ERP's untapped potential

Jul 10, 2013
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Businesses may be unaware they're sitting on a goldmine of functionality.

By Tim Ryley, Director, Sales & Services, Endeavour Solutions




tim-ryley-170x152You wouldn't buy an 18-wheeler just to carry your briefcase - but I'm surprised how many business I encounter that are similarly under-using their ERP system. I've seen numerous cases where the software has the capability to do more, but the company doesn't get around to deploying it. Often because they get buried in everything else they have to do in their business. There are some big gains to be made for relatively easily deployed functionality that can help a business to be more efficient, provide better customer service, reduce costs and more - if the client has the right software and right expectations of what it can do. ERP users could benefit hugely by unlocking the additional power of their existing investment in business software.


For instance:

No more ruffled feathers

An active desktop can help guide staff through processes efficiently and make the systems more user-friendly and adaptable. One of our customers, Santa Rosa Foods, uses this live desktop throughout its operations, dispatching poultry products to stores, and restaurants nationwide. General Manager Micheal Crooks says they'd be "lost without it".

"We process somewhere around 200-400 individual orders per day," he says "We really never used to have any visibility-once the order was entered we didn't know what was happening with any of the orders at all, so we just left it up to Production and assumed that everything would get sent out-it was very hard to trace anything. The desktop gives us visibility throughout our business of where we're at on a daily basis, and if we need to identify and follow up on any order for anyone in the business the visibility is right there-that's all the way from Tele-sales through to Dispatch. Its tools like this that allows businesses to be efficient and competitive and do what they're supposed to do."

 A better e-cow system

eBusiness has only been adopted by many companies in response to demands by their trading partners. I believe that many more are missing the opportunity for considering data entry time saving and error removal, as well as faster turnaround of transactions. Synlait Farms is a large-scale dairy farming business that discovered  eApproval. It's farms are spread over a wide area of Canterbury, and the old manual documentation and approvals process was a time-waster. eApproval allows farm managers to approve expenditure via the web.

“This has made a huge impact on our operations both in the office and remotely,” says Accounts Assistant Anita Higgins. “It has eliminated a lot of the manual work by reducing our double handling of invoices, as we previously had to scan copies of all the invoices for approval. It has also allowed for better management of any rejected invoices – I have a list on my desktop that I can track whether we have received a credit, or chase the manager to make sure they are happy the work has been completed. I also no longer have to manually approve invoices before our 20th of the month payment. Preparing the payment batch previously took 2-3 days, but now I can easily have the batch ready in a day.”

 Live and direct

eBusiness modules can tackle those missed opportunities and productivity issues that arise from the tyranny of distance. If your staff on the road can’t get access to the latest information, they can’t respond quickly to queries, or supply quotes.

Flooring specialists Irvine International have equipped their sales staff with iPads, enabling them to access their ERP system via a browser-based information publishing engine, wherever they are.

“Our past systems were never live, so if a customer asked a rep whether they had a certain product in stock, he’d have to call the office,” Director Lyndal Irvine says. “The phones were constantly ringing with customer and stock queries."

“With Greentree our reps can look up stock at any time, and because we’re invoicing every day now, the stock is accurate to the day. They can see all their customers invoices, what’s on back order for them, when stock is due to be here – so they can be very precise about the status of each order.”

What's up.Doc?

Many businesses fail to realise ERP’s document management capabilities. They still have folders on servers where users are expected to find and store documents.

Why shouldn’t you be able to use your business management software to store and share documentation centrally for your business? This might include policies and procedures, company templates, and transaction-specific documentation. How much more effective can your operation be if you can embed rules and guidelines of how you process transactions within your business management software and interact with the users as they work?

If you already have a top-notch ERP system, maybe it’s time to investigate its broader capabilities. If not, and I’ve whetted your appetite, contact us at Endeavour


These are four of the biggest gains you can achieve through a good, fully integrated ERP system:

  1. Active desktops delivering live visibility.
  2. eBusiness delivering quicker data entry and turnaround and eliminating errors.
  3. Mobile delivery for the frontline.
  4. Centralised document storage, easily accessible to all.