Some traditional ERP packages have technology architectures that date back to the late 70s or 80s, and few vendors have completely overhauled the old technology that underpins their systems. On some platforms, even the end user experience has become disjointed and inadequate, as legacy code fails to capitalise on the latest technology trends such as mobility, the cloud, seamless integration with 3rd party platforms and e-commerce stores, workflow and alert-driven business intelligence.
Of course, this isn’t the case for all ERP solutions, with some vendors surging ahead in the race to bring users the most comprehensive range of next-gen, future-aligned features. Today, modern ERP software is based on open, flexible architecture that can seriously impact your business, with new capabilities allowing businesses to retain their edge in an increasingly competitive industry landscape.
But just how could a new ERP system benefit your business? And in what areas? Find out, as we look at how and where ERP can help improve your business operations.
1. Enhanced Mobility
Workplaces are no longer static and physical. Teams are working remotely from different locations, often in multiple countries, and flexible working hours and practices have seemingly changed 9-to-5 office culture forever.
Great news for your workforce, then, but where does that leave your legacy business management software? Previous iterations of ERP have relied on a physical server and data centre, requiring significant infrastructure, support, resources, and energy to run. Modern ERP, on the other hand, requires no such physical incumbrance – bringing immediate mobility enhancements to your operations. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the move from on-premises software to Cloud which offers many benefits from a business point of view. You can learn more about what the cloud is, does and it’s benefits here.
Enterprise mobility is among the most desired attributes of modern ERP systems and affords a powerful way to utilise mobile technology to your advantage when managing remote teams. Any device, any location, and any individual; the enhanced mobility afforded by today’s ERP systems can strengthen your infrastructure enormously, ensuring your business keeps pace with the demands of the modern workplace.
2. Key Information Comes to Find You
No one has time to rifle through reams of data. So, let your system do the work for you.
With the latest ERP software, you can use triggered workflows, exception reports, and alerts to efficiently manage the day-to-day running of your business. It’s time you got what you want, when you want it, and in a format you like.
With today’s ERP systems built to support multiple layers of codeless customisations, you can effortlessly create your own workflows and alerts on the fly as well as maintaining good housekeeping to retain the integrity of your data.
With today’s ERP systems using the latest technologies, you can now surround yourself with any amount of data, KPIs etc. The key is to tailor it to your specific needs and that of each end user.
Here are four essential analytic tools for smart businesses that you may find of interest.
3. Process Automation
Advances in process automation have proven a huge boon for early adopters of modern ERP interfaces. With secure, unified databases and flexible technology stacks, next-gen ERP solutions have taken process automation to a new level – further eliminating resource-intensive manual tasks across all areas of an operation.
Modern ERP systems can automate a wealth of day-to-day tasks, freeing teams from manual data entry and logistics to increase efficiency and productivity. From production cycles to financing, inventory management to order fulfilment; the applications for automation are limitless, so you can benefit in multiple areas across your business.
4. Give Staff Only What They Need
Not everyone likes to work in the same way, and not everyone needs the same functionality. Modern ERP software gives you the freedom to easily customise user screens to ensure minimum keystrokes whilst restricting access to only the applications individual users need. This way, you create a more empowered and productive workforce whilst maintaining maximum control through end-user security policies.
This functionality is no longer just the remit of your vendor; modern ERP systems now give your system administrators the autonomy and control to implement continuous improvements to your business rules, processes, and tasks. This is facilitated through in-built, no-code customisation tools that make it much easier for you to hone your system to each individual user/role/department.
5. Improved Inventory Management
While inventory management has long been a mainstay of ERP, modern systems take stock management to a new level. Placing your inventory chain at the centre of your operations, the technology streamlines all aspects of inventory management – improving warehousing, logistics, capacity management, integration with ecommerce stores and order fulfilment times.
As with some of the other attributes mentioned on this list, one of the main advantages new ERP systems have when it comes to inventory management is the availability of real-time information. Not only is data centralised, complete and accurate, it’s instantly accessible by relevant parties, so your logistics and inventory management personnel never drop the ball when it comes to order fulfilment and consistent warehousing.
6. Next-Gen Collaboration
We can’t understate how effective modern ERP systems are at bolstering collaboration and information sharing across your business. With unified interfaces, a centralised database, and the option to integrate with a range of third-party applications, ERP software is the ultimate platform for efficient and successful collaboration and teams management.
Your team will have a better overview of task flows and outstanding work. Real-time status reports and customisable workflow alerts further improve all-round usability, for outstanding day-to-day task management.
7. Accurate Data Capture for Accounting and Finance
Accountancy and financial management rely on accurate and complete data, preferably in real-time. Not only does this support business health and continuity, but it also facilitates better decision-making and management – with stakeholders able to base strategy-level decisions on consistent information and insights.
The problem with outdated ERP software is that it lacks the capacity to both gather and present real-time data, which can ultimately lead to a lack of business information. Financial teams rely on access to company-wide accurate and timely data as part of day-to-day operations, so if you want consistent financials, you can rely on for effective business decision-making, consider upgrading to a modern ERP solution.
8. Improve Debtor Days
Reducing exposure for business from the risk of bad debt requires an efficient and effective credit control system. Not only can it help you to reduce your debtor’s days, but it is also key to creating workflow alerts for the smooth running of your business and maintaining a full interaction history.
Having quick access to any overdue accounts listing is crucial to enabling your accounts staff to be more efficient with their time; enabling them to identify who to contact to chase payment whilst also ensuring to record each interaction.
Many traditional systems offer credit control through third-party applications, but it is only through a fully integrated system that vital information like this can be shared across your entire business with increased accuracy and reduced duplication.
Today’s modern ERP systems also offer online customer account portals which can make it easier for your customers to do business with you. Not only do customers have secure access to their account online – which they can manage themselves 24/7 – but with real-time integration to your system, they can also quickly do repeat orders.
9. Profit Maximisation
Are you maximising your profit margins? There’s always room for improvement, and here are some simple ways to do it: restrict the level of discount per user, stop items being sold below a certain margin, or set up minimum margins and maximum discount on a product.
Modern ERP systems make it easier than ever to tighten control over your profit margins and costs. Ideal for sales and marketing functions, the technology also allows for intuitive customer management and discovery, giving you the granular, real-time insights you need to drive sales, generate leads, and increase revenue.
Here are 10 easy fixes to leaking margins that you may find of interest.
10. Increase Cash Flow & Customer Service
Effective management of your stock holding can have a major impact on your cash flow and customer service. Using supplier lead times more efficiently, and taking on board system calculated max/min quantities based on demand history, can better utilise stock management at a level sufficient to satisfy demand.
Today’s ERP systems have the flexibility to cost-effectively tailor your system to refine any aspect that could make you more efficient, productive, profitable, and competitive.
When choosing ERP software, it’s important to select a system scalable enough to grow along with your business for the next 10-15 years, as well as ensuring it is based on a flexible architecture that will accommodate changes in the technology landscape in the years to come.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this article and that it’s cleared up any confusion you may have had about how ERP can impact your business. If you’re ready to embrace next-gen, future-aligned business management, Intact has the solution you need. To learn more about what we can offer or to speak to a member of our team about your requirements, visit the homepage today.