5 Ways to Innovate with Cloud ERP

In today’s business climate, sticking to the status quo just isn’t enough. Innovative companies expect innovative ERP, and the “tried and true” solutions are showing their age. Luckily, cloud-based vendors like Bizowie are responding to the needs of modern innovators with robust, flexible solutions.

With good ERP system, the possibilities for improvement are nearly endless, but these are just a few ways you can benefit from a well-tuned ERP system.

Foster collaboration using social software.

Social networking is hot, but it’s not just about services like Facebook and Twitter. Enterprise software vendors are joining the bandwagon with exciting solutions for business collaboration.

Integrated social components allow your staff to electronically converse about any piece of data in your ERP. If an employee has a question for another department or employee, they can simply “tag” that person and they’ll be notified of the discussion. No more departmental silos or confusing “memo” fields.

Similarly, knowledge management and wiki functionality allows everything from procedures to meeting notes, R&D plans and lunch orders to be shared and edited in a group setting, with a full revision history and departmental access control.

And unlike Facebook and its ilk, enterprise social software is completely private and limited to your employees, so you can rest assured that your competitors won’t have access to your valuable data.

Automate day-to-day tasks.

Modern ERP solutions offer a wide variety of options for automating recurring workflows based on sets of rules. Take a few minutes to walk through your company’s processes and identify areas where automation could save manual effort. A few common examples include:

  • Sending shipping acknowledgements to customers
  • Sending invoice reminders when past due
  • Accurately costing production
  • Recording and paying sales commissions

Leverage business data — rapidly and affordably.

The installed ERP solutions of the 1980’s and 1990’s had a reputation for being sluggish. This was partially because of the technical limitations of the hardware and software of the time, but also because of simple cost constraints on installed solutions — the speed of the ERP depends on the quality and quantity of infrastructure purchased to maintain it.

Today’s Software as a Service (SaaS) cloud solutions operate from the ERP vendor’s data centers, with infrastructure far exceeding that of yesterday’s onsite systems. With a click of the mouse, you can have your ERP redundantly operating overseas and expand from 100 users to 1,000 in a matter of seconds.

But most importantly, thanks to the shared infrastructure of cloud solutions, you have nearly limitless power. This means that data is recorded in real-time, and reports load in a matter of seconds. With a modern ERP solution, you can be assured of ready access to your data.

Receive automated reminders of anomalies.

A good ERP system will allow you to subscribe to reports and receive them via email on a recurring basis. Consider configuring reports on anomalous events, so you can proactively respond to potential problems, including:

  • Past-due bills
  • Late shipments
  • Late delivery of POs
  • Unusual shrinkage

Some systems will allow you to set these reports up so they only email you if there’s data to report. This allows you to rest assured that anomalies will be reported, without receiving daily notifications that there’s nothing to report.

Integrate shipping and logistics carriers.

The shipping department often winds up left out in an ERP implementation, even though the potential for cost savings can be significant.

If your shipping staff are using outdated external software to send freight manifests and print labels, they’re wasting valuable time – minutes per shipment – re-entering shipping data and manually entering freight costs and tracking numbers into your ERP or customer emails.

Fully integrating your ERP with your preferred carriers ensures that the shipment is sent to the customer’s correct address, data entry is minimized, and accurate costs are recorded. Plus, it allows your sales and customer service staff to immediately access the location of a shipment in progress, without having to use the carrier’s website.