Using Real-Time ERP Analytics To Drive Real Growth

Harnessing The Power of Real Time ERP Analytics For Real Business Growth

As manufacturing shop floors become more sophisticated than ever, machines are hooked up to the Internet of Things, and the information available to ERP systems is expanding in leaps and bounds, it’s hard to deny the quickly growing power of ERP analytics. By collecting data on all aspects of a company—front and back office—businesses can monitor key performance indicators and use those stats to drive the critical business decisions that affect the bottom line.

For these kinds of analytics purposes and the management capability they can bring to the shop floor, many businesses have previously relied on outside business intelligence (BI) software, or have invested countless amounts of money in expensive customizations and add-on analytics tools to bring the kind of data intelligence needed to the ERP systems. Often, these prohibitive costs have restricted small to midsize businesses from all of the benefits that can with a sophisiticated ERP analytics suite. However, sophisticated data analysis functionality is quickly becoming a standard feature present in most ERP systems—and those ERP systems themselves become more available with cloud options and subscription-style pricing. So, why should be interested in leveraging the power of ERP analytics for your own business? Read on for just a few of the biggest reasons why ERP implementation should be on your business’ horizon.

Real Time Results

One of the most obvious reasons for the rise of ERP analytics and data processing is the new speed at which businesses can manage, track and understand their operations. You can access real-time, anytime information from a business-wide scale right down to individual customer transactions. Tracking shipping and receiving will make inventory management a cinch; and make sure that you are moving the right product at the right time to meet your customer’s needs.

To build a sustainable real-time ERP analytics strategy, businesses must decide to focus their energy on a fixed number of statistics and values. One of the aftereffects of the modern proliferation of data can be a total overload of information—and businesses become more preoccupied with amassing mounds of records and reports without actually using them to drive decisions or inspire organizational change. Without an ERP analytics strategy to deal with all of your data, that investment you made in the system won’t end up being worth much.

Key performance indicators in your ERP analytics will look different for every separate business, manager and shop floor. Of course, there are the common and obvious indicators like machine count, downtime and Overall Equipment Effectiveness that are mainstays in any shop floor report. However, just because the results are real-time doesn’t mean you’ll have the capacity to take in and decipher all those results in real-time too; your ERP analytics strategy must prioritize certain numbers over others.  If you are a manufacturer specializing in perishable goods like food and beverage, for example, then you’ll need to keep a close eye on production temperatures, pH levels and inventory levels. If you’re running a customer-focused ecommerce business, shipping times and return processing will be high on your list. It all comes down to evaluating your specific business processes and needs and then determining how to build an ERP analytics strategy on top of them.

Drive Critical Decisions

One of the most beneficial end results of the proliferation of real-time ERP analytics

Instead of staring at a bunch on numbers on a spreadsheet until you go cross-eyed trying to figure out how to make them useful, data analytics will be able to present your data in an instantly meaningful way. Those key performance indicators we mentioned above will be the numbers on which you build a business plan and by which every single employee will understand their individual impact on the bottom line and end product.

Sustainable Revenue Growth

Too many fast growing businesses can get caught up in expansion and quickly let activity get out of control. One second they are raking in money and adding on products, production lines and software features left and right and then the next they realize that the infrastructure to support the new functionalities and workflows simply doesn’t exist. Suddenly, there’s too much money sunk into projects that employee’s that simply aren’t tailored well enough to the business, and the ERP and shop floor will grind to a halt. This kind of untenable growth often comes about thanks to a lack of company-wide transparency. If your departments work in uncommunicative silos, project leaders won’t realize that certain areas of the business have bitten off more than they can chew before it’s too late.

However, with the capacity for real-time ERP analytics becoming common, you can access mission-critical data any time you need, on any process or machine in operation. By installing a multitude of sensors on your shop floor production, connecting them to the Internet of Things (IoT), and then to your respective ERP system, you can actively foster greater transparency within your business. All production processes and tasks will be logged into the same system and accessible to any employee on the ERP system (and any remote employee too—if you’re hosting within the cloud). Decision makers will have total knowledge of the company infrastructure and how to grow revenue properly without sacrificing other key pieces of the puzzle. With this kind of information, your company can expand production output (in size or across facilities) while still keeping a firm hand on all operations.

Stellar Customer Service

As sophisticated ERP analytics allows businesses to get a tighter grasp on their in-house operations, it will then help those businesses to serve their customers in an even more meaningful and beneficial way. Your sales team will have access to real-time information about your shipping capabilities, inventory levels and delivery times—all figures that can be leveraged to close sales on the spot and keep clients happy enough to return for your products. Your ERP analytics will also be able to help you drive promotions targeted towards forecasted demand or seasonal patterns in buying habits. An ERP system will be able to process all of your past transactional data and create reports to help you target the right goals going into the future. If there is a certain area of your inventory that has been lingering a little too long for example, you’ll know that something needs to be done to move that product faster. Or, if something else is flying off the shelves too fast to be replenished, your ERP system can alert you to this deficit and kick production lines into high gear to match the higher demand. It’s high powered ERP analytics like these than can help you drive the business decisions that will keep your bottom line growing and your customers happy.

Wrap Up

Real-time ERP analytics and data processing isn’t just a luxury reserved for the big multi-national companies with billions of dollars to pour into their software budget anymore. Now, the capability to gather and report of thousands of different business factors is becoming standard in many different kinds of ERP modules and packages and affordable for even small, emerging enterprises… Now it is easier than ever to access information that is critical to decision making—from everyday manufacturing choices to top level organizational moves. To have the power of an ERP analytics module at your fingertips and not to take it advantage of it is, in this day and age, inexcusable.

For more on ERP systems, and how to get ERP analytics working for you in your own business, contact an expert software consultant at Datix today!

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