Digital transformation is the integration of innovative, digital technologies into all areas of a business to improve the customer experience and core operations. It’s about finding new ways to generate value and promote overall business efficiency.
Setting the Stage for Digital Transformation
To build a cognitive enterprise, it’s important to upgrade your business landscape. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software is used by many organizations as the foundation to advance their digital progression. Well-configured ERP software can help organizations drive strategic change and integrate cutting-edge technologies.
ERP systems are both generic and industry-specific. For manufacturers to effectively take advantage of innovative technology, a manufacturing-specific ERP is needed. Manufacturing ERP manages all business and manufacturing operations to include staff, resources, and inventory, and it promotes collaboration through integration.
ERP software incorporates all business data into one database providing every department with a single reference point to eliminate data silos. Manufacturing ERP manages, automates, tracks, and connects every step in a dynamic manufacturing process, from receipt of a customer order to shipment of the order.
Covid-19 Helped to Propel Digital Transformation
Covid-19 has forced massive changes in industries around the globe. Business innovation is more prevalent today than it ever has been largely due to the pandemic. Many organizations have adjusted their strategies to incorporate digital technology to succeed in today’s business environment. Innovating business operations with a modern ERP system allows companies to take advantage of new technologies to be more competitive.
7 Signs It’s Time for You to Choose a Modern ERP
- It takes employees too long to perform their tasks
- You need mobile access to information
- You can’t keep up with changing regulations
- You have disparate data from poorly integrated systems
- You can’t get critical data fast enough
- It’s becoming difficult to meet customer demands
- Support is costly and hard to get with your current system(s)
7 Ways Cloud ERP Helps Drive Digital Transformation
There are two types of ERP systems that are most common – on-premise and cloud. On-premise ERP works on a company’s servers and is maintained by their IT staff. Cloud ERP is hosted on the vendor’s servers and is accessed via a web browser.
Cloud ERP has become important for digital transformation since it is more agile and allows the utilization of Industry 4.0 technology to include IoT, AI, Big Data, and Machine Learning. Below are the components of Cloud ERP that help with innovation, transformation, and that provide a competitive advantage.
- Security – Data isolation architecture in the cloud is secure and enables faster data access. A multilayer approach for security protects your most valuable asset – your business data.
- Interoperability – Cloud ERP helps you connect across the organization so there is collaboration between departments and everyone is using a single source of data. It can also integrate with other applications that may already exist in your organization or that you may add as your business scales.
- Configurability – With Cloud ERP you can set up the system to work the way it makes sense for your business. You can have your processes, collaboration methods, and documents configured to suit your needs. Digital technologies such as IoT, AI, and Machine Learning can be integrated to increase efficiency and productivity in your manufacturing operations.
- Usability – Cloud ERP has an easy user interface so it is simpler to get up to speed on the system, and implementation is easier and faster so there isn’t the need for IT staff to be involved much, if at all. Updates and maintenance are also handled by the vendor, eliminating the need for assistance from in-house IT staff.
- Globalization – Businesses are entering global markets and expanding into new geographies and ERP is needed to support country localizations and multiple subsidiaries. Modern cloud ERP enables seamless data sharing across operations, business units, and global enterprises.
- Analytics – Cloud ERP provides powerful analytics so you can view in real-time how different areas of the business are performing. You can also try various predictive outcomes to help with forecasting. It supports all types of key performance indicators (KPIs) so you can measure tasks, quality, cycle times, and more.
- Agility – Cloud ERP helps to streamline workflow and provides fast access to the data you need to make quick, yet accurate decisions. It provides mobile access so your staff can work on the move, whether it be from another location on the plant floor, at a customer site, from an airport, or at home. It allows your business to scale and add more user licenses or modules as your business grows.
The process of ERP selection, evaluation, purchasing, and deployment takes time and effort. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach with ERP. However, if you want your company to transform digitally, Cloud ERP offers the best platform to help you innovate.
Key Capabilities of Future-Ready Manufacturing ERP
If you are a manufacturing business and are considering implementing a new ERP system to help with digital transformation, you will need it to have some key features to ensure you are future-ready. Below is a description of each.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a technology that connects any device to the Internet and other connected devices. With the right level of integration and monitoring, IoT acts as a bridge between the IT infrastructure and the physical assets of an organization through connected, embedded devices and sensors that produce, relay, and share actionable data. Cloud ERP and IoT allow manufacturers to access greater amounts of information to help with business intelligence, inventory management, product development, and customer service.
Connected services provide the ability to utilize vendors anywhere in the world. With this capability, you can expand your supply chain and offer surplus goods or items that are no longer produced on sites like Amazon, Facebook Marketplace, or with other vendors that have connected services. You can also reach out to vendors you don’t normally use, when sourcing supplies, to get more bids and better rates.
Connected services allow you to do everything electronically which makes processes faster and more efficient. An ERP system should be able to integrate with a connected service application without any additional coding and your ERP provider should stay current with the technical needs of the latest connectors.
Machine Learning and AI
Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are technologies in ERP that help to provide predictions, report on trends, and identify deviations. It notifies you about suppliers, predicts cash flow, and provides detailed customer history information, among other features.
Event Broadcast Services or Social ERP
Social ERP tools promote collaboration and communication among departments and employees similar to social media platforms. With social ERP you can follow clients and it will notify you if something out of the ordinary occurs. It will also detect trends and alert you if anything seems suspicious such as a customer repeatedly buying and returning items. And, it can detect fraud if someone within the company does something out of the ordinary.
Today’s consumers like to have the opportunity to resolve service issues on their own. They prefer to use chatbots to communicate in automated interactions to quickly handle concerns. BoTs can provide around-the-clock service and have the ability to self-learn so they can improve their ability to assist customers. It’s important to find an ERP that has BoT capability with a built-in understanding of terms specific to your industry as well as self-teaching functionality.
Modern ERP software sets the stage for digital transformation. A Cloud ERP system helps to enable innovation, optimize resources, and streamline operations.
Modern manufacturing ERP allows you to evaluate the performance of resources, automate the plant floor, optimize inventory, and leverage data to promote strategic decision-making. It also helps you achieve insight into operations, improve the customer experience, and utilize the advancements of Industry 4.0 to digitally transform your business.
Good luck on your digital transformation journey and if you would like assistance, please feel free to contact us.