Nobody said running a business was easy. To be successful, your processes need to work in total harmony – or productivity suffers. Software is no exception. If you fail to align your systems, you waste time, frustrate employees and throw money out the window.
Don’t spin your digital wheels and wonder where things fell apart when a project takes a turn for the worse. Consider these three tips designed to help you reach your productivity peak.
1) Look for warning signs.
Audit your processes and look for efficiency “warning signs.” Are you unable to generate accurate reports every time you pull data? Do you have access to inventory, orders, credit checking and other key data in real time? Are you seeing redundancies in data entry or multiple users touching the same data multiple times with no added benefit?
If any of this sounds familiar, it’s time to make a change. Untimely or inaccurate data access often results in poor inventory control, missed orders and even sales at an unfavorable profit margin. User redundancy leads to employees spending more time entering data than analyzing it. All of this, in turn, affects your business’ productivity – and bottom line.
2) Avoid fragmentation.
Often, businesses with specific data needs create their own systems using databases or spreadsheets. While this might provide a solution in the near term, it ultimately isolates information from other processes. Data integration is key. Fragmented systems lead to duplicate information and redundant entries as employees working with different data sets attempt to collaborate. When an employee updates his or her database, it leaves other employees in the dark. If users don’t ensure that they’re working off of the most up-to-date version, errors and/or overlap occur.
Similarly, some businesses use different software solutions for different areas of operation, leading to disjointed processes and lost productivity. For instance, many business owners rely on QuickBooks® for financials while tracking inventory and purchasing in an entirely separate program. They don’t realize that there’s software capable of integrating all areas – that is, until something falls through the cracks and a mistake has been made.
If your business creates its own system every time a new process enters the fold, think about backing away from that strategy in favor of a more integrated approach.
3) Consider ways your ERP can help.
Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software is designed to integrate every business process, optimize management and workflow and, ultimately, boost efficiency. It manages every arm of your business from a central location, facilitates real-time data reporting and ensures that all systems work in alignment.
If you are currently using an ERP system and encountering problems, make sure your team is well-versed on how to use the software and fully aware of your operational objectives. If challenges persist, consider new software that might be better suited to your business’ needs.
Scale and focus are important here. Not every ERP works for every company. Research offerings thoroughly and pick a system that best answers your particular needs. For example, Microsoft Dynamics™, a leading offering, is available in four versions. Each version is designed with a specific operational environment in mind and creates efficiencies specific to that environment.
Achieving total process optimization and reaping the productivity rewards doesn’t happen overnight. Your business needs a well-thought-out strategy and must undergo trial and error to arrive at the place you want to be. Nonetheless, mistakes shouldn’t be the outcome of cumbersome or redundant systems. Think about your operations and make key changes now to mitigate big problems later.
Considering implementing an ERP software solution? Schedule a free 30-minute consultation today and get 10 tips for success!