationship Management (CRM) to ensure that data is up-to-date, relevant and consistent across all systems.
Centralised ERP software can also be managed and controlled using group policy, which not only makes the whole thing more secure, but ensures that all users are getting a consistent experience and access to the data and tools they need to do their job.
By reducing the need for manual data entry and reentry, an ERP system removes the risk of human error, and can help you facilitate and collect infinitely more accurate data that can be accessed in real-time. This allows you to perform more accurate reporting, as well as forecasting, enabling you to make better business decisions. As systems become more user-friendly, it also becomes easier for both management and end-users to generate their own highly accurate reports and forecasts, without the need for IT or business analysis resource.
From an operations perspective, manufacturers, in particular, will begin to become more reliant on Internet of Things (IOT) devices and applications to collect data and run certain parts of their processes. High levels of accuracy will be key to a successful and streamlined process.
As ERP systems become more mobile and agile – they can also be hosted in the cloud – this allows data and processes to become accessible and viewable from just about anywhere. Businesses with multiple locations and homeworkers can ensure that every single person in the organisation has access to the same information. This allows for better collaboration and communication between departments, and helps avoid the dreaded siloing.
An agile ERP system also gives you real-time visibility of data, allowing you to make quicker business decisions and remain reactive to potential problems and opportunities for improvement, in some cases before they even arise. Which leads us nicely onto…
A cumulative outcome of the above benefits is greater efficiency. Consistency of experience and data, more accurate reporting and forecasting, and real-time and company-wide visibility leads to more informed decisions and ultimately more efficient processes. As mentioned above, as users and management across the board have access to the same consistent and accurate data, they can produce their own reports, freeing up your IT and business analysis resource to focus on projects which will make the wider business more efficient.
In operations, real-time data from ERP software can help management make reactive decisions around labour and machinery utilisation, allowing for quick and easy improvements to be made and problems to be solved. This results in better lead times and lower costs per unit.
Whatsmore, as ERP systems are modular and customisable, they can be easily tailored to your business’s specific needs and requirements. This means that your ERP implementation can be mapped closely to your business process, maximising its usefulness in automating and aiding that process.
It’s worth the investment
We think this presents a compelling argument for investing in, customising and maintaining an ERP system. Implemented, adopted and used correctly, your ERP software will help you become more accurate, reactive, efficient and ultimately more profitable.
To help you ensure that ERP software will deliver the most value to your business, it’s worth considering engaging with a specialist consultant who can help you map your business process to the implementation, facilitate user adoption and customise the software to best meet you needs. If you’re thinking of implementing Epicor, we’d love to chat to you about your business and what you’d like to achieve. Just get in touch and speak to one of our experienced and knowledgeable consultants.