About David Foulcher
David Foulcher is the Vice President of SAP Business ByDesign APJ and Greater China. He has over 20 years of experience in sales, marketing, and business management and 11 years of technical experience in Australia and across Asia Pacific. His specialties include cloud-based ERP/SCM, CRM, EDRMS, EAM, BI solutions, commerce, and SaaS enterprise solutions.
Cloud from the Top: Three Companies on the Benefits of Cloud ERP
Technology has ushered in a better and more efficient way of doing business. Sending files from anywhere in the world has become possible. Data collection, which once took hours, can be done in seconds.
Manual tools, such as bookkeeping records and traditional spreadsheets, are no longer de rigueur—most of the business owners have now switched to enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions to automate their processes.
While already innovative on its own, an ERP system becomes more robust when deployed in the cloud. Conglomerates and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) alike have found that cloud-based ERP offers multiple benefits: reduced costs, scalability, and improved level of security.
Sounds too good to be true? Don’t just listen to us. To further illustrate how beneficial cloud ERP is, let’s look at three SMEs from all over the world: Baldinger Bakery, Living Proof, and Coffice. They have moved their ERP applications to the cloud, and have never looked back or gone down since.
Baldinger Bakery: Improved Manufacturing and Distribution
Baldinger Bakery has been serving freshly baked bread, buns, and rolls for over 128 years. Aside from providing generations of families with delectable baking goods, this business also services some of the biggest names in the food industry. Due to the rapid growth and expansion, Baldinger Bakery is planning to open more locations to fulfill customer expectations.
To meet the requirements of the growing business, Baldinger needed a business solution that could trace the movement of products from raw materials to finished goods, as well as improve overall customer fulfillment time. A cloud-based ERP platform made this possible.
With a fully integrated cloud-based ERP, Baldinger ensured an accelerated production and distribution system, and maintained end-to-end control over its operations. In just three months since it upgraded to cloud, Baldinger saw a 30 percent improvement in sales order processing, 15 percent faster warehouse picking and shipping, and 99 percent delivery accuracy. These improvements translated into huge savings for Baldinger and enhanced the company’s relationship with both new and existing customers.
Living Proof: Increased Revenue and Product Portfolio
Based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Living Proof offers world-class hair care products that make use of the latest in biotechnology.
With over 100 awards, Living Proof is at the forefront of innovative beauty solutions. From a small enterprise, it has grown into a company with various product lines. To keep up with the increase in demand, the company had to employ new IT solutions.
With cloud ERP, Living Proof was able to create a system
that strengthened supply chain and manufacturing, while utilising minimal infrastructure. The benefits of using cloud-based ERP proved to be threefold: 330 percent revenue increase, 400 percent in unit volume growth, and increase of Living Proof’s product portfolio by 230 percent—proof that it even improved the brand’s ability to introduce new product lines.
Coffice: Simplified Accounting and Inventory Processes
Austrian company Coffice is a wholesale distributor of fully automatic coffee machines and supplies. Different organisations from law firms to advertising agencies have enjoyed the high-quality coffee offered by Coffice. The company ensures excellent coffee by delivering only the freshest milk and the finest coffee beans, together with its easy-to-use coffee machines.
With a small staff, Coffice needed big solutions to address the planning, controlling, and managing of its inventory. Since 2012, the company has been benefiting from cloud-based ERP software, to simplify its accounting and management of material flows. Cloud ERP not only streamlined Coffice’s processes, but also provided the company with accurate statistics on sales revenues and profit margins.
By adopting a cloud-based solution, Coffice is now taking advantage of faster invoicing, precise analysis of sales revenues for each product group, and simpler accounting processes. These changes have given Coffice better control of its financial and inventory structures.
Cloud-based ERP and the benefits for small businesses
Now that you’ve read the cloud ERP advantages outlined in each company’s success story, the question now stands: Are you ready to make a cloud decision? As with any financial or technological investment, you should take the time to evaluate business needs and carefully study cloud technology’s benefits for small businesses:
- It’s secure. Some SME owners refuse to do away with their current IT practices such as hosting their ERP on-site. They think that not having their own servers would render their data vulnerable. While the on-premise versus cloud security conversation is still ongoing, majority have put their trust on cloud. Why? Various organisations have placed more stringent security requirements for cloud ERP providers. This, in turn, pressures them to exhaust all avenues in making sure that the technology is at its most secure.
- It increases productivity. Another concern among small business owners is the disruption of work following a move to cloud. But such inconvenience is only temporary. Moving to a cloud-based platform actually increases productivity. It allows easy and real-time collaboration among employees. It eliminates the need to contact other members of the team if, say, one needs a file, as it’s accessible from anywhere. Less time for tedious processes means more time for innovation, which is what every organisation should pursue in the digital economy.
- It costs less. Compared to the implementation and maintenance of an in-house IT system, cloud-based programs and data storage require less in initial capital. Even cloud ERP’s monthly service fee is more cost-effective in the long run. By eliminating annual maintenance fees and only charging on a per user/per month basis, cloud ERP is more economical than systems that require expensive licenses and constant hardware and software upgrades.
- It makes the business agile. Cloud ERP has the flexibility, accessibility, and mobility that edge out legacy systems. As ERP is administered offsite and on a system that’s available online, deploying tasks is unencumbered and easy.
One way to ensure a favourable outcome when instituting cloud-based solutions is by implementing a dry run before going live with the new system. The procedure includes testing the cloud ERP with a few employees first and making sure they’re well-trained to handle the system. This will anticipate and mitigate any potential problems that may crop up after the IT infrastructural change, and at the same time reveal which personnel will be freed up to handle other tasks. Resources may then be reallocated or internal teams reshuffled, maximising the company’s potential.
Lastly, upgrading to cloud ERP means engaging a reputable cloud provider which would have the business’s best interests at heart. Assess vendors’ experience in setting up ERP solutions.
And once the ERP is up and in the cloud, learn how to optimise what the technology has to offer. Who knows, you just might revolutionise the way your business works and fast-track its success.
Ready to make the big jump to cloud? Use SAP Business ByDesign, which will enable you to run your SME better as it optimises key processes, from accounting to inventory management. Check out SAP Business ByDesign now.