Successful retailers ensure that customers have access to products when and where they want them. To make this happen, it’s necessary to effectively manage and share data, enabling employees to make intelligent decisions based on real information. One way to achieve this is by integrating various business processes using an ERP solution.
An ERP platform displays operational details for your entire business as a single, intuitive “dashboard” that your employees can access from any location in real time. Signs that your company has outgrown its current method of data management include:
- Multiple IT solutions in multiple locations, all handling different parts of your operation, all requiring attention, maintenance, and employee training (How often do you flip between applications to get work done?)
- Missing or incomplete data and analytics
- Slow or inaccurate accounting
As long as you continue to use a data management strategy with these shortcomings, you will fail to achieve your core business objective: getting products to customers.
Can an ERP System Solve These Problems?
Yes, most definitely. However, that doesn’t mean that your existing IT infrastructure is obsolete. In many cases, a correctly implemented ERP platform complements existing solutions such as Office 365 or SQL servers. For this reason, choosing a knowledgeable and experienced partner for your implementation is crucial (especially when it comes to avoiding data loss and disruption during the transition). A good implementation partner is also integral to ensuring that your employees understand, feel comfortable with, and quickly adopt the new solution.
One of the most immediate and obvious benefits of adopting an ERP solution is the way it simplifies your business processes. The benefits of accomplishing more in fewer steps will be felt by your employees across departments. While some workers might initially feel uncomfortable with the amount of tracking and reporting performed by ERP systems, this can be alleviated by liaising with employees and collecting feedback.
Leading ERP solutions also include retail business intelligence software, which leads to a deeper understanding of how the different parts of your business work together and how these processes can improve in the future. Key business intelligence features such as data cubes and access to standard, ad hoc, and analytical reports are essential for data-driven decisions.
Choosing the Right ERP for Your Business
Retailers face challenges that many other industries don’t have to consider, like merchandising, product assortment, and customer engagement. Compared to other industries, the consequences of isolating any of these processes is much more severe. These inter-process ripple effects can be mitigated using some retail-specific functions that your ERP system should possess (in addition to core ERP capabilities), including POS integration, supply chain management, and merchandising.
An ERP solution will also improve your CRM activities and the overall customer experience. Having the right ERP system can greatly improve customer loyalty and engagement by alleviating major stressors that impact the performance of your customer service and outward-facing marketing teams. Some efforts that an ERP platform can assist with include:
- Loyalty programs
- Personalized offers – in-store, online, and wherever the buyer may be
- After-sales support
- Social messaging and community management
- Channel and brand consistency
When used together, these capabilities can drastically improve your overall buyer experience, contributing to increased loyalty and engagement.
Bringing together goods and customers in the best way possible can only be achieved via the seamless integration of various retail processes. An ERP system is a highly effective way to manage these processes, making them easily accessible by the right decision makers across locations and business functions.
To discover whether implementing an ERP solution is the right choice for your business, please contact Visionet Systems for your free consultation.