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Leveraging Untapped Potential From Your Middle East ERP System

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Using Untapped Potential From Your ERP Software

Using Old ERP Systems In New and Innovative Ways

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems automate divisions from across the company, and company locations from across the world, from budgeting and business planning to running accounting, manufacturing, sales, marketing, human resources, payroll and more.

But are there still other unused options and capabilities available that you've not considered taking advantage of in your ERP application?

An ERP review story on the Web site CIO.com considered just such possibilities. The article, "How Your ERP System Can Help Your Company Manage Its Energy Use," described how the city of Palo Alto, California, began using energy-management applications in 2009 and then began tying the resulting data to their SAP ERP business software system. That permitted the city to analyze its energy use and find new methods to save money, resulting in savings of over $520,000 in 2010 compared to just five years prior.

That's a unique and innovative idea, I thought. Then I began thinking, what other possibilities exist to leverage the data in corporate ERP systems in ways we haven't yet considered?

What about tying in fleet vehicle tracking data to better connect your delivery or service vehicles and your inventory and orders? Could the volumes of transactional data in your ERP application help improve the performance and economy of your fleet vehicles to get inventory transported more quickly and efficiently when and where it is needed?

How about using your ERP inventory and sales data to tie in with your product marketing applications? Could ERP information on excess inventory be connected to marketing applications so your company can create on-the-fly campaign price promotions and increase sales of those goods to get them out the door when you've got too many in your warehouse?

What about linking your ERP data to your real-time inventory quantities so that if a popular item on sale sells out completely, your ERP system can automatically recommend and designate a superior substitute item so you don't incur stock-outs and disappoint customers? That replacement item could be automatically put on sale, at the same price, to replace the sold-out goods, giving your customers yet another reason to feel good about their purchase. In this scenario, customers won't have to go to the customer service counter to ask for a substitution, it will already be done for them by your ERP tie-in.

Are you beginning to see the possibilities here? With some innovative thinking, there are likely places in your business where ERP data that you have already collected can be leveraged with other systems you are already using for a synergistic effect. It's like getting a free bonus gift from your IT investments, and that seldom happens.

There are possibilities on the vendor side as well. There are clear benefits if you can cull your vendor and supplier lists to reduce the number of trading partners that you have. Such a move would allow your company to standardize processes, incur fewer vendor exception conditions, decrease req-to-check business cycles and make more efficient use of your ERP system.

How? By managing fewer suppliers, say 500 significant trading partners instead of 10,000 smaller vendor relationships, you will be able to increase your business with the remaining vendors, giving you more purchasing power and incentives, along with bigger volume quantity discounts and improved service guarantees. This could be done through careful review of your ERP data along with other applications to help streamline operations.

None of these ideas will work for every company, and they certainly may or may not work for your business. The idea, though, is to get you started on the road to innovative thinking outside of the typical use and results that we seek from our ERP systems.


 Middle East Blogger | ERP Systems, CRM Software & Technology Blog