Technology is making organizations change rapidly and the pace of that change is accelerating more quickly than ever before. Change is now at the point where it is redefining markets and forcing entire industries to adjust the way they do business. Decision makers must also change with the times and embrace new technologies to ensure their business stays competitive. Part of the solution is to digitize with ERP.
An ERP system gives the company the competitive edge it needs for the present and into the future. Does this seem like a daunting task and you’re not sure where to start? Here are five steps to help you complete the digitalization journey in your company:
- Consider what digitalization means for your company.
Start by reviewing the technological developments and competitive pressures in your industry sector, together with the rate of change. How will this impact you in the short and long term?
- Artificial Intelligence (AI)
- Business Intelligence
- Chatbots(intelligent assistants)
- Cloud computing
- Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)
- Machine learning (ML)
- Assess your company’s level of readiness to digitalize with ERP.
Is your organization ready to be an early adopter, a fast follower, or a follower?
To determine this, start by knowing what is on your factory floor—digitalization starts from there. Many manufacturers have machines that cannot collect and transmit the data needed to support a digitalization initiative and they will need to be modified or replaced.
Another aspect of your factory investigation is to identify how people on the floor collect and use information. In many cases, analog devices are still used to collect information about staff activities on the factory floor, and these will need to be changed.
You also need to assess how other departments receive and use production data, and if the systems they use will enable digitalization to be implemented throughout the organization.
- Determine the information you need to move forward.
To digitalize your shop floor, you may not need a full-blown Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM) or Manufacturing Execution System, but you will need to integrate information from various machines, as well as data from people and related processes.
If you are considering using devices to take advantage of IIoT, you will need to invest in cloud infrastructure, monitor the devices, and provide a data collection store for the data before it is passed on to your in-house systems.
To connect a range of disparate systems and leverage the data from them, you will require middleware to collate and translate the data before it is integrated into your ERP.
That is when a future-fit ERP system can be a major advantage. It enables you to plug in components such as a MOM system when your business is ready, automates the collection of data from various sources, and orchestrates the flow of information to all parts of the business.
At the customer-facing points of the organization, there is a growing preference among customers to have self-directed interactions with chatbots. Using an ERP application that includes chatbot functionality fast tracks the incorporation of this capability into your customer service process.
- Decide how you will use the information.
Digitalizing your business will result in the generation of large amounts of data. How can you use all the data effectively and still be efficient?
An ERP system that includes various tools for reporting and analysis is important in allowing people to make decisions based on data. But people can only do so much and may not pick up some critical factors. Increasingly, organizations are looking to AI and ML to help identify trends and anomalies and predict future events or problems. For example, in procurement, AI can assist in strategic sourcing and supplier risk monitoring, as well as identifying potential fraud in payments.
However, it’s not enough just to have AI doing its work—you may need to ensure that staff gets notifications and the tools to enable them to take immediate action. That’s where software with a social-media type functionality can help by pushing information to people without them having to search for the information.
You can acquire point solutions to achieve these results, however, if you have an ERP system that already offers this built-in functionality, you can simply switch them on, as and when you are ready to use them.
- Determine how your company will ensure governance and compliance.
Unless managed properly, digitalization projects can generate process and data problems. On the data side, it is important to ensure that foundational data is cleaned up. If corporate data is not relevant, accurate, or up to date, any resultant decisions or forecasts are not going to produce good results.
How the data is routed and applied to support business processes is another aspect that will affect the positive outcome of the project.
Since a digitalized organization will have a lot of data moving around, another aspect of governance is ensuring data security and integrity. Weak points may be when data is being transferred, say between machines and the data collection stores. This can be overcome by putting data rules, access controls, and authorizations in place—functionality that should be available with your chosen ERP solution.
PositiveVision Will Help You Digitize with ERP
There is no better time than now to digitize with ERP. If you make the switch to a cloud-based system, you are taking a meaningful step toward keeping your business competitive and making it much easier for managers to make effective decisions that affect the company.
You aren’t doing the work on your own: PositiveVision has proudly served manufacturing and distribution customers in Greater Chicago for more than three decades. We focus on each customer’s needs to identify their issues and how they want their financial software to help solve them. Our experts guide you through decision making to help you make an informed choice. Contact us to speak to one of our product experts about a customized software solution for your business.