Warning Signs that you need to change your ERP

 

erp change

Blog Written By | ERPFocus

6 Warning Signs that ERP Change Is Needed

Your ERP system is the scaffold of your business. It connects and supports all aspects of company activity and culture, so any ERP change should be well informed and researched. This research should be done on a case-by-case basis, during which you should look out for these key warning signs.

Major Business Changes

Any large-scale changes to a business will affect the suitability of your legacy ERP system to business needs. In many cases, legacy systems just aren’t appropriate following a major business change. During mergers and acquisitions, the collision of different company cultures and activities make a necessity of ERP change. Equally, changes in market and location can be difficult to integrate into an ERP system that was implemented on past requirements and specifications. For a legacy ERP system to survive these changes, it must be adaptable.

Poor User Experience

Your workforce’s experience with your ERP system is crucial to its success. They are the day-to-day users, and if they are not happy with legacy systems, it will impact on their work and your company’s profitability. In order to gain support from the workforce, ERP change must strike a delicate balance between an intuitive product and an innovative product. It must begin to incorporate important user trends such as mobile and bring your own device (BYOD) support while maintaining ease of use and low training costs.

Lack of Compliance

Nothing may drive ERP change – and business change – more than issues of compliance. Meeting regulatory requirements consistently and efficiently is not just a matter of company culture, it is often a matter of law. The compliance of an ERP system is directly affected by its age.

Vendor Growth Hacking

Perhaps a non-traditional warning sign for ERP change, growth hacking can be a dangerous business when it comes to ERP. Growth hacking involves the change in company products or activity based upon current market trends. This is a great thing if executed well. If executed poorly it can lead to poor products and lawsuits. Growth hacking in the ERP market can take the form of acquisitions from ERP vendors and new product functionality. Both should be treated with caution. How well integrated with my legacy system is the new product/functionality going to be? Is it going to cost me more? Do I need it? All these questions should be asked. The answers may provoke ERP change.

Spiraling Costs

No list of business variables would be complete without the cost. If your legacy ERP is beginning to seem like an endless sinkhole for company cash, ERP change may begin to look like a cost-saving exercise rather than an outlay. Whether direct (upgrades, support) or indirect (the need for manual processes), legacy ERP costs have the potential to dramatically affect your ROI and profitability.

Low Vendor Activity

When your ERP vendor activity drops, alarm bells should ring. A ‘vendor silence’ – characterized by a lack of product updates and correspondence – can be a warning sign that ERP change is needed. Unless you have the support and regular updates from your ERP vendor, your legacy ERP will become outdated, leading to issues with compliance and user-experience.

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Construction ERP implementation: What to expect

construction erp

Blog Written By | ERPFocus

What to expect when you implement a new construction ERP

Typical management expectations associated with construction ERP systems range from “so what” to “wow, this is certainly going to be a lot different.” However, as a practical matter, when considering the technical side alone, implementing a construction-specific ERP is not much different from implementing any other ERP, although from then on, things become atypical quite quickly.

As a direct systems comparison, construction versus ‘vanilla’ ERP design tends to behave differently in two critical ways. The first relates to project accounting as the preeminent financial mechanism, and the other regards the holistic acceptance of “project management” processes as the guiding and subjective operational framework whenever a user deals with an internal/external resource.

These more esoteric characteristics also harbor discrete areas of interest, such as an ability to manage equipment and project labor elements simultaneously, and in real-time; and/or the direct integration and calculation of union costs throughout an entire project schedule. Consequently, construction ERP requires an alternative recognition of how things work end-to-end, and as a result, this impact tends to change one’s expectation matrix considerably.

That said, then, what should a user prepare for when shifting to a construction ERP?

Functionalities to expect

To start, it’s fairly important to understand just what elements are typically included in these platforms to give you a sense of what’s likely to come at you.

Recommended Reading: ERPFocus’s 9 step guide to implementation success. 

Integrated elements associated with construction ERP platforms typically encompass the following:

  • Administrative project management: Documentary and workflow papers that support an entire project infrastructure, in addition to the management, and indexing and storage of all RFIs, RFPs, drawings, and any other auditable materials.
  • Project execution: Direct control, development, and management of all resources and scheduling including; task milestones, task budgeting, and internal-project billing.
  • Service management:  Dispatch and manage all mobility-adept services and equipment assets in real-time.
  • Reports and analysis: comprehensive reporting throughout a given project infrastructure.
  • Labor management: Human resources lists, time cards, other relevant FTE or sub-contractor elements, in addition to end-to-end project productivity management.
  • HR and payroll: Automated time, tax, fringe, misc human resources processes, in addition to certification and union cost reporting.
  • Business development: Lead trapping, identification, indexing and outreach processes.

Again, note the priority of modules and their various orientations to the premise of ERP as a project-based operational value. In most vanilla systems the resources themselves typically drive the systems cart, while the modules simply support the value; but in the construction world, the overall project’s visibility represents the first and foremost guidepost throughout.

Consequently, many users who move from a vanilla system to a construction ERP have problems with this focus change, since if appropriate levels of data aren’t applied and categorized properly upfront, then the system cannot find necessary core elements downstream and ultimately fails to create meaningful information at the project reporting level.

How best to implement a construction ERP

This fix is simple, if not a bit tedious. Before you populate your platform with baseline data, at minimum, attempt to ensure you create a paper version of what your project will encompass, including all suggested project task dependencies such as; human resources, a complete matrix of task lists, all proposed project equipment, detailed cost analyses throughout, comprehensive project schedules, and anything else you can think of.

The goal here is to create a representative, and easily reviewed model that acknowledges and showcases every construction project component, and therefore, ensures that all of the necessary pegs are clearly identified, accounted for, and placed properly within the system’s operational framework.

The thought of leaving your legacy system behind can feel overwhelming, but the idea came about because our current system is probably not meeting your business needs. Dynamics 365 Business Central is an ERP solution that can grow with your business. It is adaptable, easy to use, and well, dynamic! Implementing a new ERP system with current and legacy data, customizing the system and modules to your needs, etc. is no small task. Contact allonline365 to help you through this process. Call us on  +27 (21) 205 3650 or email us on  info@allonline365.com.

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Looking at Warehouse Management in ERP

warehouse management

Blog Written By | ERPFocus

ERP for warehouse management

If you are a manufacturing company that engages in distribution as a sideline, simply as a means of delivering your manufacturing output to customers, then you are likely to be both appreciative of and possible overwhelmed by warehouse management functionality in ERP. On the other hand, if you are primarily a distribution company, then you likely know how and why you make money and, when choosing distribution software, will emphasize the features warehouse management that contributes the most to your operation.

Labor efficiency in warehouse management ERP

If labor efficiency is the key success factor in your distribution operation, you will want ERP to deliver a warehouse management system that has a robust capability to optimize pick-and-pack strategies. One strategy might be to simply minimize pick time, while another if space is limited and trailer turnover is critical, would be picking and staging complete orders most efficiently. The right warehouse management ERP should offer different picking options, allowing you to experiment and find the one that suits your company.

Levels of control

For some distribution operations, labor costs associated with picking, staging and loading a shipment are minuscule compared to the cost of an incomplete or erroneous shipment. Imagine that you were responsible for shipping the lighting and wiring kit for a new restaurant. The truck arrives on site, the wire is there, the light fixtures are there, the switches are there, the circuit breaker is there, but the electrical conduit…somehow didn’t get on the truck. The electrical crew just stands around waiting while the project manager desperately scrambles to postpone the arrival of the flooring and furniture, In this case, your warehouse management system needs to have strong controls and redundant verification loops.

  • Did everything for the order get picked up?
  • Did everything for the order get staged?
  • Did everything for the order get on the truck?

Bin Control

Another facet of warehouse management ERP is bin control and your required level of sophistication. When designing your controls for inventory control in ERP, you will learn that if you put generic inventory into a bin location, and then remove it in its entirety and ship it, you probably need a different level of bin complexity than if you remove 100 units of inventory from a bin, count out forty units for an order, and return sixty units to the bin. And that is a different level of sophistication from being easily able the forty-unit order, and return forty previously allocated units to the original inventory location.

At the end of the day, using warehouse management effectively within (or without) ERP is about emphasizing capability when it aligns with your business strategy and simplifying as much as possible the features that are not mission-critical. If you are not able to do this effectively, you may end up with a warehouse operation that is more complicated than you want without any additional benefits. If distribution is not your primary source of profit, then you may have to take what you get; the ERP package will be decided on for reasons other than warehouse management. If this is the case, be prepared to overman in the short term, and figure out how to automate in the long term.

Dynamics 365 Business Central, on the other hand, offers a wide range of modules for businesses to grow into. You can keep your finance, sales, operations, and warehouse management under control – all in one system. This adaptable ERP offers a wide range of benefits for small to medium enterprises. To find out more, contact allonline365 to speak to one of our consultants. Call us on +27 (21) 205 3650 or email  info@allonline365.com.

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