Spare Some Change? When Changing Your ERP System, Don’t Forget About Your Business Processes

Manufacturing BlogEvery business I’ve worked with has had to fit its processes into the restrictions of ERP technologies, and has had to bend applications’ rules in order to meet all its needs. But while making exceptions to the out-of-the-box rules may help your organization achieve what it needs, there’s a cost: taking steps offline or going through convoluted work-arounds creates one-off processes that drain efficiency and require additional resources.

If your organization is deploying or integrating new enterprise business software, don’t just settle for what’s on offer: ask for what you really want. Demand greater efficiency and support for innovative processes, and seize the opportunity to upgrade business workflows across the board.

The goal of an ERP system – and any new software you deploy – should be to streamline, simplify, and tie everything into a single automated flow. Any process, no matter how customized, is just a sequence of modules. The difference comes where modules are programmed to interact with each other instead of requiring user intervention every time. Development teams can make sure each module is set to automatically move on the next step unless there’s an exception to be handled, and then sequence the modules correctly.

Switching a critical business system such as an ERP system opens up a rare opportunity to build in automation and support for the processes you currently need and ones you’ll need later. But this is also true for CRM, PLM, and several other key software systems. In all cases, don’t just repeat the processes your company was using in its legacy system. Chances are they’re not the best ones for your business.

For your organization, the greatest advantages of implementing a new system might have less to do with the software and more to do with increasing your awareness of business processes, unleashing creativity, and optimizing workflows. Consider the example of Kenandy customer Big Heart Pets: cutting over to a new ERP system helped it drive a 45 percent reduction in IT costs while enabling mobile and integration improvements. Then ask yourself — have you been allowing the limitations of your legacy systems to dictate your business’s processes? Seize the opportunity to create a new, efficient “normal” for your business.

For more details, see my full article in Food Manufacturing.

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