There is no doubt that these are uncertain times. The dark clouds of recession are swirling on the horizon. Governments and businesses alike are cautiously exploring what a ‘new normal’ might look like, conscious that simply switching back to exactly how things were before is not an option.
The reflex reaction in such times can be to sit tight, to keep a close eye on the purse string and avoid rocking the boat.
But in fact, the spectre of recession should warn businesses to make ballsy strategic decisions now, in order to insulate themselves later. If the enterprise landscape is only going to become tougher then it is vital to build as much resilience as possible now. And investment in an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system can be a crucial part of such resilience. Here are some of the reasons why:
ERP systems reduce operational costs
A core principle of resilience in a downturn is ensuring your costs are as low as possible – and this, in turn, means ensuring as much internal efficiency as possible. Manual processes should be automated. Activities that do not add tangible value should be eliminated. So should duplication. It’s all about generating as much value as possible from the resources – both human and technological – you already have in place. And all this is exactly what ERP systems are designed to achieve.
ERP systems improve sales team productivity
Sales are the bedrock of your business bottom line. During a recession, actually closing those sales can be much more challenging, with individuals and organisations alike reluctant to part with large sums of money, purchasing cycles disrupted and many businesses pausing long-term strategies. As such, during a recession, it is more important than ever that your sales function is empowered with detailed, up-to-the-minute information on every customer and prospect. ERP systems, integrated with customer relationship management (CRM) systems, put this information at your sales team’s fingertips.
ERP systems improve customer service
Keeping revenues sustainable during a recession does not just depend on winning new customers – it also depends on nurturing the customers you already have. Your customer service function, just like your sales team, needs to have access to all information pertaining to a particular customer at the moment they get in touch. And, just like your sales team, it will benefit enormously from an ERP system integrated with a CRM system.
Another key aspect of customer service is ensuring that products or services are delivered to your customers accurately, efficiently, and with the highest quality standards, and this again can be supported by an ERP system. ERP software helps streamline manufacturing, warehousing, and shipping processes for businesses that sell tangible goods, and delivery models for businesses that sell services.
ERP systems improve staff utilisation
All of the efficiencies outlined here ultimately mean that ERP systems enable better allocation of your staff. It becomes easier to identify where more or less human resource is needed, so you can automate tasks which do not require human intervention, and allocate more staff to strategic, creative or complex duties that can genuinely give you a competitive edge. Doing so can not only set your organisation apart from its competitors in a fraught business landscape – but it can also enable you to preserve jobs during a downturn. This is good for staff and good for your reputation.
These are just some of the reasons why now could be the best time for your business to invest in ERP. To explore further, get in touch with Smart IT today.