The nature of life is that everything progresses. Consider the businesses of today vs those of yesteryear. Whereas previously, there was a man with a calculator who tallied up your purchases, today there are POS systems which monitor every transaction. Whereas once there were strictly ‘cash only’ tills and an ‘in-person-or-nothing’ shopping experience, today there are digital transactions and E-commerce in abundance.
Safe to say, the world we live in has become increasingly digitised and, as time goes on, this trajectory is only increasing. Look at the world around you. Banking. Communications. Finance. Even boardrooms and client meetings have embraced the concept of digitisation.
It’s no surprise then that Resource Planning and Inventory management have followed suit.
The past few decades have seen an exponential increase in smart, automated business software geared at enhancing operational efficiency. With the ideals of improved productivity and maximised profitability in mind, business evolution has necessitated a need to adapt to changes in market scenarios. As a result, most major brands have identified a similar need for automated, streamlined operations across multiple departments and functions.
The solution to said need? Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software. But, first off, what is ERP?
Contrary to popular belief, “ERP” is not just a sound you hear from a scared character on The Simpsons.
In its simplest form, an ERP is a system that unifies all areas of a supply chain into a singular, independently functioning entity. Said singular system can then, for example, effectively combine warehousing, financing and invoicing to run in a completely synchronised fashion with minimal human interference.
This concept is particularly useful in the food industry, wherein demand, supply and inventory refreshing are done at such a fast rate that Einstein with a high-speed calculator would struggle to keep up.
Take the fruit and veg sector, where the number of individual units at any given time is well into the thousands. Your ERP system can assess the number of said units in your warehouse and monitor their quantities accordingly. As purchases come in and this number decreases, the system automatically tracks how much remains and, once low enough, can detect when stock needs to be replenished.
You may think this is the point where a red alarm goes haywire and the warehouse manager runs back and forth in a frenzy, but you’d be dead wrong. Due to the entire supply chain being intertwined, the system itself can automatically send an Email to manufacturers requesting more stock. The fun part? Because this system is linked to all internal business functions, it can read your sales Data, assess the demand and order according to how many units the algorithm predicts your business will need.
Ultimately, the system is so comprehensive, it allows your entire supply chain to be effortlessly maintained, unified and operational.
It gets better. With ERP, everything can be automated, meaning goodbye to the days of late-night stock takes and hiring students to count pears. It also negates the possibility of running out of stock or being unable to meet customer demands due to someone in the chain doing their job too late. The system allows you to always remain on point with your inventory, ordering and processing alike. Better still? It can link up to your Data and provide comprehensive reports of your supply, demand, inventory, sales and ordering.
And no, we aren’t making this up, ERP systems are already a staple part of many a supply chain. We believe in it so much; we’re even advocating for it with Dynamics 365 Business Central.
How can ERP benefit my business?
Aside from the abundance of reasons outlined above (and the fact that saying “ERP” incorrectly is a guaranteed laugh), any business that requires a one-platform, all-encompassing solution can benefit from the software.
Modern ERP solutions add value across multiple supply-chain touchpoints. This is done by optimising efficiency between departments and facilitating responses based on real-time, quantifiable Data. Furthermore, an automated workflow at every step of the way will, naturally, drastically reduce operational overheads. You can also expect tangible benefits that include, but aren’t limited to:
- Complete transparency at every stage of the business.
- Effective forecasting, inventory and accuracy.
- The reduction of bottlenecks and procurement issues.
Most of all, a solid solution will allow your brand to maintain total control and ensure that customer demands are always met.
In order for your organisation to not just grow, but do so consistently, it needs to maximise the performance of its supply chain and logistical departments. Simply put, these are the foundations upon which your entire business is built, and a fault in the foundation has drastic knock-on repercussions at every stage of your business.
The key to maximising said operational efficiency is reduced costs, minimised wastage and enhanced, streamlined business functions – all fundamental aspects of any decent ERP system. In fact, the system is so integral to managing your internal (and, to a degree, external) performance that overall productivity, tracking and productivity can be entirely dependent on it. Synergy between your ERP systems and your supply chain as a whole provides your company with better management and, ultimately, a significantly higher ROI.
Which is, ultimately, what it’s all about. Right?