Is Your 2016 ERP Strategy in Place?
Although the new year isn’t the greatest of times for the go-live of a completely new enterprise system, that doesn’t mean that you can’t use the opportunity of a new beginning to refocus on your enterprise software and your ERP strategy. Although it’s easy to settle into the use of ERP—data entry becoming ‘second nature’ as you pull the same reports and make use of the same functionalities and reports every day. However, you need to actively fight this kind of ERP stagnation within your company by instigating continuous improvement and process modeling. Every day must be 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 for 2016. Here are some more key steps you should be taking when it comes to ERP and mapping out your software for the upcoming year.
Consider the Internet of Things (IoT)
While out-there devices like smart watches and internet connected glasses are getting all of the press when it comes to the buzz around the Internet of Things, the concept could be just as revolutionary when it comes to your ERP strategy. For example, it is easier than ever for manufacturers to connect their shop floor and production lines to the web, and thus collect real time productivity and operational data on their lines. Imagine the power this kind of data can hold; you predict shutdowns in advance, demand plan accurately and schedule your production with concrete data on product needed and how you can your lines work to make that product most effectively. IoT is not just a ‘trending’ term; connected devices are going to change how business is done in the near future. If you’re not already adopting the new technology, make 2016 the year you start.
Redefine and Specify Your ERP Strategy
The holiday season typically gets looked upon as a time of rest and relaxation—and while that may make it a tough time for any major software changes or implementations, you don’t have to waste that downtime. Use it instead to review your 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 on the year and focus on how to refine your ERP strategy to align with where you want your business to grow next year.
Define a Plan for Continuous Improvement
As we went more into depth in this post, you should be looking to improve your ERP strategy constantly over the next year, not just in huge leaps at the beginning and middle of each year. 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 at why not. 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.
If you haven’t gotten around to integrating your ERP with other enterprise systems like CRM, BI or marketing automation, why not? It’s one of the most powerful steps you can towards increasing the ROI and informational value on all of your software. Consider this the big step you make within your ERP strategy in 2016.
True integration can be invaluable to your Business Intelligence reporting and analytics; giving your team a 360-degree view of the customer, buying data and how your shop floor is able to respond to change trends in your front office. Your sales team will be able to give potential customers accurate inventory levels and shipment predictions—resulting in more happy (and returning) clients. They can also shift their sales strategy depending on current stock on predicted future trends garnered from your 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 in 2016, you will fall behind.
You need to have a strong, carefully planned ERP strategy going into the new year. Yes, the holidays are a period of rest and relaxation for employees and that should not be taken away. However, solid strategy will ensure that every team member is ready to get off the ground running when they get back into the office and onto your enterprise systems. By considering your current strategy, you can make sure it’s watertight before you add any new innovations—like the cloud or integration with another system. With the framework in place now, you can head into the holiday season with confidence in your next year operations and the ease to kick back, relax and feast!
For advice on how to really solidify your ERP strategy for 2016, or if you need help upgrading or implementing your current software, get in touch with an expert at Datix today. Don’t procrastinate; get your 2016 set now, and breathe easy!