Written by Fiona McGuinness, Intact Software
Many companies naively believe that once their ERP system is implemented it will continue to operate at maximum efficiency and effectiveness.
Unfortunately, nothing stands still – staff leave, new employees start and lack adequate training, bad habits develop and software updates fail to be installed etc. Even additional modules or third party applications obtained to improve integration and provide additional functionality don’t get the required attention they need to be of value to a business.
It’s very easy to keep doing what you’re doing. It’s not easy to take stock of what’s happening in your business or to discover the cold hard facts of reality; that your ERP system may not be achieving what you had hoped it would. This doesn’t necessarily mean you purchased the wrong software, it just means you need to work harder to get it to where you want it to be.
It is reasonably safe to say that ERP projects are never-ending. Once you have successfully implemented your system, a continuous cycle of analysis and improvement should be taken in order to maximise its potential. Given how critical ERP software is to an organization, it is essential to formalise an annual review of your systems. Depending on the nature of your business you may require more than one review a year but only if it is given the due care and attention it deserves. An evaluation should cover a review of your software, hardware, processes and people.
Here are the 4 key areas you should look into to maximise your ERP system:
Review your objectives and strategies
Just as you continually review the progress of your business as a whole, you should also review the progress of your ERP software. You need to know if your ERP software is meeting your business needs. Are there any gaps? What are your future requirements? Can they be satisfied by your current solution and provider?
Measure your reporting effectiveness
When you can’t get the information you need to make the right business decisions you can miss out on crucial ways to improve your bottom line. Get real about the information your business requires and find out if your system is capable of providing it. If it isn’t, you need to assess if the money you’re investing in your current system is worth continuing with or if you’d be better off looking for an alternative solution. This is not an easy decision but could save you thousands in the long-run as one of our recent customers has discovered.
Assess staff training requirements
When end-users start to complain or improvise, inefficiencies can creep in. It is worth assessing where each staff member is at with regard to your system. Are they comfortable processing data, moving around the system and understanding it? Do they understand what is required of them? Is the system fulfilling their needs? Do they need additional training? Have they got suggestions for improvements? In the past many businesses found getting program changes a long and laborious task; not to mention costly. Things have changed however and the latest ERP technologies have improved this situation immensely; making it a much quicker and more cost-effective process. With such open and flexible systems now available, businesses have opportunity to introduce a new culture of ‘if things are right, suggest ways of improving them’.
Evaluate current & future functionality requirements
Many businesses purchase additional functionality or modules upfront but often never find the time to fully implement them to best effect. Not only is this a wasted investment but by not utilising them to their maximum potential, your business is missing out too. Are you maximising all the functionality within your system? Are you still doing tasks manually when they could be carried out automatically? Are you still relying on Excel for analysis? Are you aware of the latest trends and functionality now available e.g. fully integrated eCommerce sites, increased mobility for sales reps etc?
Getting it right when it comes to selecting or upgrading your business management software can be a real challenge. There are numerous ERP software vendors in the market today and all with a variety of products to choose from.
An annual review of your software and systems should help you spot gaps, discover inefficiencies and could save you a lot of money. When you see the same issues cropping up time and time again, it may be time to look at alternative solutions. The longer you stick with a system that no longer meets your needs, the less efficient you become and the more costly it can get for you in the long run.
It costs nothing to take a step back from your daily routine to take an objective view of your current business management system.
About Intact Software
Intact Software, is a progressive software company based in Dundalk and with offices in Omagh, Cork and Wicklow. Using the latest .Net technology, we develop innovative accounting, business management and ERP software to satisfy the needs of the wholesale, distribution, service and retail industries.
Our latest business software, Intact iQ, enables you to streamline your business processes from sales lead management to sales invoicing to stock control to management information all in a single system. A powerful, flexible and customisable package, Intact iQ will integrate seamlessly across all areas of your business.
Intact Software is sold, implemented and supported through a network of fully trained, accredited channel partners across Ireland, the UK, Europe, Australasia and Canada. Find out more at www.intactsoftware.com