6 Key ERP Considerations for Your Business

Moving with the times and making success a reality.

1. Industry-built ERP designed for doers is always your best bet
2. Keep moving forward by creating a Single Source of Truth (SSoT)
3. Comprehensive compliance and traceability allow you to keep doing what you do best
4. Movers and Makers are people too, so strive for the ultimate user experience
5. Support and training
6. C-Suite commitment – get them moving in the same direction
When the world changes around you, move with it and make it happen
Moving with the Times and Making Success a Reality with an Industry-Built ERP Solution

In today’s ever-evolving digital world, the business of doing business is complicated. Globalization, the emergence of the digital economy and the transition towards largely user-driven ecosystems, continue to disrupt old business models leaving many enterprises grappling to not only remain competitive but also relevant.

This is particularly the case when it comes to manufacturers and distributors, the world’s primary movers and makers of things, who currently face a rapidly changing business landscape on both the regulatory and technological front.

On the tech front, not only does the arrival of increasingly tech-savvy employees into the workforce bring with it a whole new set of considerations, but the introduction of cutting edge technologies such as the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Bots into the sector are rapidly ushering in quicker, smarter and cheaper ways of doing things.

In addition to these technological considerations, compliance to industry regulations remains a primary concern for industry players, and staying abreast of and anticipating developing changes on this front remains a key business imperative.

Given all the change and uncertainty facing many industry movers and makers, when it comes to ensuring operational efficiency and competitiveness, the current way of doing things is simply not going to cut it anymore. So where to next? And can the answer really be as simple as finding the right Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution?

Let’s Get Real about ERP to Keep You Moving Forward
Truth be told ERP software solutions are nothing new. Many have been on the market for several years, some even decades, the majority of which continue to herald a myriad of business success claims and guarantees.

However, despite their numerous well-documented benefits, given the considerable outlay in time, money and resources associated with implementing or migrating to a new ERP system, many business leaders remain understandably skeptical as to the immediate and long-term value an ERP solution can realistically bring to the business.

Weighing Up Risk vs. Reward
There’s no denying that the complex business models underpinning the day-to-day operations of manufacturers and distributors are fraught with risk, and the enormity and complexity involved with any fundamental system change may seem overwhelming to those tasked with steering their course.

But does it really have to be that complicated or is there a simpler way to ensuring long-term competitiveness and profitability? One that ideally doesn’t require compromise somewhere along the value chain. Often the mere thought of the enormity of putting trust in one seemingly simple ‘answer to everything’ solution will have even the most hardened CFO sweating at the collar.

However, when provided with the facts and empowered to make an informed decision, it soon becomes evident that opting for the right fit ERP solution is guaranteed to deliver solid and consistent ROI over and over again, thereby multiplying in value the tangible business return when considering the initial capital outlay.

Here are six key considerations we believe all manufacturers and distributors should keep top-of-mind when embarking on their ERP selection journey.

1 Industry-Built ERP is Always Your Best Bet
Among the popular reasons for implementing ERP are to improve business performance (64%), to position a company for growth (57%), and to reduce working capital (57%). (Panorama
Consulting 2018 ERP report).

64% To improve business performance
57% To Inforce company growth
57% To reduce working capital
54% To improve customer service
49% To simplify workload
When it comes to manufacturers, in particular, the main ERP system considerations tend to be ease of use (50%), functionality (46%), and total cost of ownership (43%). (The Aberdeen Group).

So why then is there still so much uncertainty and scepticism at the beginning of the ERP selection and implementation or migration process?

Often the problem is not the ERP itself, but rather, its lack of ‘fit’ with the business. In other words, many ERP problems are attributable to the misguided or hasty selection of an inappropriate vendor. As many companies have discovered too late, the ERP selection process creates the initial conditions for success or failure and should be thorough, thoughtful and rigorous.

If you think of your manufacturing or distribution company as a living organism, ERP is its central nervous system. As such, it perpetually collects, analyzes and disseminates information about the health of different parts of the body so that it can be immediately acted upon to the benefit of the whole.

Finding the right ERP solution is not about choosing the software with the most complex features or the lowest initial cost. It’s about finding the solution with the closest match to a business’s needs and objectives. At the beginning of an ERP selection process, the immediate goals should be:

• Maximum value for outlay
• Improvements that support and accelerate near and longer-term goals
• An intuitive platform that supports and engages workers, partners, and customers
• A smooth transition from old to new
As the heart of your business operation, your ERP system needs to be ‘industry built’. Industry-built software is better attuned to the unique and specialized challenges that exist in your sector. One-size-fits-all solutions will likely need constant attention, plenty of tweaking, and add-ons that address shortcomings in the software’s essential ‘fit’.

Here, it makes sense to opt for an ERP solution that is able to provide built-for industry frameworks designed to help you benefit from best practices, while minimizing the cost, time and disruption involved in ERP implementation.

This is particularly the case in any highly regulated manufacturing industry where ongoing compliance to industry regulation and standards needs to be adhered to when it comes to the efficient monitoring and documentation of complex information flows inherent to the sector.

In other words, a solution is required that is both customizable and adaptable at the outset of the ERP journey. When both these features are inherent to solution design the real business benefits and value ERP brings soon become evident. Manufacturers and distributors benefit from optimized operations to ensure you remain current and in control with an ERP solution that best meets your organization’s unique needs. The solution will also have the flexibility and scalability to be customized and adapt, streamline, and simplify operations, and allow for increased competitive advantage through greater differentiation.

Finding the right industry-built fit is undoubtedly the single most important step towards ERP success and may well see you joining the ranks of other satisfied ERP customers, where a growing understanding of this critical factor continues to see a rise in customer satisfaction. Recent industry statistics indicate an impressive increase in customer satisfaction with their chosen and implemented ERP software solution to 68%. (Panorama Consulting 2018 ERP report).

2 Keep Moving Forward by Creating a Single Source of Truth (SSoT)

All too often as companies grow and evolve, they stitch together a makeshift ERP. The problem is that these cobbled-together solutions don’t talk to one another. This effectively means that unnecessary time and money is being tied up in inefficient processes and multiple versions of data that don’t correlate.

Lack of ERP software can lead to redundant data (35%), unaligned business systems (33%), and the inability to track business processes in real-time (28%). (The Aberdeen Group).

A comprehensive ERP solution that is able to consolidate all of your data sets into one system, providing one clear single source of truth (SSoT) can potentially prove to be game-changing. The real-time data that comes from an SSoT can be relied on. Duplicate data is eliminated, as are errors accruing from manual entry.

With an SSoT your view of the business is detailed and complete, and your forecasts and actionable insights are derived from accurate information. With an SSoT, workers across the enterprise are all on the same page, and management can confidently drive strategic decisions across the entire operations. Decisions that ultimately keep manufacturers and distributors moving forward.

Manufacturing firms prefer creating their own supplier and distributors network to market their products. More collaborations with key suppliers for co-development of parts and systems among manufacturers offer efficient supply chains to reach out to more customers.
— Industrial Machinery Market size worth $771.5bn by 2024: Global Market Insights Inc.

3 Comprehensive Compliance and Traceability Allow You to Keep Doing What You do Best

For most manufacturers, especially those who participate in international markets, compliance is an ever-expanding headache. From defence contracting through to food and beverage production, granular traceability of details such as material sources, supplier changes, and transactional audit trails is an absolute must.

Providing automated and efficient methods of capturing data helps to ensure that the recording of quality and origin is automated and reliable. Seek out a provider that understands the importance of compliance and provides the functionality to fulfil your company’s requirements, through search capabilities, quality tracking, lot traceability and/or supplier performance reporting. In a recent report, 95% of businesses experienced an improvement in their processes after implementing an ERP system. (Panorama Consulting 2018 ERP report).

Compliance is an incredibly complex issue and if this is a consideration for your business, it is best to speak with an ERP provider to see how their solutions fit your needs. Above all, look for a secure platform that minimizes manual processes and allows for efficient monitoring and documentation of complex information flows.

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