Aug 2017

Is your ERP system fit for purpose?

In the past, Enterprise Resource Planning Software (ERP) served the needs of employees, not other stakeholders such as partners, suppliers or customers. Systems of the past were also traditionally designed around departmental processes, rather than the customer. Therefore, despite these systems appearing up-to-date with enhancements and new versions, the truth is that they often struggle to totally dispense with their origins.

As new platforms appeared, they transformed the way in which companies delivered product support and information to customers. However, many companies have simply bolted-on e-commerce and content management systems. Customer data is often still spread across e-commerce, CRM, Marketing and other multiple systems of record. Making it very difficult to reward profitable customers, predict demand and ensure any repeat business.

Companies can spend huge amounts of money attempting to integrate these separate systems to support any omnichannel ambitions they may have. And whilst part-achieved, they often do not effectively serve today’s customers, who expect accurate inventory information, cross-channel order history and effortless and fault-free order execution. The results of trying to integrate disparate systems are mixed and may not allow for real-time visibility. Data transfers need to be done in batches and any software upgrades can also corrupt patched together integrations.

Addressing your core infrastructure is key. Every aspect needs evaluating so that you ensure a customer-centric model from the outset. Improving a customer’s experience is paramount and companies who centre around their customers and directly connect demand to a digitally-enabled supply chain are the undoubted winners.

In today’s world, and with the correct ERP system, a company no longer needs to physically own a product to sell it. If a retailer is aware that a vendor has inventory, it can take the order without ever holding the product itself. Regardless of any supply chain efficiencies this enables, great efficiencies are also gained from operating at scale.

Other benefits include:

  • Visibility into supplier and manufacturer inventory
  • Responsive, consistent customer service
  • Ability to track and evaluate customer buying histories, behaviours and preferences
  • Customer profiling and product recommendations for targeting

Achieving and delivering the best customer experience requires changes in structure, culture and IT systems. A modern single, integrated ERP system is an investment which keeps giving and puts your goal of providing your customers with a personalised and relevant experience across every channel within reach.


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