Imagine if you could see right through your complex business and gain a quick and easy view of what was happening in every department. Imagine if you had x-ray vision and could manage your sales team, shopfloor, distribution facility, and HR department from one single location, even when managing offices all over the UK – or all over the world! With ERP you can gain that x-ray vision, lay your business bare, and improve processes and systems to ensure that your manufacturing business is productive, successful and responding to demand.
Here are five ways that an ERP system can give you the x-ray vision to see through your business…
5. Replacing disparate systems
It’s a familiar situation that many businesses face – too much IT. As is natural with growing a business, you often start with a basic Materials Requirements Planning (MRP) situation and a simple Human Resources (HR system.) You later expand this infrastructure to include Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Warehouse Management. Before you know it you have a business full of disparate IT systems and have to invest in short term fixes as you try to integrate them altogether. This prevents you from having x-ray vision. It’ll be a bit like performing an x-ray on someone and only being able to see just past their skin to their veins – that wouldn’t tell you if there are any bones broken; just as disparate systems will struggle to show you where a lapse in productivity exists, where you are failing to keep your inventory updated in line with sales demand and where distribution is being delayed within your supply chain.
ERP replaces all these disparate systems with one single solution that provides complete visibility throughout your entire business. Most ERP systems seamlessly integrate with third party software to give you a complete holistic view of your business, without the need for separate systems.
4. Generate instant reports
Do you want to know how many sales orders you successfully completed last month? Are you wondering when your workforce is most productive? Do you want to know when to replace life-limited stock in your inventory? ERP tells you instantly. With an ERP system, you can get straight to the heart of an issue in your business and find out why the issue exists, where the break in the supply chain is occurring and how to immediately combat this issue so that it doesn’t affect the performance you deliver to your customers. This is much easier and quicker than having to go over an old paper trail, hold various meetings with heads of departments, and go through endless administration just to solve one business issue.
3. Eliminate or reduce paper usage
Let’s consider your sales order process. Typically when a customer places an order with a manufacturing firm, that order begins a paper-based journey from in-tray to in-tray around the company, often being keyed and re-keyed into different departments’ computer systems along the way. All that in-tray sitting can cause delays and constant re-keying of information can cause errors to creep in. People within your organisation often forget what the status of an order is and before you know it, you are referring customers to the warehouse to find out if their order has been shipped.
Now imagine if your x-ray vision could extend to the ordering process. Imagine if you could enter all this information into one single system, and then allow various people within your business to access and add to the information, completing one single sales order form that is sent to all the relevant departments. Think of the great relationships you could form with customers and the reputation you can build for your business, for fulfilling on every order, on time.
With ERP, this is possible because it automates the entire sales process and allows various people in your company to stay up-to-date with the progress of orders. If you are waiting on new stock, your ERP system tells you. If the product hasn’t left the warehouse yet, your ERP system tells you. There’s no scouring of in-trays required because all the information you require is just a click away.
2. Work on the move
Speaking of the sales order process, what happens when an order is flagged up as delayed because of a problem on the shopfloor? In order for news of this problem to reach the sales team, the customer service representatives and the finance manager, production staff will have to stop work, head up to the office and access a computer – or find the original paper documents and write their update on them. What if they could immediately send an update from the shopfloor via their mobile device? That would give you x-ray vision throughout your entire business.
These days, most ERP systems provide mobile access. Take SYSPRO Espresso for example. SYSPRO Espresso allows you to access your ERP system through your smartphone or tablet via an app, and view and update information on the move. This means that staff can update order progress as they go along and you are not suffering breaks in the supply chain, or delays in production from this information falling through the net.
1. Scalability and accessibility
I know what you’re thinking. All this sounds great if you just have one factory, but what if you have various production plants throughout the UK, Europe, or even in other parts of the world? With a scalable ERP system, you can gain x-ray vision of your entire business, with visibility of information from every production plant, office and distribution facility all over the world. And, with the advent of cloud computing, you don’t even have to worry about upfront IT equipment expenses or the transfer of information between different countries or regions, because all of this is looked after in a cloud environment, by your ERP hosting provider.
The days of disparate business systems are behind us and manufacturers that are unable to gain total visibility of information throughout their business are falling behind. With ERP, you really can look straight through your business, gaining an insight into every single department which will help you make better decisions, improve your processes and deliver the very best customer service you possibly can.