05/02/2015

By Benoît Gruber, VP Corporate Communication, Sage Enterprise Market Europe & Sage ERP X3

As a mid-sized enterprise, you’ve likely spent the last couple of years making sure your Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution is properly understood and utilized by your employees. You’ve done the research and have chosen the ERP solution best for you business. You’ve taken the time to train employees new and old about what exactly ERP is and how to use it. You’ve experimented with tools you’ve never used before. And you’ve gained insights from dashboards.

Now that your organisation’s ERP solution is up and running, it’s time to up the ERP ante to get results that your corporation can use to assess all parts of your business, forecast trends or demand, exercise control of operations, and best position your company for growth. Here are a few items that can help take your ERP solution to the next level and solidify ERP as the backbone of your IT system:

Utilize your “black box,” ERP assessment tools
As of late, eager, saddened eyes have been focused on the black boxes holding valuable knowledge from the unfortunate loss of the Air Asia and Malaysian Airlines passengers and planes. The black box is the one tool that holds the answers to thousands of questions – how the plane works, what systems went wrong, and what can be learned in order to improve. For a business, ERP should function like their “black box.” ERP is not a rigid system but the backbone of a company’s IT system that services the strategy of the business. Your ERP solution holds your companies’ valuables and secrets – it’s all in ERP dashboards. If you aren’t already, invest more time into reviewing these reports. By doing so, you can stay ahead of trends and turn insight into action. Intuitive ERP solutions provide search capabilities – use them to eliminate clutter and focus on what is most relevant in the task at hand.

Share knowledge across all teams
Insights gleaned from your ERP solution’s extensive reporting shouldn’t be kept hidden from employees. This reporting should be assessed and shared among teams, from new hires to executives. A united organisation that is up to date on current processes and long term goals builds a cohesive team aligned with a common mission. With ERP at their disposal, employees can gain insight into what is going on throughout various sectors of the business. They can monitor orders and stock, allowing them to understand budget and forecast accordingly. By distributing these easy to understand reports, staff can better understand how their efforts are helping the business run. With more eyes assessing such reporting, new ideas are bound to arise that can simplify processes or build a better offering.

Weed out older processes

Even if your ERP solution is up and running, you may have outdated processes in place that are wasting time, resources and money. To holistically assess ERP results, take a step back and look outside the ERP solution. Are there tasks or employees functioning outside of your ERP solution? New processes can take time to perfect, especially after years of fulfilling a task in a different way. Try reaching out to employees in various departments to see how they are adapting to the ERP solution. When possible, evaluate if there are any processes currently implemented that ERP can simplify or that aren’t being tracked accurately within your ERP solution. As users become more comfortable using the ERP solution, the more they will use it, resulting in greater efficiency for the company.

Make it personalised
Your ERP solution likely has the functionality to offer easy personalization for employees based on their role within the company. Taking the time to organize your ERP in lists or tabs, move pertinent information to the top of the page, hide unused fields, and create shortcuts to most-used sections will result in access to the information that each role requires. This offers users a personalized platform for your employees to easily manipulate and use to their preference. With simple training, executives can share how individuals can make these adjustments to help run a smoother business and obtain desired results. Companies can add supplementary personalization to their ERP solution by looking into what modules and add-ons are available that will provide additional value.