Finding the ROI in Higher Productivity in Your ERP Implementation

If you’re looking into investing in an ERP system, you’ve read about all of the benefits that they bring to organizations. One of those benefits is higher productivity.

Productivity gains are considered a hidden source of ROI because they’re harder to quantify. However, they’re no less important than other advantages that ERP systems bring to companies. Read on to learn how you can harness the power of increased productivity thanks to an ERP implementation.

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Can Mobile Technologies Make Field Service Workers More Productive?

Since the dawn of the manufacturing era, companies have been focused on increasing their employees’ productivity. In economics, productivity is the output per unit of input. The greater your output and the lower your input, the more productive you are. Many people have claimed that they know the secret to increased productivity. With the advent of mobile technologies, employees can be significantly more productive. Read on to learn how field service technicians in particular can increase their productivity.

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Mobile Technologies: Give a Boost to Your Sales Team’s Productivity

What if there was a tool you could give your sales team to help its members become more productive? You would want to give it to them – everyone wants to be more productive, especially when it comes to sales. Such a tool indeed exists. It’s mobile technology. And many companies are leveraging it to make their sales teams more productive so they can become more profitable.

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Mobile Apps on the Shop Floor: Increasing Productivity

Every business wants to be more productive. Higher productivity means higher revenue (which in and of itself is desirable). The quest for increased productivity is never-ending, especially in manufacturing. Highly productive shop floor employees boost the company’s bottom line. What if there was a tool to make those employees more productive? There is. Mobile apps can improve shop floor employees’ productivity, making the whole firm more profitable.

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Ways Your ERP Solution Makes You More Productive

Technology is supposed to help make employees more productive. Whenever a new enterprise software application is rolled out, there are always promises that it will make it easier for people to do their job or it will cut down on mistakes or even that it will reduce duplicity in the organization. But as most people have seen over their careers, there is quite a bit of software that doesn’t make good on these promises. Employees become so frustrated that their productivity levels actually go down.

ERP solutions do have the potential to help increase productivity in your workplace because that is exactly what they are built to do. Increased productivity is not simply a by-product, it is the goal of the implementation. By taking a closer look at how ERP applications help increase productivity, you can see why they are such an important tool for just about every type of organization.

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Making The Most Of An Evaluation Period

Selecting the right ERP software solution is crucial to the success and productivity of a business. Often times a search for the right ERP package involves an evaluation period during which various vendors are invited to present how their software offering best fits a business and will accomplish a great return on investment. While the end goal, of course, is to purchase and implement the best software solution, the evaluation period can bring additional benefits to a business along the way.

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Enterprise Mobility and Employee Productivity They’re Not Mutually Exclusive

Mobile devices and cloud technology allow employees to work wherever and whenever they want. However, how do supervisors or managers know that these employees are actually working if they’re not on site? The fear that employees won’t be productive because of mobile technology is one which holds back many enterprises from embracing mobility. A mobile workforce can still be a productive one, though. The enterprise can ensure productivity through mobility by implementing effective technologies and engaging employees.

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Improve Responsiveness and Exceed Customer Expectations by Transforming Your Business

While most companies that have been in business for any length of time have an ERP system, not all the ERP systems in use include modern, up to date business processes and best practices. Companies that have grown through acquisition may have multiple ERP systems in use at different facilities, making business processes and financial reporting needlessly cumbersome. Some companies may have interfaced their ERP system to other business systems, such as PLM or CRM, or they may have modified the system’s code, while other companies may have merely chosen not to upgrade for so long that the systems in place are hopelessly obsolete. Whatever the case, these companies are hampering their profitability and their ability to please their customers because their business systems simply cannot keep up with the current pace and expectations of business.

Working with an outdated ERP systems wastes resources as people spend time searching for the information they need, reentering data into multiple systems or compensating for lack of functionality with manual side systems. Upgrading to a new ERP system improves efficiency, reduces costs and helps improve responsiveness, leading to better customer service in multiple ways.

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Bad Processes Forced by ERP System?

We recently asked the CEO of a large multinational organization why they were changing their ERP system. To improve our business processes, he replied, stating one of the most widespread drivers companies have to change their ERP systems. As you evaluate your ERP system with regard to business processes you should first assess the level to which any bad business processes are forced on you by your ERP system; and then identify the number of disparate and sidebar systems users have created to work around your ERP. If you find significant process issues in these areas, a change to a modern ERP system that can help you differentiate your business may be beneficial to your organization.

The functionality and capabilities inherent in your ERP software have a big impact on your business processes. As you assess the effectiveness of your current system, you must first review your core business processes to determine if they enable maximum efficiency and productivity. If they do not, investigate whether the software system imposes constraints on your processes. Are your users saying I do this because that’s the way the system makes me do it?

When ERP systems were introduced 20 years ago, they were rigid in their functionality. They forced companies to conform business processes to the dictates of the software, or required them to significantly customize the software to meet their specific requirements. However, business processes evolve over time while the software remains static. This causes a disparity between the way the software was originally implemented and the new requirements of the business. This evolution continues until you get to the point that the processes in the system actually constrict the ability of users to efficiently run your business. In common with the CEO mentioned above, this is a major reason why your company might end up implementing a newer, innovative, and proactive ERP system.

New enterprise ERP software applications like Microsoft Dynamics AX offer flexible business processes based on best practices and process tools such as workflow. Workflow is the ability to set up and change process flows within the system. It includes many capabilities such as electronic routing
of documents, event notification, and automated processes based on triggers. Many ERP vendors offer flexible rules-based workflows
that allow businesses to create custom processes based on their operations. These workflows can be changed as their preferences and requirements evolve. In some of the more sophisticated systems, power users are even able to diagram and implement new workflows with drag-and-drop technology. Such flexibility allows the ERP system to evolve with changes in business processes and practices in your company and industry.

As you assess the effect of your current ERP software on your business processes, you should consider the following questions:

  • Do your current business processes decrease efficiency and productivity?
  • Are they in place to make up for inefficiencies in the ERP system?
  • Have they been dictated by the system because of lack of functionality?
  • Have your business requirements changed over the years making the reasons you selected your current system no longer valid?
  • Have users created many sidebar and workaround systems outside the ERP?

Implementation of a flexible ERP system like allows your company to take advantage of new capabilities, functionality, and fresh ideas. An implementation partner that understands business process optimization and is industry expert is an excellent resource for efficiently implementing the system and effectively setting up your business processes. Selection and implementation of a modern ERP system can reduce manual processes, eliminate redundancy, and reduce paper documentation giving your company the opportunity to:

  • Review all business processes in place and determine which are required, which can be modified, and which can be eliminated.
  • Identify and eliminate redundancy and manual data entry.
  • Standardize business processes across all departments.
  • Adopt the best practices available in new software to obtain greater efficiency over the current ways of doing business.
  • Make use of flexible workflow functionality to take advantage of automated business processes, document routing, events, and alerts.

All businesses at one time or another have to weigh the costs and benefits of retaining an older ERP system against the costs and benefits of selecting and implementing a new one. Legacy systems, although on older technology, provide companies a level of comfort”comfort that is likely at the sacrifice of increased relevant functionality and technology.


Innovative and Proactive Applications – Better, Faster, Smarter

Traditional business applications evolved as passive, backward-looking systems of record.

Microsoft Dynamics AX already changes that model today, introducing embedded, declarative workflow that brings an understanding of business process optimization into the application and helps guide users forward through their work. When this is combined with pervasive embedded business intelligence that transforms the data captured in the system into insight empowering better decisions, the system becomes a more active, forward looking partner for the people who drive a business toward success.

Microsoft Dynamics AX also delivers innovative application scenarios today. These include, for example, a solution in retail that offers out-of-the-box connection from point of sale to the headquarters business system, and that unifies web and brick and mortar commerce in a single view of customer and transactions; as well as a system for manufacturers that supports discrete, process and lean manufacturing models in a single system instance, with planning and costing capabilities that work across all three models.

This is only the beginning. Microsoft Dynamics AX will evolve to embed constraint optimization and machine learning to deliver even more advanced, forward-looking capability to Dynamic Businesses. For example, Microsoft is currently developing systems that combine transaction history with information about key factors like weather, traffic, local event calendars and demographics to optimize daily order quantities for a retailer, minimizing out of stock and waste to drive greater profitability.

The four IT megatrends of the next decade – Big data, social connectedness, cloud computing, and mobility – will present new opportunities for business applications insight, and open up a whole new range of possibilities for business. Modern business applications won’t just make individuals and organizations smarter, but will go beyond this to new directions and new levels of impact we are just beginning to imagine.

Driving impact has always required insight but most systems today only focus on retrospective views and data. They are passive, reactive, and backward looking. Modern business applications will at the onset be proactive. They will inform with insights and possible actions while constantly evolving to point to what comes next.

Data continues to grow exponentially as does the ability to derive meaning from it. Social commentary has accelerated the pace of the review cycle, with likes, links and tweets providing instant clues to success or failure. Capturing this data and being able to tap into its rich and valuable insight is a new requirement.

Microsoft Dynamics AX helps people not only integrate and understand these new data sets, but also get to better answers with suggested actions so they can continually improve business performance. It achieves this by enabling people to calculate and/or recalculate business possibilities in real time. By focusing on connected, forward-looking systems, we can allow people to access actionable information with greater speed and agility “ enabling businesses to respond more efficiently, effectively and proactively to changing market conditions.