COVID-19 has impacted nearly every business, and in this unusual time, we’re all learning to navigate together. Today, health and safety are at the top of everyone’s minds as we look for ways to become and remain healthier while keeping friends, families, and coworkers safe. At the same time, companies want health, safety and resilience for their businesses, customers, and employees, too.
Depending on the type of business or industry a company operates in, the pandemic has affected every organization in different ways. While some places have seen an unexpected increase in demand, others have dealt with sales slumps since the onset of the crisis. But nearly every business has had to reprioritize where they focus their time and effort and, more importantly, mitigate risk.
For companies assessing their organization’s overall health, many point to technology and, in particular, an ERP system as the business continuity tool that got them through to the other side. Once they’ve drilled-down on where the real value had come from, they find it’s coming from the process improvements that uncovered valuable opportunities and insights into the days ahead.
In so doing, ERP enabled companies to look at their future and whether their current processes could carry them through and where they needed to pivot. After all, the processes relevant in 2019 often became obsolete by the early stages of 2020 and beyond.
ERP Helps with Supply & Demand Uncertainty
In recent months, we’ve seen an unprecedented change in demand resulting in continuous supply disruptions. We’ve also observed consumer behavior changes, some of which are likely to stay, challenge many business models.
ERP systems have proved their value in helping organizations weather these disruptions, deal with spikes or drops in demand, and whether there was a need from alternative vendors from different parts of the world. Buyers and suppliers have collaborated in real-time regarding sales, pricing, inventory, order lead times, and delivery dates.
The Human Disruption
We can’t ignore the human impact. The adaptability offered by these ERP systems enabled companies to navigate workforce disruptions with greater flexibility. Looking at everything from how we communicate and what we share, we see that individual roles and job descriptions have become hybrid professionals or changed significantly in customer service, accounting, sales, payroll, and back-office roles.
Moving from the traditional in-office staffing model to an offsite workforce is not a new one. Many businesses had a part-time remote workforce but nowhere near the number of remote enterprises that we do now. Once accustomed to communicating at the office, a record number of people are now separated from the people they’d once worked with daily. But it’s not all doom and gloom. Companies and employees alike see the benefits of remote working, including greater adaptability, less stress, increased job satisfaction, and time-saving.
With cloud ERP systems, businesses gained mobility, working from remote laptops and workstations that eliminated the need to enter an office to get a work order or a service request, and then deliver on their customer needs. Companies adopted new communication strategies and innovative ways to keep employees informed about that state of the business and what’s going on.
After the unforeseen spike of employees working from home, companies needed to ensure employees stayed connected and remained productive. ERP and other communication tools help employees do more than stay connected but allow them to complete their tasks in new ways. Of the many benefits of having an offsite, less geographically restricted opportunities, employers report higher productivity, reduced operating costs, less turnover, and a larger pool of potential hires.
ERP enables continuous planning from the shop floor to the accounting office and up to the executive level. Risk mitigation is the name of the game in 2020 and beyond. With dramatic changes to our global economy, specifically the upswings and downswings on supply chains and demand, there is a significant change in how organizations do work. And it’s something they necessarily had a chance to plan for, but ERP systems have combined planning and execution in a new and coherent way.
The “what-if” scenario planning helps leaders evaluate what’s best for the entire company today and beyond. This way, ERP not only promotes a culture of resilience but fosters a more resilient enterprise as a whole.
Organizations with ERP systems can remain agile enough to accommodate changes in the supply chain based on events that took place yesterday while working toward tomorrow’s projections.
Overcome the obstacles
With the added flexibility to adapt to significant changes in business processes—especially through the COVID-19 pandemic—companies can take creative approaches to new challenges. It’s a unique time in history, and ERP systems are here to help us overcome the obstacles. Stay safe and healthy.
To learn more about integrated cloud ERP solutions, or how your company can streamline business processes to become a more resilient enterprise, contact us.