Wednesday, 08 July 2015 01:00

ERP solutions for Process Manufacturing

An Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution can have numerous benefits to a process manufacturing company. Manufacturers in Food and Beverage, Pharmaceuticals, Cosmetics, Hygiene, or Chemicals are all great ERP candidates.

Profitsflow.com presents our ERP for Manufacturing Webinar on Thursday 14th May at 2.30pm.

A good enterprise resource planning system needs many different moving parts working together to ensure success. Those with ERP experience know that having the support of top executives and getting them to buy into a change or upgrade early on is crucial. Complete and current documentation of business practices is needed on a practical level as well. This makes sure that the ERP partner working with a business is helping to select the right platform and the correct components to boost efficiency and visibility and improve return on investment.

Training and education is another key for a good, useful and long-lived ERP system. Here's a run-down of concepts that businesses need to focus on to make sure adoption and knowledge among employees is as strong as possible:

Consider all the parts of ERP learning: A great ERP partner will help provide the technical education that employees need to access and use a system competently and offer ongoing support and troubleshooting. What an ERP partner can't do is encourage adoption and understanding in the long term. This task necessarily falls on the managers, executives and ERP transition team at a company. Businesses need to start this process before a new system is close to being ready for use. Simply put, major upgrades or an entirely new ERP platform can cause concern and frustration among employees. After all, they have to learn new and different processes, make changes to daily routines and deal with the additional training efforts potentially taking up part of their already busy schedules.

Because of the potential for employees to view the addition of a new ERP system as a negative because of the perception that it creates more work, business leaders have to show their staff the positives of a new system. Acknowledge that there will be more work in the short term, but streamlined workflows, better visibility into business data and other advantages will make their jobs easier for years to come after the new platform has been installed. This is where the implementation team and company leadership need to understand the difference between technical training and employee education related to the benefits of a new system on an individual level. Generating employee buy-in makes it much easier to get the most out of ERP and start realising ROI.

Make sure there's enough time: ERP education can take up a lot of time between technical training and convincing employees to embrace the change. The implementation team at a business needs to make sure that they've built in enough time for all the educational efforts needed. Trying to squeeze training activities into a short period of time or overloading employees is a good way to sour the general opinion of a new system and make adoption and successful daily use much bigger battles than they have to be. This is a relatively minor consideration that can be handled by creating an educational schedule, but can be overlooked in the face of larger or more immediate concerns.

Know that not everyone learns the same way: People have the most effective learning experiences in different ways - some people learn best through visuals, others through hearing and still more from reading or taking notes. Tech Target pointed out that a lack of educational options means it's harder for some staff members to learn. Businesses need to use their resources to provide things like cheat sheets and instructions, hands-on learning demonstrations and other supplemental materials and events. These are the materials that will get the message across to employees regardless of their preferred learning styles.

Across the world, industries are witnessing a push to make full use of the conveniences afforded to us by advancements in mobile technology, weighing risk versus reward in an effort to keep up with the times. Financial, medical, and government industries have all embraced mobile technology, and the field service industry hasn’t been left behind.

Time is money; so is speed. When working in field service, having the right mobility solution is as vital to a Company’s success as the technicians in the field.

Imagine being able to connect with your colleagues and the rest of your staff from any site, communicating in real time on dedicated servers. Imagine having software that allows you to see available personnel on a virtual map and assign tasks and clients to them right on your phone. These scenarios are now completely possible with some dedicated apps. The question remains: how do you choose which service to use? Here are some things that you need to look for when choosing a mobile service to invest in.

  1. Security

Since field service personnel regularly deal with the personal information of clients, it’s of utmost importance that apps come with secure encryption. However, it’s also important to note that one of the appeals of mobile business solutions is the ability to get your work done right through your own device, and striking a balance between securing your company’s data and allowing your personnel the privacy they need is essential to using mobile technology successfully. Many of today’s mobile business solutions have been able to segregate the personal data of employees from corporate data, making it much easier to manage the security of clients’ information.

  1. Ease of Use

Investing in mobile technology is useless if your employees can’t use them. The features of mobile apps are more important than the simple interfaces and fast controls. The basic requirement is that personnel should be able to readily access information, but they should also be able to capture high-quality data while at sites and upload that data to the company’s cloud servers. Cloud services have transformed the way we share data, and it’s essential to have an app that makes full use of this feature.

  1. Accessibility

Because field service personnel regularly travel to places where there is very limited connectivity, it’s essential that your mobile service solution be fully functional even when offline, synchronizing with servers as soon as connectivity is regained. It’s also important to invest in an app that functions across all devices so all members of your staff can have access to both the app and the information they need. Mobile field service solutions are still relatively new, and many companies are able to function without dedicated apps for their businesses, relying on the built-in features of mobile phones and tablets to get their work done. Today’s generation of Smart phones makes this much easier.

This Blog details how investing in ERP software can improve your Company’s decision making process.

We buy tools to make products and to increase the work capacity, we install machines and for designing and selling products, we hire people; because we know they are needed for the business growth. Information Technology and software has become a basic need in our day to day life and when it comes to run a business, whether a small or medium sized, one way or the other we are dependent on them.  As long as you can manage spreadsheets and other basic software like Sage for invoicing, account management, you avoid spending capital on other software or technology to materialise the similar need. (That can make your work much easier and quicker).

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software has become very popular among large Industries as they use to run their businesses through it. If you think ERP Software is not affordable or you are not aware of its real benefits then this article will help you to know why ERP is real value for the business.

It is important to highlight a few things about ERP and its utilisation in the business process. ERP is business management software which is developed to manage typical enterprise; it is an integrated application that improves the business decision by creating information from every part available to throughout your business operations. Company’s use to handle and store data from every level of business, starting from product, planning cost development, invoicing, accounting, marketing and sales order entry, manufacturing, shipping and payment, financial, warehousing, payroll. ERP software has the collective source of master data which tracks the record of customers / buyers, vendors, product bill, manufacturing work processes and many other records. By maintaining such records help company to improve consistently with the same set of Information. Most of the small sized companies are used to work on Sage and spreadsheets but as the business grows these software starts impacting business results in actual ways which affects the bottom line i.e. lost data, missed shipments, invoicing and so on.

Although Sage provides solutions to many small businesses and it is the most users friendly software but it has certain limitations and still far from being integrated ERP with proper control of auditing and scale the end to end business operations. 

Here are more benefits of ERP:

  • It uplifts sales performance.
  • It improves the visibility of organisation’s financial growth.
  • It helps in managing business operations.
  • It reduces labour costs.
  • ERP improves product’s delivery on time.
  • By consistent business processes and polices throughout the organization it improves customer services and profitability.
  • It upgrades control and planning record

 

ERP software is cost effective, affordable and can be easily customised according to the nature of business i.e. General Manufacturing, Retail, CPG, Life Sciences, Process, Distribution, and Service Industries.

Profitsflow.com is pleased to inform that it’s technology partner, Nottingham based Exel Computer Systems plc, celebrates 30 years in operation this year. Established in 1985, Exel is a leading force in the provision of integrated business solutions for manufacturing companies and field service providers.  Profitsflow.com is proud to work in conjunction with the innovative firm, serving an increasingly diverse customer base, which includes medium and large manufacturing and field service companies. As authors of the EFACS E/8, Eagle Field Service and Eagle Facilities Management systems Exel and Profitsflow.com are well positioned to assist their customers to achieve competitive advantage through the deployment of a state-of-the-art business solution.

It was back in 1985 that Dr John Ellis, Exel's founder and current Chairman, established Exel Computer Systems having recognised a distinct market need for capacity planning systems whilst working on research projects at PERA. This led to the development of the first version of EFACS, a Unix and Informix based software solution for capacity planning and manufacturing. Over the last 30 years EFACS has grown from a capacity planning and production solution into a fully integrated comprehensive business solution, incorporating full ERP, Financials, CRM, Field Service, Document Management, Business Intelligence, Workflow, and Mobile Applications.

Profitsflow.com’s emphasis they place on continued product development and understanding real business needs through continuous support of, and close partnerships with their client base. In Ireland, Profitsflow.com provides local expert support and development services to a number of companies on Exel’s platform.  These companies span many diverse industries. It is testimony to our commitment to their customers that all of our earliest customers have upgraded to the latest version in order to benefit from our investment in technology and the new features available. 

In the Facilities Management Industry, the value of enterprise software solutions differs depending on the user in question. For the executives and managers who make the decision to purchase these solutions, value is often defined in terms of the bottom line. Enhanced data tracking and reporting enable them to make more accurate assessments of their operations, which in turn make for better decisions and forecasts.

For operations-level staff, the value of enterprise software has more to do with the often loosely defined concept of Usability. Those responsible for choosing which software solution to invest in can easily take promises of usability at face value, effectively checking it off their list of requirements without stopping to look deeper and determine what exactly the term means, which can carry major consequences for staff buy-in. The key measures of usability can be formulated into the following question

Is the program Effective, Efficient, Engaging, Error tolerant and Easy to learn?

Effective: In a computerised maintenance management system (CMMS) it is critical to connect all the dots and see as much of the overall workflow as possible. Doing so will establish a good sense of whether there are problems that may undermine the program’s overall efficacy.

Efficient: Live product demonstrations are a good way to get a feel for how many clicks and data entry points are required to progress through certain tasks. It is important to consult end users during the purchase process to get their feedback, as they will be the best judge of what will work for them in the long term.

Engaging: Engagement is a measure of the extent to which users actually enjoy using the software. The appearance of the program, along with the means through which commands and data are inputted, are two major factors that affect engagement. Growth in smartphones and tablets provide a good example of the role that input method plays in overall user engagement and buy-in. Touch screen functionality, while achieving the same ultimate goal as mouse/cursor input, is highly engaging and intuitive, which is a big part of the reason why mobile functionality has been a big driver of growth in enterprise software sales in recent years.

Error tolerant: Error tolerance is key to user buy-in because it makes users more comfortable using the software. If they know that they can’t make serious mistakes within the program, they will feel free to perform their tasks. And limiting access will make those tasks more clearly defined and easier to learn.

Easy to learn: Familiarity breeds comfort, which in turn lowers apprehensions and increases buy-in. It is thus important that users don’t feel bewildered by the basic configuration. Usability, more than a marketing buzzword, is actually a highly specified measure of a program’s overall quality. Buyers who are aware of its nuances are likelier to make the right choice for their company, which will go a long way toward ensuring its ultimate success.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015 00:00

ERP Solutions that Work

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is a constantly evolving field. Every year we hear about new features, support models, and deployment options. But when it comes time to get a new ERP system, what is the best ERP platform?

ERP investments have a long life, typically 15 to 20 years. In order to determine which ERP system is best, we must explore each and every phase of the ERP lifecycle. We have to consider what drives people to actually acquire the ERP system, what leads to success during the deployment, and then we have to consider what IT leaders need to do to administer and maintain the system.

Obviously, an appropriate system has to be able to meet the base requirements of the enterprise. A manufacturing company, for example, must have the appropriate manufacturing modules. The best products, however, have features that address the problems that we see at each stage of the ERP project.

What are the differentiating features?

Data Integration: The ability to incorporate data from across the business.

Workflow: The ability to create and manage business processes.

Financial Consolidation: Functionality to incorporate data from different operating units and from different countries. These capabilities are key to both supporting executive projects and to supporting enterprise growth.

Budgeting: This presents a challenge for many ERP platforms. Budgeting processes require business leaders to review actual data and to make commitments on future spend and performance. Since this data isn’t just a record of an actual transaction, it can really stress rigid data models.

Data Management: Finally, a system should encourage clean data. Dirty data frustrates reporting, business growth, end users, and executives!

Tuesday, 17 February 2015 00:00

ERP Industry Progress

    Companies looking to improve their links across various functions, such as inventory control, accounting, and human resources may find the answer lies in ERP software. Enterprise Resource Planning systems allow businesses to improve their operations infrastructure, enabling businesses to share information and make decisions more quickly across multiple departments.

    Enterprise Resource Planning has come a long way in recent years and significant progress has been made to modern ERP business solutions. Many Companies spending for ERP projects is expected to keep growing.  52 percent of Companies plan to invest in significant IT infrastructure and computer upgrades. Some software providers are already making evident changes to their ERP platform design to address such concepts as that of automated business landscape transformation

    With ERP investments on the rise, some experts have suggested the technology will significantly impact some industries more than others. According to an accounting and advisory firm, the Manufacturing market, in particular, will be affected by cloud-based ERP software. The company went so far as to say that manufacturers not leveraging this technology will remain stagnant. Cloud-based ERP is not expected to just benefit large manufacturers either. In fact, small and medium-sized companies are already integrating their ERP business solutions with collaboration technologies, analytics and mobile applications to stay ahead of the game.

     While such platforms are considered ideal for going head-to-head with competitors, Manufacturers with cloud ERP systems can also establish themselves as industry leaders. One to watch for the Food Manufacturing and Engineering industries across Ireland.

 

Friday, 13 February 2015 00:00

6 Common ERP Implementation Mistakes

We have all heard about ERP implementation projects that have failed, gone on long past the planned implementation time, or gone way over budget.  In such circumstances, it is all too easy to blame the vendor or the selection team.  However, normally the fault in these cases lies in the planning and execution of the plan prior to system selection and purchase.  Detailed below are six of the most common mistakes found in ERP implementation projects.

 

1: Poor Planning/Explanation of New ERP

Planning is absolutely necessary if you want your ERP project to succeed. You simply can't Wing ERP implementation. Companies that explain up front the business case for upgrading, the benefits to the company and employees, and any changes in the end user experience are the most successful. The software will work, the hardware will work, but it doesn't matter unless the users buy in. There is nothing more powerful than user perception, and if they decide the system doesn't work, it won't. If you feel you do not have the in-house capability to properly evaluate ERP systems, consider hiring an experienced third-party, vendor-neutral consultant, who has experience implementing ERP solutions at companies in your industry.

2: Not understanding/Using key features of New ERP Software

Without knowing features of the new ERP Software, companies miss opportunities to automate business processes, complete functions faster, and meet business objectives. In addition upgrades, enhancements, and maintenance are more costly, and less likely to succeed. Create a master list with all features, tracking usage, and periodically reviewing the list to determine which features are being used and which are the most helpful. This knowledge catalogue can be used to train new employees, write test scripts, and assist with audit, compliance, and reporting requirements. The only way to determine for sure is to load test the system. The most accurate way to load test a system is with load testing software and scripts and with real users. If you just use scripts, you won't see the effects of user mistakes, and if you just use people, you can't really simulate the effect of batch jobs and EDI. But if you can't do both, pick one and run with it.

3: Not having the right people on the ERP implementation team

Sometimes Companies do not bring the right people together from the very start of an ERP implementation. Companies should focus on gathering key participants from across the staff force, from finance, operations, manufacturing, purchasing, and the warehouse, in addition to IT staff. The benefits: employees who are actively engaged with the ERP implementation, who have an investment in getting it right, right from the start. A lot of customers think they can save money by eliminating the Project Manager and doing it themselves. For an ERP upgrade, this could be fatal. A consultant Project Manager's focus is on upgrades so they know any pitfalls. Navigating these pitfalls ahead of time will make all the difference in an on-time/on-budget ERP Upgrade.

 

4: Not investing in training up Employees on ERP

A lack of proper training is one of the most common reasons that ERP projects fail, and it can also result in employees resenting the new system because they don't understand it. Making sure employees have a chance to become comfortable with the new system before it goes live will do wonders for your chances at ERP success. If you make training and frequent communication with users a top priority, it will hugely benefit the ERP implementation. Classroom training and a Knowledge Vault of recorded videos to help employees to adapt to new ERP Software will go a long way in a successful ERP implementation strategy.

5. Not performing a Mock Go Live of New ERP System

A mock Go Live is the time when you find out whether everything will go as planned ahead of time. It is also the point when you capture timings for all the different Go Live tasks. If you don't practice under the same conditions you'll have when you plan to go live (e.g., if Go Live is on a weekend, mock Go Live needs to be on a weekend), you will run into issues that you never planned for, such as: Do I have access to everything on a weekend? Will we run into backups or maintenance windows? Are the offices open? Some of these may sound trivial, but when you are under pressure and have spent thousands on a new system, the last thing you want is to be delayed because you missed something that was easy to catch.

6. Not having a maintenance strategy

By not applying maintenance, their systems will quickly become obsolete (from a technical perspective) as will their business processes. With improvements in installation technology, customers will experience only limited disruption when implementing support packs. ERP upgrades don't happen every day or every year. So it's important to utilise the most experienced technology consultants to keep your system running during the upgrade. If you're like most companies, you probably have several consultants and internal people working on the project. If it is down all the time, no work is done and money is being wasted. Experienced consultants will know the ERP system and will keep it performing during the ERP upgrade.

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