Our Tips for Avoiding ERP Failure
ERP software should never be a stagnant entity for your business. However, too many businesses treat their enterprise resource planning system as a tool that will work efficiently forever—without any refining or refocusing. After all, it can be easy to settle into a routine habit when it comes to ERP: data entry becomes second nature as you pull the same reports and make use of the same functionalities every day.
Your company can fight back against this type of enterprise software stagnation (which can stifle business growth) by instigating a system of continuous improvement and process modeling. Every day must consist of a new conversation with your ERP: how can your employees leverage it for more knowledge, more power and more ROI? You should be considering all of these factors—and more—as you plan your ERP strategy. Here are some more key steps you should be taking when it comes to ERP and mapping out where you want the software to be in the next year and beyond.
Consider the Internet of Things (IoT)
While consumer devices like smart watches and WiFi-enabled glasses get all of the press when it comes to the buzz around IoT, the concept could be just as revolutionary when it comes to your ERP strategy. Epicor ERP now makes it easier than ever for manufacturers to connect their shop floor and production lines to the web so that clients can collect real time productivity and operational data across their shop floor. Imagine the power this kind of data can hold: you could predict maintenance shutdowns in advance, plan for demand accurately and schedule your production with concrete data. Integrate your CRM with a web-enabled ERP system and you'll be able to transmit your sales information directly to the manufacturing lines and allocate the necessary resources instantly. IoT is not just a trending term. Connected devices are going to change how business is done in the near future.
Redefine and Specify Your ERP Strategy
There are many periods when your ERP system is not undergoing an upgrade or adding new modules and functionality. The temptation to just tread water on your ERP strategy is the highest during those times. However, you don't have to waste that downtime completely. In fact, the days when you're not dealing with the nitty-gritty technical details of ERP could be the most productive time to look at your long term business strategy.
Compile a review of your current business processes, your current ERP strategy and really ensure that the two are in line. Is your current ERP becoming too burdensome and unreceptive to a growing business? Has your traveling or out-of-office team significantly increased, warranting a move to the cloud for your ERP? Take the lull in activity as time to reflect and focus on how to refine your ERP strategy to align with where you want your business to grow next year. ERP is designed to support your business processes as they are. And no business is the same five years down the line—so why wouldn't you be continuously working to ensure your ERP strategy goes hand in hand with your growth plan?
Define a Plan for Continuous Improvement
You should be looking to improve your ERP strategy constantly over the course of a year, not just in huge leaps at the beginning and middle of each year or quarter. The key to that kind of smooth progress lies in setting specific goals. Have a set plan in place that checks KPIs throughout your shop floor—and whether your ERP is helping your team improve upon them. If they aren't, take a serious look into the problem. Is it failure on the employee or software end?
Strong continuous improvement means locating areas of waste and unproductively as soon as they happen, and eliminating them. Don't dilly-dally around the problems; they will only come back to bite your business even harder in the end. By setting specific, measurable goals with hard deadlines throughout the year (every quarter can be a good place for businesses to start), you’ll gain much more efficient ERP software worth the investment you made in it.
If you haven’t gotten around to integrating your ERP with other enterprise systems like CRM, eCommerce, BI or marketing automation, why not? It’s one of the most powerful steps you can take towards increasing the ROI and informational value on all of your software. Consider this a big step in continuing to refine your ERP strategy and fight against system failure.
True integration will be invaluable to your Business Intelligence reporting and analytics, giving your team a 360-degree view of the customer, buying data and demand trends. You'll also be able to analyze how your shop floor is able to respond to those changing trends in your front office. For example, if a particular product is growing in demand, production managers will be able to continuously analyze the manufacturing efficiency as demand grows. If there is a more efficient way to make that product in higher numbers, your ERP can help you find it. Your sales team will be able to give potential customers accurate inventory levels and shipment predictions, resulting in happier (and returning) clients.
Integration can also give you the insight you’ll need to shift your sales strategy depending on current stock and predicted future trends garnered from BI or historical ERP data. Really, the possibilities are endless when it comes to enterprise integration, and if you don't make steps towards becoming a technologically interconnected enterprise, you will fall behind.
Check out one of our Unity integration demos today!
You need to have a strong, carefully planned ERP strategy that is continuously under review. Without a plan to grow your software with your business, the system will stagnate. It will become more difficult to use, unable to support new processes and encourage employee frustration and abandonment. The result is certain ERP failure. Don't let it happen to your business! Considering your current strategy also means you can ensure it’s watertight before you add any new innovations—like the cloud or integration with another system. A periodic check to ensure your ERP project is meeting goals (and celebrating when they are!) will give your team the motivation to ensure they still have all the power (and more) of the ERP software you originally paid for.
For advice on how to really solidify your ERP strategy, or if you need help upgrading or implementing your current software, get in touch with an expert at Datix today. As an Epicor Platinum Partner, we know the tips and tricks that will make your ERP project a success. Don’t procrastinate. Get your next goals set now, and it will be even easier to set them again and again throughout your ERP's lifetime!