You and your company have invested a significant amount of time, effort, and money into your enterprise resource planning (ERP) strategy.
Now that your solution has been implemented and your roll-out is complete, what steps can you take to realize the full potential of your ERP investment?
In the past, ERP applications could be used to give a company a solid competitive advantage, empowering them to quickly fix a variety of business issues that may have been hindering efficiency and profitability.
But, as more and more companies have turned to ERP solutions to streamline and improve their core back-office operations, they have become simply a “cost of doing business”, as opposed to a tool for achieving and maintaining a true competitive edge.
The truth is, most companies aren’t deriving as much value as they could be from their ERP systems. Here are some quick tips to help you get more out of your ERP environment.
A March, 2006 study conducted by UK-based research firm The Butler Group clearly demonstrated how little of an ERP system’s functionality a company actually uses.
In fact, none of the businesses polled used more than 50 percent of their ERP package’s capabilities. Paying for features and deploying them, without actually using them, not only wastes money, it leaves valuable assets untapped. In order to ensure that their systems really pay off, ERP customers need to understand what their applications can do, and how all the robust functionality can be applied to enhance their back office operations and achieve their most important business goals.
Each company has different goals and challenges, as well as unique business processes and workflows. So naturally, an ERP application will not be able to meet everyone’s exact needs right out of the box. That’s why most of today’s popular ERP packages offer extensive customization capabilities. This enables businesses to tailor their solution specifically to meet their individual objectives.
Remember – an ERP solution should enhance and compliment your existing processes, not alter them completely. So, customize your application as much as needed to conform to the way you do business.
ERP systems are designed to eliminate breakdowns and inefficiencies in back-office processes. But, in order to understand where improvements are needed, you need to analyze accurate and timely data to uncover any troubling patterns or trends in your operations.
Almost all ERP packages on the market today come with powerful and comprehensive business intelligence capabilities. Make sure you are using these to continuously monitor your most important business activities, so you can instantly identify opportunities for change and growth.
Your back office isn’t just about the internal employees in your accounting, human resources, and production departments. There are many others involved in keeping your supply chain and other business operations running as smoothly as possible, including suppliers and vendors, wholesalers and distributors, and sales partners.
One of the primary benefits of an ERP system is that it can connect companies with their business alliances, allowing them to instantly share data, communicate, and collaborate more effectively than ever before.