An enterprise resource planning (ERP) system is rarely the first thing that springs to mind when considering boosting sector growth and the economy, and yet that’s precisely what the right ERP system can do. Over the past few years, ERP platforms have evolved to become increasingly customisable and relevant to specific sectors – providing the tools and strategic capabilities that niche organisations and industries need to function effectively.
In the consumer packaged goods industry (CPG), McKinsey believes that while ERP systems remain the backbone of the organisation, it’s by leveraging the right architecture and customised processes that the sector will see true value. The company also believes that ERP is fundamental in transforming general and administrative structures within smaller organisations , being a key to unlocking the treasure chests of bottom-line savings and long-term efficiency. It’s also a powerful tool that can be combined with other architectures and solutions to transform competencies within eCommerce.
“The business should always see ERP as a foundational system, one that sits at the core of the organisation,” says Stephen Howe, co-founder and director at Times 3 Technologies, a local IT company that helps people and business using intuitive cloud software through Sage. “With a stable and agile core, companies can deftly manage financial, distribution and manufacturing requirements, and gain the added benefits of visibility and insights that can be used to improve decision making.”
The challenge which many companies face is that their unique vertical has unique complexities that are rarely addressed in a standard ERP platform. They have cobble architecture until it almost delivers what they need. This has been a common problem which has negatively impacted companies within specialised sectors, changing the dynamic of the ERP conversation from one about technology to one about business functionality.
“ERP systems need to fit the enterprise, properly, as that’s the only way the business can benefit from the insights and value from their ERP investment,” says Howe. “This will then allow for the enterprise to leverage this investment to achieve measurable results and drive innovation and growth.”
ERP can be used to standardise processes across all companies and operations, putting all information within one centralised database and providing access to this information from a central dataset. This then allows for the business to accurately measure their key performance indicators (KPIs) against strategy, and use them to inform decision making. The right ERP system can also improve process efficiency and increase productivity as it’s been customised to fit the business.
“An ERP solution with inbuilt business intelligence capabilities provides decision makers with data that can be sliced and diced to deliver insights throughout the business,” says Howe. “It should also be flexible enough to address specific areas of the business that may not be part of the standard functionality. Again, a customisable solution allows for the business to continually evolve and optimise so that process efficiency and productivity are always on the increase.”
As IDC points out, the right ERP system is proven to enhance business value. It’s a digital foundation that needs to evolve and adapt to changing markets and unique business requirements, creating a digital core that’s invaluable in this age of information where digital strategy defines enterprise success, and the future is proven to belong to those companies that centre digital in their conversations, strategies and planning. This planning needs to ensure that investment is into the right technologies, those that can be customised to suit specialised business requirements to cement success into the very fabric of the organisation.
Times 3 Technologies, a Sage Platinum Partner, would agree as the market leader in providing companies with one of the strongest performing, fully cloud-connected solutions on the market. Sage X3 is designed to deliver efficiency, flexibility and insights and, combined with Times 3 Technologies experience and capabilities to address unique or specific business requirements fits into any market, sector and niche.