Monday, September 23, 2013

Did you Forget Something?

An Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system is designed, in theory, to integrate your entire enterprise.  Which by definition means that this software category may not be a great fit for a small organization.  A company’s revenue is not necessarily related to the number of employees any more.  Of course revenue and profit are two different things.  A good fit software for a smaller company may be one of the many packaged business solutions available today, for example Quick Books or Microsoft Dynamics. 


Did you forget why you are or have chosen your ERP solution?


The lower end software typically does not lack feature or function and in many cases is very user friendly.  Rather those solutions lack the scalability to grow and depending on the resource may lack the ability to be customized.  That means your organization must alter its operations to match the software instead of the software matching the operations. 


Do you remember what happened the last time you heavily modified your solution and the remediation it required?


There are a number of benefits and risks associated with modifying software.  The benefits at the best end means that the software is tailored to the way you do business and you increase productivity, reduce costs and therefore improve profitability.  At the worst end it can hardly be considered a benefit.  Errors and manual processing take precedence, daily reporting takes a series of dependent manual processing, delays and inaccuracies in reporting become the norm instead of the exception.  Users lose confidence in the system and end up duplicating their efforts just to verify the reporting.


When was the last time you trusted a report or inquiry in your system that you utilized to make a critical financial decision?


The more operational and/or functional roles which are included in your solution, the more information is available for decision makers.  The more accurate and timely that information is available the quicker and more confident business decisions can be made.  The less chance for errors, but only if you have all the input necessary.


Did you forget to include some element in your last critical business decision and how did that effect the return on investment (ROI) of that decision?


The ability to take advantage of an ERP system really depends on an organizations ability to actually implement and utilize what they paid for.  Too many times a system is purchased without enough preparation and parts of it sit underutilized.  Many times the lack of resources dedicated to implementation hamper the utilization of the ERP solution needed to drive a reasonable investment return.


Did you forget why you are unhappy with your current solution?


Why did you start looking for a new solution?  Have you started looking?  Do you have the impression that everything is just fine?  Have you outgrown the capacity of the existing system?  Did it work well just a couple of years ago and now it is just slowing down?  Does it work well on slow days, but when you are busy it is just barely creeping by and keeping up? 


How often are you late on deliveries?  How well does the book inventory match perpetual inventory?  Do your warehouse people simply just know where to find the products or do they rely on the paperwork?  Do they move products without telling anyone?  How long does it take to train a new person?  How many times do orders come back or customer service receives complaints that orders were not correct?  How often do your customers receive exactly what they ordered?  How accurate is the pricing from your suppliers?  Are you losing discounts, because you do not have a process for dealing with payables?  Have you extended credit for customers with knowing their outstanding balance or the last time they made payments?  Did your staff update accounting notes so the credit manager knew and could report on late accounts? 


The list goes on and on, did you forget why an ERP solution made sense?


There are a lot of reasons why an organization would decide to implement, upgrade or replace an ERP solution. 


Did you forget that the only real reason to implement an ERP solution is improve Customer service?


How long would your business operate without customers?  How well do you service your customers?  Have you asked them lately if they are satisfied?  Have you thanked them?  Does everyone in your organization understand that everything they do directly or indirectly represents your organization in their eyes?  How friendly is the receptionist?  How responsive are your customer service personnel?  Do they have the information needed to answer the customer’s questions without having to forward them endlessly?  Do your purchasing people have the information they need to accurately stock inventory for customer needs without overstocking?


Did you forget something?


At Dolvin Consulting we know how important customers are to your business.  We take a consultative approach to see where your biggest challenges lie and help you map out a solution to move forward.  We are not here to tell you how to run your business.  We know that you already know how to do that.  We are here to help you implement new tools or new ways to utilize your existing tools to improve productivity and increase efficiencies.  Contact us today to see how we can help.  We promise to listen.


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