Large manufacturing companies first used Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software to manage raw materials, products, and manufacturing processes. That was a long time ago, but because of ERP’s usefulness in standardizing processes, driving efficiencies, and reducing waste, enterprise technology caught on. Soon, big corporations in every industry began to see the application of ERP in their markets. Before long, a company wasn’t considered a big player unless they had big enterprise-level technology.
Fast forward to today, ERP’s value to business processes is even more well-known, finally breaking free of those large-scale companies too. With continuous advancements in modular solutions and cloud computing, small businesses have seen what ERP capabilities can do for their business.
How did these systems become so widespread? Companies who incorporate ERP give themselves the best chance at growth.
As more businesses adopt ERP systems, added features and functions make it a growth solution for nearly any company in any industry. For organizations that have not yet invested in an ERP system or stuck with a cobbled-together system consisting of new and old tech, they quickly learned what works and what doesn’t when suddenly every business became a remote workforce due to the pandemic.
If you’re one of those companies, it’s time to take a look at your growth strategy.
As we bring a year of uncertainty to a close, companies in virtually every market and industry are trying to figure out their next moves in this newly functioning economy. Surprisingly business technology adoption has been consistent because ERP with customer relationship management (CRM), and automation helped many companies stay afloat, pivot when needed, and even grow.
Now, businesses with enterprise technology find themselves in an unexpectedly and gratefully well-informed position to make forward-thinking strategic decisions for the next year and beyond.
How can ERP be your mechanism for business growth?
You become more customer-focused
With digitation, the business landscape is changing in every market. Technology and the pandemic have together and separately changed buyer behavior. Gone are the days of getting back to a customer in 3-5 business days.
Can your customers contact you using any of their chosen devices to get an accurate and actionable response? If not, why? If you’re not giving your customers a great experience when they do business with you, they will go somewhere else.
Modern ERP plays an essential role in strengthening your connection to your customers by:
- streamlining business processes for better service
- matching supply with consumer demand
- faster product delivery
- more accurate orders
- including CRM functions or integrations
- accessing information to serve your customers better
You get to harness artificial intelligence
The common concern is that the use of AI will replace humans, leading to widespread unemployment. However, AI’s real goal is to augment human efforts rather than replace them, and today, many repetitive human tasks can be done entirely through technology.
AI-powered ERP helps people make smarter decisions and work more productively without as many mistakes. This is especially true for routine accounting tasks and accounts payable.
An ERP system with artificial intelligence features allows you to automate complex business processes through intelligent data processing methods like data mining and big data analytics. By analyzing historical data and combining it with information from other departments, AI informs your decision-making processes with accurate risk assessment and forecasting to create efficient workflows with the resulting insights.
ERP integrated with AI delivers continuous efficiency improvement in various functions, including:
- report generation
- warehouse/ inventory management
- customer service
- process automation
You become a mobile workforce
In this era, instant access to information is the norm. People take their devices everywhere. Laptops and other connected mobile devices see less of the office today than ever before.
What’s not normal anymore is a 9-5 structured workday in many cases. Your workforce expects access to real-time company information and customer communications to do their work between caring for family, themselves, and their responsibilities. A company ERP accessible via a mobile app lets your staff send push notifications or create, review, and approve calendar events. They’ll have access to sales orders, customer relationship tools, or inventory numbers from their home office, backyard or grocery store.
Companies with on-the-go capabilities from their ERP keep an edge over their competition because their staff is more productive and satisfied, making customers happier. You also get a more accurate and convenient data capture process. With mobility, your teams can gather and key-in data as it happens, from wherever they are, at that moment, and without needing to return to the office to enter data.
You get Internet of Things (IoT) integrations
The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the connectivity of computers with machines and other “things” or systems. With no human involvement, IoT allows continuous connectivity to every sensor or physical device in a given network. For example, manufacturing equipment might have sensors that tell the ERP about a machine’s performance for the foreman to view in real-time and schedule maintenance as needed.
When combined, IoT and ERP offer a range of possibilities to gather, analyze, and process a vast amount of information through sensors for real-time insights into machine performance or production processes.
With fewer surprise malfunctions and shut-downs, IoT combined with ERP eliminates technicians waiting around for something to break and can instead focus on more value-added tasks.
A cloud-based solution is the right choice if you are a small but growing business seeking a technology that can grow with you. These are some of the most consistent ERP trends that have been around as options but continue to evolve into must-haves if you want to grow. You can expect these trends to shape the future of your customer relationships, business operations, and technology for years to come.
As a Sage Partner, e2b teknologies is a best-in-class provider to move your business to the cloud. Find out more about how e2b and Sage can transform your business and help you grow.