Business Management Systems: What can you improve?

Overview

Your business can benefit from a well-designed and well-implemented business management system (BMS), sometimes referred to as an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) solution.

You will be able to make more informed decisions, access detailed information faster, prepare key reports automatically and track transactions as they occur.

You will be able to see, at a glance, daily sales, stock levels, accounts receivable, work in progress and a host of other key performance indicators.

You can prepare customised dashboards for individuals, specific roles, work-groups and managers.

With ERP/BMS, you can spend your time looking after your business instead of looking for information. ERP/BMS is a technology that takes key data from a variety of sources within your business and transforms that raw data into actionable information. All from a single graphical interface. A comprehensive ERP enables you to match sales projections and the sales pipeline with inventory and back-orders. You can combine expenses and apply them to specific jobs. You can track orders and identify which products sit in the warehouse the longest. In short, you can run your business from a single, all-encompassing application.

ERP/BMS is ideally situated for a growing business. You already have a financial system that helps you track general ledger, accounts receivable and payable and maybe even invoicing, banking and perhaps payroll. But any time you want to add more functions or include more than a few users you reach a roadblock. The truth is that most financial packages are very good at what they do but they are limited in scope. As you grow, your business becomes more complex. Doing things ‘the same old way’ just doesn’t produce the results you need. An ERP/BMS removes those limitations.

1. Where to start

The first place to look is inside your business. You can start by mapping out your business processes. How does information flow through your organisation? How does an order get processed and invoiced? What events trigger which responses. This is a major undertaking and one that will require a lot of legwork if you don’t already have these procedures well documented.

An organisational chart is a good place to look for guidance. Who does what and where are they. What decisions do they make? And, most importantly, what information do they need to make those decisions.

The next step is to look at your databases. How many of them are there? How are they structured? How accurate are they? Why were they initiated? How up-to-date are they? Who maintains them? Who has access to them and why?

2. Initial structures

 Now we are starting to see some sort of structure. You know which people need information and you know where those information resources are. The challenge is to combine these two assets. Your business management system will help you deliver the right information to the right people in the right format.

So now you are ready to document the business processes. One strategy is follow the data…when and how is it captured, what vetting is done to it and how does this information make its way to the decision-makers. Or you can work the other way…how do your managers access and use the information? How does the information get to them and how much data manipulation is performed before they see it? Do they access spreadsheets? Can they change key indicators themselves or do they request changes? Do they take educated guesses if they can’t get the data they need?

Next you need to break down the individual steps that support the overall business processes. This is where costs start to come in. How much does it cost to prepare ad hoc reports? Is there any redundancy in data entry? Do people spend a lot of time ‘cleaning’ data? Is there a costly time-lag between the time a report is requested and the delivery? And is that data out-of-date by the time it’s read? What are the ramifications?

"With the right ERP system, you can spend your time looking after your business instead of looking for information."

3. Specialist advice?

Nobody knows your business better than you do, but sometimes an outside party can add value at this stage of the process, especially if that party is a specialist and has helped similar organisations implement a BMS/ ERP solution. Third-party consultants will have time-tested methodologies to quickly and efficiently conduct data audits and can often resolve any internal issues that might otherwise impact an in-house audit.

They can help you document your current state of affairs and suggest ways of improving your procedures. As you continue along the path of looking at implementing an ERP/BMS solution, it is a good opportunity to review your business processes and retain which ones work well and upgrade those that can be improved.

If your business is running along very well, an ERP/BMS will help you automate and standardise procedures so that you can work faster and more efficiently. If you are facing challenges; bottlenecks, missed deadlines, stock shortages, high turnover or diminishing returns; An ERP/BMS can help you turn things around and gain more control over your operations.

4. Who can benefit from a Business Management System?

Most small to medium-sized businesses can implement a BMS/ERP solution at a cost that is affordable and justifiable. Today’s ERP solutions are optimised for the mid-market and there are a wide variety of specialist firms who can help you implement a comprehensive BMS/ERP solution quickly and easily. Sure, there are costs involve, software licensing, database cleansing, report design and perhaps even a hardware upgrade, but when you start to look at the overall benefits to your business processes, the return on investment jumps out at you.

ERP/BMS, once expensive and reserved exclusively for big business, is now a mainstream option for your business and is readily accessible. In today’s competitive environment, a BMS/ERP can help you and your business thrive. It is not easy running a business and you need to take every opportunity to keep up. ERP/BMS is ideally placed to give you the edge you need to succeed.

5. Top five reasons to invest in ERP/BMS

  • Your business is growing and becoming more complex – ERP/BMS helps you plan and manage that growth;
  • The cost of doing business is becoming more expensive and you need to boost productivity while keeping a lid on costs – ERP helps you work faster, smarter and more efficiently;
  • Vital business data is often locked away in ‘silos’ and inaccessible to the people who need it – BMS helps you leverage your database resources to the maximum extent possible giving those that need information access to it instantly;
  • You want to foster inter-departmental communications and increase transparency across your organisation – ERP provides a ‘single version of the truth’ so that all your staff are using the same up-to-date information for decision-making;
  • You want to standardise your business processes, reporting and data capture procedures – BMS enables you to implement uniform procedures across your organisation and ensure that business rules are followed.

6. ERP/BMS: Centralising your business processes

“We had islands of information with our previous system. Our stock ledger was handled by our old DOS accounting system, we had a separate customer marketing database, separate stock pricing spreadsheets and another system to track sold machines. We wanted one system that would maintain all of this information centrally,” says Christian Scott, General Manager of Scott Machinery.

“We also wanted a system that could adapt to our sales process – in particular to quickly generate a detailed quotation complete with product logos, images, text and tables. Also, that it would have CRM (customer relationship management) capabilities, so we could handle and prioritise the sales process once our quotations had been delivered to a customer.”

Scott Machinery is now a satisfied MYOB EXO customer. “The answers to most questions reside in MYOB EXO now – for example, we can quickly and easily find out how long a client has had their Leadwell CNC lathe, what options it was supplied with, and who did the operator training. In fact, any question from anywhere in the sales process should be able to be answered from MYOB EXO. The whole system is great – very flexible and adaptable,” says Scott.