It’s Time to Expect More from your ERP Software in Australia
I am sure we have all been in a situation where we have heard someone comment: "we’ve always done it that way." It’s a seemingly innocent remark, yet should prick up the ears of a progressive CEO.
Even if it is not an expressed element of a company’s culture, the smaller, less obvious existence of complacency could still have a detrimental impact on a company’s overall performance.
"There is a strong tendency to get used to and accept very bad things that would be shocking if seen with fresh eyes." While this quote from Ray Dalio may be at the more extreme end of the spectrum, it does help to illustrate my point.
It may not be an act of avoidance, yet more of a case of familiarity which reduces a business’s capacity to recognise and correct their deficiencies. Therefore, if you have become so accustomed to your ERP software that you are not recognising the limitations it is placing on your business, then continuing with things the way they are may do more harm than you realise.
Take a closer look at your current ERP software
In this day and age, software should make your life easier, but in many cases it doesn’t, and for some companies this becomes the accepted normality.
If you are remaining with an underperforming system due to a perception that its complexity means you need to choose between functionality and data integrity–or, as a result of previous experiences which have led you to assume that all ERP software is much the same–then it is time to do something about it.
Think of the various limitations your current ERP system is placing on your operations and how this is having wider effects on your innovation, planning and problem solving.
When you work with underperforming ERP systems for long enough, it is only understandable that your approach to operational efficiency can be viewed through the lens of system capability, rather than true creativity.
A recent survey by Epicor and MORAR Consulting indicates that the majority of manufacturers expect to grow in the next 12 months. Yet only 11% experienced growth totally in line with their plans.
If you want to have more control over your growth, then you need software systems that provide the ability for you and your team to operate at the capacity of the business, not the capacity of your software.
Open the conversation
As we indicated above, when you have been working with an application for years, it can be difficult to notice the same deficiency that others with fresh eyes could. Therefore, you would be well served to capitalise on the opportunity to have new staff provide their recommendations and insights on your systems before they too become familiar with them. Additionally, if these new team members have come from comparable roles in the past, then they may also have valuable points of comparison which can add a lot of value to your process of continuous improvement and innovation.
As part of the same process, you should consider leveraging feedback from regular, experienced users too. These individuals will have a different perspective, which considered alongside the feedback of newer team members, may give you the very combination of insights you need.
A 2015 Telsyte report found that 66% of CIO’s believe their organisation takes advantage of less than half of the features of their current ERP system1. So, it is possible that with clarification of your requirements, and some open communication with your vendor, you may be able to improve your performance without changing software.
What this illustrates is that regardless of whether a change is necessary or not, you should identify what your needs and expectations are. Then, if you do identify a need to change, having undertaken this exploratory process can help you avoid committing to another ill-fitting ERP system.
When it comes to ERP software in Australia and New Zealand, there are a wide number of options to choose from. This, can feel like an advantage and disadvantage at the same time. With a need to consider elements such as support, integration, mobility, security, scalability, and many others, it is important to be methodical and systematic in your appraisal of potential new systems.
Think about the future
Aside from the functionality you need today, and the deficiencies that have become a real pain point with your current ERP software, you should consider how your potential new ERP system can be a real asset given your upcoming plans.
Will you be adding new locations? Will you require the flexibility to move from on-premises to the cloud? Will you begin selling online?
The last thing you want to do is select a new ERP system on the basis it is right for your business today, but not right for the business you aspire to be tomorrow.
This is therefore not just a process of identifying the right software application, it is about selecting the right vendor too.
If you are making a significant change to your business systems, you will want the peace of mind that comes from having the right partner. You should be confident that you will not only receive the required level of support and assistance through the transition period, you should also be confident that your partner will be committed to helping you get the greatest return on your investment in the years that follow.
So, yes, it is time to expect more out of your ERP software, because if you are going to grow, then you need the tools that will support you along the way.
Posted by Vince Randall, Regional Vice President, Epicor Software ANZ