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Why your ERP people are as critical as your ERP product

Posted on 29 September 2015 by Cathie Hall

How can ERP service help manufacturers realize their strategic goals?

 Vendors continually invest in their products to ensure world class functionality by talking to those companies that excel in their respective industries.  Typically, the focus is on creating a sophisticated and robust product that is able to solve complex business problems.  However, with a multi-faceted solution, implementation and support issues can create potential disparities.

To achieve best practice, manufacturers need to partner the ERP product with a service provider who can work with their people to embed best practice processes throughout the organization.  But best practice isn’t enough it’s only the starting point. 

  1. Creating sustainable competitive advantage

What manufacturers really need is an ERP provider who can work with them to improve those processes that create sustainable competitive advantage thereby generating Return on Investment (ROI). The SYSPRO Power Tailoring suite achieves this by enabling processes unique to the customer to be defined and streamlined. But it’s our people, the industry experts who work with our customers to translate their strategic goals into reality, who bring the solutions to life.

  1. A fully integrated system

Take a manufacturer executing a cost leadership strategy. In a previous era, administrators were employed solely to input data into the ERP system.  Now data can be seamlessly transferred from one system to another.  Imagine, purchase orders sent automatically to your key supplier, and if you have a really strong relationship with them, acceptance of an automatic goods receipt file coming back the other way when items are delivered.  Combining a fully integrated product and the expertise of an experienced consultant has made this a reality for many of our customers. 

  1. Optimizing Inventory

Most manufacturers actively manage cash by juggling supplier payments and introducing invoice factoring, yet they often have millions tied up in inventory. This increases warehousing costs and also incurs other financial costs. Worse still, this stock doesn’t always match customer demand, so they still suffer from stock outs resulting in mediocre customer service. Product solutions, such as Inventory Optimization, require a combination of ERP software and people: advising on the right algorithm, checking data levels, advising on set up options, analyzing results, to really harness the benefits. The ROI can be staggering.

  1. Streamlining processes

Now think about a differentiation strategy.  How can ERP help manufacturers work in such a way that their customers are willing to pay a premium for their products? Partnering with an industry experienced ERP consultant can make this strategy a reality by creating more efficient planning and streamlined manufacturing processes to increase throughput and ultimately reduce lead times to customers. 

  1. Interpreting data

Quality is paramount for all manufacturers, but especially those charging a premium.  Understanding what quality data to capture and how to capture it is vital.  Bringing machine learning and analytics into ERP so that trends can be identified before issues occur is one thing, but the real value comes in helping the customer understand how to interpret that data and designing a process to take action based on that interpretation.

  1. Leveraging the Internet of Things

Using specific solutions in combination with the experience of hundreds of similar projects can help with the design processes which automatically process customer orders, leverage the Internet of Things (IoT) to automate picking and dispatch, send Advanced Shipping Notifications and reconcile electronic self-billing files.

So, it’s ERP service that enables ERP software to add value to manufacturers - not only supporting customers throughout implementation but also empowering them to help themselves.

And as we move further into an age where manufacturers seek more from ERP providers than just a system, we realize that remaining ahead of the competition and retaining our competitive edge hinges on two things: investment in product functionality and investment in our people’s skills and knowledge. Because why would you want one without the other?

 

Topics: Selecting ERP, Owning or (Running) ERP


Cathie Hall

Cathie Hall is the Chief Business Officer for the K3 Group, a Biz-Tech group serving retail, manufacturing and distribution customers. She is responsible for executing the strategy and working closely with a range of partners (including SYSPRO) to ensure that customer’s gain real, tangible benefits from their technology. K3 believes in making technology possible.

 

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