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The question should be why not implement your ERP system now?! But we know what a tough decision it can be to select the right ERP solution, convince the management team and engage your staff; not to mention the financial investment.

So, in this post, we have cut through all the information you are probably bombarded with on this matter and highlighted the three main benefits we, at Blue Ocean Systems, believe the right ERP solution can bring an organisation looking to grow.

Your team might transform from data entry experts into inspiring innovators when alleviated of their manual work. Let’s look at some examples across a typical organisation’s platform;

1) Automate

Contrary to the belief that ERP systems kill creativity by automating manual processes, when used effectively they can actually empower your employees in ways you might not have considered.

Sales

Now: Your sales team spend their time in meetings and closing deals. Trying to complete paperwork on the road is cumbersome and results in errors or missing information, lost sales, incorrect data etc.

When the sales team attend their monthly meetings the sales manager learns that the same potential client has been approached by multiple representatives and we still haven’t closed them.

Future: Paperwork is reduced substantially and completed on a smartphone or tablet – easy for a mobile sales team. Standard details are automated on sales documents to eliminate manual data entry.

There are no more nasty surprises about the sales strategy due to the multi-level access CRM in your ERP solution. A clear sales approach is in place and understood by everyone to optimise efforts on new business.

Warehouse and Inventory

Now: The warehouse team spends substantial time on a weekly basis manually counting and reconciling stock levels. At peak periods, additional labour is brought in to cope with the increased workload.

Inventory levels regularly result in popular items quickly being out of stock and only minimum amounts can be re-ordered because of a lack of warehouse storage.

Future: Stock levels are automated and calculated based on pre-determined acceptable levels. Automatic alerts are in place to notify key team members of low stock levels – a feature particularly useful during seasonal peaks in consumer demand for specific products. No temporary labour is required at any time of the year due to consistently optimum stock levels.

Your organisation’s availability to promise ability makes you a provider of choice because your customers can rely on your service. The warehouse enjoys optimum stock levels and automatic calculation of storage capacity per item.

2) Standardise

Being the same is the new different. In today’s global marketplace, consumers expect the same high standards of services and products wherever they, and you, are located; geography is no longer a justification for variance to the empowered customer. Be prepared for this by getting your local and international teams working from the same page.

Finance

Now:  Your finance teams around the world do the same work but generate different financial results, presented in completely different formats. The management team struggles to draw accurate conclusions from the data supplied and cannot make informed decisions. The time taken to generate the data also renders it quickly unreliable.

Future: All of your finance and accounting teams follow the same standard approach to recording, accessing and presenting financial data. This data is also automated and available on smartphones and tablets for the senior management team to access when required. The data is up-to-the-minute accurate so quick decisions can be made whenever needed.

Reporting

Now: Some reports are standard, some are ad hoc. None are useful but the same reports land on your desk month after month and often go unread. You’ve tried to explain to the team managers the type of reports you would really benefit from but they cannot generate them without significant IT input each month.

Future: During the implementation phase, your ERP consultant worked with you to fully understand the types of reports that would be most beneficial to the management team. These reports are now delivered in a standard format when you need them, based on accurate data. You can also access the core data easily if you need to tweak the reports for any reason.

3) Inform

Internal and external communication is becoming the number one priority for many organisations in today’s information hungry online community. Having the knowledge and tools to keep your customers informed is the best way to keep them happy and ensure they return to your organisation.

Information starts internally and employee engagement is an important differentiator for employers in a competitive job market. Work culture is something you can expect to be asked about from potential candidates and if you don’t have the right answers, your competitor might.

An ERP solution can help you engage your internal and external stakeholders in a number of ways and this benefit is often the one most overlooked, yet the one most valued after an implementation.

HR

Now: Staff turnover is high, particularly in the middle management tier. Feedback from exit interviews indicates staff are dissatisfied with the value placed on their work and a lack of attachment to the overall company mission and values.

Communication takes places when bad news or negative announcements need to take place and feedback opportunities are limited. Staff are unaware or disinterested in the company’s strategy and 5 year plan.

Future: Due to accurate data and easy access to statistics, your HR team are developing innovative staff retention strategies that meet the needs of both employees and management. Key positions are consistently filled with the right candidates and staff engagement is high because they are kept informed of the company’s progress and updates. Employees are actively encouraged to participate in feedback for organisation-wide improvement.

Marketing

Now: Marketing works closely with sales because they are the ones closest to the customer base. The team develops marketing campaigns based on the ideas and presumptions of the sales team with senior management input and approval.

The same target audience is the focus of marketing efforts, despite disappointing results but the marketing team have no resources to dedicate to researching new market segments. Social media activity for your organisation is minimal.

Future: Social media channels are fully active and engaging existing and new market segments in surprisingly new and fruitful ways. The marketing and sales teams are more integrated in their approach to new business and initiatives are in place based on accurate data sourced from a variety of online and offline channels. Results are showing improved sales levels across markets and a higher rate of repeat business, even in previously difficult areas.

We’re not pretending an ERP system, such as SAP Business One,  is a magic wand for your business by any means; it takes effort, time, money and staff engagement to make it successful. But we believe that it’s as close to a piece of magic that your business can get this year!

With local incentives from the Singapore government, such as the Productivity and Innovation Credit (PIC), there really has been no better time to make that important step for your business. Read more about the benefits here.

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