It is no secret that running a business it not a piece of cake. With technology now advancing at a speed faster than light, the world is evolving into a huge global village. In fact, it is far more challenging to run a business today than just five years ago.
Companies compete on product and service offerings, price and promotions, customer service and satisfaction while playing a balancing act on productivity, resources and bottom-line margins. To do better, we’ve got to do more. But what more can a company do to beat the competition when they’ve maxed out? How can we create the proverbial 25th hour in our day?
The answer does not lie in the abyss of knowledge articles dictating how various and often textbook concepts should be applied to business through “tested and proven” methodologies.
Simply put, we need to look to the future, not the past.
Here’s why you should keep reading:
As a business leader, you know your outstanding team is working close to maximum output. Yet your business performance seems to be plateauing. You need to get more done, without additional overheads and expenses that involve increasing your team headcount.
You want to know how technology is going to get you there.
TIME – YOU GAIN WHAT YOU SAVE
The truth is, there isn’t a time machine that can give you extra hours in a day. That doesn’t mean that you cannot manipulate time to get more done in less.
Motivational speakers, business coaches, many a business consultant have come up with endless fancy graphs, phrases and charts showing you how to do things better. But let’s face it, a better wheel doesn’t always get you past the finish line faster. Good engineering does, and great engineering is what helps you cross multiple finish lines faster than others take to cross one.
Before you sign up for a go on TARDIS with Doctor Who, consider this.
If by simply using business management software, you could cut down your time spent on routine daily business processes by 50%, wouldn’t you be gaining 50% of time to do the more important things, more?
GREAT ENGINEERING IN BUSINESS IS ENTERPRISE RESOURCES PLANNING (ERP)
Your sales consultant receives an order from a client he prospected three months ago. Now he’s got to email this order to your fulfilment team, who’s then going to have to check up in their inventory system whether they have enough product to service this order. Turns out, they don’t, so the next step is they’ve got to get to the production department. Production then needs to determine if they have enough materials to satisfy the product make on their production software, tough luck, they’re out too.
Now the purchasing department has got to be called in. Purchasing then needs to access the finance software to check on the budget, get appropriate approvals, place the order – and then everyone waits until your inbound delivery arrives and everyone can pick up the pieces, starting a whole new cycle of the same order being processed repeatedly on several platforms and we’re not even invoicing the client yet.
Finally, the sales consultant later finds out that this order isn’t going to be fulfilled within the next 7 days – which is a major downer because the client wanted it yesterday. So, he’s now on edge, hoping this client doesn’t cancel the order just because the company couldn’t foresee the delivery hitch.
HERE’S WHERE THE MAGIC HAPPENS:
In merely 8 weeks from that, your company now has in place a robust ERP system. Business processes from Sales and Purchase orders management to inventory, to finance and accounting are all integrated into a powerful centralized system.
Today, your sales consultant gets an urgent sales order from another client he prospected three months ago. As he’s keying in this order into the system, it immediately prompts him that delivery might be delayed for a couple of weeks due to low stocks. He confirms that the client agrees to wait and places the order. This then triggers the system to send approval requests to production, purchasing and finance simultaneously.
Meanwhile, your sales consultant has moved on to prospect more clients and servicing more sales orders.
I’M NOT A MANUFACTURER, WHY DO I NEED AN ERP SYSTEM?
Not every industry is the same and not every company runs on a same set of processes. Despite the varying challenges, a great ERP is applicable TO all businesses. Think of it as an engine that can be used in a car or a plane.
Here are some industries that thrive on ERP:
Manufacturing companies have an overwhelming need to constantly improve holistically to carve a strong position in the market. On this note, ERP systems allow for all the paperwork and processes to be done in the most efficient way. This includes optimizing inventory and production management, refining human resources, automating processes and streamlining their interaction with customers and vendors so that their businesses can flourish.
- Construction & Engineering
Construction & engineering firms often manage several big-ticket projects at any given time. ERP systems help enable them to streamline their operations, optimize project management, integrate management tools, minimize costs, maximize profits, accurately predict tender strategy and have real-time project tracking for performance and efficiency.
- Trading & Distribution
As with manufacturing, trading & distribution require some serious operational prowess to thrive. To tackle company and customer growth, eCommerce companies deploy ERP systems to handle shipping information, manage inventory, automate processes and prepare robust reports for business analysis and pivoting.
- Professional Services
We often think that accountants, lawyers, wealth planners and other professional service providers don’t need an integrated system because they don’t deal with products, inventory and labour-intensive projects. On the contrary, ERP systems are the perfect solution to keep these firms running at their peak. With it, these firms can provide highly personalized services with an additional layer of confidentiality, accurate data and information within regulatory and legal frameworks and overall better decision-making advice on a consultant level.
- Field Services
Field service providers like pest control, equipment servicing and maintenance and other companies who primarily function around outbound technicians face an additional challenge tracking onsite cases and manpower. ERP systems not only provide vital CRM support but also takes the hassle out of case management and scheduling and timesheet tracking, equipment management and predictive analysis that helps in important decision making.
OUTGROWING THE “STARTER PACK”
Sure, many companies have been able to survive relying on a “Starter Pack” cocktail of Excel, Quickbooks and the like. Regardless of your industry, while your team may be able to maintain the current performance levels, breakthrough eludes the status quo. The only way you can level up now is getting onboard the ERP bandwagon – use technology to manipulate time so that you can do the more important things, more.
According to Microsoft, the three biggest tell-tale signs that you need to upgrade to an ERP system are:
- The basics aren’t letting you grow
You’ve got great progress so far but now you’re plateauing. You need to turn 24 hours into 48 hours to achieve any significant growth or prevent contraction.
- You’re dealing with disparate systems
You realize the pain that comes with all the siloed systems your various departments are working with. You realize that a lot of time and resources are wasted just trying to solve what should be a very logical process flow.
- You can’t meet customer expectations
Orders are piling up and fulfilment seems to be a never-ending firefight. You begin noticing a spike in the number of complaints and customer dissatisfaction or worse, you start losing customers.
If you find these scenarios relatable, CONGRATULATIONS! You’ve outgrown your current system.
The only way you can level up now is getting onboard the ERP bandwagon – use technology to manipulate time so that you can do the more important things, more.