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Enterprise Resource Planning

Systems for efficient operations

Businesses have multiple departments and functions in order to run properly.  The financial department needs to juggle invoices, payroll, cost of goods sold, marketing budgets and more.  The operational team needs to ensure that things are running properly and they have the parts or inventory on hand to do their job.  Human resources needs to make sure that the company has enough staff to meet the current operational needs and management needs to make sure that everyone can talk to each other.  The demands of daily operations leave little margin for error as an inventory shortfall can mean losing a contract, cash flow problems can lead to collections, and incorrect staffing can lead to high expenses or an inability to complete jobs. 

Coordinating across departments can be one of the biggest challenges an organization faces.  Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) can help ensure that departments can talk to each other, understand business needs, and plan for the future.  Without ERP a company is heavily reliant on their team to communicate efficiently and department heads to understand what is taking place outside of their area of expertise.  This leaves an opportunity for human error and is a risk that businesses should simply not take. 

Implementing an ERP program allows an organization to have smoother operations.  For example the program can manage the entire work flow process.  If you are a manufacturing and retail company, the system can manage your inventory, note when you are running low, ensure product is order and received, log inventory back into the system, track sales and paid invoices.  From the warehouse to the manufacturer to the sales and accounting departments, an ERP system can track everything.  The alternative is running spreadsheets and word documents in each department than having people email each other constantly.  Not having a robust system means a company will spend more money on payroll, simply due to a lack of efficiency.

ERP gives department heads, stakeholders, employees, and external partners the opportunity to communicate in a quick and efficient manner.  As an organization you can have an ERP put together in the cloud or on your network.  By supplying people with login accounts, you can keep the information secure while still effectively communicating.

Companies that want to provide different levels of communication depending on a persons role in the organization can look at two tier ERP.  This system provides more comprehensive and detailed information to executives and management while employees can see information that pertains to their role or level within he organization.  This is also an ideal solution for companies that have subsidiaries feeding into it.  Each division can have their own ERP, and operate independently, while feeding information into the corporate ERP system.

An ERP system can be designed on a variety of databases including: mainframe systems, Oracle or SQL server (Microsoft), IBM’s AS/400 platform, Win Tel platforms and more.  The decision on which system to use will highly depend on what you have in place currently and the various requirements for your individual ERP.  Your company may need to have specific design and system requirements in order to integrate with other vendors or clients.  For example Relevant is required for Department of Defence contractors, Encompix for engineer-to-order manufacturing, and DTR for plastics manufacturing.  The goal is complete integration that takes away the margin for human error. 

If you want to increase operational efficiencies in 2013 consider implementing Enterprise Resource Planning immediately.  You can purchase off the shelf products or have one customized for your individual companies needs.  Customization is ideal considering that each organization has aspects that make it unique.  Your ordering requirements will be different from someone elses, your customers will have unique needs and you may have certain reporting requirements for stakeholders.  A customized ERP can handle all of your business operational and reporting needs by ensuring that everything works smoothly together and each department can talk to each other. Your vendors, suppliers, and customers will benefit from integration with their systems which can cause a robust ERP to lead to an increase in sales. Not only will you save money but you have an opportunity to make more money in 2013 by implementing a new Enterprise Resource Management system.

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