If you’re like many other manufacturers, you’re still recovering from the disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic. Your supply chain may have faltered, causing sudden shutdowns or delays that affected your bottom line. Along the way, you may also run into challenges with your ERP system, making you question whether it’s the best choice for your business going forward.
As IDC analyst Mickey North Rizza shared in a recent CIO article, “The COVID-19 pandemic has become the ERP market tipping point, quickly educating organizations on the need to digitize the business with modern cloud ERP systems.”
If your legacy ERP system is making it unnecessarily difficult to run let alone grow your manufacturing firm, you may need to upgrade your current ERP software to a more modern and flexible cloud ERP solution. But how do you know when it’s time to make the switch? Here are three signs that your ERP just isn’t cutting it anymore — and what you can do about it.
3 signs that your ERP system just isn’t cutting it anymore
If you’ve experienced any or all of these common problems with your current ERP, it may be time to upgrade to a new solution:
1. Your ERP doesn’t enable timely decision-making
Outdated ERP systems often don’t provide the visibility you need to make mission-critical decisions in real time. As we saw during the COVID-19 pandemic, not having that insight at your fingertips can make it that much harder to quickly adapt when a sudden disruption hits the supply chain. If you’re constantly looking at older figures rather than real-time data or it takes you too long to come up with an accurate, up-to-date view of your supply chain’s status, for example, then that may be a sign it’s time to upgrade to a more modern ERP solution.
A cloud ERP system can give you the complete business visibility to make better decisions in less time, providing you and your team with robust self-service tools so you can quickly respond to changing market conditions. Reporting and analytics features give you the ability to configure custom dashboards or inquiries based on specific triggers or criteria, while financial reporting tools provide you with clear insight into your current financial status so you can make smart, timely decisions. You can improve your business decision-making process even further by integrating your cloud ERP solution with business intelligence technology that furnishes you with additional strategic context.
2. Your ERP doesn’t integrate well with other technology
If your ERP doesn’t easily integrate with other business applications or let you capitalize on the tremendous potential that the industrial internet of things (IIoT) offers your company, for example, it may be holding you back. When your ERP doesn’t play well with other software or newer technologies, your employees may have to compensate with time-consuming manual workarounds for common business processes. Or, your IT team may have to invest more time and resources to create a custom integration for your ERP system that then breaks when either the ERP or the other software changes, sending IT back to the drawing board and racking up even more expenses. This inflexibility is a major sign that it’s time to upgrade to a more innovative ERP option.
Cloud ERP is integration-friendly by design, featuring application programming interfaces (APIs) that support secure links with other business applications. It is also more mobile-friendly, allowing your employees to access the features and dashboards they need using their preferred device — whether that’s a smartphone, tablet, or desktop computer. Most importantly, a modern ERP system lets you take advantage of new technology rather than blocking you from making the most of it. In an era of continuous digital transformation, this is a core strategic benefit that any manufacturer can appreciate.
3. Your ERP is too unwieldy to maintain
If you’ve been making do with a legacy ERP for many years, you might remember a time when it wasn’t so expensive to maintain. Eventually, however, the IT costs associated with supporting a large and unwieldy premises-based solution begin to creep up on even the most diligent company. Now that your IT team is juggling more responsibilities than ever, charged with digitally transforming your manufacturing business to keep it competitive, this administrative tax on their time and expertise not only lowers your ERP’s ROI but charges your organization an opportunity cost, as well.
By switching to a cloud ERP solution, you can reduce your overall ERP spend while also freeing your IT professionals to focus on additional digital transformation projects that will advance your position in the market. A cloud ERP provider assumes responsibility for keeping your ERP up and running, and they also regularly maintain it with automatic updates that won’t accidentally break any customizations you have in place. As a result, your IT team and your company as a whole can enjoy a more reliable, up-to-date ERP solution that requires far less hands-on intervention than its predecessor did.
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Know when to upgrade your ERP system
The COVID-19 pandemic has made it abundantly clear that manufacturers need a modern, flexible ERP system. ERP could even be the key to post-COVID business success, enabling the supply chain flexibility and resilience that give your manufacturing firm a competitive edge.
If your current ERP just isn’t cutting it anymore, you’ve likely already noticed that it slows down decision-making, it doesn’t integrate well with other technology, and it’s burdensome to maintain. As a result, you may find it unnecessarily difficult to adapt to sudden changes in the market. A cloud ERP solution can solve these problems, giving you the agility, flexibility, and speed to address the challenges and opportunities of our quickly evolving digital age.
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