Streamlining isn’t just for planes, trains and automobiles. It’s also a valuable concept in business. Is competition fierce? Profit margins tight? Can the difference between success and failure boil down to a few minutes of lead time? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of those questions, it’s time to look for areas where you can minimize the drag on your business.
Enterprise resource planning (ERP), when properly implemented, can re-engineer your core business processes to make them smoother and more streamlined. By instituting more efficient modes of operation, your company can experience a boost in productivity, faster communications, more clarified roles among your workforce, and a reduction in the use of physical resources.
ERP can help your employees do their jobs more effectively. By optimizing, and even automating certain tasks, ERP can eliminate non-value-add activities (such as performing back-ups, printing invoices, etc.). Streamlined responsibilities give employees more sense-of-purpose in their work. By creating direct routes to accomplishment, ERP can be instrumental in cutting back on wasted time and providing your workforce with a much-needed productivity boost. It’s important to remember, however, that changes in process must be bolstered by changes in behavior. There’s no point in automating your record keeping if some of your workers insist on sticking with paper.
If ‘all the world’s a stage’, imagine the confusion when the actors forget what parts they’re playing. Hamlet, in an unscripted moment of madness, might think himself Horatio. Horatio, confused to hear Hamlet say his lines, might start singing the oompa-loompa song. In reality, few things are more frustrating for a motivated employee than to suffer from a lack of role clarity. Insufficient clarity can mean unnecessary doubling-up on tasks, a constant struggle for visibility, recognition and promotion, and feelings of frustration and insecurity. Using ERP to streamline your business gives staff members a clearer understanding of the parts that they play and the importance of their positions. That will allow them to focus more wholly on their jobs, creating a happier and more harmonious work environment for all.
Communicate Faster and More Effectively
ERP can be a great help for streamlining communications. To start with, a properly integrated ERP breaks down the linguistic barriers that can form between departmental silos, providing a common language that can be used – and understood – by every worker in the company. Those in positions where communications are part of the job description can work more confidently with a company-wide lexicon, easily avoiding ambiguities that may have arisen in the past.
Other tasks that require communication, such as scheduling and customer relations, can be at least partly automated, creating an easily-referenced flow of precise and timely information. Faster, more effective communication with customers and business partners can lead to improved rapport, increased service ratings, fewer misunderstandings, and a consequent growth in revenue.
Paper is so last century! With ERP, there’s really no reason for anything but electronic record keeping – even government taxation agencies are fully on board. SYSPRO’s document management software minimizes, and in some instances eliminates, the need for physical storage of business documents. No more printing, no more filing, no more hunting through filing cabinets and paper piles for important, but missing papers. Physical storage space can be repurposed for more valuable activities, and your staff can spend their reclaimed time on tasks that add value to your business. Using less paper is also good public relations. The reduction of paper consumption is not just a company issue, it’s good for the environment.
Streamlining For Success
Streamlining can have tangible and intangible benefits. Tangible benefits directly improve the bottom line by creating quantifiable efficiencies in resource use, reaction time and employee productivity. Intangible benefits can drive improvements in non-quantifiable, but valuable areas such as customer satisfaction, employee retention, and brand reputation. In the final analysis, what would you rather your business resembled – a Model T Ford or a Bugatti Veyron?