Choosing to invest in or upgrade your ERP system isn’t a decision you’ll come to lightly, it’s a big task, and it does cause some disruption to your operations as new processes are put into place, but if your goal is to grow, it will help you get there.
To understand your ERP requirements, you have to weigh in on your needs, priorities, and business direction. Every business is unique regardless of the industry it is operating in, or the product it is selling. No two business have the same employees; therefore, how it operates vary as the skills, values, and competence of its organization differ.
Once you have developed this understanding, you are ready to take the ERP leap and reap its business enhancing benefits. Here are 5 reasons your business needs to invest in ERP…
1. Your current systems don’t talk to each other
Many businesses use a number of different software systems to manage different areas of operations and this frequently expands as a company grows. Although a single software system may be sufficient for managing the department where it is used, the information it holds may be invisible to the rest of the business.
‘Data silos’ – which appear as a result of departments using software applications that hold information related solely to their particular area of business operations – are commonplace in growing companies.
For a business to operate as a single entity, it is essential that data can flow freely around all departments. By investing in ERP software and holding all information in one place, ‘data silos’ are eliminated at a stroke, ensuring that that everyone has access to the same pool of accurate, up to date information.
2. Your sales pipeline is starting to slow down
Inventory and sales must always update each other. The mistake of some businesses is that they provide a separate system for both and forgot to integrate. Instead, the inventory system relies on cues from the sales, which may give them downtimes as they wait.
On the other hand, sales may forget to update their inventory spreadsheets because they have other tasks to attend to. When a customer doesn’t get the item she saw in the store catalogue because of lack of stocks, it could lead to a missed opportunity for present and even future sales.
When you invest in ERP, these systems are always talking to each other AUTOMATICALLY which means that you get to focus on your top priorities, while the software does the admin work.
3. You’re yet to embrace mobile
It’s key that your teams can access the software they need to manage and drive your business from wherever they are working from. This is especially the case for sales staff who need to be able to access and update prospect and account information when they on the move. Their ability to close new business and spot upsell opportunities is underpinned by access to data (such as stock availability) as well as electronic marketing collateral which they need in real-time when they are speaking to customers and prospects.
Your senior management team also need access to data when they are out of the office–perhaps when they are travelling between meetings – and easy access to up to date information is key to their decision making.
Many ERP software developers – but not all - provide functionality designed specifically for field-based staff, which ensures they have everything they need at their fingertips.
4. Poor customer relationship management
Another problem about the lack of centralized access to company information is that your customer service will be inefficient in addressing customer concerns. Customer enquiries vary in nature and degree of complexity.
With no access to company information, the customer service representative might have to pass the customer to what department he or she thinks will help the customer. This is time-consuming – both on the customer and company’s end since the customer service should be the one handling it. This also implies an unreliable and unprofessional service, which may damage your reputation.
5. Strained relationships with vendors and suppliers
Most businesses depend on networks of suppliers or partners to provide them with finished products or the materials they need to produce finished products. Even service-based businesses often rely at least in part on sub-contracted or externally sourced services to enhance or support their offerings to customers.
In most cases, your business partners and external stakeholders may already be demanding the convenience and functionality of a modern ERP system. Going back to the example of automating key business processes including inventory management, an ERP obviously plays a central role in triggering orders from key vendors.
Thanks to the data capture functions, it can also alert management (and suppliers) to unusual activity, such as sudden upticks in demand. For their part, suppliers depend on this kind of information in order to manage their own supply chain or production processes efficiently.
The right ERP is Microsoft Dynamics 365…
Dynamics 365 unites the front office and the back office with a single end-to-end system for managing every aspect of your business, at the pace and scale that’s right for you. Discover more about how Dynamics 365 can work for you in our short guide here.