FUNCTIONALITIES OF ERP SYSTEMS

What exactly does an ERP system offer?

There is much talk about businesses implementing an ERP system to meet the growing needs of their organizations, and manage the complexities that come along with growth. But what exactly are functionalities of ERP and why do businesses need it?

Enterprise Resource Planning, abbreviated as ERP, refers to programs and systems offered to businesses that aid in their day to day transactional processes, business decision making, analytics, reporting, and customer relationship management among other things. In the past it was exclusively in the domain of giant companies that could afford the exorbitant price tags that came with the ERP implementation. Companies such as Nestle, Nike, Hershey’s, and Sony would routinely spend over a 100 million dollars to integrate and streamline their business processes and various branches all over the world. What did an ERP system offer that made it worth so much? We will discuss the major features and functionalities of ERP to shed light on it.

Financial Management and Accounting

The first most basic module in an ERP is that of accounting and financial management. An ERP software allows the employees of an organization to enter day-to-day transactional data and purchases. It provides a framework for the accounting data and transactions of an organization to be entered and updated on a daily basis, giving a real time, accurate financial reports. The company’s assets, liabilities, revenue, profits are all consolidated under one roof. The framework provided by the ERP software helps to standardize the accounting information and streamlines the process. It increases the efficiency of the accounting and finance department of the company and increases transparency of the organization as it allows management and employees to view the components that make up a financial figure. The greater accuracy and transparency helps both the internal and external stakeholders of the company to make business decisions.

Purchasing and Ordering

The ERP program enables companies to automate their purchasing process and optimizes the purchases. The ERP software helps in selecting vendors, planning purchases and managing orders. It integrates the data with other business functions like accounting and warehousing within the system and enables employees to have a detailed overview of their stocks and purchases. It enables the organization to make the best purchase decisions and thus save on costs. The vendor management feature of the module allows the organization to maintain steady supplier relationships. ERP helps to centralize the information and have real time reporting about the happenings of the business. It ultimately helps to make better informed buying decisions.

Warehousing and Production

Businesses can manage their inventory across various warehouses and locations with the help of an ERP software. Manufacturing companies can maintain optimal inventory levels and aids in material requirement planning and production order management. Export-import businesses can maintain optimal stock levels and improve on-time delivery – without experiencing shortages or being forced to maintain surpluses. The ERP program enables accurate inventory tracking and costing, giving managers a keener business insight. The greater efficiency due to the automation lowers inventory costs. The on-time delivery and fewer stock shortages increase customer satisfaction and help the company grow.

Customer Relationship Management

One of the most important features of ERP, this allows businesses to win new customers and increase customer loyalty. The customer relationship management tools help to optimize and integrate the company’s sales, marketing and support processes. The ERP program helps businesses to plan and monitor their marketing campaigns, and later helps to analyze the results. By analyzing the customer’s information, it helps companies identify the most promising prospects and convert these prospects into loyal customers. Efficient management of service contracts and warranties improves customer service times and increases satisfaction levels. The company can increase its sales revenue and look towards greater profits arising from more customer conversions.

Integrating Subsidiaries and Partners

Large companies often have multiple subsidiaries and partners, and intercompany transactions tend to increase business complexities. An ERP system automates, streamlines and integrates intercompany transactions and helps to prevent confusion and reduce errors in reporting. The automation increases organizational efficiency by saving time and effort that would otherwise be spent in manually processing and reconciling company data. The ERP system helps companies comply with governmental rules and regulations regarding inter-organizational transactions. The increased transparency in the reporting of intercompany transaction help to give an accurate picture of the overall performance of the business.

Analytics and Reports

The overall ERP system increases organizational transparency and gives a real-time accurate picture of the company’s financial performance and growth. The streamlined and standardized data enables employees to have a clear understanding of the company’s internal situation. The up-to-date data enables fast and accurate report generation for the company’s shareholders and management. The ERP software often helps in the analysis of business data and enables employees to make well informed decisions.

The standardization and integration of company information increases overall organizational efficiency. The greater transparency that results from the ERP system provides incentive to shareholders to continue their investments. The improved customer service helps to increase loyalty and gain new clients in the process. Overall, the implementation of an ERP system helps the company to grow and maximize its potential.

Contributor : Vidushi

CRM IS ESSENTIAL FOR SURVIVAL

In the age of the hyper-competitive, businesses that fail to provide exceptional services each and every time risk losing out to competitors

That is one of the reasons why CRM program sales have grown exponentially in the past few years. Even small and mid-sized enterprises will now splurge to ensure that they remain ahead of their competition. For companies that are still in two minds, the following benefits of CRM should quell their doubts, knowing a great CRM system is worth the investment.

Improved Customer Service
Customers today expect nothing less than the best when it comes to service. Companies are at greater risk, as one bad customer experience can unleash social media mockery from all corners of the world. Customers today expect a customized experience – long holds, several call transfers and unsatisfactory resolutions to problems are a surefire way to lose both current and potential clients.

A customer relationship management system enables you to identify your customer, know their past purchase history and experience and quickly address their questions and concerns. It allows the service team to recommend products and services that match each individuals’ profile. Customers enjoy better service with fewer hassles and the company benefits from more happy and loyal customers.

Increased Interdepartmental Integration
With a CRM system the sales, marketing and customer service department are able to freely and easily exchange important information about business strategies and processes. The increased collaboration leads to better interdepartmental coordination and creates synergy within the company. This helps achieve organizational goals faster and more efficiently. With a CRM system, all the departments are able to function as a cohesive unit. The three way approach helps to give customers a better experience, convert more leads into sales, and increase company revenues.

Streamlines Functions
In sales, marketing and customer service areas, there are often many formalities that need to be done and recorded. Keeping customer records up to date, scheduling and tracking follow ups to clients, general record keeping about customer inquiries, complaints and resolutions are some of the critical, but often mundane tasks that employees need to complete. A CRM system enables the staff to quickly record data, and automates the follow ups, and customer records. With all the mundane tasks out of the way, the marketing team can focus their energy and efforts on creating impactful campaigns and the sales team can focus their efforts on converting prospects into loyal customers.

Aids in Marketing Campaigns
A CRM system can quickly analyze available data about individuals and identify the most promising prospects among them. The marketing team can identify their target market and design a campaign to convert them. The CRM program enables employees to plan and monitor their campaigns and analyses the effectiveness of their efforts. By allowing businesses to focus on their most promising segments, and fine tune their marketing strategies accordingly, a CRM system generates greater returns and reduces costs. Time, effort and money that would otherwise have been spent on marketing to individuals who would not become customers is thus saved.

Analysis and Reporting
The CRM program integrates customer and sales data and houses it in one place. This reduces data redundancy and allows the program to track and analyze the buying behavior of each customer. Thus when time comes around for a new product purchase, the CRM system enables the sales team to swiftly swoop in and ensure the customer remains loyal to the company. Additionally, companies have an automatic view of which products and services are selling well and which ones are not. Managers have a clear view of the overall sales and services performance of the company. It also allows them to identify the most and least efficient staff members and helps the HR department when time comes around for bonuses and pink slips.

To rule the market, it is essential that you treat your customer like a king. A customer relationship management system enables companies to focus on their customers and provide the best service to them. The data analytics gives staff an overview of each customer and help them to deliver personalized and customized experience to each and every client. The automation and efficiency afforded by the program gives the marketing and sales departments the ability to create and execute impactful campaigns that will ultimately increase the bottom line of the business.

Contributor : Vidushi

 

BAD CRM CAN KILL (COMPANIES)

With the advent of the social customer, businesses nowadays have to be far more careful in their interactions with buyers. One miffed customer can spell a PR disaster for companies.

Socila media Expand ERP

When Jeff Jarvis bought a Dell computer which soon malfunctioned, his repeated calls and mails to the customer service were met with either stony silence or unhelpful automated responses. Becoming disgruntled with the service, he wrote a scathing review on his blog, entitled “Dell Hell” that was shared widely across the internet. Around 10,000 people saw the post each day and shared their equally negative experience with the company. The top management only took notice when the story was shared in the mainstream media – almost too late. The company quickly jumped into action to assure Jarvis and the other bloggers that the matter would be fixed as soon as possible; however, the PR damage was done. In 2006 the company announced that it would be spending $100 million and ‘a lot of blood, sweat and tears’ to fix the issue. A costly disaster to say the least.

In today’s world, where each and every disgruntled customer may lead to a public relations disaster for a company, it becomes essential for businesses to deploy a smooth customer relation management program. To survive in this social setting, a solid CRM system is vital.

A good CRM system gives companies the following key advantages:

  • Allows customers to have seamless interactions with relevant persons in the organization to answer their queries and issues
  •  Gives greater automation to routine processes saving valuable time and resources for the company
  • With data analytics, it enables companies to predict their most valuable potential customers – and ensure optimal contact to secure their loyalty
  •  Creates a faster, more efficient customer relationship system
  •  Increases word of mouth publicity and sales

Had Dell employed a more thoughtful approach to their CRM strategy, perhaps it may have been able to save its blood, sweat, tears and money.

Contributor : Vidushi

How to choose the right ERP?

Choosing among the various ERP options can be a daunting task. With a large number of vendors and options, businesses need to be careful and choose the system that best suits them.
 The right ERP program can boost the organization’s productivity, lower operating costs and set the company on a path of growth.
The plethora of options available need to be carefully assessed to decide on the most suitable system for their needs. The following are some key aspects to keep in mind when weighing your choices: 
Have a specific, concrete list of requirement 
The foremost task for businesses should be to list out their requirements of the ERP system. The enterprise should pinpoint the current challenges and issues it faces, and how it expects the ERP system to solve it.
The company should identify the specific business processes and key functions required. If the organization already has a system in place and is looking for a new system to match its needs, it should identify the key issues and problems of the current program and voice their concerns to the ERP vendors.
Optimally, companies should opt for ERP programs that address the industry specific needs. Having an extensive ERP system where the majority of the components are not used by the organization is a waste of organizational resources. The functionalities required by the business need to be specified in advance to target the most suitable ERP providers.
Technological requirements and Compatibility
The companies must consider options that are compatible with their business and resources at hand. It should note if the ERP program requires additional hardware, servers and IT related investments. If the company needs a system with their current technology it should opt for vendors that cater to their specific need.
For instance, the majority of small and mid-sized enterprises use computers that run on a Microsoft operating system, and frequently use Word, Excel, Access etc. for business purposes. For these companies, a .NET ERP program would be compatible with their current system and integrate well with the existing framework.
Cost of ERP and Payment Options
The company must consider the options that are within their budget. The cost of implementing the ERP is an important consideration. Some key questions would be whether the ERP deployment requires large upfront payment or investment or does the vendor offer a pay-as-you-go, monthly or yearly subscription option. Another issue to keep in mind if the cost of updating the ERP when the subscription runs out. Businesses should choose programs that are scalable and can be altered as needed to suit the needs of a growing business.
Accessibility and User-friendliness
Businesses must be clear on how much accessibility they want to allow their users. Typically onsite ERP systems are very restricted in nature and can only be accessed within the premises of the office. Cloud based systems allow users to access the data from any part of the world using their web browser. Businesses can choose between an onsite, cloud or a combination ERP system.
A key aspect to consider is the user friendliness of the ERP software. Would employees require extensive training to use the program or is the ERP system intuitive and easy to use? The cost of training employees and the additional time required must be considered. The highly competitive nature of the current business environment requires the company data be accessible by users through the computers, mobile devices and tablets. In order to maximize the benefits of ERP and increase productivity companies should choose a program that would be compatible with multiple devices and operating systems.
Implementation and Customization
The organization must consider how long a particular ERP system take to be successfully deployed and fully functional. The implementation process and the time frame must be considered. Onsite ERP programs take an average of 12 months to be implemented whereas cloud based programs take approximately 3 to 6 months. Typically, the greater the customization of the program, the longer the deployment period. Additionally a highly customized program costs more, not only initially but each time when the program is renewed and updated as well.
A highly customized system would address the need to the enterprise better but would require more time to tailor, implement and cost more. It would also take additional time whenever the program is renewed and updated as the customisation have to be re-done. The companies need to strike a balance between the additional benefits of a customized program and the greater costs and time lags associated with it.
Vendor reputation and Support
Often not discussed but an important matter nonetheless is the vendor’s reputation. Is the vendor known to deliver upon his promises and are former and current clients satisfied with the services provided? A business may ask for references to clients in the same industry to obtain feedback about the vendor’s product and services.
The services offered by the ERP provider are another important aspect to consider. The enterprise needs to evaluate the support system of the vendor and the promptness of the support staff in addressing and rectifying issues that may arise with the ERP program.

A business must carefully weigh all key aspects and optional before choosing an ERP solution. It must be ensured that the system needs the requirements of the enterprise and is well suited to the organizational objectives.


Contributor – Vidushi 

BENEFITS OF CRM – Can a CRM system provide your business the boost…

Can a CRM system provide your business the boost that it needs to deliver the best to your clients?

Customer Relationship Management is essential. Companies are now subject to scrutiny from various governmental bodies. However, the most important scrutiny does not come from these institutions – it comes from potential and prospective clients. Here how to get these benefits of CRM.

What can a company do to alleviate a client’s doubts and suspicions? Ensure efficiency and expectation fulfillment of
every single consumer. A CRM system helps you manage your customers so you can provide world class service and have happy and satisfied clients.

A CRM system automates the ordering process, giving the buyers a smooth, hassle-free experience with the company. It saves time, both the customers’ and the employees’ and money by having a fast paperless order trial. All the business functions that are involved in the ordering, tracking, delivering, customer service and accounting process are made seamless with the implementation of this efficient system.
 
With an efficient CRM system, your business can look forward to the future:
 
1. Faster ordering process
2. Automated communication system
3. Real time order tracking
4. Seamless data integration
5. Significant time saving
6. Greater efficiency
7. Increased customer satisfaction
8. Faster company growth
 
Expand your business, generate greater leads, fulfill more orders and ultimately increase your revenue and profits. A CRM system ensures happy customers and happy shareholders. 
Contributor – Vidushi 
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