ERP systems are typically put in place to manage and control all aspects of your business, from the financial performance and process manufacturing to purchasing, sales, distribution and after-sales support. However, if you’re not using your ERP to its full potential or have a need to find ways of getting more from it, gains in efficiency may not yet be evident. Understand some of the warning signs that your ERP may not be providing you with the results you expected to receive and what to do about it.
1. You are not able to access the information you were planning to be able to access
When you first installed your ERP system, you had high hopes for how it would revolutionise your business. However, if those goals have been unmet or only partially met, it's time to evaluate your processes and understand where further phases of work to get the system where you need it to be, may be required, and highlight where things are not going to plan. Most likely, your system is in need of the next stages of development to give you the information or capabilities you need.
2. Some of your employees are unsure of how to use the system
If you have teams who are still unsure of how to use the system, it’s very likely they will not be able to take advantage of all its time-saving, process optimising features. And in turn, this will mean that they're simply not getting the most out of it, or using it to its full potential.
The good news is that it's never too late to start educating your employees on how to get the most out of your ERP system with continued training. During your implementation stages, you’ll have deployed a project team, which will contain many of your super users and who will have documented your unique processes. Setup internal knowledge sharing sessions where those users can be on hand to share their approach to using the system and consider using a buddy system to add an extra layer of support. Don’t forget, often the system has a training area where new users can get familiar with or set up dummy data to try out, or test how your ERP system will process inputs and outputs.
3. You need to build your team’s understanding as to why the system is there
Start with the basics, ask your team’s if they know what the system does and why your business needs it? If not, there may be a misconception that the system is just an extra layer of work for them. Put together a short but clear explanation as to what the challenges were before you implemented the ERP, and how the system has helped you to resolve them by outlining before and after scenarios to illustrate how it has improved operations and why using it will benefit the team and the business overall.
4. You're aware that there are lots of features available to you, still get to be configured
Most ERP systems promote many features or modules that are available to you. Some providers give access to all but require specifications on how you want them to be set up with project based consultancy required to configure them, whilst other providers make you pay to access and unlock each area. Often there is lots of standard functionality that isn’t being used because you either, firstly didn’t need it at the start of your ERP journey so you didn’t configure it as part of your implementation, or secondly, you didn’t know or ask whether it was possible within the system.
A top tip here is to go through your system, find out what you are using, what you would like and then strike up a conversation to understand if such functionality exists and can be set up for you as part of a further implementation programme. You might be surprised at how many helpful features you find!
5. Your system isn’t up to date
If you bought your ERP system a few years ago, there's a good chance that it has been updated since then. New features or enhancements are usually being added constantly, and changes to incorporate user feedback are also likely being made regularly. If your system is no longer up to date, or you’re finding limitations within your system, it's probably missing out on some critical updates that can make it easier to use and more effective for your business. Outdated systems may leave you open to security vulnerabilities or other issues that make them risky for your business.
6. You haven’t reviewed your processes
Are your processes still relevant? A golden question, that many businesses should be asking themselves every couple of years, especially as technology continues to advance at record speed. Maybe you have developed some new processes since the initial install of your ERP. Perhaps some old ones have also been archived. Are you keeping abreast of regulatory requirements or perhaps some new industry standards have come into play?
If you’re unsure if you are getting the most out of your ERP software solution, it would be wise if you took the time to revisit each of the above areas to make sure that your processes are still working for you, and not against you. You should also make sure that any process changes have been updated, documented, and built into your ERP workflows so that everyone is on the same page!
7. You haven’t identified any obvious sticking points in your process
As a final check, it’s usually a good idea to identify bottlenecks, recurring challenges that hold up processes that you are aware of, but once you find a workaround you forget about it until they come up again. Discussing these sticking points with your ERP provider will give you the chance to explore how your software could be used to help you find solutions to those particular problems.
Sometimes, it's just a matter of looking at the situation from a different angle or using the software differently from what you're used to doing.
If you're experiencing any of these challenges, download a copy of our free business review template to help you correct your current situation in relation to each of the above points here
Then when you’re ready to talk solutions contact the team, walk us through the areas you need to fix, and we'll be happy to help.