When companies begin evaluating ERP systems, the potential return on investment of the project is usually one of their key considerations, particularly for the CFO. ERP applications have wide-reaching benefits however, and not all can be measured from a financial point of view. Many benefits don’t have an immediate impact on the bottom line, but they are no less important than the ones that do, and they are likely to have a significant longer-term impact on your company culture and indirectly, the financial state of your business. So, what could be considered an ‘intangible’ return on investment from your ERP project?
When systems don’t work the way employees want them to, they can experience dissatisfaction in their roles. They may experience frustration when they can see there’s a better way to do things but are forced to work in the way the incumbent systems work, which is inefficient and increases manual administration to achieve the desired outcome. Implementing a modern ERP solution resolves these issues by automating outdated processes, which increases efficiency and enables employees to focus on aspects of their roles that have more of a meaningful impact.
Staff buy-in to new systems and process changes is fundamental to the success of any ERP project. Their increase in efficiency may be difficult to measure initially but has a big impact over the longer term. In the finance department, and other departments traditionally heavy on manual tasks, or reliant on paper, automation of time-consuming tasks means they can concentrate on more strategic activities that have a more significant business impact, and therefore increase their output through the time savings that result. This can make staff feel more valued and make greater use of their skill-set. It may also identify opportunities for further training and career development, which can have a positive effect on their overall job satisfaction and happiness in the workplace, but it is not easy to quantify.
In a highly competitive market, it is essential to place customers at the heart of everything you do to ensure their satisfaction – if your business doesn’t live up to expectations, it is easy for customers to find another supplier who will. According to Esteban Kolsky, 67% of consumers cite bad experiences as their reason for churn, and 84% of consumers are frustrated when the agent doesn’t have the information they require.
Customer relationships are not only built on the price of the goods you provide, but also on the less measurable aspects. Time to fulfil orders and the quality of your communication with customers is of the highest priority, but if you don’t have the right systems in place, the ability to update your customers on their order status may fall well short of their expectations.
Single Source of Truth
Information silos cause big issues for management when they’re trying to collate reports to provide an accurate understanding of the state of the business. Legacy, disparate systems don’t communicate with each other, so although the information is usually available, it takes a lot of time to collate it from different sources. This is inefficient and labour intensive, wasting valuable time on manual administration and duplication of data entry. A modern ERP solution, such as SAP Business One, removes these issues by providing a single source of truth, collating all major business functions within one system. Information becomes easy to access and managers can find the information they need for financial reports, stock levels and overheads, sales orders and invoices, as well as many other aspects, at the touch of a button.
Following on from a single source of truth, the increased visibility provided by modern ERP solutions gives companies the foundation on which to base their strategic decisions. Knowing which product lines are most popular, which products to discount or the schedule on which to reorder raw materials to avoid blockages in the production process, plus any number of other business scenarios – this is all information available from the ERP solution. SAP Business One, for example, offers customisable dashboards so that users can see the information that is directly relevant to them and their job role, which avoids them having to search many different systems and information silos. This has an immediate impact on their efficiency and means they can focus on areas of their roles that have a greater strategic impact on the business.
To find out how we may be able to help you understand the potential return on investment of your ERP project, please don’t hesitate to contact our friendly team. We have many years’ experience across all industries and business types - we love to work alongside our customers to help ease their business pains and reap the tangible and intangible benefits of implementing SAP Business One and its complementary solutions.