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Know Your Numbers

For any business eager to achieve strong growth and stay ahead of the curve, fast access to high quality information is key. With the right data within easy reach, you will be able to make timely, well-informed business decisions and stay a step ahead of the competition.

For many business managers, however, finding and making use of information that would produce the best decisions is not easy. Often the stumbling block here is disparate information systems. Financial data is held in one system, CRM in another and inventory and warehousing information is stored in another. Compounding this problem is the tyranny of lost documents, deleted emails and heads full of historical information disappear out the door when key employees leave.

The result of all this is managers who are forced to rely on gut instinct and incomplete information to decide what's best for the business.

But it doesn't have to be this way. With the right tools in place, business owners and managers can achieve the peace-of-mind that comes with knowing they're making the best possible business decisions - decisions based on information that's accurate, comprehensive and up-to-the-minute.

The right information when you need it

A robust, high-functioning ERP system is the ideal tool to ensure sound business decision making and support the attainment of strategic goals. The right ERP solution will give you the information you need when you need it, allowing you to steer your business, and its various operations, in the right direction.

If you're in the distribution industry, for example, a comprehensive ERP solution will give you visibility across your key business units, from financials through to warehousing, inventory, importing, job costing and manufacturing. This visibility will enable you to better discover and capitalise on opportunities, identify bottlenecks in your operations and enhance your ability to plan for the future. With all the key information held in a central location, sourcing the right information is simple. You can quickly produce the reports you need - with the parameters set by you, the user - and leverage the insights you gain to respond quickly to changing conditions.

Better customer service

And when it comes to customer service, the right ERP system will give your business a shot in the arm. No longer will you have to rummage through documents, emails spreadsheets and handwritten notes before you can give your customers the information they've requested. Your ERP solution will give you the information you need, accurately and in an easy to comprehend format.

You will also be in a better position when it comes to anticipating customer needs. The right ERP system will tell you what items any given customer buys, what items they've stopped buying, the price points they're comfortable with and how they prefer to place and receive their orders. By integrating finance functionality with sales, inventory and warehousing, you will gain a 360 degree view not only of your operations but of the behaviours, preferences and needs of all your customers. And by being able to know what's in stock, what's on its way in what customers have ordered, you will no longer find yourself carrying stock that can easily become a burden rather than an asset.

Reporting the ERP way

Reporting also becomes more meaningful and useful with an ERP system. Because you're able to pull together information from your various business operations, you will be able to gain insights that simply aren't easily available with disparate systems. An ERP solution will allow you to perform, for example, profit forecasts and analyses that take into account all the factors that go into ensuring a healthy bottom line. Using ERP, inefficiencies such as slow moving stock, excess/inactive inventory or inadequate purchasing and sales processes can be brought to light for you to act on.

A bonus of an ERP system is that all of the above can be achieved without manually re-keying data, which can be, and often is, a costly burden for any business. Once the information is entered into the system - whether it's to do with finance, inventory, warehousing or manufacturing - it's there for all to see and make valuable use of.

The foundation for future success

Put simply, an ERP solution is a success-building machine, particularly in the current business environment. Today's business world is becoming increasingly fast-paced and data-driven - factors that are fuelling the ever-rising expectations of customers. The right ERP system will not only address your current business needs but also lay the groundwork for your future prosperity.

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