Monday, October 15, 2012

Leveraging ERP Solutions to Drive Efficiency

It is the goal we all have.  Implement an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution to drive efficiency, reduce costs, and increase profitability.  It is the Holy Grail of solutions that includes both software and hardware.  The goal is the same for both sides of the table too.  People who sell solutions want successful clients or at least we hope so and not just a sales commission.  Clients want successful solutions and do not want to feel like they were taken to the cleaners.


Great, now what. 

We all have the same goal.  We both want success that goes beyond the checkbook.  It all begins by utilizing your trusted advisor to evaluate how your current operations and workflow are integrated with your solution.  You need an objective set of eyes.  That also does not mean you are absolved of any input, homework or effort.  What it means that you need someone with expertise to help you with a self evaluation.  You need to know where you are today and where you want to be in the future, probably one or two years down the road.

Your competition is doing this right now or has done it or is about to.

Often a solution to a problem you do not know you have is right in front of you.  Many times your current ERP solution provider has an upgrade and perhaps additional modules that would help you address these challenges you will find.

You may not realize how seemingly small incremental improvements can foster big savings. 

I worked with a client several years ago.  They were using a very capable ERP solution, but only for billing.  At the same time they were maintaining a PC database of production information.  I was asked to see if I could clean it up a bit and address some data consistency issues.  What started as a cleanup procedure led to an integrated database with their ERP solution.  What appeared to be “too much work” really ended up saving them time, effort, and a lot of overhead.  With the database transitioned to their ERP system, full data integration and validation was possible.  They could view their inventory and produce exactly what was needed for their customer demands and not have excess inventory due to not knowing what was on hand.  Production and product labeling was improved.  Inventory accuracy improved. 

A level of confidence in the system resulted.  Full integration allows one hand to know what the other is doing.

In this case their ERP system was more than adequate.  It just took a fresh pair of eyes to review what they were trying to accomplish and mindful insight into what a fully integrated solution would do.  The transition was not too bad.  Afterwards there was no question that the results were worth the effort.  It was not painful, but did take time and effort.

In this case it was a matter of incorporating a database with their existing ERP solution.  Sometimes it is just upgrading the ERP solution.  In other cases it might be adding a new module.  Still in others it may be a matter of replacing a system with something altogether new.  Not all are comfortable to think about. 

Replacing ERP can sometimes be thought of as replacing your tires on your car. 

You start out with a new set and you do not think much about them.  You drive about and concentrate on the destination.  Over a period of time you do not notice the wear and tear.  You are concerned about what you want to get done, not on how well your tires are holding up.  That is not until you find yourself sliding out of control or notice that you almost rear ended the vehicle in front of you.  Not until you talk to an expert who sees clearly that your tires have worn too much.  The tires wear slowly, yet your needs continue to grow.  Perhaps the tires are just underinflated or need a retread or maybe they need to be replaced.

No one can say for sure what you need until you do a thorough analysis. 

If your system does need to be replaced it is helpful to keep in mind that in most cases, if you do your homework properly, that six months after implementation is complete you will be saying to yourself and others that you wish you had done this earlier.

Now is the time to contact Dolvin Consulting.  We leverage our industry expertise and contacts to help you to help yourself.  We are not out to sell you anything, but we may help you decide to buy a solution that will drive efficiency in your operations.  It is one of a number of ways to remain competitive.  We are here to help and are only a phone call away.


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