The productivity and efficiency of any organization can be boosted or slowed by its enterprise resource planning (ERP) setup.
A recent whitepaper (registration required) by Supply Chain Management Review and Columbus offers some best-practices to bring your ERP solution up to top speed.
Though certainly there are more than seven ways to do this, these provide a great place to start. Certainly, seven is considered a magical number in some circles. At the very least, it provides a manageable starting place. Here's a quick review of the tips cited by the experts.
Make ERP a strategic conversation: Of course, the IT department is the one facilitating and managing your ERP system, but to achieve a strategic alliance between technology and business to meet the company's goals, the ERP system needs to be understood and supported by the company's leadership. Integration is vital. Involving board members and executive in the ERP lifecycle will lead to active and productive communication between the IT and business departments.
Help your ERP system evolve: We all know evolution is important. Keeping productivity and process improvement in continuous evolution is paramount. Enhance your ERP system's infrastructure with the latest innovations and new technologies, e.g. social media, mobile, cloud, and big data. As your company grows and changes, your ERP system will change to support the organization's new goals and objectives.
Take full advantage of mobility: We live in the era of mobile devices, which are impossible to ignore. One of the most recent developments allows ERP systems to connect to mobile applications. This in turn changes the way people work. Making the ERP systems available on teams' mobile devices is particularly useful to those providing service at remote locations or managing on-site projects. Any operational data they enter is reflected in real-time in the ERP system, resulting in agile customer service and overall performance.
Align the solution and training with user needs: Automation enables productivity. Training employees in ERP will help them get their work done more efficiently and accurately by eliminating unnecessary manual steps and inefficient processes. In time, ERP users' roles and responsibilities may change. This will only mean alignment between the ERP solution and the evolution of user needs.
Understand and address potential risks: Thinking your ERP solution could suddenly stop working may be the worst possible nightmare. You need to have a recovery plan. This plan will vary according to whether your ERP is on the premises or in the cloud. Either way, make sure you have technical support that responds to your business needs. Include backup and application protection in your annual ERP planning.
Establish a data management plan: The value and quality of your business data rely on data cleansing (periodically reviewing your data and resolving errors, obsolete codes, duplicates, etc.) data archiving (to keep your ERP running smoothly), and continual monitoring. This may seem obvious, but make sure your data cleansing and archiving practices are constantly monitored and adjusted.
Harvest the transformational opportunities of ERP: An ERP solution can transform your business. With the help of mobility, social media, the cloud, and big data linked to your ERP system, your organization can become a connected enterprise ready to discover opportunities that will lead, undoubtedly, to outstanding business success.
Supply Chain Management Review also offers the following quick checklist of best-practices to keep your ERP tuned:
Ensure that you have an executive sponsor for the full lifecycle of your ERP system.
Evangelize the strategic role of ERP among company executives.
Set regular intervals to measure and refine your solution.
Keep up to date with technological innovations to enhance the ERP system.
Create an annual budget and plan for continuous improvement.
Identify effective solutions to connect mobility and ERP in your sector.
Assess the productivity opportunities in your mobile operations.
Audit ERP users and provide focused, practical training as necessary.
Provide for remedial and targeted training in your annual ERP budgeting and planning.
Assess whether the technology environment supports your ERP solution goals.
Implement a support strategy to meet your company's long-term ERP requirements.
Define and execute a data archiving and data management strategy.
Include data cleansing in your regular review of your ERP system.
Monitor and tune your data management practice to fit your business needs.
Develop a corporate plan to capitalize on your ERP-facilitated culture of success.
Involve key contributors in communicating opportunities for business transformation and innovation.
Let us know your strategies for making the most of your ERP system. What's your biggest challenge?
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