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6 tips to maintain ERP innovation during lockdown

26th May 2020,  Daniel Jones

The lockdown is one of those black swan events no one expected, and as a result, most people have hunkered down waiting for it to go away. That could be a big mistake – restrictions and disruptions could last for years. Even if they don’t, the lockdown has spurred many enterprises to embrace new ways of operating that were already on the way. Many are calling this a watershed moment.

Today’s biggest success stories operate and deliver any and everywhere; think of Amazon, eBay, Uber, AO or Google. Decentralised enterprises were already the most successful and have gained even more ground during the epidemic. Many employees were already working from their homes or their vehicles. These companies depend on Enterprise Resource Planning suites to optimise and monitor all their management processes and remote operations, and reap the benefits of low infrastructure costs and high flexibility.

Almost every business can embrace this model. Here are six tips to guide you safely down the ERP highway.

ERP recruitment

For obvious reasons, ERP recruitment is never a bad place to start. Getting the right people on board will help you make the right decisions about your ERP implementation later. If you are committed to an ERP future for your business, you should know that workers with ERP experience and ERP consultants are both in high demand. If the trend toward business decentralisation and remote working accelerates as predicted, that will become truer still. Workforces will also become more fluid, so plan to manage them with an ERP recruitment and HR suite.

Choose your package carefully

You don’t need to be an expert in software to choose the right package; you only need to be an expert in your own business. Choosing a package because a friend uses it or a salesperson recommends it is taking a big risk. Instead, you need to think hard about how your business works and create a list of all the features you need. Ask your department leaders to produce their own too. Compile them into a decision tree that will help you to narrow down the ideal choice with precision.

Always aim at avoiding duplication of labour and eliminating insular local information silos.

Customise your business processes

Compatibility with your existing processes and solutions (such as MS Office or Sage) will be an important factor, but keep an open mind about new ways of working. Customising software for your existing procedures isn’t the only approach: what if they can be improved? Be sure you check out the many possible applications that can potentially be included under the umbrella of your ERP system. Some options – perhaps RFID warehousing, automation or AI marketing – may give you new ideas.

Small steps

Building an entirely new way of working and implementing it in a single leap can be costly, time-consuming and risky. Therefore, break it down into distinct manageable phases, each of which will deliver an efficiency improvement in its own right. Each little victory makes it easier to take your company into the next, both economically and psychologically.

Never skimp on communications

Social integration is key to the success of many enterprise devolution projects. Many workers fear that remote working will bring isolation and a lack of recognition and support. Businesses can bridge those distances in a host of ways – great website resources, video conferencing, social media messaging – the more the better. Your workers will soon tell you what works and what doesn’t. You can also use your social media resources to provide new training opportunities.

Capture everything

Information is the lifeblood of digital businesses. In some ways, it is more valuable than cash – don’t waste it. All those telephone calls, emails, memos, inspections, offers, enquiries and sign-offs are as rich in information as contracts and invoices. The Cloud puts powerful archiving, data mining and analytics tools in reach of companies who thought they were too small to use them.

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