Get More from Your ERP Investment
When many businesses think of ERP software, they only consider the costs and labor that go into implementation and upkeep. However, this thinking is short-sighted. The reason why ERP has become a must for manufacturing and distribution industries is the software’s potential for bringing in a substantial return on your investment. The savings that result from process automation and real-time data vastly outweigh the costs.
But that doesn’t mean that every business sees ROI from their software implementation. Your new ERP becomes a money pit if you don’t adhere to best practices. In our commitment to helping companies get the most bang for their buck, we’ve put together this how-to guide for maximizing your return on your ERP investment.
Business Process Optimization
Many times, we’ve gone over the importance of aligning the software to your business processes, but some project teams take this advice too far. Our consultants never advocate to align software to poor business processes. That’s why one of the earliest steps of your ERP implementation is to undergo business process modeling. Through this task, you model your current (or “as-is”) workflows, detecting pain points and gaps. Then, you map what you want your future (or “to-be”) operations to look like once you’ve implemented the software.
By mapping these new and improved processes to your ERP system, you’re setting your business up to become more streamlined and efficient. Sticking with your existing workflows limits your ROI by maintaining current pain points. Teaming up with a business process modeling expert can help you uncover issues to make your ERP an effective platform for optimizing enterprise performance.
End User Training
The value of your software doesn’t just come from specific modules and functionality. All the features in the world mean nothing for your business if they aren’t being used. Therefore, end user training serves a critical role in maximizing ROI.
Training won’t look the same for every employee in your enterprise. While some departments will need to learn specific functions of a particular module, power users require an extensive understanding of the entire platform. Make sure users are getting role-based instruction, so they know how to utilize critical features without wasting time on learning other tasks. You also want at least some of the training to take place at work, so users have a chance to receive hands-on instruction and you can track the progress of individuals. Your business is much closer to achieving ROI when users have a strong grasp of the new ERP instance.
Your ERP journey doesn’t end on the go-live date. Software should drive value for our business long after the initial implementation. Companies must pursue continuous improvement and provide ongoing support for their system in order to generate ROI for years to come. Some of the keys to producing long-term ROI are:
- Hosting ERP in the Cloud: Data security and updates can eat up a lot of your IT team’s time, but when ERP is in the cloud, your provider takes care of this tedious work. Cloud providers follow modern best practices for data security, protecting your sensitive data from serious threats. Plus, automatic updates give users extra features and patches to enhance the system’s performance. Cloud ERP simplifies software improvements and upkeep.
- Upgrading Your System: Software upgrades are nobody’s favorite activities, but refusing to upgrade your ERP periodically will eventually come back to bite you. Upgrades offer more expansive improvements and fixes than updates, making them more substantial projects. But without executing them, your system will eventually slow down your processes and create errors. Upgrades are a must for protecting your investment from these critical risks.
- Optimizing Your Solution: Overtime, your ERP needs will likely change. Some workflows might need to be readjusted. Perhaps additional software is necessary to perform certain tasks. Track KPIs to stay on top of any performance lapses. This way, you’ll know where you’re falling short and can pursue additional solutions, such as customizations, integrations and new modules.
While all these best practices are essential for maximizing ROI, your efforts can only take you so far if you’re using the wrong system. A solution that lacks essential modules for your industry won’t optimize business processes. An ERP instance with a poor interface will stunt user adoption. Rigid, unreliable systems lack the scalability and support to drive continuous improvements.
Support for specific business needs, usability and scalability are all critical considerations throughout ERP selection. Once you’ve narrowed your potential vendor list to reputable providers that specialize in your industry, you should read reviews, research vendor comparisons and eventually schedule on-site demos to evaluate ERP performance. Taking a thorough approach will help you find the right vendor to set the foundation for a successful implementation.
Remember throughout the process that the key is to generate ROI. The less expensive choice might be tempting, but will it offer support and high-level performance to drive value for years to come? If the answer isn’t “yes,” cross that provider off your list.
The purpose of ERP is to add value to your enterprise, but this value only comes when you follow best practices and select the best solution. For manufacturers and distributors, no ERP is better at maximizing ROI than Epicor. Epicor grows with your company and stays ahead of industry trends to drive future business success. A major ERP vendor for over 45 years, you can count on Epicor to generate ROI no matter how your enterprise develops.
A certified Epicor partner, Datix knows how to increase the value of your software. With a variety of solutions and services, our consultants work with your business from start to finish to make your ERP the right fit for your unique needs. We also seamlessly connect Epicor with front-end software using our Unity integration solution. Unity automatically syncs data between your systems to promote efficiency and visibility.
Strengthen your bottom line by investing in robust software solutions. Learn more by contacting the experts at Datix today!