If you’re a business owner or finance leader, you are probably familiar with Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software. It’s a unified business management solution that centralises disparate things like supply chain, financials, customer service and human resources along with other business processes and data. ERP solutions can bring about rapid ROI through efficiency gains and deep insights to yield savings right away.
But how are companies using ERP modules to achieve this? What role do different parts of the ERP system play in succeeding? Let’s explore a few common ERP use cases with hypothetical ‘before and after scenarios.
1. Financial Management
No matter how well a company does in customer relationship management and other business operations, it will struggle if it still uses online banking tools and a jumble of spreadsheets for financial management. Manually tracking purchase orders and customer orders is very time-consuming and error-prone. It can also put the business in a precarious position sometimes.
Let’s say a business goes on to invest in a financial management module that automates the recording of accounts payable and accounts receivable transactions. It also manages the general ledger. This module eases the staff accountant’s job, generating key financial documents like cash flow statements, payment receipts and balance sheets. AI is even used to avoid errors and fraudulent orders, leveraging machine learning to compare transactions to thousands of similar entries.
2. Inventory Management
Imagine a retailer whose operations team uses only physical counts tracked in a spreadsheet to monitor inventory levels. The warehouse staff have no confidence in this system and stock levels frequently run out because the company only orders more when shelves are almost empty. Fulfilment happens slowly because warehouse staff often struggle to find the right items.
Now imagine that retailer adds an inventory management module. This tracks and displays real-time inventory levels and provides updates on all stock that is inbound to the warehouse. Every day, at the start of play, an operations manager can compare available inventory to current sales data to identify whether any new purchase orders are needed. Additionally, more orders are fulfilled each day because the inventory management module gives staff the precise location of every item.
An experienced sales team at a distributor has grown frustrated with the processes needed to create quotes and sales orders. It has become difficult to keep track of prospects in the sales pipeline and identify the customers that are ready to reorder. The business wants to extend its reach to more potential buyers but lacks the tools to manage contacts, marketing emails and digital adverts.
An ERP module for sales and marketing introduces tools to turn quotes into sales orders in minutes. System-generated invoices can then be sent to customers. Sales and marketing teams can identify a customer’s progress through the sales cycle in order to determine the best next steps. Marketing tools empower the distributor to import lists and identify new prospects to target via emails and adverts across numerous channels. This leads to a 10% bump in annual revenue.
4. Purchasing (Procurement)
A manufacturer gets bogged down looking for suppliers and gathering quotes for raw materials. The quotes must be manually sent out and compared before a purchase order is sent out. Staffers frequently neglect to update the list of approved vendors as well as their contact information, leading to further delays in the process.
After implementing a purchasing module, the manufacturer rings automation into requests for quotes. All responses are stored in one place and purchase orders can be sent out in a few clicks. This saves a huge amount of time. The purchasing module maintains an up-to-date list of all suppliers and enables the manufacturer to instantly track the status of all outstanding purchase orders.
5. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
An industrial distributor finds that revenue hits a stubborn plateau as competition mounts. It wants to identify upsell opportunities for existing clients whilst simultaneously finding new customers. But the data for these groups is incomplete and inconsistent, so progress is frustrating.
The distributor brings in a CRM ERP module. Every time a prospect or customer completes a form on their website, the information flows to the CRM and a notification is generated to prompt a sales rep to follow up. Purchase histories are centralised for all customers, so they can be targeted with relevant products like new lines from certain brands or helpful accessories. When a customer raises a query about a product, a customer service agent can swiftly resolve the situation by easily looking at all previous interactions with that customer.
6. Human Resources (HR)
A small family business has undergone substantial expansion over the last few years. It still uses the same basic system as before to enable employees to clock in and out. This causes the owners to dread payroll because it is extremely time-consuming. All employee information is buried in spreadsheets and much of it is out of date.
The small business turns to an HR ERP module. Paycheques are generated automatically every fortnight and the owner simply reviews them for accuracy. This streamlines payroll and enables up-to-date storage of employee records like contact information, tax documents and employment forms. The tool also walks managers and employees through the processes involved in annual performance reviews. The HR software can personalise onboarding and training to quickly get new hires up to speed.
7. Supply Chain Management (SCM)
A retailer experiencing rapid growth is struggling to keep up with the spike in orders. Items end up shipping late and the returns are flooding in. The company has solutions for inventory and order management but it is becoming impossible to track POs, shipments and customer orders.
A supply chain management module helps bring organisation to purchase orders. It also helps monitor production and compare that to demand to prioritise orders based on when they become available. The module also helps speed up returns, enabling an associate to scan the returned items, record their condition and issue an exchange where needed. The business improves its efficiency and is better placed to maintain its growth.
8. Business Intelligence
A software company uses an ERP system for its accounting, customer services, human resources, sales and marketing and more. This is extremely valuable, but the company needs to be able to manipulate and present information in a better way to attract new funding.
They add a business intelligence module to turn data into smart graphs and charts. This helps determine the best industries to target with the software the company sells. They gain a stronger understanding of potential markets for their next solution. The business intelligence module even uses AI to forecast future financial performance based on a number of factors.
9. Project Management
A boutique consulting firm uses a rudimentary accounting system. The tracking of costs and resources for projects is key but has become tedious and complex as more clients come on board. Finding all this information is a big job and consultants are forced to help calculate project costs. Bills are frequently late and customers discover errors that damage confidence in the firm.
The company implements a project management ERP module to track all this information by the project. It shows the status of projects and also tracks assigned consultants, travel expenses, hours logged and all client communications. Each time a project reaches a milestone, the application auto-generates a bill and sends it to the client.
A B2B distributor decides to diversify to take advantage of D2C eCommerce. The company assigns the task of developing the new strategy to a few employees to determine the products that will be sold online.
The distributor decides to deploy an eCommerce ERP module to transform its information site into an online store. This module includes intuitive tools to enable the marketing team to list items, update product content and implement eCommerce trends as well as change the look and feel of the site. The eCommerce application is unified with the ERP meaning no integrations with third-party solutions are needed. All order, customer and payment data flows seamlessly into the ERP.
Why choose Eventura as your ERP implementation partner?
Eventura has been providing robust business solutions to countless organizations for over two decades. We are ERP experts and can identify all of your business needs, and deliver a comprehensive ERP solution that works for you.
As Sage 200 Partners and NetSuite Solution Providers, we can help you identify which solution will fit your business needs the best. Our expert team of business analysts, developers, consultants, technicians and support staff can guide you through your entire project, from initial scoping through to implementation and on-going support.
We’re also managed IT service providers meaning we can help you identify your entire IT infrastructure requirements from day one. If you would like to speak to one of our ERP experts to discuss your options or request a free demo, you can request a free call back here.